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Author Report: Chris Moore

Posted by pocochina on May 15, 2007

Why I love Chris Moore

Christopher Moore is the very funny – and by very funny, I mean absolutely batshit crazy, totally unhinged, foaming at the mouth crazy funny, and I like that in a man – author of most of my favorite books.

I got into Chris (you have to call him Chris, or as he prefers on his website, Author Guy) because my gay uncle one Christmas told us all about Lamb:  The Gospel According to Biff.  Biff is Jesus’ stupid friend.  Now, with such a title I probably couldn’t resist anyway, but as everyone who has a gay uncle will recognize, the gay uncle knows all.  I wasn’t disappointed in Lamb, a book in which the reader is, as the Author Guy says in nearly every interview, “not making fun of religion, but having fun with religion.”

All of his books deal in some way with the supra-material, in a universe where anything can happen, and the characters wander around (generally California) shocked every time they encounter vampires, demons, or ancient Indian spirits.

In terms of social commentary – and I may be reading too much into this, simply because I love him – Moore manages to write from his perspective as a white straight guy, acknowledge and speak articulately about his (and his protagonists’ and anti-heros’) social position without being a total tool.  There isn’t the mistake of maleness as universal, but there is always some sort of commentary on masculinity.  A big part of reading his books, for me, is the way I can actually see through the eyes of a male character, without thinking “what a total dick this guy is, he so doesn’t get it.”  His characters that are cliches seem to almost be a meta-commentary on themselves, as well as interesting characters in their own right.  Lily, the snarky Goth in A Dirty Job, has dramatic conversations about staring into the nihilistic abyss because she hasn’t had her coffee.  (Can’t say that I blame her there, though.)  Vincent from Island of the Sequined Love Nun, an Alpha Male if ever there was (more in a minute), isn’t just a punk fighter pilot with muscles, he’s “Vinnie fuckin’ Bennedetti, Bas-Ass of Brooklyn, Pilot of the Sky Goddess, Swinging Dick of the Free Fuckin’ World, and protector of the innocent.”  (Somewhat paraphrased, as I can’t be bothered to find my book.)

Chris also describes as a running theme in his books the idea of the Beta Male.  Beta seems to be defined as not an Alpha, who is in turn a dudely paradigm of hegemonic masculinity.  Again, his characters have moments where they are parodies of themselves – often his Beta Male heros will abjectly beg for sex, without a trace of male entitlement which accompanies the expectation of sex.

Most of his characters are male, and they have most of their interesting friendships with men, but women are not just present in his stories as sex toys, and they often have amusing and interesting relationships separate from their importance to the Beta Male lead.  We get female villians, co-workers, buddies, and lesbian sisters as well as love interests.

He’s also a major liberal, which makes me all swoony, of course.  His major bone of contention with the Bush Administration is the Iraq war, like most of the American people, but his sympathetic (if, again, totally unhinged) portrayal of women and minorities suggests that there’s other lefty issues dear to his heart.

Anyway, I’m not doing him any justice right now, so I hope I revise this at some point.  But I love Chris Moore.

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