Read this when it was titled, TERMINAL CAFE. Could not get into this novel at ALL! I believe McDonald was trying to create "hipster sci-fi" & failRead this when it was titled, TERMINAL CAFE. Could not get into this novel at ALL! I believe McDonald was trying to create "hipster sci-fi" & failed horribly. Got to page 20 & literally threw the book across the room, picked it up, read another 20 pages & threw it again. ENOUGH! I'm out!
It seems like McDonald is a huge fan of cyberpunk & Moorcock & tried to meld the two into "hipster" culture. The prose felt like: "See? We're being trendy. We're trying to create something 'new' & 'cool'." All the while expecting us to be in on the background without explaining it.
Absolute crap. This is the type of sci-fi that will turn anyone off from the genre--INCLUDING fans of the genre....more
I think what really pisses me off about Stephen King is how everyone--I mean EVERYONE--thinks he's the end all, be all when it comes to writing horrorI think what really pisses me off about Stephen King is how everyone--I mean EVERYONE--thinks he's the end all, be all when it comes to writing horror. He's not.
If anything, he's a really good pulp writer--& a major hack at best. Once in awhile he does write something which is really good--but does this make him the best? No.
People are comfortable with King because he's considered the "go-to guy" when someone wants to try a horror novel for the first time or they try him out because they've seen one of the countless movies based on his novels or short stories. "You can't go wrong with King", they say. Yes you can.
Case in point: THE STAND.
What starts off as a very, very good horror story of a modern day plague transforms itself into a typical, cliched story of good vs. evil--God vs. The Devil. There's nothing wrong with this plot--it's a tried & true one--but it's King's execution of the story that makes the reader suffer in the end. He presents us with survivors: those who are "Left Behind" are given the choice to battle for dominion over the earth--a second chance at making the world a better place for humanity. I would not have a problem with this if it wasn't for such a trite--piece of crap--ending. You have all your characters wrestling with which side to choose--"The Army of Light" (Mother Abigail) or "The Army of Darkness" (Randall Flagg)--which makes for good drama & character development. But then, when you reach the climax of the confrontation, it's like King took the easy way out: The Hand of God comes down to strike the evil from the land? Really? This is the biggest cop out I have ever read in an apocalyptic novel. It's so simplistic & makes everything that comes before it look like wasted time with the biggest crime against the reader being: wasted reading time.
Don't get me wrong, the plague in Act I of the novel was great reading & prevents me from giving this novel 1 star. But the horrible, sophomoric ending is what makes me hate King's novels--& I've read a few, too many if you ask me.
What makes me hate this novel even more was after I read SWAN SONG--a far superior novel. It is the novel King wanted to write &, to be honest, I'm sure he secretly wishes he wrote. It too comes in at a 1,000 pages but not a single word, sentence, paragraph or chapter is wasted. It's like McCammon said: "Okay, King, here's how you do it!" & he smokes his ass in the process with a better plot & with far better prose.
If THE STAND proves anything to me it's that King is a better short story/novella writer than he is a novelist....more
I read this book when I was in high school when I was riding my wave crest of discovery within the realm of NEW WAVE OF SCIENCE FICTION--authors likeI read this book when I was in high school when I was riding my wave crest of discovery within the realm of NEW WAVE OF SCIENCE FICTION--authors like Moorcock, Ellison, Farmer, Spinrad, etc. I had read some of the sci-fi "greats" at this point but more than likely you would find me buried in a Moorcock novel or a short story collection of Ellison's. My friends were always talking about Asimov, Pohl, Heinlein &, of course, Niven.
"Have you read RINGWORLD? You haven't! Man, it's a classic! If you haven't read Niven then you know nothing about science fiction!"
It was comments like these which really turned me off from hard sci-fi--aka., "The Golden Age"--because it came across as elitist. There's nothing I hate more than someone ridiculing me because I don't care for the "Grandmasters of Science Fiction"--as if there's some hallowed hall one must make a pilgrimage to & devour every classic title found on its bookshelves. Once you make that pilgrimage, read all the necessary titles in order to be accepted into their group, then you were given silent permission by their "Order" to discuss science fiction with them on an intellectual level--never mind it's a genre that has spent almost a century being ridiculed for what it is: science fiction. So on one hand, you have the classic/contemporary literature elitists shunning science fiction for the crime of being an existing genre & on the other you have the geeksquad sci-fi elitists shunning you for not placing the likes of Asimov or Niven on the alter of worship. Is it any wonder why I avoid the science fiction "masters"?
While the "masters" are submerged in science, the "New Wave" authors are bathing in the metaphysical--but the two do converge in one area of science in many ways: sociology. Be that as it may, I find the New Wavers to be far more unlimited in their imaginations, while the Classical authors to be struggling against their limitations.
Enter: THE INTEGRAL TREES by "master of sci-fi", Larry Niven.
Having RINGWORLD bashed over my head by the geek elite, I decided to start somewhere else with Niven so I wouldn't be already pissed off at the man who I'm told to worship--which I was. I wanted to be fair. What I found was a novel that screamed at me that it wanted to be different. The story was a plot a reader could find in a young adult novel. It was trying to be "cool" in the presentation of it's world which, to me, just seemed to be a variation on the Ringworld structure--trees forming the "wheel around the star". The characters were cookie cutter & I found I really didn't care about them--not leaving any impression on me at all. Hell, you could almost find the characters & their world being ripped-off by James Cameron's AVATAR--if they had showed up in the movie, I wouldn't have been surprised. Despite all this, I finished the novel & wasn't anymore the richer for doing so.
Was it a bad novel? No. Was it a good novel? Meh. Did it's author live up to the hype of being a "master" of his chosen genre? That's for you to decide. As for me, I've got better sci-fi novels to read....more