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Sleuth Thursday... for 2012!

I was thinking since this is a NEW YEAR, and a new year I am super excited about because I have for the first time ever oh my gosh TWO BOOKS coming out in one year, and I am also super terrified because oh my lord, they are both first books in a series...eseseses, which is scary! Two sets of strangers to introduce people to! Gosh I hope they will like them.

I am also possibly still a little delirious, because I've been very ill and also working to deadline.

So in the name of 2012's excitement, terror and potential delirium--my first lady sleuth choice for 2012 is a very modern one.

It is a lady from a book published in 2010. It is Georgia Mason, from Mira Grant's Feed.

(This is not a cover of Feed but some lovely fanart of Georgia and her brother Shaun, chosen because in it Georgia is looking super cool and reporter-y. Both pieces used here can be found via this link: http://feed-fanclub.deviantart.com/gallery/)

I already expressed my love for this book and its premise (Zombie Apocalypse in which only bloggers report the news of the zombie apocalypse reliably, the world is changed forever!) describing it as the ideal zombie book for nerds.

I also wrote out some crazy dialogue, as is my way, for our heroine.

GEORGIA: I have zombiefied eyes so must wear sunglasses, a dry wit and a relentless commitment to the truth. Also, I am named after George Romero... the saviour of mankind.

Yes, George Mason is a snarky internet journalist. She's the one who's ice-cool under pressure and sharply professional (unlike her brother Shaun, the thrill-seeker who runs around in a cardigan). She has an in-book excellent reason to always wear sunglasses, dark clothes, and in our first introduction to her, she drives a motorcycle off a makeshift ramp over the heads of slavering zombies, with her brother cheering on the back of her motorcycle. Which pretty much cements the fact that she's the badass. Her determined pursuit of her goals is what drives the plot of this book.

Here are some things she actually says in the book...

"Get your opinions the hell away from my news."

"I've merely engaged in standard journalistic practice. He entrapped himself."

“I am, in fact, immortal when annoyed.”

"Now you've insulted our patriotism, our sanity and our intelligence, how about we move on?"

"Everything is 'just a story.' Tragedy, comedy, end of the world, whatever, it's just a story. What matters is making sure it's heard."

George Mason is a lady who knows what she wants. She asks for what she wants repeatedly, and she really thinks she can handle it. She is correct.

“The difference between the truth and a lie is that both of them can hurt, but only one will take the time to heal you afterward.”

“You can't kill the truth.”

"You tell the truth as you see it, and you let the people decide whether to believe you. That's responsible reporting."

“I wanted the truth, and I wanted the news, and I'd be damned before I settled for anything less.”

Once she gets the truth, she knows what to do with it: share it.

(Another fanart, this time of Georgia in her rarely-used electric-blue-and-spooky contact lenses, making a face. When the rest of the world makes that face thinking 'THE PRESS' George makes that face almost constantly thinking 'THE REST OF THE WORLD.')

But she is not a badass lady who cares for nothing but her mission: she cares very much about her friends: asks for their opinions, supports their romantic decisions, and when they are infected with a zombie virus she shoots them in the head. (What more can one ask for?)

She loves Shaun very much, and is able to talk about the importance of love to her.

"Shaun's the only thing that concerns me more than the truth does."

And in return he says this about her, which I am pretty sure goes for both of them:

“… At the end of the day, there’s got to be somebody you’re doing it for. Just one person you’re thinking of every time you make a decision, every time you tell the truth, or tell a lie, or anything.

I’ve got mine. Do you?”

And when put to the test, Georgia Mason proves that she entirely believes in everything she has said.


George Mason is infected with the zombie virus, and while dying, she writes an article to be thrown up on the web revealing the plot that led to her own death.

"They made a mistake in killing me because, alive or dead, the truth won't rest...
... my name is my name is Shaun I love you"

It increased my love for Georgia greatly, that she wrote this article at all, and that some of her last words were a commentary (by the author, I mean, George wasn't really up for commentary on this point) about true names, and about identity and what defines you.

Justine Larbalestier was like 'Clever idea to do a Sleuth Thursday, because both your heroines in 2012 are sleuths.'

At which point I was like 'Oh... of COURSE Mel of Team Human is also a sleuth!' (I almost never do clever things on purpose.) I knew that, because she does a lot of sleuth stuff, which is fun to write. But she is sleuthing for love of her friend, to protect someone she loves, rather than for a story. A classic sleuthing reason of course. It is the reason inspiring our next sleuth heroine, Marian of A Woman In White.

There's also thrill seeking: Kami of Unspoken is having fun, because someone in a Gothic novel should be, this stuff is crackers! Nancy Drew, also a fun-loving girl. That's why her dad keeps saying to her 'Oh, no more solving crimes for you, Nancy' in the same way a father might forbid any treat: 'no more late nights, you little scoundrel and I mean it, no more jazz hands till dawn, midnight movie showings or assisting in the apprehension of criminals!'

