I’m a huge fan of propaganda, but I think I may not be a fan of fan fic. I was going into this with the hope that it would be fun, extreme, Latin propaganda, but The Aeneid
is really more Trojan War fan fic, IMO. It’s the Phantom Menace
to The Iliad’s Empire Strikes Back
. It is seriously lame. I think Akira Kurosawa could have made a pretty decent movie of it because he likes to have people frenzy. There’s a lot of frenzying here. The dudes are all chest pound, blooooood, and the chicks are all hair pull, frenzy, waaaaaail. And Aeneas is such a dweeb about the name-dropping. Like, “Oh, did I mention that Venus is my mom? Oh, did I tell you how freaking hot I am? Yeah, I was totally there when Odysseus scammed the Cyclops.” Give me a freaking break. Did you scam the Cyclops? No. Get over yourself.
This is what happens when you start a series, and then someone else wants to capitalize on your story. It’s the fifth season of The West Wing
or the seventh season of The Gilmore Girls
or all the Jane Austen / Jane Eyre sequels and prequels. It just doesn’t work. Find your own story! I’m looking at you, Virgil. Not that I’m against people using storylines that someone else has used. That’s almost inevitable (and, of course, Shakespeare is a good argument for being okay with stealing). But, there is a line. I’m not positive where it is. This story crossed it. And then don’t even get me started about Dante. WHY?! Virgil’s got his guys running into Homer’s guys, and then Dante’s running into Virgil? It’s just so presumptuous. I guess, it’s like, go ahead and steal a really wonderful storyline if you have something to add to it. But don’t think that your SUPER LAME storyline is going to suddenly turn wonderful because you drop a character from a good story into it.
And there are some seriously weird details to this story. For example, Venus is this guy’s mom, but she doesn’t raise him to know not to pull a George Costanza in running away from the Greeks? Dude. It just takes a second to wait for your wife, you loser. I mean, I’m no great fan of Venus to begin with, but that’s just weird. It seems like she would have taken a minute to say, "Don't trample people running away from your enemies." Maybe it never occurred to her he'd be so lame.
And then the business with Dido was just annoying. She’s the queen of all the land, has been through hell, wherein her eeeevil brother killed her seemingly pretty awesome husband, and then when Aeneas says to Dido, “btw, it was great sleeping with you, but I have a lot of heads to chop off for no particular reason, so I should prolly get going,” she goes all Kathy Bates in Misery
all of a sudden. Except lamer because she’s wailing and self-mutilating instead of taking it out on him. It’s just awkward to watch. Girl needs a sassy gay friend
. And none of these people are as cool as they think they are.
And the rest of the book is basically one long chest pound. I guess there’s the part where he goes to Hades, and lo, he knows folk there. I’m kind of bitter about the whole thing because Juno’s so funny and great in The Iliad and such a loser here. Again, Akira Kurosawa probably could have turned it into a pretty decent movie. I don’t really get the frenzying thing, but Kurosawa seemed to have liked it. And, if you like people to run around, chopping limbs off and then whining and blustering for a while, you might really click with this book. What I’m saying, though, is if you haven’t read The Iliad, that’s where it’s at. I recommend, for best results, reading it in a hammock.