Sunday, 7 June 2015

#37 - "Red Rain", R.L. Stine

Red Rain.  The rain was red.  Red was the colour of the rain.  I read it (not readily).


By HotBot

(book submitted by a Fan)

Editor's note: As requested by DiscordiasFavoredSon, we are reviewing this wonderful Piece of Shit™. 

My favourite film growing up was The Labyrinth, starring David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly, and a bunch of puppets.  I really loved that movie (and can still quote every line)—I loved the concept, the magic of the ball scene, the themes of friendship, and I wanted to be Jennifer Connelly so badly (I still do).  However, I re-watched it last year, and rather than magic, all I could see was David Bowie’s crotch.  Seriously, there are numerous web articles about his crotch in that movie (here's a convenient YouTube video with inappropriate zooming; here's the FB fan page for his crotch in the movie; here's a critical analysis of the part played by his crotch).  And why does he thrust all the time?!  People don’t walk like that (/stand like that/sit like that/dance like that).  I’m actually a little concerned for his posture.  The (highly visible) point is that some things should stay in your childhood, and never, ever be revisited as an adult.  Such is R.L. Stine’s writing.

Growing up, Stine’s Goosebumps series was my gateway into two years of reading exclusively horror books.  The second book I started writing as a kid was even in the genre.  Stine’s books had it all—they were easy to read, had novel story-lines which weren’t too scary for kids, and always a twist at the end.  And do you know what Stine’s Goosebumps and Fear Street books have in common with his adult novel, ‘Red Rain’?  EVERYTHING.  AND IT IS A BIG, STEAMING HEAP OF SHIT.

Phew—okay, I didn’t mean to let that out.  I’m just so ANGRY that somebody would publish this TRIPE.  What the fuck.  I mean seriously, the opening sequence features such an intense amount of word repetition that I felt I was going insane.  I now understand how it must be to live with a trained talking parrot—except the parrot would be less repetitive.  ‘Polly wanna cracker?’ on repeat isn’t anywhere near so irritating as ‘Polly wanna cracker?  Cracker wanna Polly.  You know what Polly wants?  A cracker Polly wants.  Cracker.  Polly.  Cracker cracker Polly.’  FOR FUCKS SAKE.  In the prologue, our idiotic protagonist encounters some ‘red rain’: 
“the raindrops were red.  A shimmering deep scarlet.  … “It’s raining blood!”… [she] watched the red raindrops… Stared at her hands as the red drops trickled… raindrops falling all around her.  Red, as if… blood.  Bloodred raindrops… A blood rain…  She had read about a blood rain… red rain poured… the red rain was the onset of the world’s end.  Now sheets of rain fell… Like red curtains… Red curtains of rain…  blood curtains”.  
WE FUCKING GET IT.  I mean, I guess if you’re an adult with a severe short-term memory problem, or are happy to be treated like a complete idiot, then this is the book for you.  Incidentally, I wonder how many pages the book would be if the repetition were removed—the 534-page electronic behemoth could probably be whittled down to 200, at the absolute outside.  And if the completely irrelevant parts of the book were removed, that could probably be further reduced to 50.  That’s right, removing the parts of the novel which are actively insulting to one’s intelligence would reduce it to ten percent of its size. 

God, there’s so much more to this book.  And I mean more in terms of shit-ness.  The characters are completely ridiculous and make no sense, not to mention stupid; the plotline is inconsistent and incoherent; the way in which the twins speak is ludicrous (“We’ll convince the bruvver and sister.” Samuel stared at him. “Convince them? Okay. But no smoked meat, Daniel. Okay? No smoked meat?” Daniel nodded. “Total domination, Sammy. You’ll see. Total domination.”); the language is basic (one might say ‘graded for children’); and oh.  The sex scenes.  Of course, I should cover that—because what the hell business does R.L. Stine have writing sex scenes?  About as much business as the characters do having sex.  I mean seriously, there’s this sub-plot written in where one of the protagonists has sex with his secretary for no reason.  At all.  It’s never addressed other than ‘oh I feel guilty, oops’, and it never forms part of the story-line—I mean it would have made just as much sense to go into a protracted scene about the dude cleaning his teeth.  It contributed nothing whatsoever—it’s like Stine was just dying for one of his characters to get laid.  The scene had the exact awkwardness of a children’s writer chucking in a scene with genitals because he thinks that’s the only difference between children and adults—our overwhelming interest in fucking.  And apparently, fucking written like this:
She uttered low gasps in his ear. “Oh, yes. Yes. Oh, yes.” Like a porno video. He felt his erection grow. “I don’t want this.” But suddenly he did. 
Oh, God. Over the desk. From behind. His khakis were down. And he was inside her. Sprawled over the desk, she moaned, rhythmic soft cries. He buried his face in her soft hair. He lost himself in her. He lost himself. Lost. And came inside her. It didn’t matter. All the doctors said he could never have more children. He stayed on top of her for a long moment, breathing hard, gripping the shoulders of her T-shirt, the creamy ass still moving beneath him. Then, heart pounding, he pushed himself to his feet. She climbed up slowly. Turned to him. Grabbed his shirt, brought her face close, and licked the side of his face. “Am I your best assistant?” A whisper that tingled his skin. “I want to be the best. Am I the best?”
I’m not sure it’s possible to be less aroused than I am right now (without involving scales).  I’m more confused as to why Stine thought that our key priority would be the possibility of pregnancy rather than, say, diseases.  Or the fact the dude had just cheated on his wife.  I’m also preoccupied with how creepy the assistant is—stalker, much?

Lastly, because honestly this book just makes me angry, the ‘twist’ ending.  Every single one of Stine’s fucking books has a fucking twist, so it was hardly a surprise.  In fact, it was downright predictable.  AND IT MADE NO FUCKING SENSE.  The non-twist was in complete contradiction to the mythology Stine had built up throughout the book.  It’s like he realised he’d written a complete Piece of Shit™ and just stopped even pretending to try. 

This book is an embarrassment.  0/10.

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