Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pals in Peril

So for work I’m currently slugging the first paperback pass of blues for M. T. Anderson’s “Agent Q, or the Smell of Danger!” and I think I might have found a new author/series to get into. I’m fully aware that it’s technically a kids series, so there wont be any epically moving/heart wrenching plots that cause me to exclaim “NO!” to the heavens as tears stream down my face due to a character which I had become emotionally involved in being gunned down as they were about to reconcile with the one they loved, but it’s a light, easy, and highly ridiculous and entertaining read.
         Thought I can’t speak for his other books, I expect that the rest of the books in this series are about the same style, so I can tell you that it’s filled with utter ridiculousness, frequent breaking of the fourth wall, completely unnecessary footnotes, and even a mini flipbook and random drawings flittering about the pages. Also there are spies and gadgets and action sequences you’d never see in movies because they just make you go ‘wot?!’ I think that might be my favourite part of going through the book, the constant “wait...did that just really happen? *flips back* Yes...yes it did.” 
          I’m only supposed to technically be checking that the first and last word of each page is consistent in both the hardcover and the first pass, and that the pictures are in order, little things like that...but I got drawn in to the story about halfway through when I actually started paying attention to the word instead of just quickly glancing to insure consistency. It was the sentence “The lobsters went right back to playing solitaire, as if nothing had happened,” that reeled me in, and the weird just kept escalating.

          I mean that in the best possible way.
          I think I might also pick up  Feed, I saw it many years ago in Borders (moment of silence for the passing of Borders into bankruptcy and the oblivion beyond) and kept telling myself I would pick it up, but always forgot/found other books to buy instead. I’m pretty sure that it’s much more serious than his Pals in Peril books, but who knows, maybe Anderson will turn out to be a great multifaceted writer. If anyone knows if this is the case, let me know. Otherwise, if you like kids books (even if it’s just books by Lemony Snicket, who, in my opinion, transcends age ranges) or action, or humour, or are simply looking for something easy and light that will work as a pick-me-up, then this book will be perfect pour vous.

          And every once in a while there’s a little break in the story, almost as if Anderson was like ‘fuck it’ and decided to just write down exactly what had come to mind while writing a particular passage, relevant to the plot or not. It’s like...sidebars without the indication that it’s a sidebar. It’s almost conversational he way he writes, it’s really informal and casual and indifferent to normal rules or standards. I want to write novel one day and feel so free and confident that those who like it will like it, who cares about anyone else, that I’ll just insert my non-sequitor thoughts in the middle of the plot. It’s so playful! More people should try it out, I feel like it would be an extremely liberating exercise/process.