Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Devin Grayson's Inheritance

I bought Devin Grayson's Inheritance when it came out. An attractive paperback, it focused on a couple of my favorite characters, Arsenal and Nightwing. I skimmed through it in the store and admittedly, didn't think there was much to the story, but there were nice enough flashbacks for the guys, and since I trusted Devin to understand the characters since I enjoyed her run on Outsiders and some of her Batman and her Nightwing stories, I bought it.

I didn't really want to read it, so I skimmed it, looking for the good parts, mostly the flashbacks. It wasn't all that impressive and I set it aside. Little did I realize how entertaining it could be as this LiveJournaler has found.

Apparently, I had missed a lot of man-on-man (I hesitate to use the word gay, because I don't consider taking characters I consider straight and putting them in homosexual relationships, known as "slash" to be gay) sexual innuendo. I've now started to read the thing. I'm still skippingover the actual story/plot points, aka the scenes with none of our heroes (Batman, Green Arrow, Aquaman, Nightwing, Arsenal, and Aqualad). And I am stunned. As maelithil, the LJer, says:
"It defies logic and explanation, it's Lord Kind Bad Novel and Porno Rag In
Syllables all in one. She either bribed the editors or shot them, I can't decide
which. I can't believe DC published this. If you thought she was outspoken in
certain interviews, you ain't seen nothing yet."
There are some entertaining excerpts on the LJ.

It's not just the suggestive content that boggles my mind. I remember a Star Trek: Original Series novel that was pulled and re-edited before being republished, to remove suggestive slash passages, slash having originated (in its current form; I'm sure the idea has been around a very long time, but Star Trek man-on-man sex was called Kirk/Spock, abbreviated K/S, which got known as slash when it referred to other characters due, of course, to the / mark. Except for some purple prose, that Trek book wasn't bad at all, well above the average fan fiction novel. I wish I could say Devin's effort reads as well as that. It doesn't come close.

So far, and I'm not all that far in yet, it's reading like a Hardy Boys tale without the earnestness and innocence. Actually, books on the Hardy Boys's level are better because they are what they are and they aren't striving to be something more. They're books for kids. Simple, straightforward prose. Devin's book, ostensibly, based on its shelving with adult books in my local B&N (in the science fiction/fantasy section -- yeah, it's fantasy, all right), is supposedly an adult book written for someone first learning English. The prose is as flat and unemotional as an average piece of wood, except when it's also awkward and/or unintentionally funny.

I wasn't expecting great literature, but I was expecting solid writing, not something that comes across as amateur hour on paper. And as maelithil said, I wonder how this thing got published. Did the editor actually read it? Who was the audience? Did they think the innuendo would go over the average fanboy's head? Did it go over the editor's head? Has the standards of good writing taken such a blow at the book division that drek like this is publishable? I expect this level of prose from PublishAmerica, not a major book publisher.

Has anyone read it? Care to comment?


  1. Anonymous9:59 PM EDT

    I am running over to Amazon to try and grab it. Good God! Maybe that wouldn't be such a good idea...

    Can't decide!

  2. I suppose it depends on how you prefer your entertainment. I've always been drawn to the absurd. heh

  3. Anonymous5:32 AM EDT

    (From WFA) I figure that as Warner Books (who actually publish the novels, rather than DC) were in the process of being sold off to Hachette during the publication of Inheritance, no editors, and especially no DC editors were especially involved.
    I tried to read it! If you asked me to fill out a questionnaire about what I want from a DC novel, things like Titans! Their Mentors! Generational things! Woobie! Blatant Slash! would all be in there. But then I got to the bits with Ollie and Dick, and I just couldn't get any further. I will eventually go back to it, and skip any of the bits that make me go *WTF?*, if purely for the woobie, but...

  4. Anonymous11:37 AM EDT

    I haven't read Inheritance, but I have read Batman: The Rise of Sin Tzu, which Grayson wrote the majority of (Flint Dille wrote the chapters from the POV of the title villain). There's a bizarre chapter told from the POV of a male psychologist under the influence of the villain who's interrogated in his bedroom by Nightwing.

    There was already a scene earlier in the book with Batgirl getting all loopy when Dick was around, but the scene with the psychologist... IIRC, he sleeps naked, and there's a line to the effect of "I let my sheet fall, so I am topless, so it will show him I am not afraid." or something like that. A little odd, especially for a novelization based on a video game based on a kids' cartoon.

  5. Oh good grief. I'm starting to think Devin has boundary issues unless she has a DC editor keeping a close eye on her. sheesh