It’s become official that I just don’t like scifi from the ’50s and ’60s. It’s sexist, over-written and impersonal. Clarke makes illogical leaps and switches characters and points of view in a way that leaves you unable to get involved. The human race dies out, and somehow I just don’t care thanks to a distant approach to characters and plot. The overall concept of the novel…even that I didn’t like. Why did we suddenly become a superhuman hive-mind? Clarke’s not going to tell you, just take his word for it. Clarke writes as though he is saying something epic and sweeping about humanity and existence in general, and, if only he were, I could have appreciated this book as a classic. As it is, I can’t say I’ll be tracking down more Clarke any time soon.
This is the second Tom Holt book I’ve read, and I’d review it the same as the first. Holt tries to be a set-in-the-modern-world Pratchett, but he can’t quite measure up. The jokes and quirkiness are a little forced, and the plot gets lost in convoluted or unexplained twists. Holt seems to think that setting his fantasy stories in the “real” world means he doesn’t have to set up a magic system, but this just creates a confusing and unfinished-seeming setting. Entertaining enough (and I DO love the dig at true love that this entire novel takes), but nothing worth getting excited about.