Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Land's End

by Frederik Pohl and Jack Willaimson

Strong mix here. By that I don’t mean a mixture of elements that forms a strong book on the whole, rather there’s a type of meld here between quality and less so in the novel. The main premise is interesting and there are a lot of very powerful and creepy moments, and the larger setup of disaster, conflict and survival works well. The representation of underwater life in the Eighteen Cities is also quite good, and brings a bit of Pohl's satirical edge to the Clarke-esque range of technical detail. On the other hand, the main alien force in this work feels rather abruptly written and is given far too many scenes of doing nothing but establishing its nature. Linked to this problem is the excessive buildup to the main event, the first hundred pages really drag. Finally, there's some corporate villains that are generic, shortsighted, wholly malicious evildoers, and the intrigue with them really weakens the book. Worth reading but has some definite cracks involved, and falls pretty far short of greatness.

Better than: The Golden Grove by Nancy Kress
Worse than: King Rat by China Mieville

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