George Mason sleuths for the same reason Lois Lane (also kind of a thrill-seeker) and Lynda Day do--because it is her job.

And because she has a passion for the story, for the truth of a situation and a particular way of telling it. I think everyone who loves books can understand that.

So there's a lot of overlap with all sleuths' motivations - story, love, thrills. It's usually at least one of those three.

In fact for me, with most characters I love, one of their main motivations is love.

In the words of Philip Larkin, from one of my favourite poems, An Arundel Tomb, about death and identity and time and love--'Prove our almost-instinct almost true: What will survive of us is love.'

That's what makes a character live on in my head long after the book is shut. And also cry on airplanes, damn it, Georgia Mason.


( 34 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jan. 20th, 2012 01:43 am (UTC)
I've been meaning to read the sequel to Feed for ages, but I haven't made it beyond the first 20 minutes of the audio book, because I just get really sad and switch it off to go in search of comfort reading. So much love for Georgia and Shaun.
Jan. 20th, 2012 01:47 am (UTC)
I urge you to read it, she says circumspectly. And they are great!
(no subject) - wendyzski - Jan. 20th, 2012 02:44 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 20th, 2012 01:45 am (UTC)
Good choice! I loved Georgia so much that even though I've had the second book waiting on my nightstand since the day it came out (special delivery and everything!), I haven't been able to bring myself to read it, because of what happens in book one.

I liked your point about how the best characters are motivated by love. They have to be, I guess, in order for us to get behind them and not just throw the book at the wall when they do risky, often stupid things (Which the best characters also always seem to do). What was refreshing in this particular book is that the love wasn't romantic, or at least overtly so. Don't get me wrong, I love a good romantic plot; but it's always intriguing when a book doesn't take the route you expect it to.

And now I'm really looking forward to Unspoken, because a heroine having fun? So awesome. Did you watch Veronica Mars at all when you were doing your Gothic/sleuth research? I loved how she enjoyed being smarter than everyone else, and coming up with clever ways to figure out whodunnit. Not enough girls in fiction have fun with their lives, and jobs/callings =D
Jan. 20th, 2012 01:52 am (UTC)
Veronica Mars is getting Sleuth Thursday'd the hell out of. I didn't watch it while researching, but only because I was a huge fan of it while it was airing: when I lived in New York, my friends and I would have Veronica Mars viewing parties. I love her, and I think the first season of Veronica Mars is the most perfect season of television ever aired.

When I used to run around yelling my head off in frustration because people heard about Demon's Lexicon and were like 'Oh, Supernatural' I'd be like 'Why couldn't they accuse me of ripping off something like VERONICA MARS?' When Unspoken was being auctioned, one of the editors said 'It reminded me of a show called--have you ever seen it--Veronica Mars' and it is lucky that was a phone conference, or there might have been some kissing on the mouth involved. ;)

Ahem. Crazed Veronica Mars love outpouring over! I do think you should read book two--I did, and I really liked it.

And yes indeed on characters motivated by love. Love is important: we're all defined by what and who we love.
(no subject) - seanan_mcguire - Jan. 20th, 2012 03:05 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tikiera - Jan. 20th, 2012 04:24 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - archangelbeth - Jan. 20th, 2012 03:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wendyzski - Jan. 20th, 2012 08:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wendyzski - Jan. 20th, 2012 02:45 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - azurelunatic - Jan. 20th, 2012 02:55 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 20th, 2012 01:50 am (UTC)
I've never been overly interested in zombies so I gave Feed a pass for quite a while after it hit shelves, but loving Seanan McGuire's writing as much as I do, I finally decided to give it a try. One of the best decisions I've ever made, because Feed is absolutely kick-ass awesome. Georgia is smartass and tough and unafraid, and I cried when I read the end. The end of her blog entry is heartbreaking. GO SEANAN! The second book in the trilogy, Deadline, is equally kickass and action-packed and tense. Written from Shaun's POV, his pain and confusion in the wake of losing George is clear. It's not a book I re-read often because, to me, there's an air of slightly oppressive depression about it. That's not a criticism, because shit gets a whole lot more real and a heck of a lot deeper by the end so depression and bleakness is completely fitting. It's a credit to Seanan's writing that the air of bleak depression hangs so heavy. I'm looking forward to the third book and do not want to wait until June for it, but such is life.
Jan. 20th, 2012 01:55 am (UTC)
I've read Deadline, but there was no way to talk about any of it without a spoiler cut. ;) But yes indeed: Feed was what sold me on the author's writing, and now I own all her books. And Feed had to be emergency-retrieved for this post from my mother, because I am a bookpusher.
Jan. 20th, 2012 01:50 am (UTC)
*makes squeaky sounds of glee*
Jan. 20th, 2012 01:57 am (UTC)
Love the icon. ;)
(no subject) - taraljc - Jan. 20th, 2012 02:11 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 20th, 2012 02:11 am (UTC)
I adored Feed. I found the premise so bizarre (I later amended this to original) when I picked it up, but it was just page after page of delightful good-newsyness.

