A small book, but one full of important history and ideas. If you have any interest in protecting our voices and our rights in a constitutional democrA small book, but one full of important history and ideas. If you have any interest in protecting our voices and our rights in a constitutional democracy, in fighting rising oligarchy, nationalist populism and authoritarianism across the world, On Tyranny is an excellent primer on how to keep sane and keep fighting. In fact, keep it in your pocket when you #resist. Five stars....more
"I recognize terror as the finest emotion . . . and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find I cannot terrify . . . I will try to horrify;"I recognize terror as the finest emotion . . . and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find I cannot terrify . . . I will try to horrify; and if I find I cannot horrify, I'll go for the gross-out. I'm not proud." -- Stephen King --------------------------------------- I have mixed feelings about this novel, but it doesn't surprise me that Stephen King loved it, since The Troop adheres closely to that advice Uncle Steve gave us way back in Danse Macabre. On the plus side, its premise is deeply disturbing and unfortunately, also plausible; its imperiled Scouts are sharply defined characters (within certain generic subsets); and the pace and mounting terror pretty much never let up. It also subverts the now-standard "band of childhood friends imperiled" genre -- this one's more like Lord of the Flies on bad acid than "Stand By Me."
However, this is possibly the single grossest book I have ever actually finished reading. (I threw Haunted in the free bin halfway through.) I am not a wuss, and given what I knew of the plot, I was pretty sure major yuckiness would ensue. But the flagrant, omnipresent, gross-outs were so extreme that I had to barely skim several whole scenes -- the reader's equivalent of covering her eyes at a scary movie. (I see in reviews comparisons to The Ruins, but The Troop tops it for me, no question.) What upset me the most (view spoiler)[graphic lab reports detailing brutal animal testing -- and yeah, I like animals better than people, so what? (hide spoiler)] might not bother you, but I can guarantee something in this book will turn your stomach. Which is probably an appropriate reaction, given the star of the show.
Cutter is a compelling writer, and I have high praise for his more recent The Deep, but the level of gore in this one ultimately got repetitive. The Troop might have been a better book with just a little more left to the imagination. Going with three stars....more
Wow. The Deep doesn't f&%k around. This book is the kind of old-school, trapped-with-the-monsters horror that used to keep me up with the lights oWow. The Deep doesn't f&%k around. This book is the kind of old-school, trapped-with-the-monsters horror that used to keep me up with the lights on as a kid.
The blurb is somewhat misleading, in that "the ‘Gets," the plague that's robbing people all over the world of their ability to remember anything (finally, even how to breathe), is only an opening gambit -- it's an interesting idea, but I was pleased to find out The Deep wasn't just another plague apocalypse to add to the pile.
Instead we get an account of the intrepid scientists working with a potential cure, a newly discovered substance they call Ambrosia. The catch? Its only known source is at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, where a special facility has been set up for their work. That's nearly seven miles under the surface of the ocean, in Stygian darkness and under body-and-soul-crushing pressure. What could possibly go wrong?
Cutter's tale is a high-wire concoction of speculative fiction, isolation, claustrophobia, psychosis and gore. Disturbing, bleak, and a total page-turner anyway. As I said, old-school horror -- at times it put me in mind of The Shining, or "The Thing." (I've also heard "The Abyss," but I may need a rewatch, 'cause I don't remember anything about that movie except that the underwater scenes were famously shot in the reactor of an unfinished nuclear power plant. Which creeped me out in a totally unrelated way.)
Taking off half a star because (view spoiler)[ every time Clayton speaks I picture Sheldon Cooper AFTER the lab accident, which sometimes makes it hard to take the character seriously. (hide spoiler)] Despite that occasional distraction, I was thoroughly hooked by Nick Cutter's book and its straight-up terrifying twists. 4.5 stars. Now I'm gonna have to read The Troop, too....more