7th Feb 2007 | 18:24
The problem with media depictions of writers is that they're always written by writers. Anybody who's been within stick-poking distance of a Dean Koontz novel will know that protagonists that dream up words for a living tend to be vicarious extensions of what the writer wishes his/her life was like. As such, they tend to be moody, mysterious, and enigmatic, with a silent strength that allows them to change the world around them in ways they can't begin to imagine. But the titular hero of (cough) Alan Wake is different. Our stubble-chinned, baggy-eyed hero is moody, mysterious and enigmatic, with... hey, wait a minute!
We think this kind of stereotyping should be outlawed, along with other such outdated notions like women not knowing how to vote or babies being incapable of using hot glue guns. But while we're on a moaning rampage, we might as well mention the other things we don't like about Alan Wake - that the hero has the worst name this side of NASCAR 'legend' Dick Trickle, and that he runs like he's got left-over Christmas log in his Y-fronts. But that's it. We have no more reservations now. Everything else we've seen suggests that this, rather appropriately considering its subject matter, will be a sleeper hit.
Big Al's gloomy outlook is a bigger problem than it would first appear, you see, because weird things are afoot in Bright Falls. The evil beings at the centre of the horror story novel that made Wake a household name - creatures of the darkness disguised as ordinary men - have somehow crossed into reality. Worse still, the sleep-deprived Wake notices that new chapters that he can't remember scribing are appearing over-night - and the story's getting bleaker by the paragraph. This leads to a very bizarre but extremely unique narrative structure where Alan, the organ for the exposition, actually unwittingly controls where the narrative goes. And poor old Wakey-boy repeatedly writes himself into trouble as the prophecies of his work come true and he starts to find himself stalked by darkness.