Kris's Reviews > Killing Time

Killing Time by Caleb Carr
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's review
Jun 06, 2011

it was ok
Read from March 30 to May 05, 2011

I give it two stars for having potential... the folks saying this is the WORST book they've ever read obviously have never tried "Princess Bride" or read fanfic. Carr at least can punctuate, capitalize, write in complete sentences and never abuses a parenthese. That having said, this book is FAR from being good. I think he should have read more in the SF genre before attempting this. My suspension of disbelief was rarely willing nor complete viable, particularly with his air/space/submarine ship. Truly how DID that thing get around without causing massive air crashes and all sorts of environmental damage?
Maybe I'm just an old cynical historian, but did you REALLy think that the nature of government would truly change all that much over time. Is it really shocking, particularly to old SF readers, that governments in the future would be as repressive and governments in the past? In all honesty, modern city governments in the Industrialized nations wield power over their citizenry that medieval tyrants would have KILLED to own.

Three things that struck me most forcefully were:

1. His lack of descriptive detail, I never managed to "forget" I was just reading a book. He writes early in the book "The results of this 'revelation' I hardly need record-"

Um yes Mr. Carr, you DO need to record them as your reading audience does NOT live in the dystopian world of your hero. We do need some details. Another 50 to one hundred pages would have fleshed out the book nicely and pulled the characters out of their two dimensional status.

2. Later in the book he talks of a breakdown in hospital procedure leading to massive strep outbreaks. Really? I mean really? Even giving that this was written in 2000 and well before the Swine Flu panic, it really makes no sense and reduced me to laughing til I dropped the book as I had been in my doctor's office the prior week and because I had a sore throat, I wasn't certain that the receptionist was even going to allow me in the building to infect other people.

3. The narrative, truly a horrible choice of writing style. By making it a narrative, I felt that Carr trampled the maxim of "show don't tell" In all honesty, the book felt like it had been written by an amateur or a teenager, it just had a very "immature" feel and style.

And I won't even address the decision to introduce time travel into the plot in the last FIFTY pages! Must we have EVERY SF cliche present?
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05/02/2011 page 10
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