Redux

Jun. 15th, 2006 06:38 pm
threemonkeys: (Waxlion)
It is hard writing about Paul McAuley. it sounds the same every time. McAuley finds a trend, follows it, does it better than anybody else, blah blah blah. This time it is the chase thriller. Some people find out about a secret and have to go through a bunch of steps to find the big payoff. In the meantime they are being chased by bad guys who want to find the same secret. Sound like the Da Vinci Code? Well structurally it is, but nothing much else is the same.

Actually the underlying secret of Mind's Eye is an interesting one. It looks at the notion that specific visual images can impress emotional responses at a fundamental level. It is interesting because obviously there are some images that provoke a response. Mostly these are sexual or flight responses but what if it was there were more specific images that could provoke other reactions. There have been stories about these in the past but I haven't seen one recently - they were a very "new wave" type of idea. Actually I think it is probably rubbish but it makes for interesting reading.
threemonkeys: (Waxlion)
I haven't posted anything for a while because there isn't much happening in my world at the moment. This part of my break is just about blobbing at home and cleaning up stuff around the place. This means pruning trees and feeding the branches through the chipper, playing mindless arcade style games and watching DVDs. I have restarted my Buffy marathon - I just have to reiterate that B6/A3 contain more cringe-worthy moments than all the other series put together. This Buffy problem is probably due to the absence of Joss Whedon's focus of attention - first that dire musical and then pre-production for Firefly.

I have not been doing very much reading - no more than when I was working really which makes that to-read shelf look pretty imposing. I have just finished White Devils by Paul McAuley. I should repeat what I have said about McAuley in the past - he is a trend follower. When some trend shows up, he comes along just when it is past its peak and writes a book in the style of the trend. Why he can be forgiven this is that the books are invariably very good and he always brings something new to the table which shows that he isn't just being derivative.

The trend this time is that a number of SF writers have been moving over into hi-tech writing thrillers. White Devils is set in a near future Africa and the technology is genetic engineering. It is a good read with plenty of action, strong characters and convincing technology. This book is really a cut above the normal quality for this type of thing. But it does not have that extra bit that McAuley usually brings. Even without the extra push it is still so much better than anything Michael Crichton does in the same space and look how many books he sells. And there you may have the answer to why McAuley, Michael Marshall Smith, Greg Bear, Dan Simmons etc have gone down this route - there is money in the thriller genre.

My break is starting to move into its next phase which should involve actually doing more varied stuff. I wonder if it will bring more reading.

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