Monday, September 13, 2010

some pages turned over

The Futurist: The Life and Films of James Cameron: My favourite section of the book covered the making of The Abyss. The portions about Harlan Ellison and the whole Soldier/Terminator only add to the mystery of the truth. Being an Ellison fan, I'd be tempted to hurl invectives at Cameron and Co. for not acknowledging a debt to Ellison's short story and the fabulous opener to the second season of The Outer Limits. But I also liked The Terminator and, had I not been any wiser, I'd have been inclined to dismiss Ellison's claims (as Cameron is quoted to have done in this book). What really transpired will unfortunately never be known.

The Lost Symbol: Dan Brown lives up to his reputation of writing something that makes you turn the pages as fast as you can, as you attempt to restore the narrative thread disrupted by one belch of expository preening after another. There is enough abuse of details in the descriptions of different things to make you shudder at the thought of turning over a page, afraid of what form of literary torture awaits you. I must confess, however, that it is a relief to be able to run through a whole book without once feeling intellectually tugged: Dan Brown makes sure that you, dear reader, do not have to pause, for one teensy bit, to evaluate the goings-on.

Death of a Politician: My first Richard Condon novel was a hefty challenge. I was unable to find much more about the book or its background and I was not as familiar with the politics of the 60s and 70s to spot the real-life figures that Condon was eloquently taking potshots at. This did not make the novel any less engrossing. The device of interrogations and reports takes some getting used to (The Anderson Tapes by Lawrence Sanders uses tape transcripts was easier on my eyes and brain). I hope the other books I picked up at the library book sale don't disappoint me. I'll save The Manchurian Candidate till the end; after all, I've already seen the film.

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