The edition I have has no blurb on the back cover, just a huge photo of Shatner, staring out at you, piercingly.
What features the man has! What mystiq...moreThe edition I have has no blurb on the back cover, just a huge photo of Shatner, staring out at you, piercingly.
What features the man has! What mystique, what writing talent!
I quite enjoyed this, actually. It's trashy, and doesn't occupy the mind too much, but it bumbles along at a fair pace and I even found myself a little disappointed to find the story incomplete and waiting for the next installment.
Shatner's universe isn't terribly well developed, but has some nice shades and is padded out in the right places. The plot is simple and fairly vague at times, while the language is fairly simplistic.
Happily, it's only a couple of hundred pages long, and not too full of itself. Scurrying from rendesvous to las-gun fight, his characters are blissfully unaware of their cult importance.
But this can be overlooked in favour of Shatner's effective style. It's not a classic of sci-fi, not by a long shot, but it's by no means as despicable as its reputation suggests!
This trashy thriller is so contrived I nearly cried. Not for the first time I'm grateful a book doesn't ta...morePeople keep on buying me books I won't like.
This trashy thriller is so contrived I nearly cried. Not for the first time I'm grateful a book doesn't take long to read.
Comparisons to The Da Vinci Code are inevitable, because this is in precisely the same vein throughout. It's not the only book Bourne's paid close attention to. From the very start the characters and plot are formulaic beyond belief.
An example; at least 5 times a chapter, there are hints about "something happening in africa in the past" that are so tedious I was driven to tears. This continues until the secret is revealed to a character who has become a confidant. I have no idea why I was still reading at this stage.
While Bourne writes in a more interesting way than Brown, he's not as engaging. The story doesn't flow like The Da Vinci Code, it's simply not as gripping or intriguing.
The "mystery" at the heart of the piece is transparent and boring. The entire book appears to work on the priciple that the reader is even more stupid than the central characters.
Last Testament achieves the impressive feat of blending tedium, plagiarism and mean-spiritedness into one wonderfully commercially-successful package.(less)
In spite of any number of things (my pitiful personal knowledge of drama and Shakespeare's work, my internet-ravaged attention span...) I rather enjoy...moreIn spite of any number of things (my pitiful personal knowledge of drama and Shakespeare's work, my internet-ravaged attention span...) I rather enjoyed this book.
Particularly interesting to me was the account of the alterations that drama underwent in the lead-up to the Shakespearean period, from the Mystery Cycles to the Morality Plays, and the struggle that dramatists faced in trying to work out where the audience should place in the worlds they created.
For this the chapter entitled "the tyrrany of the audience" makes particularly interesting reading - I did not realise how conflicted these writers were in attempting to find some pretext to explain why the scenes they'd devised might include a hundred spectators.
The first half of the book traces the development of the audience role in english drama prior to the Elizebethans, with the second half discussing how the idea of the play was presented by Shakespeare himself.
The contributing influences of medieval traditions, classical dramatists such as Plautine and Terence, and the incoming Morality writers are brought together skilfully by Righter, who makes sense of them and explains in a way even this layman can understand! Ultimately this gives us the prerequisite understanding of how Elizabethan audiences were treated and interacted with, before we tackle the work of The Bard himself.
While the details of how Shakespeare's characters reflected on the ideas of actors and their own myriad deceptions and 'counterfeits' are no doubt interesting, I flagged somewhat, as these would be better suited to someone with more knowledge of Shakespeare than myself. However, Righter has enthusiasm for her subject, and it does make me want to read these plays she's referring to.
Even as it gets more specific this half does continue to sum up the changes in Shakespeare's writing as it goes, raising interesting questions - for example, why does Shakespeare's attitude towards theatre and acting alter so radically following Hamlet?
While this book will doubtless be of more interest to people who know more than myself about Shakespeare's plays, nevertheless I felt that it provided an interesting general insight into the 'Idea of the Play' in the 16th and 17th centuries, and a good place to start a further investigation into Shakespeare.(less)
I found O-Zone to be a really enjoyable science-fiction novel, impressively well written with an intriguing premise and a series of good ideas to expl...moreI found O-Zone to be a really enjoyable science-fiction novel, impressively well written with an intriguing premise and a series of good ideas to explore.
Theroux treats ideas of civilization, racism, decadence and closed communities with a huge dose of humanism, and creates a very memorable central character in Fizzy, the 15 year-old supermoron.
Unfortunately at times he appears in two minds as to whether he intends to write a thriller or a more philosophical piece, and as a consequence the pacing seems to slip in some areas - there's really no need for the story itself to be 500 pages long, but it's justified because Theroux wants to do more than tell the story.
The grim and uncompromising lives of the 'aliens' who live outside closed cities such as New York are skilfully contrasted with the ridiculous notions of the well-off owners, who take an almost childlike attitude to technology, wealth, liberty and sex. Theroux has tremendous skill in character observations and I thoroughly enjoyed these humorous passages.
O-Zone's post-apocalyptic setting is familiar ground for sci-fi, and the motivations of his characters can seem contradictory and ultimately confusing. But despite these flaws Theroux is a good storyteller who retains our interest through to his tale's finale.(less)