Monday, December 14, 2009


I've unintentionally encountered quite a few post-apocalyptic fiction experiences this year.  Perhaps it's due to all the buzz surrounding the 2012/Mayan calander thing but certainly not all of it.  I had read 1984, A Canticle for Liebowitz, I am Legend this year as well as watching the complete "Jeremiah" TV series.  I've always been drawn to such work and perhaps it isn't all that suprising that Veracity, by Laura Bynum caught my eye when I saw it on my Amazon Vine Program list.

The book has an intriguing premise: much of the population of the US has been wiped out by a pandemic virus in 2012 and now in 2045, the survivors of that experience live in an extreme government-controlled society, for the citizen's own protection.  The protagonist, Harper Adams has a gift in that she can see people's auras and know what they are feeling, including if they are telling the truth or not.  She is recruited by a resistance force, organized by people who remember the way things were prior to the pandemic and want to bring back freedoms, democracy, etc.  A central theme of the book involves the "Red List", a list of words that are not allowed to be used any more, thus supressing the population.

This book was OK, but just OK.  I liked the theme that language has power and I liked the way that was resolved through the use of "The Book of Noah".  The author uses first person present tense, and also skips around in her timeline quite a bit during the first half of the book.  That can work well in the hands of an experienced writer but here it seems to make the whole work a bit snobbish, as if the author was trying to make it be more literary.  The characters were not well developed, at least not enough so that the reader can grow to really care what happens to them.  I also found the later half of the book, the part about the resistance's efforts to take back the government to be hugely simplified.  The battle tactics just weren't believable, almost as if there were large parts of the narrative missing.  Unfortuantely, novels like this will inevitably be compared to 1984 and similar works...certainly a difficult standard to achieve.

On a different note, "Big Man" the next short story in Louis L'Amour's collection, The Strong Shall Live, was a fantastic story.  I had just been complaining about the sterotype western hero from the previous story and here I get just what I asked for.  The hero this time is a 6'7" 330 pound, over confidant young man who starts a ranch in the middle of hostile Indian country and plants groves of cherry trees there.  How he interacts with the nearby townsmen that just shake their heads at his foolishness and how he not only manages to survive but actually thrive is the stuff of great storytelling.  Best of the bunch so far.

Next up: December calls for me to wrap up all series that I've started during the year so now it's the Star Wars one, number 3 of the Black Fleet Crisis.

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Top 10 Books in no particular order (Well Known Authors)

  • "The Stand" by Stephen King
  • "Kane and Able" by Jeffrey Archer
  • "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
  • "The Dark Elf Trilogy" by RA Salvatore
  • "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss
  • "River God" by Wilbur Smith
  • "Mortalis" by RA Salvatore
  • "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
  • "Centennial" by James A Michener
  • "The Repairman Jack" series by F. Paul Wilson

Top Books/ Series in no particular order (Lesser Known Authors)

  • "The Sculpter" by Gregory Funaro
  • "Power Down" by Ben Coes
  • "Revolution at Sea Saga" by James L. Nelson
  • "Black Rain" by Graham Brown
  • "Top Producer" by Norb Vonnegut
  • "Prairie" by Anna Lee Waldo
  • "The Wild Blue" by W. Boyne & S Thompson
  • "Unsolicited" series by Julie Kaewert
  • "Freedom" by William Safire