Friday, April 27, 2012

Slog, slog, slog

It used to be that I'd go through a couple of novels a week.  My standard fare is fantasy and science fiction, and most of the time, they're an easy read.  Nowadays, though, my burn rate has gone down drastically.  Now I'm beginning to wonder if it's:

a) my poor eyesight;

b) greater self-awareness and more sophisticated adult tastes;

c) the diminishing quality of contemporary fantasy and science fiction; or

d) any combination of the above.

Case in point: I'm having a really hard time going through "And Another Thing...", Eoin Colfer's take at a sequel of Douglas Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" series.  It's been two weeks since I started on the book, and I'm still only halfway through.

Now I'm not one of the hardcore fans of H2G2, so I don't mind that another author picks up where Adams left off.  I enjoyed the first book well enough to pick up and read the remaining four, but was disappointed by the abrupt ending of "Mostly Harmless."   It was as if Adams just got tired and put an end to the series by killing of all the characters.  I chalked it up to his trademark absurdism and moved on.

I picked up "And Another Thing..." for two reasons only, the first being: I was curious how Colfer would pull off a rescue of Arthur Dent and company.  I got that much from the first couple of chapters, and I thought it was clever and coherent with the previous cliffhanger.  But going beyond that?  What a drudge.

I can't find myself carrying enough about the characters.  They're all unsympathetic and detestable, Arthur Dent included, if less so than the rest.  I thought about it, and I've come to the conclusion that it's because they're all selfish, self-absorbed, pessimistic, and just plain unbearably annoying.  I can't imagine spending any amount of time with any of these characters in real life.

So with such unsympathetic characters, we're left with nothing but smarmy narration and trick situations that all cry out: "Look at me! Look at me!"  Sorry, Mr. Colfer, it just doesn't work.

I mentioned that I picked up the book for two reasons only.  The second is this: it was in the bargain bin for P50.  Well, at least I only put out that much.

Anyone want to take this book out of my hands?