Surprisingly gripping novel. I liked the three-narrator approach more than I thought I would, and I was disappointed that the author chose to break wi...moreSurprisingly gripping novel. I liked the three-narrator approach more than I thought I would, and I was disappointed that the author chose to break with that form for an omniscient narrator for just one chapter about two thirds of the way in. I am surprised an editor let that past. Similarly, I thought the accents in the prose were appropriate, and a welcome distinguishing characteristic between the three, and I almost missed it. The characters themselves were so compelling that when I was done, I found myself wanting to know what happened to them.
I have absolutely no frame of reference on the subject matter at hand, but I appreciate reading a treatment by someone who has supposedly lived in similar circumstances, albeit on the more privileged side. It's a good reminder of how far we have come and how far we have left to go. I'm glad I read it, and I'm glad it was popular for a while. I only wish it'd managed to stir up even more of a fuss; seems that we might have fallen into some of the same complacency as the white women of this book, assuming we're "modern" and "civilized" when really we've by and large just institutionalized and sanitized our prejudices. (less)
It seems that I'm in agreement with a lot of the reviews by others. I love her use of language, her prose is really well constructed and she paints an...moreIt seems that I'm in agreement with a lot of the reviews by others. I love her use of language, her prose is really well constructed and she paints an excellent picture, but it was just kinda hard to get into the story. It started out a little slow, and the reactions of some of the characters were so disproportionate to what they were seeing that is was just hard to stay with it. It was a worthwhile read though, a nice fiction diversion breaking up my latest non-fiction streak. If you're interested, I'd recommend getting it from the library or finding it in the bargin bin. (less)
While not quite what I was expecting, this is an excellent book. He explains a lot of highly technical and sophisticated advanced physics topics in ve...moreWhile not quite what I was expecting, this is an excellent book. He explains a lot of highly technical and sophisticated advanced physics topics in very accessible language and gives a lot of history of the research of the topics. Some of the later material is a little dated, but only because the book is a few years old, and research in the realm of high-energy physics is a rapidly changing landscape of politics and results. In discussions of topics like teleportation, worm holes, and faster than light travel, he delves deeply into the current theories on the fundamental physics of the universe (and other universes). Fascinating. A worthwhile refresher on Modern physics, and an interesting look at ways in which science is approaching art.(less)
I can't not like a story with so much Star Trek culture woven in its fabric, but the authors' "OH HEY, AREN'T I COOL FOR KN...moreWhat a weird little story.
I can't not like a story with so much Star Trek culture woven in its fabric, but the authors' "OH HEY, AREN'T I COOL FOR KNOWING THIS" expository moments, and over-explanation of some of the Trek references made me roll my eyes pretty hard. It's like they were trying really hard to keep their readers who came over from the horror genre, but ran the risk of losing their readers from the Trek genre.
The narrative itself is not terribly well constructed, and the context they use to try to explain the main character ignoring the world going to shit around him is a bit frustrating. There are some plot holes big enough to drive a Hummer through, but the twist at the end with the "zombie" origins is pretty clever, and I didn't entirely see it coming.
It's also nice to read a novel set outside the Trek universe that respects, develops, and to some extent justifies, the fandom.
It wasn't The Great American Novel, but it was a fun way to spend a few hours. And my first (and probably only) foray into "horror." (less)
I'm so conflicted about this book. One the one hand, it's almost literal slap-in-the-face reminder that I needed that "you are what you eat, and most...moreI'm so conflicted about this book. One the one hand, it's almost literal slap-in-the-face reminder that I needed that "you are what you eat, and most of what you eat is CRAP"; on the other hand, the attitude of absolute certainty and, as Rachel said, forced sarcasm, is hard to swallow and demeaning. And I certainly didn't expect it to be evangelizing an entirely vegan diet.
They make a lot of good points about whole grains, eliminating refined sugars and oils, and moving to organic fruits and vegetables. All things that I have been doing or resolved to start doing soon.
I am glad that the text is as heavily annotated as it is, otherwise I wouldn't believe most of what they have to say, it's so inflammatory. As it is, I feel that I need to look into some of the claims they make, especially ones about "the pH of the body." Sounds like a lot of new-age crap to me, but IANAS. They seem to be in love with the concept of "enzymes" and how amazing they are. Don't get me wrong, I know that a diet full of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is bound to be better on and for our bodies than diets heavy in animal and dairy proteins; reading again about the conditions of America's slaugherhouses I am resolved to reduce the amount of animal protein in our diet, but humans are omnivores and meat proteins are an essential part of what we need to survive.
Looking at the sample meal plan that they have in the back, nearly every lunch and dinner contain some form of soy (what an obsession they have with "fake" animal products!) and not once do they mention any of the information that's come out warning about the hazards of women eating too much soy and its interaction with estrogen levels.
They pretty much lost me at the end, though, when they basically blamed a woman for her cancer, and then implied that if you live the lifestyle they do, you can will away cancer and disease. But perhaps I'm just sensitive about that sort of thing.
