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September 27, 2004

Declare

It took me nearly three full library loan intervals, but I finished Declare, by Tim Powers. I've always liked his work, though I haven't followed it compulsively. He and James P. Blaylock both met Philip K. Dick and were each scarred in their own unique way.

Declare is some five hundred pages long, and I just don't read books with the same obsessive passion I used to lo these many years ago. I still read compulsively, but include magazines and tons of Internet reading as well as work material in the mix. Declare is a marvellous mix of history with a fantasy story that fits neatly in the cracks. Powers manages to tell a complex and convincing supernatural tale surrounding the life of double agent Kim Philby without altering any of the historical reality. Really quite neat.

More disappointing is another novel I've had in my 'current reading' stack for some time now, False Memory, by Dean Koontz. I've really enjoyed Koontz over the years, but this book just rubbed me the wrong way, and eventually I had to decide to let it go. Koontz has always had a tendency to build characters who are just so gosh darn likable, and quirky, individual heroes, that you can't help but want to kick them in the teeth. But usually I've been sufficiently enthralled by the myterious evil he throws in, that I can deal with that wholesome, lovable hero shtick.

This time he went over the top, and his criminal mastermind, while posessed of strange powers, is too close to an earthly evil to be tolerable. I like my villains cartoony and implausible, I guess. This guy seemed more serial killer/rapist than spooky poltergeist, and it just made me a little queasy. So bye bye, False Memory.

Posted by dpwakefield at September 27, 2004 09:54 PM