I suspect some of the other glowing reviews here were influenced by how much the reviewer liked the movie. I loved the movie as well, and reading thisI suspect some of the other glowing reviews here were influenced by how much the reviewer liked the movie. I loved the movie as well, and reading this book, well, it feels like watching the movie. And I'm not sure that's a good thing.
The characters, the flow, the pacing, all stay faithful to the movie's script, more or less. I'm not sure whether this lack of embellishment and extrapolation was a directive from the movie's producers. But to me, a book is not movie. Sure, reading the book makes me recall the movie scenes in nostalgic pleasure, but I think there's a big missed opportunity here.
To the author's credit, he added in internal monologue and thoughts of most of the characters, but they're very basic, things you'd glean from just watching the movie. There's actually very little descriptive passages, beyond the minimum needed. For example, there's no tension in the book. The movie had special effects and auditory support to provide tension, but the book doesn't attempt to provide that; it just tells you what you happened. Another example is the world and that savage species. It's another missed opportunity to describe that alien planet in more detail, make it beautiful or depressing, to paint a picture so to speak.
In short, the book successfully describes all the scenes in the movie, and provides sufficient insights into their mental states and thoughts. A quick enjoyable read if you liked the movie, but you're better off just watching the movie again....more
Interesting take on a first-contact situation (not that I've read a lot) when a small group of humans crash landed on a planet when their spaceship haInteresting take on a first-contact situation (not that I've read a lot) when a small group of humans crash landed on a planet when their spaceship had a disastrous malfunction.
The natives are molluscs - snails. I liked the commentary on biological evolutions from the perspective of one of the few surviving human adults. The titular character was a bit too far fetched - supposedly a historian, but I'm pretty sure historians aren't walking encyclopedias on cultures, architecture, languages, sociology, diplomacy, and warfare. But I did like the way it draws parallels to human societal behaviours, seemingly carrying deeper meaning behind them.
While I appreciated the attempt at a brand new species using an unlikely base creature, the primary species thinks and acts too humanlike, despite the attempts to highlight the different forms of expression. Just too many parallels. While Bronze Age is the specified timeline, there's really little else to build up this whole new planet and species. When we do get perspectives of alien life, I can't help feel that they're very human in nature. It's just oddly weak in terms of creativity; it's just drawing parallels.
But other than, it's a rather nice story about surviving in a new world several centuries behind in technology. The pacing is excellent and the plot is easy to follow, if perhaps a tad predictable....more