Friday, July 14, 2006

You haven’t aged well, nor have you learned

I think it was Scott that first came up with the expression “ it’s like swimming with your clothes on” to describe riding a mountain bike after being used to riding a road bike. That is a perfect phrase. It is also how I have felt lately regarding the books I’m ‘reading’ right now. Just thinking off the top of my head, here are the books that currently have bookmarks in them:

American Hardcore: A Tribal History by Steven Blush
Showcase Presents: Green Lantern
The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway
Jack Hagee, Private Eye Graphic Novel
Cell by Stephen King
Spider-Man/Black Cat: Evil That Men Do by Kevin Smith

I use old concert stubs as bookmarks and am all out of bookmarks right now. No new books are allowed to be started. That is the rule. I impulsively feel that my reading volume has spiked downward, but I ultimately realize that I’m reading just as much as before, it is just that nothing is getting finished.

Thankfully I am still keeping up on my weekly comics, mainly the all important weekly 52, and I was able to finish Cell at lunch.

Cell was a tight, excellently paced, short novel. I genuinely appreciate a longer Stephen King novel and the way he slowly weaves different characters into each other’s lives, sometimes taking a few hundred pages of characterization and action before they ever meet. This rarely feels bloated or wasteful, The Stand being an excellent example. The Cell is much different and is successful in its own way. The intense doom of the unknown zombie threat and its source functions best when it is unknown to the characters as well as the reader. We only meet characters when the main protagonist Clay meets them – no omniscient storytelling here. At the end we’re never sure of the true facts of the Pulse – we only know what the characters know when we they know it. Not a great book, but a very good one. For me, it all successfully hinged on the third person point of view that veered constantly towards a first person one. Also, there are many zombies to be dealt with, a healthy fear of technology premise that harkens back to the fear of atomic energy centered films of the 50’s, and the omnipresent political underpinnings all zombie tales possess. A solid grade of B.

The fast pitch softball team a few coworkers belong to has felt a pinch of dwindling members so I’ll be playing in a double header tomorrow. It’s a kitten ball, not a Chicago softball, but I’ll survive.


Anonymous said...

vintage SF, laden with the fears and politics of the times, is fantastic stuff. I saw some very early superman and it was so obviously war era propaganda. disney even had a short where had a nightmare that he was a nazi soldier. -s

Scott said...

Thanks for the props, yo!