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[personal profile] lesbiassparrow
I am currently watching a quite fantastically laden with awful British accents SciFi film with Adrian Paul. It's something about Francis Drake and sea monsters and has all the fine quality one associates with SciFi channel films. I also have no idea what is really going on, but I suspect it doesn't matter.

But this is not a post about the many and varied delights of SciFi movies, but about an awesome book recommended by [livejournal.com profile] chelseagirl47: The Beetle. It was published the same year as Dracula and involves stalwart Englishmen being unmanned by an Egyptian man-woman-beetle thing which cleaves a broad path through London in a search for vengeance. So horrifying is this thing that the mere words "THE BEETLE!!!" shrieked at the unfortunate victims will reduce them to conniptions of a type that it is very satisfactory to read about. There's some sort of plot involving a politician with a PAST but that doesn't really matter. Mainly you read for the gothic horror and admire the endless parade of anxieties on display. Gender, sexual, race, imperial...the list is pretty endless. And then there's THE BEETLE. And lots of potentially kinky shenanigans involving the flower of British womanhood who gets herself abducted. (For those who are worried about potential gender imbalance, that is preceded by kinky shenanigans with the flower of British manhood who also gets himself abducted in Cairo.) Good stuff.

Sadly, I followed that up with Geraldine Jewsbury's rather awful The Two Sisters, which is one of those mid 19th century issue novels. There are two sisters, one legitimate and traditionally raised, the other illegitimate and saddled with a batty mother and a life in the theatre. Of course, because it's an issue novel there are endless pages where people discuss women's roles, women's education, etc. etc. all tacked on around a plot that is decidedly unsatisfactory. I gave up when the legitimate sister died of hysteria brought about by the mere thought of running off in an adulterous affair. It just came out of nowhere too: one moment she's going about her boring life, being all mopey, then five pages later it's adulterous thoughts and hysterical death. And then it went back to an entire chapter of people talking about education, without even a twitch.

Date: 2009-02-06 03:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] namastenancy.livejournal.com
I think that movie with Adrian Paul as a pirate probably sunk any remaining chances of a revived career. It - and he -- were dreadful. Utterly boring and dreadful. I can take camp and cheese but boring - no way.
I haven't read the novels that you are referring to but I'm going to check the first one out and avoid the second one.

Date: 2009-02-06 06:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
I do not think you will be disappointed in The Beetle; it is one of those late 19th century novels where they've decided to go for it entirely and hold nothing back. The result is not only entertaining but fascinating if you're interested in the types of anxieties the Late Victorians have.

As for the film, afterwards I was flipping around and saw five minutes of the The Gryphon which made this look like genius in comparison, so there's that.

Date: 2009-02-06 04:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lovinlorne.livejournal.com
I have to ask - WHERE do you find these books?! LOL! You have yet to disappoint me with your choice of literature. Not that I run out to read them myself or anything. I'm very content to only "read" them through you!

Date: 2009-02-06 06:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
Normally with stuff like this I have to honestly say that it just magically calls to me from bookstores and libraries much in they way that dogs hear dog whistles, but in the case of The Beetle I will admit that I had never heard of it before someone on my flist was enthusing about its wonders.

Date: 2009-02-06 07:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lovinlorne.livejournal.com
Ah. Well you certainly have a talent.

*note to self - NEVER go book shopping with lesbiassparrow*

Date: 2009-02-06 02:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kittenscurious.livejournal.com
I watched that movie when it first aired, and you are correct, it does not actually matter what is going on. As long as you perk up during the few exciting bits with sea monsters, you're fine.

Date: 2009-02-06 06:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
There seemed to be an ordinate amount of times they mentioned Plato. Sadly, even by the end of the climactic fight, I wasn't certain what role he played. I was sorry they didn't have his ghost pop up to explain.

Date: 2009-02-06 04:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chelseagirl47.livejournal.com
Hurray for spreading the word about The Beetle! ;-)

Alas, I am chelseagirl47; there is a chelseagirl who has never posted in her journal (or it's flocked and she doesn't bother to say so). I check every once in awhile, hoping she will have canceled her account and I can have the name, but alas, not so far . . .

Date: 2009-02-06 06:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
I always think of you as the one, the only, the original Chelseagirl, hence the mistake. :)

The glories of The Beetle must be known and enjoyed by more people! However, I will never pick up another Jewsbury book again. Apparently the entire family wrote, like a less talented Bronte sisters, which is a bit terrifying.


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