Stephen's Reviews > Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America

Julian Comstock by Robert Charles Wilson
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's review
Apr 26, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: science-fiction, award-nominee-hugo, easton-press, signed-first-or-limited-edition, audiobook, 2006-2010, world-in-the-shitter
Read from April 24 to 25, 2011

First the Postives: The book was well-written had a nice “new book” smell. Okay, on to the negatives MEHgatives , beginning with the advisory label I would require if I was Emperor of Literature for the world: Photobucket

There is not a whole lot more that I can add to that so, like the book, I will just sort of d.....r.....a.....w.....t......h......i.....n......g......s....... o....u....t. Or maybe I could just emulate the book and say the same thing several different ways. You know like you say something and then you say the same thing but just a little bit differently. Kind of take the first thing you said and say it using some different words. For example, you could make a statement and then you could say it again but not quite the same way.

I suppose I should pause for a moment and make clear that I did not hate the book. Hate requires strong feelings and I could not muster enough emotion about this one to even be irritated with it. It was just sort of there, all Meh-like and boring in its worn out structure and new idea lackness. Photobucket

For those of you who have not read this, here is a quick plot summary. It is the end of the 22nd century and due to your usual combination of resource-depletion, natural disasters and nation against nation slap fests, the world has regressed into a kind of 19th century quasi-industrial feudalism where people travel mostly by horse but there are also coal running trains. You get the idea…you’ve seen it before…many, many times.
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There is a government organized around a President for life, a federally elected senate and the Dominion of Jesus Christ (the DJC) which is basically a combination IRS and Patent Office for churches (and….just between you a me….the DJC also acts as a neat little vehicle for the author to bash on organized religion…..yawn…we’ve seen this before….many, many times).
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So against that recycled background, you have one boring character narrating the life of the boring title character who hates religion and the DJC and dreams of putting Charles Darwin to be on the One Dollar bill……..and 500 pages later, the book ends.
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A long the way there is lots of meandering exposition, some pointless conversations, some dialogues that are forgettable enough that I can not remember them and a WHOLE LOTTA WALKING. Now, there are also a few military skirmishes and several fairly large battles but the excitement has been miraculously edited out of them.

So in the end…Meh….If I have never read another book like this, I would have rated it higher as the quality of the prose was good. But this was a case of been, there done that, been there, done that, been there, done that…..and so Meh!!! 2.0 stars.

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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Lori I'm eager for your review. This one didn't work for me either, unlike all my friends.


Stephen Just posted it. Hope you like it.


message 3: by Trudi (new)

Trudi HA! Love the Meh warning label; I've been known to use Meh for Mediocre, but I like yours better :)


Lori Ha! I just stole your meh and boring images for future AVs.

I liked the concept of the book but I couldn't get into the characters.


Stephen Brian wrote: "The part about saying something, and then saying it again slightly differently was pretty funny. I was entertained by that part. I found it amusing."

Thanks, Brian. I was trying to achieve uniquely new originality through repetitious, tautological redundancy.


message 6: by Kaethe (new) - added it

Kaethe Well said.


message 7: by Sam (new) - rated it 2 stars

Sam Hughes excellent review. this truly was one of the most stale bread books I have attempted to read but just couldn't continue. thanks for the warning sticker


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