Scribal's Reviews > The Traveler

The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks
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Apr 28, 2012

bookshelves: an-embarrassement

I'm embarrassed that I actually finished this book. I thought it was so bad that I morally couldn't trade it in at the local used bookstore (the one that has the biggest sci-fi section and enough actual patrons to keep it changing--and they sell new books too). I considered burning it but then I lost interest until I started re-reading some Foucault, and it brought the Panopticon to mind and then this book, which I now have to say: This is the Worst Book I ever finished reading.

To cut to the chase, despite how badly written it is, the truly stupid annoying part of the book is the conceit that a shallow unexplored insight is interesting and important.

Why I hate it: it's yet another popular, promoted book in a genre I love that is absolutely horribly written. The sentence structure is like a first grade reader. The characters are simpler and more cliched than the sentences. Everything else is more derivative if possible and you can sense the author struggling with moving the characters through space.

The ideas are old and well-worn, but that's okay. Art reuses, reinterprets, re-imagines, and reinvigorates old concepts. But there's no art here. The characters take the ideas, and spout them like drunk undergraduates at people in general. And then those people, having been told "the truth," seem to say to themselves, "oh, I never thought of that before."

Why did I finish it? Inertia maybe. It does have a Plot. It doesn't hold together well and it's full of holes, but it does run the course of the book and that's a plus. It also has a Theme and an Idea. These are not bad, just not original and not explored in any intelligent way.
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