When people ask me to describe Silver Brown to them, I give them one of several answers, depending on my mood and my perceived IQ of the person asking the question. If I’m not in any particular kind of mood, I tell them that it’s somewhat akin to a Paddy’s Pub-tinged interpretation of Alice in Wonderland set in a Matrix-like universe with a slight Lovecraftian bent to it. If I deem the person asking the question to be more well-read than average, I add to that that it’s lightly dusted (no pun intended) with a smattering of themes borrowed from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. If I’m in the mood to sound shamelessly pretentious, I tell them it’s something like Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World reimagined for the twenty-first century with a pronounced Zappaic flair, garnished with a trio of interludes in which it takes a decidedly Heavy Metal-like turn. If the person asking the question is one of the movers and shakers within the Swedish Academy who also just happens to look delicious, I would tell them something along the lines of: “it’s a poignant tale of love gone horribly awry that devours and regurgitates a few of the motifs found in Romeo and Juliet…”, and make my best lame attempt to say it as if the book actually had a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the Nobel Prize, which of course it doesn’t. If I’m in a cranky-ass first-thing-in-the-morning pre-coffee kind of mood, or otherwise a mood reminiscent of Jack Nicholson in at least half the movies he’s ever been in (I’m thinking the first half of As Good As It Gets with a bit of The Shining thrown in), I would say something like: “Well, why don’t you just read the bloody thing yourself?”
If the person asking the question is a five hundred-pound individual from a remote region in the belly of the boondocks who has more (illegitimate?) children than teeth and has never read any book they weren’t pressured to read by either their pastor or their high school English teacher, or heaven forbid, the alt-right punditry and/or the local Grand Wizard, I would give the (grossly inaccurate) lowest-common-denominator copout answer, saying: “It’s sort of like a Disney Princess movie in the vein of Beauty and the Beast, only it’s set in the Land of Ooo and the production involved the animators being given a ration of two hits of acid every day they worked on the project. And it’s in book form! Unfortunately, novels typically aren’t marketed with accompanying soundtrack albums like movies are, but if this book had one, it would an album that would blow your little mind clean off – I’m talking a Wish You Were Here level of awe-inspiring sonic mindgasmry…”
In the freak circumstance that the aforementioned isn’t even marginally familiar with Beauty and the Beast on account of the fact that their particular church denomination has been boycotting the Disney empire for years in retaliation against their gay-friendly hiring practices, or if they’re otherwise culturally backward enough to believe I was referring to the Barbara Mandrell number when I mentioned Wish You Were Here, I would give the easily-digestible steamed-carrot-purée edition of the (grossly inaccurate) lowest-common-denominator copout answer, and say: “It’s Smokey and the Bandit (or if they’re not actually Southern, The Blues Brothers) told upside-down and backwards with a bit of some alternate take on Twilight written by a better author thrown in where the heroine has an actual personality. And magical powers. That she can’t be arsed to learn how to use.” If they respond to the word “heroine” with some quip about needles and spoons, at that point I would just give up trying to explain it to them altogether.
Incidentally, I’m not afraid to admit I actually have read Twilight. The whole thing. Voluntarily. Mostly for research purposes and satirical fodder. And maybe to satisfy my curiosity. I can attest that all the criticisms directed against Twilight since its initial publication have been perfectly justified. It really is as bad as people say it is. Hands down one of the most painful books I’ve ever read, and I’d read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged several years prior – all half a million words of it, including the ideologically repugnant passages (too many to count; that bit where the people choked to death on the train was pure WTF) and the parts that most people are wont to skip over out of sheer tedium, so that’s saying a lot. Never mind the sparkly vampires, or even the fact that the female lead is a wooden zombie-ess who could use a good bitchslappin’ (preferably one administered by a curt and saucy twink of the type who would wander the streets completely nude during Pride festivities with a beautiful lack of shame). Most of the book consists of Bella and Edward trying to get in touch with their feelings or some shit, which doesn’t really make for an entertaining read. It probably would if these characters were in any way interesting, but that’s clearly not the case here. The author had no good material to work with going into the writing of this book. You can probably pin that on the particular religious culture to which she belongs; Mormons tend not to get out much, particularly not their women. Nevertheless, her lack of good fodder shows up in her writing. Bella’s account of her blossoming love for Edward reads way more excruciatingly than listening to my mother (may she rest in peace) gush about some ill-fated American Idol contestant from ten years ago that the rest of the world has long since forgotten about. The gushing takes up most of the narrative; any semblance of an actual story doesn’t start to kick in until about two-thirds of the way into the book. To top it off, the prose is atrocious. Stephenie Meyer has seemingly never met a said-bookism she didn’t like, to say nothing of her penchant for unnecessarily flowery language that continually tempts the reader to rubberneck throughout the Twilight experience. An exercise in verbal masturbation performed by the hands of a pure and virginal author who has never touched linguistic genitalia in her life and has no clue how to work it. It’s more that than a novel. My nephew was pulling more intriguing stories than that out of his ass before he even entered kindergarten.
