DXMachina (dxmachina) wrote,

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Peter Sue

I was never really active in fandoms prior to the Buffistas, so I didn't know about the term "Mary Sue" the last time I read any of the Peter Wimsey novels. Now I'm making my way through Murder Must Advertise, and the term is much on my mind, because Lord Peter is such a total Mary Sue, at least as I understand the term.

He's brilliant, funny, an excellent musician, and every woman in the book is attracted to him. He also appears to be the greatest athlete to ever live. He negotiates walking out on a narrow beam with the skill of a tightrope walker. He then dives off the beam into a shallow fountain not only without breaking his neck, but also with such aplomb that had it been an Olympic competition even the East German judge would have scored it a ten. He climbs trees and drain pipes like a monkey, and races cars like Mario Andretti. He nails starlings in mid-air with a slingshot. He does three consecutive cartwheels down the hall at the ad agency, and although I haven't gotten there yet, I remember from the first time I read it that he's also as good a cricket player as Babe Ruth was a baseball player. The only flaw I can perceive at all is that some of the advertising copy he writes could be a bit snappier.

I've also been reading Master and Commander, and am finding that it's not quite what I expected, i.e. it's not Sharpe at sea. Nutty's right, there's an awful lot of describing going on of, well, everything (although at least my copy has a figure showing which sails are which). O'Brian also seems to change scenes in the blink of an eye, too, which is occasionally disorienting as you try to figure out how Aubrey went from talking to his lieutenant on the quarter deck of the Sophie to talking to the ordinance supply officer in his office in the space of about a line and a half. Anyway, we'll see how it goes. If nothing else, my inner twelve year-old was amused to discover that the term "cunt-splice" exists, and even makes sense. You could look it up. </Casey Stengel>

Now it's off to do some yard work, then Lawrence of Arabia this afternoon.

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