I have started this book with expectations of finishing it in total over twice now, only to be distracted and end up abandoning it. Hopefully I get ar...moreI have started this book with expectations of finishing it in total over twice now, only to be distracted and end up abandoning it. Hopefully I get around to it eventually. (less)
THINGS THAT ARE MOST GLARINGLY WRONG WITH THIS BOOK:
1. Unbelievably predictable. Mind-boggling. From the very first chapter, you can pretty much tell...moreTHINGS THAT ARE MOST GLARINGLY WRONG WITH THIS BOOK:
1. Unbelievably predictable. Mind-boggling. From the very first chapter, you can pretty much tell where every single character is going to end up. Anticipate ((SCANDALOUS SEX!)) at contrived opportunities, plus the proclivity of a certain proletariat to stick it to THE MAN, and you've got a nice little map through the rest of the ((SAGA!))
2. Expect characters to resolve/create enormous issues in a few paragraphs. Expect international politics to be flattened into some very short and dull dialogue. And that's that. For instance, when Otto Von Ulrich wants to convince Maud to throw in the towel on her relationship with Walter, expect her pleonastically demonstrated ((STRONG CHARACTER!)) and ((INDEPENDENCE!)) to crumble in the space of some poorly placed points and a lacuna of intelligence.
3. Characters, though sometimes multidimensional, will stay on a paradigmatic path, regardless of the apparent ability of the author to complicate their personas. Gus will always triumph over Lev, because he does what's upstanding and virtuous; Fitz will always clunk head over heels along the winding corridors of idiocy, because he's that kind of character, and clearly needs to take a bashing at every single opportunity, so that his last vestiges of integrity are so utterly rudimentary that it's a miracle he's still sane. And as for all the ((GOOD!)) characters (e.g. Billy), they're likely to become so Christlike they'll be SMOTE! for blasphemy.
4. In battle, people often are feet away from each other, not just mentioned characters, but POV characters. And that happens a lot. To great hilarity.
5. The sex scenes are ridiculous. The ruffling of petticoats and ((FUCKING SCANDAL!)) drowns out what could have been some hesed character interaction.
It's an opus, and a collection of IRS fictional lingo, ob...moreIt absolutely defies rating. It wont be rated.
It's brilliant, and it's mind-numbingly boring.
It's an opus, and a collection of IRS fictional lingo, obfuscated past my care.
It's THE PALE KING.
The story is not plotted, it's concentric. It revolves around a grand panoply of characters (Sylvanshine, David F. Wallace, David F. Wallace, Cusk, X, Rand, Nugent, The Iranian Crisis, Glenndenning (sic?), Stecyk, Lehrl, et al.) who intermingle via the massive and prodigious edifice of the IRS. THE SERVICE. Peoria. Illinois. It's the place where the show starts after everyone who hasn't the civics has left. It's the place of heroes with a lower-case "h."
It's quite simply tragic. It's the last.
It's quite simply unnecessitated, all this great ponderous weight, all this insuperable fluff. It's an unmitigated, unedited, mind turned tangential.
It's wonderful. It practices what it preaches. It has the honest, hesed, voice of a truly great author.
It's posthumous. By very nature incomplete. It should be read with a grain of salt.
It's as complete as it will ever be. It is a WORK, a creation, and should be treated as such. It displays ambition, intelligence, and honesty; it should be respected, but not revered.
**spoiler alert** The Great and Secret show is both amazing, and fatiguing. It's wonderful in the ways it invents an entirely new, fresh, concept and...more**spoiler alert** The Great and Secret show is both amazing, and fatiguing. It's wonderful in the ways it invents an entirely new, fresh, concept and proceeds to deliver it with the prose needed to convey a metaphysical thriller. It suceeds in combing the necessary stylistic elements of writing with the abstract plot. That's all great. Not many authors can pull that off. Peter Straub can, a la The Talisman, but he loses the je ne sais quoi in Black House.
