Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Being Human: Chasers – review

Author: Mark Michalowski

First released: 2010

Contains spoilers

Blurb: George’s friend, Kaz, arrives at the flat with a staggering request: she and her partner Gail want to have a child, and they’d like George to be the father. George is warming to the idea – he’s always wanted kids, and he can be involved in the baby’s life as he wishes – but he is wary: what if his condition is genetic?

Mitchell and Annie don’t approve of the new plan, but Mitchell is wrestling with a difficult decision of his own. A patient at the hospital, Leo, is surprisingly good company for a pasty older bloke who believes the 1980s were a golden age. But he seems a little too interested in Mitchell’s history – and he has a surprising request of his own in store for his new friend…

The review: I hate blurbs sometimes. I mentioned the almost correct but generally inacurate blurb for the first Being Human book – this one seems to believe they live in a flat rather than a house!

This volume follows directly from the first, nearly; before the book starts proper we get a moment written from Mitchell’s point of view in 1951. Except it feels clunky, it doesn’t feel like Mitchell. That is explained towards the end of the volume but (as fair as the explanation might be) it, along with other such scenes during the book, feel wrong as you read them.

However, the present day story following immediately on from the first book raises a question or two – as well as the blurb itself spoiling the comedy of errors mentioned in my review of the first book. The events, especially in respect of George, seem to stretch this out into too long a timeframe unable to fit into the gap left between episodes 2.2 and 2.3 of the TV series. George’s happier demeanour in this, along with the almost casual mentions of Nina, does not fit in with the series at that point. The life changing proposition is, of course, never mentioned or referred to in the series.

The new hospital administrator seemed to be on his way out at the end of book 1, but is still around – one then questions why Dr McGough is not mentioned at all in series given the impact he is having on their lives? It is probably because he wasn’t conceived in series at all, and I believe that, when you are writing a tie-in, you have to be careful with regard such major impact characters, especially if your tie-ins are based at a narrow point in time within the series.

Talking of which, Mitchell still isn’t in charge of the Bristol vampires and there is a new big vampire (who doesn’t want control it seems) called Olive. She tells him that there is a Mitchell shaped hole in the Bristol vampire community but also hints at a wider community.

If the George storyline seemed a little soap opera (and a scene with George's drink being spiked at a gig was a missed opportunity for comedy or pathos – it could have gone so much further) then the Mitchell story seems filler-ish, the sort of story that appears mid-season of a series whilst the arc treads water.

Lore wise we have a confirmation that mobile phone cameras can not capture vampires and we discover that Herrick got the photo pass for Mitchell at work by finding a doppelganger to stand in for him (though the inference was not on a supernatural doppelganger and more a body double). We also get the concept of someone immune to turning, whose blood actually kills the vampire attempting to turn him. Will we hear of that again? Probably not, within the TV series, even though this book hinted at the ‘wider community’ who are watching the individual.

Books should leave a mark upon you, this left no such mark upon my psyche – indeed the impact was more ethereal than Annie on her worst days. 3.5 out of 10 reflects a damp squib of a novel.

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