Monday, October 24, 2016

The Herald of Crap

I've heard very good things about The Killer Angels (1974) by Michael Shaara, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1975.  I'd also heard good things about his science fiction novel The Herald (1981), and it just happened to be the first book of Shaara's I picked up to read.  I wish I could say I enjoyed it, but I didn't.  It's a techno-disaster in the Michael Crichton genre, but even worse than Crichton.  The characters are stock, and have no development, and even worse the writing style is clumsy and choppy, with very short paragraphs and lots of trite dialogue. Basically, like many of Crichton's books, it is just a fleshed out screenplay for a B-grade film that wouldn't be worth watching. Here the improbably named Nick Tesla lands his small plane at at airport in the southeast, only to discover the town all dead save for himself and some strays who, like him, are apparently immune to the radiation that he learns the town has been subjected to.  Add some military men, and evil scientists, and you get a predictable, dull result.  Shaara re-wrote the ending and retitled the book The Noah Conspiracy when it was reissued in 1994. But I can't find it in me to care about any supposed revision.  Nothing could make this a worthwhile read. I'm not for book burning, but if this one ended up in a fire I wouldn't try to save it. 

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