logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: The-Passage
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-09-08 23:35
Halloween Bingo - Fear the Drowning Deep
Fatal Passage - Ken McGoogan

From the book's description:

 

The true story of the remarkable John Rae - Arctic traveller and Hudson's Bay Company doctor - FATAL PASSAGE is a tale of imperial ambition and high adventure. In 1854 Rae solved the two great Arctic mysteries: the fate of the doomed Franklin expedition and the location of the last navigable link in the Northwest Passage.

But Rae was to be denied the recognition he so richly deserved. On returning to London, he faced a campaign of denial and vilification led by two of the most powerful people in Victorian England: Lady Jane Franklin, the widow of the lost Sir John, and Charles Dickens, the most influential writer of the age. 

 

Fatal Passage will be my nomination for the Fear the Drowning Deep square.

I have some travel coming up next week and needed a non-fiction book to read on the trip. For some reason, I prefer non-fiction when travelling.

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
review 2018-08-05 17:42
The Passage: Vampocalypse Now, or at Least 2008-ish
The Passage - Justin Cronin

It's twenty minutes into the future, and an aggrieved FBI agent is rounding up subjects that no one will miss. Twelve of them are death row inmates: the thirteenth is an abandoned six-year-old, Amy Bellafonte. They are to be injected with a serum from a Bolivian bat virus to create (all together now) super-soldiers. The "virals" get vampire-y, the vampires cause mayhem, and after breaking free they overrun the United States and possibly the world. But that's only about a third of the story.

 

Once this several-hundred-page build-up is out of the way, we cut to ninety years later. In a stockade in California called the Colony, the descendants of a few survivors rely on lights to repel the virals, and the rechargeable batteries that power those lights are wearing out. Incredibly, a "walker" shows up for the first time in decades. After a fracas getting her inside the walls, the community blames the members of the Watch whose decision led to a few deaths. Before mob justice can be completely executed, a small group of companions flee the Colony, determined to find out what has happened to the rest of the world and to solve the mystery of the walker – who is none other than Amy. Not only has she survived countless viral attacks, she's barely aged in all this time.

 

The plot that ensues is hard not to compare to "The Stand," primarily because it's a story about a diverse array of scrappy blue-collar heroes who confront evil by walking across post-apocalyptic America. The characters aren't exactly the same, but the feel is vintage Stephen King. Psychic powers, unethical government experiments, maternal black women, stashes of weapons that even the odds with terrifying monsters, Biblical overtones and the infrequent nuclear blast – all these elements are King oeuvre.

 

Of course, my question when reviewing is less "has it been done before?" but "is it being done well now?" And yeah, it's not bad. The build-up to the outbreak keeps the pages turning, and the backstories of the pre-outbreak characters build some sympathy. Post-apocalypse, the dramatic moments when someone is taken by virals but *isn't* instant vamp chow make sense most of the time and lead to characterization moments. And though there are sequels, there is a reasonable amount of closure at the end of the first book. Considering it's a hefty 879 pages in paperback, I'd be angry if there weren't.

 

There are weaknesses, of course. The post-apocalyptic characters are a little more interchangeable than the well-drawn ones of the beginning. When a human encampment seems too good to be true, the twist is predictable (though the exact particulars still make for a good scene). The apocalypse feels straight out of small-town America's 2005 anti-terror/disaster preparation fantasy rather than harsh reality, or at least the impassable highways full of abandoned vehicles and degraded fuel of "The Stand." It's hard not to think of Mad Max or its South Park parody when the people of the Colony refer to "The Time Before" and use other uninspired slang. And there's a minor deus ex machina for a few characters near the end, called out in dialogue but left unanswered in this volume. (At least it wasn't the literal Hand of God setting off a nuke in Las Vegas.)

 

All that said, "The Passage" still feels like a genuine epic, one of those novels that starts out like a horror show and morphs into a battle of good versus evil. And if Stephen King were the only person who could write such a story, the world would be a drearier place. It was obviously written during the height of the War on Terror, but there's one notable quotation that still rings true:

"All this time, we were hoping the Army would come to our rescue," says Alicia, "and it turns out the army is us."

3.5 out of 5

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-07-28 12:22
Reading progress update: I've read 495 out of 785 pages.
The Passage (The Passage #1) - Justin Cronin

Oh no, I let my sister race ahead and I have a lot of catching up to do. It's certainly no hardship as this is one of my favourite books ever, I think.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-07-23 12:19
Reading progress update: I've read 400 out of 785 pages.
The Passage (The Passage #1) - Justin Cronin

Loving it as much this time round as all the times before!

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-07-21 14:45
Reading progress update: I've read 15%.
A Passage To India - E.M. Forster

 

“Yes, as Mr McBryde was saying, but it’s much more the Anglo-Indians themselves who are likely to get on Adela’s nerves. She doesn’t think they behave pleasantly to Indians, you see.”

   “What did I tell you?” he exclaimed, losing his gentle manner. “I knew it last week. Oh, how like a woman to worry over a side-issue!”

   She forgot about Adela in her surprise. “A side-issue, a side-issue?” she repeated. “How can it be that?”

   “We’re not out here for the purpose of behaving pleasantly!”

“What do you mean?”

   “What I say. We’re out here to do justice and keep the peace. Them’s my sentiments. India isn’t a drawing-room.”

   “Your sentiments are those of a god,” she said quietly, but it was his manner rather than his sentiments that annoyed her.

   Trying to recover his temper, he said, “India likes gods.”

“And Englishmen like posing as gods.”

   “There’s no point in all this. Here we are, and we’re going to stop, and the country’s got to put up with us, gods or no gods. Oh, look here,” he broke out, rather pathetically, “what do you and Adela want me to do? Go against my class, against all the people I respect and admire out here? Lose such power as I have for doing good in this country, because my behaviour isn’t pleasant?

You neither of you understand what work is, or you’d never talk such eyewash. I hate talking like this, but one must occasionally. It’s morbidly sensitive to go on as Adela and you do. I noticed you both at the Club today—after the Collector had been at all that trouble to amuse you.

I am out here to work, mind, to hold this wretched country by force. I’m not a missionary or a Labour Member or a vague sentimental sympathetic literary man. I’m just a servant of the Government; it’s the profession you wanted me to choose myself, and that’s that. We’re not pleasant in India, and we don’t intend to be pleasant. We’ve something more important to do.”

 

Written in 1924.

 

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?