So, it’s finally finished. Twin Peaks: The Return has concluded, and there’s a shit-tonne of hot takes around. I’m going to write a little about it, too, because the original show has been so important to me over the years. In that, I suppose, I’m not unusual. It’s a show for nerds, populated by misfits.
I remember watching the original run when it aired on New Zealand television, where I lived at the time. I remember being intoxicated by the thing, the indeterminate time period, the music, the darkness. And I remember being terrified, late at night, by a screaming Laura, by a grinning BOB, by an owl flying towards me.
Since then, I’ve wanted to go back.
The Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
So, the new season of Twin Peaks is upon us, unfolding darkly. It’s as good a time as any to dive into Mark Frost’s remarkably produced tome, which offers a little in the way of backstory before we spool up for whatever he and Lynch have planned for the sleepy burg and its inhabitants.
The first thing to note is that this isn’t a novel per se. It’s billed as that, though it presents a collection of documents: a dossier. This should be unsurprising if you’re familiar with other tie-in works: both The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer and Dale Cooper: My Life, My Tapes (the latter written by Frost) were fictional but presented in the manner of documents – a teenager’s diary and a fastidious man’s audio transcriptions. And yes, it may appear slightly gimmicky, but there’s so much effort put into maintaining the idea that one can’t help but go along with it. (more…)
The Six Messiahs by Mark Frost
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The second (and so far final) in Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost’s series of books featuring a fictionalised Arthur Conan Doyle as a character isn’t a great departure from the first. Once more, our trusty author – now thoroughly jack of Holmes – is caught up in world-changing events of a supernatural nature and must fight with Jack Sparks (Holmes’ inspiration in this world) to prevent catastrophe, and a universal loss of stiff upper lip.
On this outing, Doyle embarks on a tour of the US to escape his failing wife (and marriage). The trip to the land of the Yankee provides plenty of space for period detail, and also ensures Frost can add a fairly big dose of cowboy-and-religion imagery to the creeping Lovecraftian grimness featured in the first volume. (more…)
The List of Seven by Mark Frost
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Written by Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost, The List of Seven is an occult tale which takes historical fact and bends it to a distinctly gung-ho, eh-what end. It’s a Victorian tale peopled with notable figures from the time, but shot through with the sort of supreme radio-serial ridiculousness that lends the Indiana Jones series of movies their verve.
Arthur Conan Doyle himself is the major figure of the story, though he’s not the only notable personage who makes an appearance. Royalty and showbiz names crop up, and Frost throws in enough elements of their life and works – Hey! It’s Bram Stoker! In Whitby! – to elicit (more…)