Strange things happen when a book series sells 70 million copies. Fan sites are built, only to crash with onslaughts of visitors. Movies are made, drawing unruly mobs of screaming fans. Entire towns are invaded by giggling, teenage girls.
Today, just weeks before "New Moon," the second film in Stephenie Meyer's perennially bestselling "Twilight" saga hits theaters, "Nightlight" lands in bookstores. It's a parody written by the Harvard Lampoon, an ever-changing group of Ivy League undergrads who've been skewering populist literature since 1876.
Penned by four Harvard students -- two sophomore women and two senior men -- "Nightlight" is a quick-reading, comedic sendup of the 544-page tome that's grown into a cultural phenomenon. Its 154 pages follow the "Twilight" template but change every detail, from the glossy black cover with a chewed-to-the core apple to the come-hither copy on the back jacket, which reads: "About three things I was absolutely certain. First, Edwart was most likely my soul mate, maybe."
A computer geek with an awful name and even worse affliction -- nosebleeds -- Edwart Mullen is not a vampire, much as his classmate and wannabe love interest would like to believe. The U-Haul-driving Belle Goose is a recent transplant to the incredibly soggy Oregon town of Switchblade. An epic klutz who regularly knocks over her classmates like bowling pins and believes everyone from the mailman to the IRS agent to the entire male population of Switchblade High is in love with her, Belle is nevertheless "in the deepest love that has ever occurred in the history of the world" with Edwart.
"Looking into his eyes I felt waves of electricity, currents of electrons charging toward me. Was this how it felt to be in love . . . for robots?"
The freckled and redheaded Edwart, she is convinced, is irresistibly attracted to the scent of her blood, which she describes as "grapefruit." And Belle is fatefully drawn to Edwart, whose reckless driving poses an extreme danger should the two become romantically involved.
While hard-core "Twilight" fans may not appreciate Harvard Lampoon humor, anyone who's enjoyed the books but questioned the series' cult status are likely to be highly entertained. Can "New Spoons" be far behind?
-- Susan CarpenterCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times