Monday, 21 July 2008

Recommendations, Kind Of

I trust SFX, a UK- based sci-fi magazine, when it comes to recommendations for books and authors. I've been reading the magazine for over a decade now, and haven't missed an issue in that time - and actually still have all of those issues (most of them stacked in the bottom of my wardrobe now for want of somewhere to put them). So, it was with some disappointment that I finished "Infected" by Scott Sigler the other day, the first time in a long time that I've read a book and felt like it's been a bit of a waste of time.

I feel quite harsh in saying that, but I got to the end of it's 450 or so pages yesterday evening, closed the book and shrugged my shoulders. (my sister is reading what I'm writing over my shoulder, and just said, "That's a few hours of your life you're not going to get back." She's right) It was an interesting idea from the start, but just took forever to get where it was going - and where was it going? Well, nowhere. It seemed quite well thought out in some of its ideas, but was really boring. For something that was about people trying to stop a mysterious disease making seemingly unconnected people crazy (a government bioweapon gone wrong? terrorists? aliens?) there weren't many people infected, and there didn't seem to be any big consequences other than a few deaths.

And then the end just comes out of nowhere as the "heroes" start to close in on someone who is infected (up to this point nearly everyone that they get to is already dead by the time they arrive, or is dead soon after) and, oh my gosh, in fifteen pages they avert what could have been a global catastrophe and we still don't really know what was causing the problem (OK, we kind of do, but we don't know what the motivation for it all was). Worryingly, this felt like the first part of a series - but I guess I shouldn't be worried as I won't be reading it!

It was an interesting idea, I'll give the author that, but it just seemed to go off the rails about a quarter of the way in. SFX gave it four stars (out of five): I would give it two. It's the first time in a long time that I've considered putting a book down before I'd finished it. (the last time was "Cell" by Stephen King, and the time before that was "Labyrinth" by Kate Mosse - I actually put that down after twenty pages!)

I'm not sure what I'm going to read next. Possibly the sequel to "The Dice Man," maybe a big collection of science-fiction short stories.

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