i mean, i knew what i was getting into, because i did read the first one, but still…
i will review this when i can force myself to revisit even thinking about this book.
ugh. i have been putting off the writing of this review for ages, because i want to write it about as much as i ever want to read this book again, which is to say “not at all.” if you like that sentence, by the way, you will love harry turtledove.
but anyway, while i was reading this book, i was very excited. not to read it, but to write the review for it. i took pages of notes, planning to write the most hilarious, snarkiest review ever, but when i finished, i realized that i had written nearly every single page number as a reference-point for where there was a) corny dialogue, b) weird racial preoccupation, c) unbelievable ideas of how people behave, or d) just boring-ass plot that went nowhere. and then i misplaced a couple of pages of these notes, and then the holiday season overtook me, and the whole project just became this exhausting burden to me. so i’m not going to write anything more than a moderately-entertaining review and call it a day, because this whole situation has been dragging on forever, and i need to get on with my life, you know?
so – i am going to pick 5 (five) pages at random, and just quote all the things that are wrong on that page. i do mourn my best-laid plans, because if ever a book needed to be torn apart, it is this one, but maybe one of y’all can bite the bullet and fulfill my master plan. i’m too tired, and even just looking at the book now weakens me.
so, random page number one:
after one character provides oral sex to one of the gentleman running the refugee camp where she has been living in exchange for special favors:
Micah had himself wiped off and his trousers (as opposed to his cock) up again. He looked over her shoulder. “How unfortunate for you,” he said.
just – gross.
and later on that page:
“You must have relatives you could get a loan from,” Micah said.
She’d chewed on that before. Her father probably would front her the money to get back to California, or at least out of the camp. She’d had too much pride to ask him. She’d made her own way since she dropped out of college to try the real world instead. Asking him for anything would seem like a failure.
So what exactly do you call sucking this guy’s joint in exchange for a better tent and a chance to use the Net once in a while? she asked herself. But this was – or she’d always figured this was – temporary. Once she got the hell out of here, she could always pretend Micah Husak had never been born. Taking money from her old man was different. She wouldn’t forget it. Neither would he.
i mean – what?? she has too much pride to ask her father for money to get her out of an insanely disgusting situation, but not too much to give hummers to play on the internet?? i do not understand these characters! how does this make sense??
You know, after Louise and I had our three, she was always after me to get a vasectomy so she wouldn’t have to go on using her manhole cover.”
“Her what?” Kelly was glad Colin couldn’t see her blank stare.
“Diaphragm,” he explained.
“Oh.” She poked him again, less successfully this time. He would make a bad joke like that. He not only would, he had.
(OH GOD KILL ME NOW!!)
“Yeah, well,” he went on, “I didn’t feel like doing anything when the odds of undoing it weren’t so great. I didn’t think anything was wrong – which only shows how much I knew, doesn’t it? But I even used condominiums every once in a while so she wouldn’t need the Frisbee.”
To do that justice, Kelly would have had to poke him eight or twelve times. She contented herself with snorting instead. Colin hadn’t made the smallest of sacrifices, though, not from the male point of view. Guys used condoms, but the next man she found who liked them would be the first.
i think i am just going to avoid commentary, and let you think your thoughts. if you don’t know what is wrong with that passage, there is something wrong with you. this whole book is like this, i am telling you…
After thinking about Susan – quite a bit after thinking about her – Bryce remembered his mother. Barbara Miller hadn’t been thrilled when he moved up to the Valley. What would she say if he went two thousand miles away?
I want you to be happy. That’s what she’d say, sure as God made Greek irregular verbs. And she’d be lying through her teeth. That was what math guys called intuitively obvious.
His stomach rumbled, loud enough to startle his cat if only he’d had one.
seriously – is there no editor here?? is no one telling mr. turtledove that sentences shouldn’t just take up space – they should have a purpose??
No, first step was dealing with those leftovers. Whatever Susan thought wouldn’t change a hell of a lot in the next half hour. Yes, people were animals. Better not to be a hungry animal.
“All right, Mrs. Ferguson, now I need to see the evidence that you’ve been actively seeking employment during the past fortnightly period,” the clerk said. Could anyone who didn’t work for the EDD bring out things like actively seeking employment or fortnightly period as if they actually belonged to the English language? Louise wouldn’t have bet six inches of used dental floss on it.
None of which had anything to do with the price of beer (high, like the price of everything else). Louise pulled out application letters from her purse and shoved them at the clerk. They were genuine, all right. She would have done anything short of turning tricks to escape the EDD’s clutches. Christ on a crutch, who wouldn’t? The only trouble was, nobody wanted to hire her…or, by appearances, anyone else.
“Good,” answered Louise, who would have hit the ceiling in seventeen different places if he’d tried to tell her anything else.
She put her applications and the check into the purse. Then she got out of there as fast as she could. Who hung around the EDD one second longer than they had to? Nobody, that was who.
every page is as scintillating as this.
“A joke. Uh-huh.” Rodney didn’t sound like somebody who was going to ROFL.
“Would I be talking about it with you if I didn’t believe it?”
“Not fuckin’ likely,” Ellis answered, which was also the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
later, instead of nodding, Colin made his head go up and down one more time.
so you see what we are dealing with here.
the problem with this book is that it totally lacks urgency. you know how boring small talk is?? and how boring it is listening to people complain? that is basically what this book is. no one seems to be in any danger. they are annoyed, but nothing seems life-threatening. the complaints are basically spotty cellphone reception and internet connections, difficulties getting gas (but not the kind that comes from your rear – that particular joke is made se-ver-al times) new babies keeping a mother up all night, long lines at the employment office, traffic, late buses, smelly people, students who won’t pay attention, the boredom of corporate jobs,the difficulties of a classics major in finding employment, how hard it is to get short stories published after the supervolcano, i mean JFC!! both Ashfall and Ashen Winter, books intended for a YA audience about the same subject matter, have marauding gangs of cannibals, and richly detailed information about rebuilding the agricultural infrastructure. this has a character moping about the bread at applebees. this book has crankiness when the power going off spoils the food in the icebox. i cannot think of a more boring book. connor always gets mad when people complain of a movie “nothing happens.” but you know what??? NOTHING HAPPENS HERE!! babies are born, people go to the diner, board games are played, blowjobs are administered as payment, but nothing happens. there is no unifying plot. the whole book is basically “bitching about having to ride a bike.” oh, and a serial killer is caught. which has nothing to do with, you know, the supervolcano.
it is corny as a motherfucker. his puns and his unattributed quotations and his extra extra extra words drove me up a wall. i cannot believe that i thought this would be fun to read.
i kind of want to die.
makes a great holiday gift for someone you hate!