Saturday, December 14, 2013

A bit disjointed of purpose....

 I recently read John Connolly's The Creeps and Frank Swain's How to Make a Zombie.  Despite one being fiction, the other nonfiction, my complaint about both is the same.  Both seemed to lack a certain direction.  I liked Connolly's first book in the series, The Gates.  But this one seemed to wander all over the place without much reason.  While you can't really expect a lot of reason in a book that mixes particle physics and demons, I was still hoping for a tighter narrative.  There was still some of the Pratchett-like humor, it was just that the humor fell short of what I'd expect from any of the Discworld books, so I'm left wondering why I wasn't just reading those instead.  And there's no reason I'm not as I've reserved a few for the future rather than reading them so I'm not out of Pratchett.  After reading The Creeps I went right out to the Dakota library site and reserved three Discworld novels and The Long War.  So while I don't really have any glaring complaints about The Creeps, it left me feeling like I need to cleanse my palate with a better wine.

How to Make a Zombie had a more straightforward purpose.  To explain all the explorations of reanimation and mind control from a historical and scientific perspective.  But there's enough material there that it gets pretty loose, covering zombies, secret agents and hallucinogenic studies, parasites, Prussian Blue (reminded me of Sacre' Bleu which my wife is currently reading), resurrection/reanimation, organ harvesting, the nature of death, and on and on....  While Connolly reminded me of not-quite-up-to-quality Pratchett, Swain reminded me of a not quite focused-enough and up-to-quality The Red Queen by Ridley.  So that's my review.  If you're going to read The Creeps, read Terry Pratchett's Discworld instead.  If you're going to read How to Make a Zombie, read Ridley's The Red Queen instead.

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