First, this has to be rated within its genre, it is a comic book, not a novel. As such it just can't have as much depth as a novel without being thous...moreFirst, this has to be rated within its genre, it is a comic book, not a novel. As such it just can't have as much depth as a novel without being thousands of pages long and prohibitively expensive to produce.
However, "Watchmen" changed the field. It laid the foundation of stories like the later "The Incredibles" which asked the serious question, could we handle having super heroes? And, what if superheroes went bad or were really villains and didn't tell anybody? Who watches the watchmen?
To do this it spins an intriguing story about the birth of a god, fallible heroes, true good masked and hidden, and a world that refuses to be helped and therefore drives a former hero to an act of madness.
Why not five stars? There is a second narrative about a pirate gone mad that is supposed to illustrate the monster that is being born. However, it ends up just being distracting. Also, Alan Moore set a tone in comics that I think has harmed the field. We need heroes. A story every now and then about failed heroes is ok. A genre about heroes infected by self-loathing and doubt is not a genre I want to read.(less)
Very nice edition with helpful notes. It does, as many do these days, err in the area of leaning too heavily on an austere almost secularist historica...moreVery nice edition with helpful notes. It does, as many do these days, err in the area of leaning too heavily on an austere almost secularist historical-critical approach. This misses the point for which most Bible readers turn to notes, to understand their faith better. Not to understand that they are a bunch of closeted schizophrenics. Hopefully future editions will correct this problem.(less)
A fascinating story about the colonization of Mars. This is the best book of the trilogy and an interesting read. Mr. Robinson manages to make descrip...moreA fascinating story about the colonization of Mars. This is the best book of the trilogy and an interesting read. Mr. Robinson manages to make description of rocks sound interesting. Unfortunately as the series progresses human interaction takes a college dorm room fantasy turn. No, gift economies don't work out of very small units and are not the things to build new worlds on. Sorry.(less)
The book starts with an interesting thought experiment: What if Europe collapsed instead of becoming the center of world power?
Unfortunately it fails...moreThe book starts with an interesting thought experiment: What if Europe collapsed instead of becoming the center of world power?
Unfortunately it fails to pay off on the promise. China, a country that in the real world went entirely isolationist, emerges as a force of conquest. Paradoxically the Muslim expansion halts without any serious threat alive to its west and somehow avoids the Mongols altogether.
Very, very, very unbelievable. The story gets worse as it tries to both be mystic and rationalist at the same time.(less)
An interesting tale that compares a serial killer run amok in Chicago at the same time as the worlds fair. The book parallels the life of the killer a...moreAn interesting tale that compares a serial killer run amok in Chicago at the same time as the worlds fair. The book parallels the life of the killer and the man that oversaw the fair.(less)
I really wanted to like this. I read it to my little girl and was promised a charming story. While the characters were charming there really wasn't an...moreI really wanted to like this. I read it to my little girl and was promised a charming story. While the characters were charming there really wasn't any story worth mentioning. My daughter was bored and was asking when we were going to bed. She never does this. (less)
Finally a book that realizes that medieval societies, magic or not, have some serious communication problems. One tradgedy after another occurs becaus...moreFinally a book that realizes that medieval societies, magic or not, have some serious communication problems. One tradgedy after another occurs because no one knows what's going on. Martin doesn't throw away the setting and is therefore able to tell a riveting story.
A word of warning, some may find the individual chapters concentration on single characters difficult.(less)
I wrestled with a final rating for this. "The Road" definitely has merit. The style is purposefully minimalist. As others have noted there are very fe...moreI wrestled with a final rating for this. "The Road" definitely has merit. The style is purposefully minimalist. As others have noted there are very few apostrophe's, no commas, no quotation marks. The font is dull. The paragraphs carry extra spacing. The words are clipped. This all works very well for setting the atmosphere.
As others have offered it is also not the job of the author to explain away all questions. Leaving a sense of mystery can be very good for a story. We should expect that in the end there should be some questions left unanswered. We should expect this all the more when the story is written in a third person form that has a nearly claustrophobic attachment to the characters perspective.
However, we should always expect the story to make sense based on what we know of how the world works. The setting is not just furniture. This is true in all settings, even fantasy and science fiction. In Tolkien's world dragons may breath fire but apples still fall down. As the setting becomes grittier we should expect the rules to be tighter and more menacing.
Unfortunately, rules don't apply in "The Road". We are presented with an apocalyptic world where every meal counts and where people have turned to cannibalism to survive. And here we are presented with our first problem. Cannibalism as a survival technique isn't very efficient. Eating people that are emaciated by hunger doesn't result in a good transfer of calories. Yet the book strongly implies that the cannibalistic cults have been active for years.
Also odd is that they have avoided the bodies. The father and son are constantly coming across corpses. Some of them still smell. More than a few are mummified. Why not boil those down, since they seem to be plentiful, before having to chase and hunt humans "on the hoof"? It isn't that this makes the cults suicidal and stupid, the problem is that there is no reason for them still existing.
There are other logical inconstancies. The father and son eat dried apples from a field in a world were clouds, rain, and snow seem to be constant. How exactly are they dry? The sun can't dry them out and neither can the heat. All of that is gone.
Nothing grows except one instance of fungus. If everything is dead, except the humans, where did the fungus come from? If fungus survived, why not moss? After all of this time why isn't life coming back? Even Chernobyl is virtual a parkland now. There appears to be no radiation in this world yet nothing lives, why? There are fires being set by the cults yet houses, and the author spends some time describing what is wooden frame construction sitting next to the burnt out houses, still stand. Fires are also being set to what, charcoal? The author doesn't have to explain all of these things, but he does have to be consistent.
Since humans, lumbering giants at the tip of the food pyramid, survived he has to show what happened to the mice. And no, canned food doesn't count. Even a survivalist will only pack enough for his family for six months to a few years. The book implies that the son was born at the time of the disaster and he's old enough now to hold a conversation and be useful which implies that he's at least four years old. Why isn't the food all gone? Given that nothing lives, why not avoid the calorie expenditure and sit on any store of food you find rather than tromping through freezing weather to find the shore. Most critical of all, if there is a reason, why not impart this reason to your son?
Since the book never answers these questions it has to rely on style, which is done well, and a questionable emotional appeal. It is, in many ways, the worst of modern decadence. It expects us to not ask any important questions about the setting and instead feel for the horrors that the characters face. It is a very subtle and powerful form of emotional blackmail. It teaches us to be less than human, to fear and not to think about what we fear.(less)
A good general introduction. It only suffers from not being long enough. Evidently Bishop Timothy Ware's introduction, which this books seems to draw...moreA good general introduction. It only suffers from not being long enough. Evidently Bishop Timothy Ware's introduction, which this books seems to draw heavily from, is more complete.(less)