Culmination of the birth of Myranda:
Myranda was conceived not through any intercourse, but by Chick (the telekinetic) taking sperm out of Arturo’s body and placing them in Olympia. Verdict: LAME. Missed a chance of making them more than isolated characters, changing them a bit. They are static characters and that was a cop-out.
Iphigenia and Electra:
After Ellie was lobotomized to be a useless lump of flesh Iphi dragged around (long story), she started “coming back” slowly. How one recovers from a lobotomy is anyone’s guess. Then one day, Ellie kills their child Mumpo (a 26 lb newborn that is supposed to be evil for unknown reasons) in a moment of clarity. Iphi stabs Ellie in the head with scissors and then dies herself saying that she had to because Ellie killed the baby. Did Iphi really care about the baby? Was it really evil? Was Ellie really back? Do we care? Meh, not really. Frankly, Iphi was getting pretty damn annoying with her “quiet strength” and bullshit. Just kind of glad they all died together.
Verdict: MEGA LAME.
Arturo, Al (the dad), Chick and various others:
Chick gets so angry at their deaths. He immediately blames it on Arturo. He explodes the circus tent with his mind, Carrie-style. Why did Chick suddenly turn on Arty when he has hurt and killed for him before? Why was it Arty’s fault, exactly? Given the uncharacteristic vengeance that ended all loose ends oh so conveniently, I say to you, Madam, yet again: cop out.
Verdict: SIMILARLY LAME. But welcome, since I’d rather those characters die quickly, anyway.
Olympia and Miss Lick:
After such a horribly passive narration job, I was surprised that Olympia ever got to killing Miss Lick at all. It took a while and when she finally did it was like the rest of the novel: odd, gruesome, and disappointing. Oly decided death over-chlorination in the pool locker room was best. Weird how a death by base solution can be painful. Oly pussed out eventually and opened the door. They had a tussle and both ended up dead by Oly’s (much more practical weapon) gun. Uninteresting.
So overall count seems to be overwhelmingly lame. I’m developing a theory about bad writing that I think I might call Characters in a Vacuum. A great task in writing is to take characters and push them to their limits. However unless your characters are in a vacuum, or on a one man trip to Mt Everest, or stranded on a desert island, they are going to have to react to someone. Other people add in an unlikely variable. We are often affected by the minds and actions of those around us.
Now, when characters don’t react to their fellow characters and seem to be living out their plot in a straight line, I believe that you are missing out on the best part of fiction. That variable of surprise is my bread and butter. The change that comes from connections with other people.
All the characters in Geek Love live out the plots in a straight line. The main focus of Oly’s story–her love for Arturo–culminates in the clandestine conception that had nothing to do with Arturo. Arturo lives out his whole cult thing without paying any attention to the family, and ultimately dies for a side reason, kind of senselessly. I hate watching characters about to make connections and ultimately failing and staying the same.
Of course, there are other reasons to read books. If you like the topsy turvy and don’t care about the intricacies of character development, check it out, but I am done with this book.
**SIDENOTE: How can a large, butch short-haired woman named Miss Lick POSSIBLY be not gay. It was totally a cop out when she said “she didn’t have a sexual orientation of any kind.” Miss Lick. I mean, really.