Friday, October 18, 2013

James Dashner is not weird

A little while ago I met, and heard speak, best selling YA author James Dashner at my Library. He wrote The Maze Runner, which is having a movie made of it, or, it turns out it is sort of made, but delayed because it got more money to have better effects put in it. I have written two silly posts about this visit and now offer a slightly less silly one to round out my trilogy. I'm not sure if any blog post can not be silly, but I'll do my best to work my way to that end of the spectrum. It might be the name: blog post, blaahhg post. Can you see my throat? I still have my tonsils. I wouldn't dare write blaaahg posts if I didn't have my taaahnsils!

Right, right, serious. More Sophisticated Miniature Essay than mere blog post.

James Dashner seemed nice enough. He was friendly. He connected well with his audience and the many young readers therein. He seemed like a real "Guy". He liked guy things. He was nerdy, by his own definition, so no sports talk, but on the acceptably nerdy side of the spectrum. Nothing too Japanese, or esoteric, or unadmired entered into it. He liked The Matrix and Inception. He liked Lord of the Rings, Narnia. He was interested in video games but did not linger for a moment on that.  He liked modern television, I don't remember what shows, maybe Dexter, Breaking Bad?, and he used the phrase "I think we are in a Golden Age of Television."

And though I kind of hate the whole "Golden Age of Television" part for its generic and received quality, all of it is okay. People like what they like. I even love some of those same things he loves too. 

But, nevertheless, I find I am even less interested in reading his books than I was before I met him or heard him speak. The reason is because there was nothing odd about James Dashner. Everything fit. Everything fit perfectly. There was no texture. No quirk. No mania, no obsession with Pez dispensers or Ballet or strange shoes or Claes Oldenburg sculptures or 60's Sitcoms. Two hours and there was not one single ill-advised (in a good way or even a we're-not-sure way) moment. All of his taste and references came from one single and fully mapped cosmology of guydom and so were frictionless and could produce no heat. Alchemy requires the merging of disparate parts and their untried collisions. And so while I have nothing against him, and I certainly will not refuse to read his books, I don't really trust such a writer, with such placid and perfect and uniform inspirations. It makes it so hard to imagine how there could be any magic, any real magic, in what he does.

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