A large duck (burger_eater) wrote,
A large duck

Move Under Ground, Hero

Watched HERO last weekend and finished reading Move Under Ground by Nick Mamatas (aka nihilistic_kid) yesterday.

Move Under Ground sounds like a dumb-ass idea for a book: Essentially, Jack Kerouac takes to the road again to save the world from Cthulhu.

Just writing that little description makes me laugh out loud and cringe a little. As a double-pastiche, it sounds so ludicrous and wonderful that I knew I'd have to read it.

It's one of the best books I've read all year.

Years ago, I tried to read On The Road. I bounced off it. It didn't mean anything to me. Still, I know just enough about Kerouac's style that I can recognize it if it has the words THIS IS IN KEROUAC'S STYLE in big bold letters across the top.

Which means I knew enough to recognize that Mamatas was doing but not enough to nitpick. Perfect. The book opens with Kerouac living in an isolated cabin on the Pacific Ocean and before page ten (I think), R'lyeh rises. Kerouac sets off across an increasingly nightmarish America, as the squares turn into cultists and worse, and the landscape become increasingly unreal and non-Euclidean--all described in Kerouac's Beat poet style.

Reading this book made me think about all the Lovecraft homages I'd trudged through, and why so many didn't work. Maybe it has to do with the elevated style. The subject matter doesn't have its full effect when it's told in the "invisible" style so many writers use. Those stories were strangely flat. It takes something extra to make the full power of the story come across.

And frankly, I much prefer Mamatas' Beat Cthulhu to Lovecraft's original.

Wonderful book. I'm looking forward to the next one, in part because I want to read a book in Mamatas' style rather than his style filtered through Kerouac.

HERO should have been a better movie. It had all the right elements, but the ending flopped. It was supposed to be poignant, I guess. It wasn't.

I'll post a fresh ten later, after I get a chance to do some work.
Tags: words

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