Time Machines, Zombies and Asian American Cops

It's been awhile since I've posted an original entry, one where I share my thoughts instead of showcasing a video. I've been extremely busy with family and work. Raising my daughter is kicking my ass, so much so that I really don't have much energy or motivation to do anything else, even when I'm lucky enough get some free time to myself.

Reminds me of a scene from the movie The Time Machine. A 19th century inventor of a time machine (played by Guy Pearce) repeatedly travels back in time to prevent his fiance from being killed. But every time he travels back and tries to alter the past, he's unable to prevent her death.

So he travels to the future to find a scientific answer as to why he can't alter the past. In the future he meets an uber-Morlock (played by Jeremy Irons) who has telepathic abilities. The uber-Morlock reveals to the Time Traveller the reason he can't change the past:

Now I'm not saying my family is holding me back, but suffice it say, I don't have much time or energy for anything outside of family and work. Blogging has been minimal, but I've been able to keep it up, because it takes minimal effort anyway.

When I do get time to myself, then I just veg out. I've been watching a lot of TV (DVR's are great!), and recently I've been watching the AMC zombie show The Walking Dead.

I have been doing other passive activities, such as reading. I just finished 2 books by Ed Lin: This is a Bust and Snakes Can't Run. The books are about an Chinese American cop and the BS he has to deal with from within and from without the Chinese American community.

Two books about an ABC cop? That definitely got my attention. I found out that these aren't the only books about Chinese American cops. Henry Chang has written a series of books with a Chinese American detective as its protagonist. People invariably compare Lin and Chang. I've read some of Chang's work as well, and I can say that I much prefer Lin's novels over Chang's. Chang writes as if he's taking white readers on a bus tour through Chinatown, which is f-ing annoying. His books are crime novels with Chinese immigrants issues added in.

Ed Lin's books are the exact opposite: they're AA lit books with the mystery genre added in. That's my only complaint with This is a Bust and Snakes Can't Run. There isn't much plot in either book. They're listed as mystery novels, but there's not much real investigation of the murders in these novels. They're mystery novels only in name and not in actuality.

Nevertheless, as an Asian American cop who minored in Asian American Studies, I found Ed Lin's books to be entertaining reads. I could identify with a lot of the issues and frustrations that the protagonist, Robert Chow, had to deal with. Chow's a bit of tough talking smart ass, which is something you don't see too much of in AA lit. He's a flawed character, but at least he doesn't take shit from anybody.

Lin does an excellent job of character development and dialog. Most of the time, the dialog had nothing with the plot or the investigation of the murders. And yet the dialog between the different characters was engrossing, because you got a glimpse into 1970's Chinese American politics and identity and police politics as well.

Although Snakes Can't Run is the more polished of the 2 books, I recommend that you still read This is a Bust first. The first book was good enough to get me hooked and search for the second book.

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