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Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Please don't tell anyone the following. This is just between me 'n' you.

I've been reading those "Dark Shadows" novels from the late '60s and early '70s by "Marilyn Ross" (not his real name).

I just finished "Barnabas, Quentin and the Crystal Coffin." I'm halfway through "Barnabas, Quentin and the Grave Robbers."

"Crystal Coffin" is a bit slow. Something happens, and then the heroine (it's ALWAYS a heroine; this is 40-year-old Gothic "chick lit") discusses it with every other character for pages on end. Then she goes over it in her mind for pages on end. Then she has a nightmare. Then something ELSE happens.

But "Grave Robbers" moves at quite a clip. There's an evil surgeon with claw-like hands, a zombie with fixed eyes, a lady vampire with a painted face, Barnabas (himself a vampire), Quentin (a werewolf), a grave robber with pus-oozing gums and a fat, one-eyed, gin-soaked old lady.

The late "Marilyn Ross" was really Dan Ross, who wrote more than 300 books, many under non de plumes. (His wife's was named Marilyn.) Ross told Craig Hamrick (in an interview published on that he knocked off each book in about three weeks. He would watch the show to make sure the characters' relationships and the locales agreed. But he hardly ever based his books directly on the TV show's storylines. He figured people would rather read something original. Good move.

"Dark Shadows" geeks are obsessed with how every bit of official "Dark Shadows" media -- the TV episodes, the two feature films, the comic books, the novels -- fit together.

I might have counted myself among "Dark Shadows" geeks -- until I attended a convention 10 years back. Trekkies laugh at "Dark Shadows" geeks.

But I'm still reading the novels because, as my loved ones know, I WORSHIP GARBAGE.


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