meta, FTW! (or: fiction, meta-fiction, and Castle)

let me start by saying that i am a die-hard fan of both Nathan Fillion and the show Castle. i was a fan of Fillion first, which is why i started watching Castle.

so when Hyperion announced last year that they were doing NIKKI HEAT books (for realz!), and then they did a give-away of the first book, HEAT WAVE, on twitter AND I WON (disclosure: i won!!!), i was pretty freaking excited.

and then i read the book. correction: i just finished this morning. it was all i wanted to do on my day-off-morning: sit in my pajamas with my extra-strong cup of yorkshire tea and finish HEAT WAVE, so that i could finally tell you all how it is.

but the trouble i’m having is that there are two things to talk about: the book, and the book’s genesis. let’s start with the book.

HEAT WAVE is a mystery, of the mystery genre. this means that the prose is not literary, but definitely readable. it’s entertaining, fast-paced, good action, requisite tension and/or (no, definitely make that ‘and’) sex, all in all your standard first-in-a-series-that’s-going-to-be-crack-for-the-procedural-fan book.

i feel like i should confess at this point that i really don’t read mysteries, procedural or otherwise. i don’t even really watch them, with the notable exceptions of The Wire, Monk, and Castle (both being the exceptions that prove my personal rule).

so that’s my take on the book. now (and infinitely more interesting, to me anyway) for the genesis of the book!

this is a book that is written by an author who is in point of fact a work of fiction himself. a tv show is created. an actor is selected to play an author on a tv show. in the show, references are made to his fictional works of fiction. then, they publish one of these works of fiction. IN REAL LIFE. the actor-as-author gets a dust jacket photo, a blurb, AN ACKNOWLEDGMENTS PAGE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD ON WHICH HE THANKS THE ACTOR. and (yes, it continues) the book features a fictional version of the fictional author, a wise-cracking reporter who is tailing a detective — based on the show’s wise-cracking author who is tailing a detective. oh. my. god. i might just die of the meta-ness of it all. even extra-strong yorkshire tea cannot quite get my brain wrapped around this.

seriously. does that not boggle the mind? before i sat down to write this morning i was trying to verbalize it to my husband, also a Fillion/Castle fan, and we were trying to figure out if it would work without Fillion. as in, can you pick an actor who would suddenly make all this just kind of silly? is it Fillion himself? is it the quality of the show? is it the writers behind the show? also, WHO WROTE THE BOOK?

if you leave all of that aside, i have to confess that i think this experiment in meta has been executed beautifully. the book is fun even as a stand-alone, and will be extra-fun for fans of the show, who will recognize all their favorite show characters reflected in the book characters (META!!!!). congratulationsHyperion, this was a tricky one, and possibly a long-shot. i am now a believer: Meta For The Win!

also, Hyperion, p.s.: if you send Nathan Fillion — ahem! I mean Richard Castle on book tour, i expect a phone call!

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meta, FTW! (or: fiction, meta-fiction, and Castle)

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