So, if you haven’t read any of the sci-fi news running amok (other than watching the new Godzilla trailer), you may have missed this article about the subject of this post, The Beasts of Valhalla. There have been several articles, actually, one of which also mentions a Farscape movie. Go wild, people. Go wild.
I hope this gets made and they’re not just blowing smoke up my ass. “The Beasts of Valhalla” was one of those books for me. You know, the kind that sets your imagination on fire and makes your head explode. Like MIND. BLOWN. I was probably 13 or 14 when I first read it (it was first published in 1985 and I read it right before starting high school in 1988) and it mixed several loves of mine together: Tolkein, detectives, swords, ESP, science,and swords. Oh, and the main character is the private detective. And he’s a dwarf. And a black belt. And an ex-circus star.
Can you fucking dig it?
“Beasts” is the fourth book in the “Mongo” series and probably the most well known. Trust me, though, the entire series is worth checking out. Chesbro melds several genres in each book (some speculative, some not) and I’d love to just give up the goods on each one, but I won’t. I’d prefer you to stop reading this blog post (but be sure to SHARE it, damn you!) and go buy as many books as you can in this series, which starts with “Shadow of a Broken Man.” I had a hard time finding them all (and this was several years ago) and paid more than a few shekels for some. Chesbro passed away and some went out of print, which made them rarer. Plus, I wanted the hardbacks with the dust jackets. Picky bastard, I know.
Each novel is a semi-stand alone book, but it doesn’t hurt to read them from the beginning. There are recurring characters that don’t always pop up, and some of the later novels are more entwined with past events than others. Still, if you read “The Beasts of Valhalla” you won’t be lost because you didn’t read the first three books. You’ll just want to go back and read them as soon as possible.
I know some of you (well, probably just my mom) are saying, “Whatever, Chris, you hate when people adapt books to movies. They kinda suck.”
And you’d be right, I do say that quite a bit. And it’s usually true and it may be true in this case. But then again, maybe not. See, this isn’t going to be a two hour movie, but a television series. To maintain the episode quota, I realize they’ll need to cover things that weren’t in the books. For me, it’ll be like True Blood; I couldn’t get past the sixth book, but I’m a die hard fan of the show. I know they’ve deviated from the book plots, but seriously, who would want to be stuck in Sookie’s fucking head for 13 episodes every season? I hate that character and hope the last plot twist we get is that some vampire rips her fucking head off. I’m digressing, though.
So, sure, there’s a potential for them to fuck it all up, but there’s also the possibility they’ll expand the universe I love. Do yourself a favor and read this book, imagine Dinklage as the tough, sarcastic Mongo and tell me you don’t want to see it on the screen, too.
[Please, HBO, don’t fuck it up.]
If you’re interested, and I hope you are, here’s the list of Mongo books, in order:
Shadow of a Broken Man
City of Whispering Stone
An Affair of Sorcerers
The Beasts of Valhalla
Two Songs this Archangel Sings
The Cold Smell of Sacred Stone
Second Horseman Out of Eden
The Language of Cannibals
In the House of Secret Enemies
The Fear in Yesterday’s Rings
Dark Chant in a Crimson Key
An Incident at Bloodtide
Bleeding in the Eye of a Brainstorm
Dream of a Falling Eagle
Lord of Ice and Loneliness (to my knowledge, never released in the US, only France or Spain)