13 September, 2013

The review after this one is about how I liked Wonder Woman, I swear

I've read some bad sci-fi in my dad. I mean real bad. Horrid stuff. Stuff that probably took years off my life and can probably be blamed for not getting into a real college. This is not as bad as all that. It just isn't very good.

Leviathan Wakes is a fast-paced, straight forward book that sets up a recognizable future. It's unburdened with explaining technology or new religions or scientific breakthroughs or the million other mythological sticking points that these books like to fill their pages with. The solar system of Leviathan Wakes is normal to the point of being mundane. While it resists the urge to focus its attention on a space pirate or a grizzled special forces veteran, it doesn't include anything interesting to take its place. For a lack of a better term, this book is focused on people on the ground level. Normal people. It's just that these characters, at their core, are not very interesting. And neither is their grand adventure. And neither is their world. It would any of these aspects failed, the book would be a problematic read. That all of them have failed is much more troubling.

There just isn't much more than that.Towards the back third it picks up and gets weird, but the journey there is a bit of a slog, rife with uninteresting main characters and dialogue that fell out of the notes a high schooler doodled in his syllabus margins.

There might be plenty of science fiction that is worse than Leviathan Wakes. There is also a lot of stories much better than this one. Go read one of those.

But apparently I'm the crazy person for not liking this book. Oh well. I'm reading The Friends of Eddie Coyle now. So, the joke's on everyone else.

And now, the chaser:

If I bitch about things too much, it's out of the honest belief that they should be better. There was a time when I'd burn a lot of calories being worked up over this sort of thing. Time has gentled my condition. I wish that had happened sooner. I could have used those calories.

Science fiction is a grand, ol' genre and it isn't these rare exceptions or these odd bits of magic that prove that they can be wonderful. You know this. I know this. The American people know this. Edgar Wright should know this, but he's got a really good song that we need to hear, so maybe he'll show up later.

So, here's a brief list of science fiction things that are better worth your time than Leviathan Wakes:
Dune: Messiah.
This trailer for the 23rd re-edition of Dune.
The Santaroga Barrier.
Most random Twilight Zone episodes.
Blade Runner.
The Man in the High Castle.
East of West.
Looper. (A movie I didn't like, but everyone else did and, hey, at least it tried.)
Attack the Block (apparently. I haven't seen this. Someone kidnap me and make me watch it, okay?)
Bioshock Infinite.
District 9.
Star Trek no colon Into Darkness (you know, if you like your science fiction to be of the running and jumping variety).
Blade Runner.
Total Recall.
I don't know, a lot of things.

I don't hate things. I don't even hate Leviathan Wakes. I just wish that things that could be good, should be good. Right? We can all agree on that, at least.