I really enjoy a good “caper story” as made famous by Donald E Westlake’s Dortmunder series. In fact I like a healthy dose of comedy in everything I read; and where it isn’t there (as in much management and technical writing) I work on the assumption the comedy is subtler. Works for me. You should try it sometime. Stops people like me from taking ourselves too seriously. [Actually, children are pretty good at making sure you don’t take yourself too seriously as well. If you let them].
Over the last few years, one of my favourite people is a guy called Serge A Storms, created by Tim Dorsey. Absolutely wonderful stuff.
How can I describe Serge? Take Banksy and Swampy and Borat, add a hefty slice of Hunter S Thompson, mix them up like discarded fluids in an airport queue, place them in deepest darkest Florida and let the state do the rest. Carl Hiaasen almost seems quiet in comparison, and I really like Hiaasen!
Serge is amazing. If you prefer, read what Wikipedia has to say about him. But do be careful, the entry discloses too many details about too many Serge plotlines, so if you intend to read any of Tim Dorsey’s wonderful rants then please desist. Rather than make you do that, here’s an excerpt:
- Serge has been diagnosed with a variety of mental illnesses, and has been prescribed a “cocktail” of drugs to keep him stable. These are effective, but he often refuses to take them since he dislikes their effects. Free from the drugs’ influence, he quickly becomes manic and obsessive about trivial things; he frequently acts as an extremely eccentric tour guide for whoever happens to be handy. Despite his psychological disorders, Serge is for the most part a charismatic, likeable person (he can be viewed as a somewhat more liberal version of Joseph Heller‘s Yossarian). When an event or person offends his extremely strong (and subjective) sense of justice, however, he can quickly fly into a homicidal rage; he has committed a string of murders for which the police pursue him as a serial killer.
Imagine my glee when I found out he has a blog. It’s early days yet, I guess, but I’m waiting for the podcasts.
In the meantime, all I can do is wait for the next Serge fix, scheduled for next spring. Keep them coming, Tim.
9 thoughts on “Serge A Storms”
It sounds like Serge bears a strong family resemblance to Dexter Morgan. I do not know how (or even if) Showtime releases their series in the United Kingdom; but Dexter is one of the most fascinating characters to come out of their non-movie offerings. However, even without the benefit of television, one can still enjoy the novel that inspired the series, DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER, by Jeff Lindsay. Details about both the series and the book can be found at the Showtime Web site:
The fact is that the dark side of personality always makes for the best fiction (basically a corollary to Tolstoy’s assertion that happy families are all alike). Writing about that dark side, however, always involves pushing the envelope of social norms. One could probably write a history of literature based on the bounds of that envelope and how it got pushed in which directions by which authors. I suppose the envelope first got pushed by those bardic singers to honed their creative chops on the description of the violent acts of Achilles and Beowulf, but it took several millennia before we progressed from the darkness of PHYSICAL acts to the darkness of MENTAL ones.
I’ve read all the Dexters, Stephen, assuming there have been two so far, I believe a third is due out sometime next year.
Dexter is fascinating in the way Hannibal is fascinating, although Lindsay does bring more humour.
But I’m not one for horror per se. I walked out of The Omen in 1970-whatever, didn’t watch The Exorcist, my idea of horror is Alan Arkin in Wait Until Dark. Or any Hitchcock.
But Serge is different. Just wait till you got on a tour of Florida with him.
Do both Dexter and Serge are from Florida? There is something fascinating about Florida that makes it an interesting setting for the macabre, although I am not quite sure what it is. What interested me about Dexter, though, was the way in which he came to grips with his own humanity, realizing that, sooner or later, he would need to get beyond the kind of objective role-playing on which he depended for coping with the everyday world. I had not realized that there was more than one novel, so I really ought to explore this character further!
Notwithstanding all the praise he has received, I find Hitchcock uneven in his treatment of horror, particularly if you want to use WAIT UNTIL DARK as a baseline (which I am more than willing to do). Hitchcock can get bogged down in psychology sometimes, while the REAL monsters are the ones who can get beyond psychology, the way Hannibal Lector does. Arkin’s character in WAIT UNTIL DARK is such a monster. Dexter’s character, on the other hand, puts us in the uncomfortable position of considering our own humanity in comparison with his. Meanwhile, I shall have to check out Serge!
Florida seems to be a favourite setting for this sort of stuff – it seems to be Hiaasen’s usual haunt as well.
I don’t make enough time these days to read fiction, but a new Hiaasen will usually get me dropping the textbooks/trade magazines/work documents pretty quickly. I’ll have to check out Dexter Morgan …
I read about Serge in Book Page and have ever since cannot not stop reading anything that has to do with Serge. Unfortunately I am almost through with the existing books. Write Faster Tim!!! Someone send me the blog site.
Hey Nighthawk, you can find Serge’s rants at http://www.sergestorms.com/
I hesitate to call it a blog, he may find out….but then he’s not there that often, so I guess it’s OK. In fact I’m not sure if he’s ever there….
Serge and Dexter are nothing alike except they both “Take out the garbage” Dexter strugles with his serial killer urges and adheres to a strict code of comfomity in order to fit in. He channels his urges to only take out very bad folks. Dexter is methodical in his selection, planning and execution whereas a single event will send Surge over the edge, which he is on all of the time. Dexter knows what he is doing is wrong whereas Surge does not. Surge is non stop mayham and his crazy but clever antics are very funny. if I ever saw him I would know it was him. He does not fit in anywhere except maybe South Florida.
Serge is the origional character. If you read “The Big Bamboo” you can see the underlying story of how Hollywood screwed Dorsey over and stole the idea for Dexter from Serge.
Dexter is a lame shallow character compared to Serge.
Serge has been around way longer that that copy cat clown Dexter