Thief of Time, American Gods

  Puppy:  off
  Word of the day:  hoarse

Well, the puppy didn’t recognize my voice, so I’m back to the manual approach. No time to review, but I will include the list of what’s outstanding: American Gods by Neil Gaiman, Thief of Time by Terry Pratchet, Downbelow Station by C. J. Cherryh and Falling Free by LMB. I’m also in the middle of her Borders of Infinity.

Remember Good Omens by Gaiman and Pratchett? I wonder whether that book began the whole fad of occult-as-comedy that is raking in the big bucks for Joss Whedon on UPN. It was, in any event, a good book. Separately, though, Gaiman and Pratchett leave something to be desired. American Gods is also, for lack of a better term, a fantasy, as is Thief of Time and, I presume, the entire Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. American Gods is entirely nondescript. It follows the fates of certain Old World deities transplanted to America and not doing well at all, and of an ex-con who gets a job working, dying and rising again for one of them. Gaiman can write well enough that one wishes he had something to write about.

Thief of Time is a better book, having a more coherent plot and less unpleasant and unenlightening realism, but it lacks the deeper level one assumes Gaiman was trying to reach. Is it better to succeed at less, or fail at more? As humor, it’s not The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - and if you mean to get by on humor alone, you have to go Hitchhiker-far with it to please me. Yet it was a fun, readable book, and if it had been scifi I’d probably be recommending it right now. Fantasy leaves me cold, though, whenever it fails to achieve Tolkienesque levels - and it always fails. Someday I’ll put into words what it is about scifi that can carry a mediocre book, and what it is about humor and fantasy that makes even above-average books fail - someday.

Two down, two to go.

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