Now that the pros are out of the way, I can explain the cons. Characters are horrible. Primarily the protagonists. They're apathetic, uninspired fools who can only move squeamishly in and out of their minor heroics. Clive Barker doesn't have one protagonist that can become the fulcrum of the "good" side. Fletcher dies midway through the book, and anyway, he's not worth the effort. There's no Mother Abigail from The Stand. In a metaphysical thriller about two dialectics, e.g. preservation and destruction, you definitely need two, clear, characters to exemplify these two polar opposites. Another bone I have to pick with Clive Barker is the fact that he tries to make his book too labyrinthine. I mean, it's not, but it is like "Hey y'all, today we got a two-for-one spesh-ee-al! You get a free shadowy enigma with a purchase of a corresponding plot twist! We'll even through in a cognitive deus ex machina! (You know the kind, the absurd AHA! moment where the previously anhedonic synapses go into inductive spurts of flawed logic, magically revealling the correct decision!!!) Yes. I dislike the above.
(CAVEAT: LEST YOU WISH TO READ A REVIEW CONSISTING OF NONLINEAR MUSINGS BY A DEBATABLY CONSCIOUS INDIVIDUAL READ WITH CAUTION)
(OH...AND WITH POSTMODER...more(CAVEAT: LEST YOU WISH TO READ A REVIEW CONSISTING OF NONLINEAR MUSINGS BY A DEBATABLY CONSCIOUS INDIVIDUAL READ WITH CAUTION)
(OH...AND WITH POSTMODERN SELF-REFERENTIAL HUMOR THAT UTILIZES VAINGLORIOUS VOCABULARY)
This book is like a house of mirrors, consisting of refractions, distortions, and fragmentary illusions of many other, more prominent books. Not to say that this is necessarily wrong, it can be a mighty thing, to recognize a past read inside a new tale. This vein of thought inevitably left me thinking about another book, cough, Haroun and the Sea of Stories , which later led me to another train of thought, coughcoughcoughcough, Borge's The Library of Babel , etc. Which led to If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. All those literary infinities, y'all. So, now that you're aware of my neurosis, and general literary schizoprenia, you maaaaaaaayyyyy wan't to stop reading this review and read the book for yourself.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
You're still here. Okay. I'm in one of those self-achievement moods, where I feel deeply and inexorably obligated to do something, with the apathy rivallingy a Morphine addict. humdrum. Even my anaologies are weak. humdrummmmmmmmmmm.....anywho...Skippy Dies is a wonderful little treasure of senile wit, defabricated geniuses, and general teen passions, oh the time of poetry, acne, etc. But, it's alot more than that. It boosted my trivial word-base for one, which is becoming harder to do..."psoriatic" was the word that I found. Sadly, it's a medical term, which as a rule I don't associate with. Besides the defunct ones.
The book really had that compelling vivacity, which made me want to see what Skippy, up until his death of course, would do; Ruprecht, with his obese genius, and the really semi-stream-de-freaky-conciousness scenes as Carl spirals into insanity.
My favorite character was Father Green...yeah, strange, I know, the erinaceous crazy probably was made to be more a righteous allegory of inner spirit vs. carnal decadence, but what the hey. His scenes were really well done.
(I'm going to use that DFW technique now...)
This review will self-destruct in five..
Yes, I mean no, I liked the book, which means to say, I didn't like liking it, if that makes any sense. There were interminnably turgid pieces, where, yes, you do see the inner turmoil and great cataclysmic not-quite social problems in your characters, but more of psychomasochitic drop into the abyss...yeah, that's all hunkydory, but come, on, there's only so many pages you can fill.
Nope, there's nothing I explicity disliked about it, but that I had a vague intution that it was abusing the tongue-in-cheek rules of avant-garde literature.
I was quite okay with the subject matter. Gotta be modernly open, Kali Yuga, come on baby!
Though it was a great read, the only thing I'll end up remembering is that "The Road Not Taken" is an allegory for anal penetration.
The Handmaid's Tale is a truly marvelous book, one of the great Feminist SF books of the 20th century. I found the book very well constructed, extrapo...moreThe Handmaid's Tale is a truly marvelous book, one of the great Feminist SF books of the 20th century. I found the book very well constructed, extrapolated from today's misgivings and scenaria, and embodied into a prosaic, sensual, and firm dystopia. Margaret Atwood famously denied the book being "Science Fiction" and, instead, the more prestigious and creditable "Speculative Fiction". Now, Ms. Atwood, let's not kid ourselves here. Much more "fringe" books have been lumped into either the "fantasy" or "SF" category, and The Handmaid's Tale is nothing out of the ordinary, albeit genius, yes, but it is nothing that cannot be syncretized. Greater books have been so categorized. (less)