Meh. Took a good initial premise and more or less squandered it. (view spoiler)[Telepathic powers and Native American shamans are the least of the dis...moreMeh. Took a good initial premise and more or less squandered it. (view spoiler)[Telepathic powers and Native American shamans are the least of the distractions from the original leitmotif of resistance and rebellion. Now we find that no only has the evil corporation been reorganizing society around genomically-informed cost-benefit analyses, but that it has also been working on cloning. And not merely human cloning, but posthuman, transgenic cloning, the mixing of human DNA with that of other species. In the case of the protagonist and her clone sisters, the DNA of a sparrow. (hide spoiler)] I kept wanting to like this book more than I did, because it is fun enough and the author seemed good intentioned, but when I got to the final section, where the author resolved literally every loose end (and we're talking BIG loose ends, what used to be called the denoument and stuff) in less than fifteen pages, I couldn't be charitable any longer. (view spoiler)[Some of those loose ends include: Shutting off the global system for killing people using viruses encoded in their barcodes by means of an algorithm that the protagonist's discovered-minutes-before autistic bird-clone-sister remembered from infancy. Finding out via the news media, who have been singularly inept until this point, that the aforementioned barcode viruses die after six months anyway, so whew, dodged that bullet. The ACLU sues the government so that people (presumably losers and freaks, since most normal folks love their 'toos) can refuse to be tattooed. Clap clap, erm. Evil corporation running the country? No problem—the idealist ex-senator will run for president, and that will save everything. Huh? Can anyone take that seriously after the 2008 elections? (hide spoiler)] Yeah, lots and lots of loose ends. Seen better endings in overlong Stephen King novels.(less)
I forgot where I initially encountered Mel's hole (though it wasn't through Art Bell or...moreMaybe I read about it in a collection of art by Paul Lafolley.
I forgot where I initially encountered Mel's hole (though it wasn't through Art Bell or his radio show, which I have never heard), but I have been fascinated by the whole hole phenomenon, and not simply the impossible hole itself, ever since.
This catalog from a most unlikely exhibition comprises essays, artworks—many quite good— and a short story, all inspired by this "paranormal land event occurring in radiospace." Meanwhile here is a Washington geologist, debunking the tale-spinner calling himself Mel Waters and showing off a mundane hole that was possibly the basis for Mel's hole. I liked the responses of the artists and writers herein better. Just saying.
Right off the bat, the title intrigued me because of its potent, and somewhat idiosyncratic to my upbringing, associations. I grew up in a fundamental...moreRight off the bat, the title intrigued me because of its potent, and somewhat idiosyncratic to my upbringing, associations. I grew up in a fundamentalist Protestant Christian home in the late 70s, and my dad was into the televangelists, charismatics, and late-Great-planet-Earth types.
Exhibit A: a picture I found on a pamphlet in his bathroom drawer when I was a kid:
Since that time my dad has been caught up in the apocalyptic notion that one day everyone will have a barcode "stamped" on their hand and forehead, encoding all of their vital information and making life outside of the Satanic, totalitarian "one-world-government" nigh impossible. This was predicted in (his reading of) Revelations 13.16–17:
It [the second beast] also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.
Well this book takes that apocalyptic meme as its starting premise. People have gotten used to being tracked, chipped, and inventoried for the first quarter of the 21st century, and so for most folks the move to tattoo every adult (seventeen and up) with a barcode is seen as business as usual, and in fact, for many, convenient and patriotic. For the young protagonist, though, there is something sinister about the tattoo, and she is rapidly embroiled in a conspiracy involving corporate tyranny, individual freedom, social pressure, and very real hazards resulting from the genomics revolution and a re-envisioning of the meaning of being human.
Good young adult book, a quick read for a good reader. Not too challenging, in terms of writing, but engaging and thought-provoking, particularly in regard to the consequences of contemporary policies and discoveries for the world which will be inherited by the book's primary audience.(less)
The first chapter was the best, and the most "sf," of the entire book. See other reviews for synopses of the details. Well written enough to keep me r...moreThe first chapter was the best, and the most "sf," of the entire book. See other reviews for synopses of the details. Well written enough to keep me reading, but not nearly as incredible a book as I was lead to believe by the friend who recommended it.(less)
Where do I start? The whole Hulk—Dracula thing is the second story in this two-story collection and is roughly half as long as the first story, which...moreWhere do I start? The whole Hulk—Dracula thing is the second story in this two-story collection and is roughly half as long as the first story, which is mediocre in terms of plot and art. Neither of the stories feature the Hulk as just plain old (green) Hulk; it's either a Red Hulk, a Red She-Hulk, or a weird Tron-Hulk wielding an evil copy of Mjölnir. (Whatever. I want Hulk to smash or, at the most, to pretend to be John Carter.) As if this weren't bad enough, the conclusions of both short stories are contrived and unsatisfying. Even the character of M.O.D.O.K., apparently written for grim laughs, doesn't make this worthwhile. (less)
Here William Bell and Walter Bishop bear very little resemblance to their characters on Fringe. When they appear, that is, which is only in the first...moreHere William Bell and Walter Bishop bear very little resemblance to their characters on Fringe. When they appear, that is, which is only in the first few stories. Some of the stories, with Bishop and Belly, but also without, are interesting enough, but they don't have much to do with the themes of the show.(less)
Really enjoyed the premise, a police procedural set in a near future wherein most USAmericans live, work, and love virtually, remotely inhabiting the...moreReally enjoyed the premise, a police procedural set in a near future wherein most USAmericans live, work, and love virtually, remotely inhabiting the synthetic "surrogates" of the title. Equally hated the artwork, except for the graphic design pieces between chapters. (less)