March 18, 2008

Fun? fact brought to you by my damn NAGPRA paper, still, for fuck's sake.

While reading about the repatriation of some skeletons rudely removed from an Alaska Native village in the 1930s, I came across a quote from one Douglas Preston, former manager of the department of publications for the American Museum of Natural History. I thought, hah, that's funny, he has the same name as the dude who wrote that totally egregious primitive-monster-as-modern-day-slasher novel Relic. How embarrassing for this guy that someone with his name is going around writing books about murderous monsters living in natural history museum exhibits. What are the odds?

Pretty good, apparently, as they're the same person. (And one of his brothers is Richard Preston, who wrote that very serious and not at all sensationalized no no we are scientists here Ebola book The Hot Zone. What did their parents do to turn all of their kids into cheesy thriller writers?)

I simply cannot believe that Mr. Preston's former colleagues at the Museum of Natural History were anything but embarrassed when this book started showing up in the stores with its lurid gold letters and menacing claw cover. It would be like finding your old Women's Studies professor's name all over one of those splashy romance novels with roses and billowing skirts if not actual heaving bosoms. You'd have to buy the thing in the hopes that it would be better than it looked and might even redeem your colleague, but then you'd read it while cringing with one hand over your eyes and if you ever saw the author again it would just be Awkward City.
"I, uh, saw your book the other day..."
"Great! What'd you think?"
"Oh, it was really interesting."
"Hey, I'm glad you think so!"
"Yeah, the way you totally abandoned good taste and your academic credibility was absolutely fascinating. Gosh, look at the time, I'd better be going. Nice to see you!"

Posted by dianna at March 18, 2008 07:23 PM