Now in Paper-Vision: Stephenie Meyer

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Stephenie Meyer: an artist’s impression/Illustration by Anita Kunz for TIME


First things first: it is obvious that a nerd did not write the cover line on this week’s Time cover. When you see an opportunity for a good Highlander reference, do you take it? Or do you let it slip away?

Also: I went to Arizona and met Stephenie Meyer. This is one of those tricky stories to write, because people who like Meyer love her and know everything about her, and people who haven’t read her tend not to know anything about her. You want to express (real, unfeigned) enthusiasm while also maintaining sober critical distance. You have to address both fan and non-fan at the same time. Thereby pleasing no one. My work is done here.

Fortunately her books really are good, which makes it easier. (I wouldn’t have done the piece otherwise, duh.) As a straight guy, I kinda skate through the descriptions of how awesomely good-looking Edward is, of which there are a lot, but I’m happy to skate through them for the privilege of dallying in Meyer’s world, where cliques of immortal vampires jostle uneasily with one another in shallow cover, just out of sight of the waking world of clueless civilians. One thing that makes Meyer’s books great is that she doesn’t bother hobbling her vampires with all kinds of petty weaknesses and double-binds. They’re super-strong, super-fast, and super-damage resistant, don’t burn in sunlight or shrink from garlic or crosses or holy water. Stake’em all day long, they don’t care. They have super-hearing, and some of them have psychic gifs. They’re a bit spiritually tortured, and they’re dead, but that’s about it. Yeah, I know all that stuff is supposed to be a metaphor for something. Sometimes you just get tired of it, is all.

And Meyer is genuinely nice and cool in person, and her personal story is just amazing. Plus I got paid to read all three Twilight novels, plus The Host. And I got to go to Arizona, which looks exactly like a Roadrunner cartoon.

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