November 16th, 2002

The favourite poem meme...

... and my entry has to be Adlestrop, by Edward Thomas:

Yes, I remember Adlestrop--
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop - only the name

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.
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The Saturday Morning "Catchup" Reviews - Number 1: Dead Until Dark

The Deep South and vampires seem to go together like fish and chips. It's probably Anne Rice's fault, with her mix of New Orleans decadence and European evils. But the southern US isn't just big bustling cities, it's also small towns and the people who live in them. And it's to this South that Charlaine Harris sends her vampire, Bill, in her supernatural crime nove Dead Until Dark.

Sookie Stackhouse is a cocktail waitress with a big problem. She's a telepath, and everyone knows it. It's a big problem for her, as she can't help reading minds, and this does seem to get in the way of having any sort of love life. But then Bill walks into her bar, and she can't read his mind. In this world vampires have come out of the closet (and the grave, and the cellar - in fact anywhere they can hide from the light), telling everyone that it's just a virus. So Bill and Sookie hook up, and it's not long before she falls in love with the new vamp in town. But then the killings begin, and she finds herself caught up in the conflict between human and supernatural. What began as a love story has turned into a mystery.

Harris is starting a series here, and the story contains more than a little introduction to individuals who are likely to become major characters in planned works. Sookie is an intetresting character, and her telepathy is treated as more than just another superpower in a world where the supernatural is breaking its way across the borders. In fact there's more than a little of the feel of the Borderlands books, especially with the scenes set in the vampre bars, with their hangers on and wannabees skating the edge of their desires.

Dead Until Dark is a delightful little novel, providing an alternative approach to the Anita Blake style of vampire thriller. Yes, there is eroticism, and yes, there is plenty of plot-by-the-numbers gear grinding, but all in all the story moves forward with enough energy to keep you on the edge of your seat.
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