That being said, the only real similarity Silver Brown has with Twilight is the plot element of a girl having some kind of involvement with an inhuman freak. Except the inhuman freak I devised for Silver Brown is way more inhuman and freaky than the one featured in Twilight. Or even the one featured in Beauty and the Beast. Hell, there’s even a case to be made for the notion that this one out-freaks the freak from The Shape of Water. My freak doesn’t sparkle. He isn’t under any kind of curse. He won’t magically transform into a charming prince if you kiss him in just the right spot when the moon is full or some shit. This freak is way freakier than that. An irredeemable freak to the bone. Or at least he would be, if he actually had bones to speak of. Picture a cross between Pepé Le Pew and Pennywise the Dancing Clown with just a pinch of Freddy Krueger thrown in (Groundskeeper Willie’s portrayal in Treehouse of Horror VI, mostly) marinated for five hundred milliseconds in a dollop of George Lazenby in his prime, and you get the idea. Speaking of which, the image shown on the book’s front cover is a stylized portrait of said freak. It depicts him engorged with blood with his mouth agape, preparing to turn one of his stomachs inside out in order to devour something (or someone) – with the phrase A Novel on the back of his throat, just because I found that to be the most convenient place to put it. That penchant for wanton devouring is totally in line with his character. Merely wolfing down pre-shelled hard-boiled eggs or even drinking people’s blood would not be enough to satisfy an appetite like his. This is a creature who can (and does) devour pitiful human souls like popcorn, and he ain’t no blooming vegetarian, either.
This book has an overall darker tone to it than anything written by Molly Mormon housewives, if you haven’t figured that one out already. It’s more of a satirical black comedy than any kind of romance novel. Stirring anybody’s soul or making anybody wet was not my intent in writing this; this is more of a laugh-out-loud/shit-your-pants kind of book, in a somewhat similar vein to David Wong’s excellent John Dies at the End (or its sequel, This Book Is Full of Spiders). In spite of the sink-your-teeth-in-it Harry Potter-like storyscape Silver Brown will hopefully have when the final draft is completed, I don’t think Disney would want to make a movie out of this. It would give the kids nightmares without question.
This book is not a YA title. The teenage experience is not a theme explored with any significant depth in this yarn. Everybody and his grandma is writing YA these days; that particular market is bloated and oversaturated enough as it is, hence I have little interest in contributing to it. It sure as hell ain’t chick-lit. I have no clue if this book is “feminist” or not, nor do I care. I never set out to make any kind of grandiose political statement with this tome. Quite the opposite is true, in fact. I went to great lengths to make it as apolitical as possible, outside of an occasional satirical barb lampooning bureaucracies or the gross incompetence of governments in general. I have no loyalties to any political party and prefer not to wrap my whole sense of personal identity around some “-ist” label. Instead, I like to think of myself as one of those awful people who dares to think for themselves. A dying breed, from the looks of it.
Having said all that, I made my protagonist a teenage girl for two reasons. Firstly, because the world in which the book is set is rather complex, and I felt a teenager would be the ideal tour guide to take readers through that world – someone who lacks sophistication and worldly experience and is likely to explain things in the most straightforward manner possible, without the use of professional jargon and other big confusing words that are introduced to a person’s vocabulary at the onset of a college education. Secondly, I needed a creative outlet to get down with my inner drag queen. An outlet I knew I would never get from any paying job. The Florys MacNab personality has served that function for me splendidly. If you’re one of those people who subscribes to some extremist end of the political spectrum (there seems to be a lot of those on this here Internet thingie these days), and you happen to find drag queens offensive for some reason in accordance with the dictates of your chosen manifesto, then I would opine you are most likely in want of a functional sense of humour, on the grounds that some of the greatest comedy troupes that have ever existed regularly performed in drag as part of their act, including a particularly little-known one by the name of Monty Fucking Python. But hey, far be it for me to pass judgement on whatever bugs you choose to keep up that tight little ass of yours. 😉 Just don’t say I didn’t warn ya.
One last thing…
This site, just like the aforementioned freak, is constantly molting and changing its form. It’s probably in its larval stage, but I can never be too sure about that. Didn’t get a good look at the creature that laid the egg sac in my brain the other night. At any rate, this site is due to develop new organs and appendages it never had before as it grows and evolves. The version of the book available for download is of course always undergoing revisions. When this site first started, it had no blog. But now it’s grown a blog stump, which will almost certainly sprout new appendages with time. This might be a completely different site six months from now.
SILVER BROWN: A Forwarpendix
Part I: The Introduction of SILVER BROWN
Part II: The Birth of SILVER BROWN
Part III: The Gist of SILVER BROWN
Part IV: The World of SILVER BROWN
Part V: The People of SILVER BROWN
Part VI: The Warring Factions of SILVER BROWN
Part VII: The Language of SILVER BROWN
Part VIII: The Dashing Prince of SILVER BROWN
SILVER BROWN: A Blog
Part XI: The Journey of SILVER BROWN
Part XII: The Soundtrack of SILVER BROWN
Part XIII: The Bullhorn of SILVER BROWN
Part XIV: The Green Grass of SILVER BROWN
Part XV: The Oddities of SILVER BROWN