Ex Libris Kirkland

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First Written 2002
Genre Scifi
Origin UK
My Copy library paperback
First Read April 06, 2021


Gosh, I really disliked this book. I'd tried to read it years ago, never got far, but it kept making its way back onto my 'recommended' list. I tried to put my finger on what it is that I hated, and I think I'll need several fingers:

1. There are books that do interesting world-building by throwing you into one or more weird situations, not explaining what's happening, and help you kind of discover the next context or rules as you go. This is fine! I don't mind it.

But there are books that throw you a LOT more bones, or move that discovery towards the front half of the book, and then say: 'OK, now that you know the weird situation, here's how a story can unfold.' Thus the weird intricate world-building is part of the story, but not the whole thing.

Then there are books where the uncovering of what the flip is going on IS the story - it's a stringing along of the reader and takes the place of an actual plot. The journey you're on as a reader is about unraveling the puzzle. But this isn't like a mystery novel, where you know the shape and stakes: this is just like someone creating a too-clever puzzle and slowly giving you the pieces. You have no real chance at putting together the pieces because the author isn't going to give you them until they're good and ready.

Light is that second kind. Not for me.

2. The post-human post-singularity alien future thing was like, extremely imaginative in its general world-building, but so boring in its content! Like, you've got weird semi-human red-haired aliens, and all they can do is be drug addicts. I get it, wow, good point that maybe aliens will be boring. But also I am still bored?

3. It's just got kind of a nasty vibe. There's something that's just too world-weary and mean about it, even the parts that aren't about being a serial killer chased by a multidimensional eldritch horse-skull person, or maybe also a Giant Yellow Duck.

4. I am extremely Not Into the serial killing bit. I know that's a genre, that lots of people love reading about murder. Not for me, thanks.

Noted on April 24, 2021

Ex Libris Kirkland is a super-self-absorbed reading journal made by Matt Kirkland. Copyright © 2001 - .
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