If you want to be a vegan, that's fine. But your being vegan and healthy does not mean that not vegan is not healthy. I'll have my cheese and eat it too. :P(less)
What would you do if you had a second chance at life? If you found the fountain of youth? Apparently the answer is "go apeshit crazy and live like a B...moreWhat would you do if you had a second chance at life? If you found the fountain of youth? Apparently the answer is "go apeshit crazy and live like a BoHo, wandering around Europe."
Snark aside, I wanted to like this book; I felt like I *should* like this book, but there's just something about his writing style that I just can't get through. It's set far enough in the future that things are supposed to be familiar-yet-foreign, and the author seems to dwell on descriptions of things that are supposed to be common. He seems to stand up and say "hey! look at how weird this is! Isn't this weird?!?!" and it's just plain distracting. For example, apparently 100 years in the future, animal cruelty is accepted practice, and rich people's pets can be "augmented" with technology to be plot devices, appearing at just the moment when the narrative has fallen so deep into a rat hole that nothing but a mad talking dog can get it out again.
To be fair, one of the talking dogs (yes, there are more than one) is a bit of a slap for the main character, revealing in one brief scene that the do-whatever-the-hell-I-want attitude of the main character and her new social group does indeed have consequences. In fact, that seems to be the only major consequence of ANY of the characters actions. There's this feeling that these characters are supposed to be "edgy" and "outside the law" but with the exception of one law enforcement official that has very little actual presence in the action of the novel, there's a lot of laying/sitting/standing around and not a lot of "running from the law."
And don't even get me started on the "But we're ARTISTS!" thread. The title of the book, "Holy Fire" is a metaphor for the inner passion felt by an artist, that force that drives them to create, and the fuel that powers their creativity. There is constant referral to "artifice" which I think we are supposed to think of as a future melding of all of the creative arts - architecture, painting, photography, etc. Supposedly all these artistes are creating amazing things that are going to change the world, but at no point are we really ever told about them. There's reference to some of the characters programming human-machine interfaces that apparently intend to do what they've been torturing animals with for a while, but the work of the rest of the characters doesn't seem to have any influence on the world. And maybe that's the point?
I certainly can identify with the frustration that the youth of this novel feel, trapped under the control of an aging aristocracy; a theme that is perhaps even more relavant today than when the novel was written over a decade ago. But it's hard to see how they're being oppressed. Socialism is widespread, drugs are readily available, and there seems to be a magic "tincture" for everything, and escapism on the 'net is common.
**spoiler alert** This one's pretty bad... I thought it had such promise, some sort of getting to know you under stressful conditions love story, but...more**spoiler alert** This one's pretty bad... I thought it had such promise, some sort of getting to know you under stressful conditions love story, but really it's a crappy romance novel with a out-of-left-field twist about half way in. The characters seem wildly inconsistant in their motivations, with perhaps the exception of the protagonist male, who finally snaps at the end, when really, I would have liked to see it happen a lot earlier and just get it over with, already.
The prose is overly decorated, and the whole structure of the thing is very disjoint and akward. At some points she's writing as though weeks have passed, but it only turns out to have been a couple of days. Or it seems like days have passed, but somehow it's been months, yet, it's still winter?
I don't know, I read all the way to the end because I wanted to believe that there would be some sort of redemption here, that something would finally be explored and developed, but no. There's a rape, a fight, a death, and then we're supposed to believe that everything's going to be OK?
Not to mention the author's weird obsession with references to people randomly killing themselves and each other. Unnecessary and distracting to the overall story.
And has she ever been to Wisconsin? I mean, I know the winters are often brutal, but they're not 9 months long, for crying out loud.
The more I think about this one, the more I like it. Maybe it's because I started it over the holiday break and was in the market for a light, quick r...moreThe more I think about this one, the more I like it. Maybe it's because I started it over the holiday break and was in the market for a light, quick read; or maybe it's because I'm a sucker for a tech-related book that's grounded in reality; but the longer it sits, the more I like it.
This is the first William Gibson novel I've ever read, so I don't know if this is new to anyone else, but I really liked the short, almost staccato, chapters. Each is just long enough to convey action, and then the narrative cuts away to something else, leaving all the traveling to behind the scenes, so to speak.
One thing I didn't like, is the same thing that I didn't like about the first season of Heros - we pick up on several different characters in several places, with no indication of how they connect together. But it all comes together pretty quickly and makes sense.
I also really love that the big event at the end isn't some major heist or assignation, but a "prank" of sorts, that gave me a smile.
Not amazing world-changing stuff here, but a nice beach/vacation read, for sure. (less)
**spoiler alert** It's very meta-. And very aware that it's meta-. I don't know what I think about that. I don't really know what I think about it in...more**spoiler alert** It's very meta-. And very aware that it's meta-. I don't know what I think about that. I don't really know what I think about it in general. Though after going along with it for page after page, I wish the main character had turned out to be someone cooler than Jesus. Oh well. It's only too appropriate, I guess. (less)