The biggest shock of the book was that Shaun survived, actually.

Jan. 20th, 2012 02:15 am (UTC)
Well, gotta have someone in the sequel. ;)
Jan. 20th, 2012 02:48 am (UTC)
Seanan is made of awesome and zombie cookies!

FEED is heartbreaking but I rave about it because it's the kind of book that doesn't just make you weep - it also makes you think. About Truth, about Fear, and a lot more about present-day American politics than I am entirely comfortable with at the end of the day. (Zombies = Terrorists. Discuss.)
Jan. 20th, 2012 02:58 am (UTC)
She has said at author events things shaped like "Hmm, maybe I went a little light on the medical police state, based on current politics."
Jan. 20th, 2012 03:20 am (UTC)
I ... may have shrieked and levitated, just a bit, when I saw you were recommending these books.

I love George so much that I named my current laptop after her. (Also sort of dangerous, but the laptop has this feature where if it detects a virus, it RESTORES FROM A SECRET BACKUP. So I'm not *deeply* frightened about what might happen...)
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 20th, 2012 04:26 am (UTC)
I remain ill, tired and fuzzy-headed, so it wasn't to me 'art appreciation'--more a question of illustrating the character, but your point is taken, and a link has been included.
Jan. 20th, 2012 04:29 am (UTC)
I cried when Georgia died. It was the first time I'd cried at a book in YEARS. God, she's such a fabulous character. Holding off on Deadline until Blackout comes out, though, judging by some of the screeches I've heard about the ending.

I think Sleuth Thursday is a marvelous idea.
Jan. 20th, 2012 09:04 am (UTC)
okay, I just went and ordered it from the book depository - clearly this is a book I need to read :D
Jan. 20th, 2012 09:56 am (UTC)
Reading Feed was like how I imagine a rollercoaster ride might be (Im not allowed on them due to the brain surgery)

Alternating adrenaline high, sickening stomach drops, windy twisty loopy bits and the totally gut punching finale that leaves you gasping for breath at the brilliant and yet horrifying insanity of it all.

There was a fair section of Deadline that had me going huh? but I suspect it will all be wrapped up in the last book and all make perfect sense in the end. And the double banger ONE TWO gut punch at the end? Ohhh baby, she's a doozy alright!

I was forced to watch the first two Veronica Mars eps by a friend who only had my very best interests at heart. So I went and bought Season One, and probably half way through bought the other two Seasons. I quite liked the last season, she had resolved a lot of issues and grown up a lot, but oh adore the snark. And I confess TEAM LOGAN!!
Mar. 9th, 2012 09:38 pm (UTC)
YES. I saw the first Veronica/Logan kiss last night and I literally had a dry mouth afterwards. I first saw the latter half of season three when it was aired here last year, and now I'm obsessed and watching it from the start.
Jan. 20th, 2012 01:21 pm (UTC)
I always found Trixie Belden (by Julie Campbell and later by Katherine Kenny) a far superior intrepid sleuth to Nancy Drew. Nancy was old (back when 18 was old!) and rich and had a car and a boyfriend! Trixie had to fit her sleuthing around school and chores and (occasionally hilarious) anguish of the heart. She never gave up, even when her brothers and male friends told her it was too dangerous for a girl. And even in the 50s she wanted to open her own private detective agency when she grew up! If you haven't read the books before I highly recommend them and they were recently reprinted so are now a lot easier to find.
Jan. 22nd, 2012 08:54 pm (UTC)
I have heard of her, but haven't read! Noted. ;)
Jan. 20th, 2012 05:21 pm (UTC)
After I finished the second book, I sat there for a minute and threw a brief and highly embarrassing tantrum about the fact that the next book wouldn't be out for a year. I've never had a fondness for zombie novels before, this completely by surprise.
Jan. 20th, 2012 06:19 pm (UTC)
Hi Sarah, I just finished reading Demon's Surrender and wanted to thank you for a wonderful trilogy. Eager to read the rest of your stuff.

But please, something is bugging me about Surrender - at the end, why can't Anzu speak? Is the new body mute now?
Jan. 20th, 2012 07:21 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you, I am so glad you enjoyed and will have my fingers crossed you will like the new stuff.

Yes, all the possessed are mute--Alan deliberately surrendered his voice to Anzu, in a total surrender which Anzu discussed was unusual, and Nick is the only one who was ever taught to speak on his own.
Jan. 20th, 2012 09:48 pm (UTC)
I absolutely adored Feed - I only read it last week and spent the next day with massively swollen eyes. I'm working my way up to Deadline. I don't know if I can handle that level of commitment just yet. And I cannot, cannot figure out what Shaun will do without George.
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