A very, erm, mild sci-fi thriller. The concept's a bit compelling, and likely the best element (inexplicable aliens come to Earth, build a space elevaA very, erm, mild sci-fi thriller. The concept's a bit compelling, and likely the best element (inexplicable aliens come to Earth, build a space elevator, infect the world with 28 Days Later juice which affects everyone who ISN'T hugging the elevator, and vanish! MYSTERIOUS!!!), but everything else feels very half-baked and by the numbers. The characters are flimsy, the action sequences dull, the romance painfully typical, the political intrigue predictable from a mile away... Even worse, internal consistency is hit-or-miss; in one chapter, a character will be declared an impeccable judge of character, and moments later he'll fail to notice the most obvious spy in the world. This book is the author's first release, and it feels like it. I realize it's pretty widely celebrated, but I think I'll let this series' cliffhanger mysteries stay unsolved....more
It's not John Dies At The End. And that's a good thing, trust me. As good as that opening salvo was, we really didn't need the nefarious Mr. Wong goinIt's not John Dies At The End. And that's a good thing, trust me. As good as that opening salvo was, we really didn't need the nefarious Mr. Wong going that insane again. Instead you have This Book Is Full of Spiders (Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It), the logical progression to that first mish-mashed slag of Lovecraftian/Kevin Smith-style ultra goremedy, because somehow we managed to salvage some characters and setting and linear plot from that wonderful debacle.
This time around, Wong takes a swing at the currently-impossibly-popular Zombie Horror fad that has consumed the internet for the last half a decade or so, simultaneously lampooning it and nailing all the necessary uncomfortable spots. While significantly less authentically eerie than JDaTE (thank you Jim), it still has some masterful settings that turn the stomach and punch the brain. Overall though it's a more pure-hearted comedy than the first; in spite of a slightly weak opening, I found myself stopping every few minutes for an uncontrollable cackling fit the last 150 pages or so, and that deserves serious praise. Like any good book two of a trilogy, I both look forward to and dread book three for the closure it will bring. If you only read one book about the Satan spiders that live inside your face this year, make it this one.
This review was written primarily so I could use the phrase, "the nefarious Mr. Wong."...more
Though not as quick to grab my attention from the start as Jeff Noon's first novel VURT, Pollen left me no less blown away and grinning halfway througThough not as quick to grab my attention from the start as Jeff Noon's first novel VURT, Pollen left me no less blown away and grinning halfway through to its happy / unspeakable climax and epilogue. The pace is more controlled, but the eventual fireworks are absolutely worth the wait.
Set in the same nymphomaniac mongrel-blasted world as VURT, but with only the barest of threads tying them together, Pollen is as finely tuned a heap of symbols and dreamworks as you'll find anywhere, especially in the sci-fi genre it stubbornly insists it belongs in. Purity of love, celebration of lust, and validation of life are blasted through with large swatches of Gaiman or Carroll-esque story worship and a tremendously unorthodox willingness toward the gross and gritty, all told via the stylish, lazy dazed writing of a competent British loony. The whole shebang leaves me looking forward to more of the author's work, confident that he's capable of growth even after a knockout like VURT....more