Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Swarm: A Novel By Frank Schatzing

This, like many articles has been sitting as a draft for many months. I never really though that it was finished but, In preparation for the big switch to Blogger v2, I'm publishing it now anyway.
The Swarm: A Novel By Frank Schatzing
Whales begin sinking ships. Toxic, eyeless crabs poison Long Island's water supply. The North Sea shelf collapses, killing thousands in Europe. Around the world, countries are beginning to feel the effects of the ocean's revenge as the seas and their inhabi-tants begin a violent revolution against mankind.
I read this book a few months ago and have been trying to think about how best to describe it. I think I can sum it up best as a thoroughly modern thriller. It takes inspiration from about a thousand other books and tries to combine science with horror. It is reasonbly effective as a novel, and despite the fact that it may have lost something in translation into English, it was still a bit of a page turner.

Now this is far from the best book I have ever read and it relies a little too heavily on long forays into science fact which eventually wears you down and makes some parts of the book quite heavy going. Towards the end of the novel you really have to force yourself not to skim over the umpteenth extensive explanation of an obscure science fact.

I think that the editor should have put his foot down long before the final 896 page draft as there is a good story in this book trying to get out. If the book had been compressed into about 600 to 700 pages with a lot of the science and more importantly the pseudo-science stripped out it would have been a much more engaging read.

All in all I can't really recommend this book to anyone who isn't a die hard science fiction fan.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree. The science makes the book interesting. Why does EVERYTHING have to be dumbed down? If someone does not want to read the science, they can skip it. But if it is deleted from the book, those who want to read the science can't get it.

Relatedly, I shudder to think what hollywood is going to do to this novel. The intricacies that make it an engaging mystery will probably be lost on the cutting room floor, leaving only a love story (always a love story) and one shoot-em-up chase scene after another. Ugh.

This is a good book. I enjoyed it. If you like complexity and speculation and openness to thinking outside the box (while remaining aware of the box) you'll probably like this book. As is.

7/6/07 11:03  

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