Beautifully and darkly poetic, there's a lot here about the value of life, the fallacy of human elitism, and the bleakness of history. It's not an easy read, and as far as stories go, it's not one with the beginning, middle, and end. But it is a slice of a very dark life, and not a bad read.
This link opens in a pop-up window
PaperbackReader's booksView all books
I can only imagine that it might be annoying that I rate all of the books in this series thus far as 5 stars. All I can say is that this is one of those rare series where I don't perceive of the individual books as separate pieces of media, but rather as parts of a whole.
EDIT: After yet another reread, I've decided that this is perhaps the best of the first six books. So many cinematic moments!
I'm a big fan of this series, and I enjoyed reading this collection. I will say, though, I hadn't recalled the casual homophobic slurs (Mark and William are constantly "jokingly" accusing the other of acting 'gay'--even Eve does it once), the slut shaming (while the abstinence-friendly tone could be ascribed to the comic's self-described labeling as a "family title", there are a couple of consequence-free usages of 'slut' that feel like red flags), or the "moral eugenics" arguments (the Unopan "solution" to the Viltrumite threat is to use breeding camps, and nobody bats an eye) when I was reading these issue-by-issue. It's clear that morality is a deeply personal topic in this series, and I see frequent attempts to highlight "doing the right thing, even when it's hard", but I'm not excited that these problems haven't been recognized or addressed.
I can't finish this. I'm sure this system works for some, and I have no doubt that every glowing testimonial is true and honestly shared. But there's something about this whole process that doesn't sit right with me, and until I can suss it out, I can't finish this book.
I haven't read a lot of Matheson's writings, but I've seen several films based on his work. Still, I can't say how this compares to his other books. I will say, though, that I took issue with several of the judgements he made in his version of the Afterlife, and how we as beings are both judged and improved. His concession at the end of the book, that his experiences weren't reflective of anyone else's perceptions of the Afterlife, seems small and belated; he's presented as the hero of this story, yet his experiences are both limiting and conservative, suggesting that in the mythos he's created, even the Afterlife can be as close-minded as the people who inhabit it.
I had a hard time staying in the tone of this story; this was a mood that required focus, a removal of distractions, and I repeatedly failed to be in those kinds of environments while reading it.
This isn't my first adventure with Mieville, but it was possibly the most challenging for me, as I felt no connection to any of the characters. The young boy is an unreliable narrator, and Mieville's writing is so poetic and atmospheric that our protagonist feels more like a witness than an actor, and the other characters, while interestingly presented, weren't actor either, just obstacles against which our narrator crashed.
On the one hand, this is a fascinating notion for a game, one that allows the players to work as equals in creating an environment of dread and paranoia that most horror games can't match. On the other hand, this is a LOT of expectation placed on the players, and the quality of the game as described in the first half of the book is a HIGH bar to set.
I love the variety of characters, the complexity of their flaws and strengths. I DON'T love how the timeline inexplicably hews so closely to our own, as it gives so many touchstones of our public history a sense of inevitability, and that's just nuts.
For a short novelette, it was okay. I was a bit bothered by how the narration sometimes felt like it was from two different writers; one that felt like the inner monologue of Danielle, and one that felt like Neal Stephenson.