Getting ready for Bite Me: Rereading Christopher Moore’s You Suck and green beer

Bite Me: A Love Story, the third book in Christopher Moore’s vampire cycle is just over a week away.  If you have been paying attention, you celebrated Valentine’s Day by reading or rereading the first installment, Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story. If you haven’t, do it now.

The next holiday after Valentine’s Day comes next week. So, on St. Patrick’s Day, it is time to suck down a green beer while laughing through the pages of the second novel, You Suck: A Love Story. Be sure you are wearing green: folks have been known to spill. Then you will be totally prepared to welcome the first flowers of spring with Bite Me.

You Suck begins the day after Fiends ended. Tommy Flood, who is in love with Jody the vampire, couldn’t make himself destroy her. So he had Jody and Elijah Ben Sapir, the centuries-old vampire who started all this, bronzed. Tommy’s mistake is that he drilled ear holes in the bronze statue of Jody, so he could talk to her. Jody, who has learned how to turn into a mist, slips out through the ear holes, and turns Tommy into a vampire, not so much because she is mad, but because she is lonely.

Tommy is only 19, and, though he has a good heart, he has not really learned how to be a man, much less a vampire, so, as might be expected, he has a tendency to mess up almost every situation. And, of course, Jody has only been a vampire for a few weeks, and her plans frequently go awry.

Before the book is over, most of Tommy’s friends on the night crew at the San Francisco Marina Safeway will also have become creatures of the night, along with a Las Vegas prostitute who has dyed her skin blue in honor of the Blue Man Crew, and banks her successes on young men’s fantasies about sex with a Smurf.

Other characters who add to the fun (some reprised from Fiends) are the Emperor of San Francisco (based on a real person) and his intrepid pet dogs; a big gay police officer and his surly partner; a homeless alcoholic and his giant shaved cat; and Abby Normal, the teen-aged Goth girl who becomes Tommy and Jody’s minion.  Abby, alone is worth the price of the book.

If you haven’t met Abby yet, here is just a small sample from her journal:

Fortunately I have some sustenance until my Dark Lord and Lady rise from their diurnal slumber to kick some … ass. I know I should be eating bugs and spiders and stuff to facilitate my vampirism, but as a vegetarian, I haven’t developed the hunting skills, so I’ve started with some Gummi Bears I got at the theater. (Supposedly they are made out of beef pectin or extract of horse hooves or something, so I think they make a good transition to the nosferatu diet. And I like biting off their tiny heads.)

Christopher Moore’s Bite Me tour begins with the release on March 23. You can catch the dates, times and places on his website. If you are lucky enough to find your city on the schedule, don’t miss it.  Moore in person is even funnier than his books. But get there early if you want a place to sit.

Mark Graham reviewed books for the Rocky Mountain News from 1977 until the paper closed its doors in February 2009. His “Unreal Worlds” column on science fiction and fantasy appeared regularly in the paper since 1988. He has reviewed well over 1,000 genre books, including most of Christopher Moore’s novels. If you see a Rocky Mountain News blurb on a book, it is likely from a review or interview he wrote. You will find one on the back of the dust jacket of You Suck. Graham also created and taught Unreal Literature, a high school science fiction class, for nearly 30 years in the Jefferson County Colorado public schools.


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