This is a bloody good read in that it ticks all the thriller boxes. In particular it rattles on at pace, introduces twists and keeps you guessing to the end. On the downside the production of the book seems rather rushed (maybe to beat real life?) with some untidy writing but it’s all perfectly readable.
My focus is on whether it’s believable, especially in the light of my own researches into peak oil and collapse. For that is the “what if” here and my answer is a qualified yes, despite a touch of over-dramatisation. The violence card gets overplayed and too early. One of the characters mentions Lord of the Flies and it’s an apt yardstick. Golding’s classic racks up the menace until it spills over into violence – more effective than starting at high pitch.
One slight plot hole concerns Jenny’s journey, which doesn’t make much geographic sense. Having the M1 erroneously running past Birmingham probably shows some confusion in the author’s mind – good trainspotting by me though!
At the denouement I rather sided with the baddies: this poor old planet does needs a damn good cull of the human race – motivation for my own apocalyptic book really. It’s schadenfreude on a grand scale in revenge for mankind’s arrogance. Much better to get it out on the page than in real life, eh? Discuss.
Next week on Thursday this Ragged Stone event in Portishead of all places! The very lovely Gareth L. Powell will be guest author, reading from The Recollection.
I’m revisiting this review in time for Bristol Book Club’s Meetup next week. Over two years ago 49p in one of those discount bookshops outside Bideford got me a copy of Mary Shelley’s classic and, to some folk, the first science fiction novel. I could have bought David Copperfield for the same price but felt that Frankenstein would be less challenging for a post-holiday read.
How wrong can you be? I can cope with the wordiness and convoluted sentences of that era, so I didn’t struggle at first. But Victor Frankenstein, he goes on and on about how miserable he is and what tedious company he must be for his friends and family; and when he’s done going on about it, he goes on some more. Well, yeah, you’re tedious to the reader too, buddy. Just get over yourself.
Pages and pages of it. One long, persistent complaint. Don’t we all know people like that? And don’t we all wish we could make our excuses and leave at the earliest opportunity? “Me, me, me, me, me.” They dominate the conversation; they dominate your life. Jesus, I don’t want to read about it as well.
And then that gives them another complaint: “you don’t care about me.” Oh, my God. The fact is: they’re gonna complain about something.
I dropped the book at the point where Frankenstein was about to create Mrs Monster. I was sure that’d turn out badly too.
But first a reminder that this website has a calendar, where events like this are posted, if I know about them. If you know about any, I can set you up to post as well.
So, yesterday a couple of hundred science fiction and fantasy types descended on the Bristol Ramada for a day of panels, signings, art, readings, interviews, up close and personal groups and… books, of course. Way too much to cover here but the programme should still be online. I particularly wanted to catch Alastair Reynolds, Eugene Byrne and Gareth L. Powell‘s launch of The Recollection, which I’ve come away with.
In fact I’ve come away with tons and my book pile now contravenes all Health and Safety regulations (not helped with Middlemarch teetering on the top but that’ll go back tomorrow). Among them is a copy of B. John Shaw Liddle’s Suncaller if anyone fancies reviewing it for the website. I also chatted to Wayne Simmons, author of Flu. Hmm, I’ll probably have to check that against my Let the Time Come. He has more zombies in his though.
Emma Newman was there too and she’s launching an intriguing looking website at Split Worlds. It appears to be for local people but see what you make of it. Big, big hat tip to Jo Hall and team for putting the show together.
I had to leave before the end because of a small matter of the Championship leaders (Southampton in case you didn’t know) playing at Reading. It was hard to find a pub not showing the Liverpool game but BSB at Harbourside obliged and I supped £3.60 pints while, frankly, the second best team nicked a point with only ten men on the field. That’s what champions do.
Champion footballers and champion writers. I’ve pencilled in BristolCon ’12 already.