Teranesia, The Hole

Cool download of the day: a free 30-day demo of Bryce 5 for OS X (and the update to 5.0.1). I couldn’t find a demo on Corel’s site, but eventually I thought to check Apple’s list of 3D and imaging software for the Mac.

The Hole wasn’t a sci-fi novel, just a psychological thriller. I found it on the library’s new book shelves. Guy Burt wrote it when he was 18, though he does seem to have taken a while to publish it. Maybe it was published earlier in Britain.

I couldn’t quite follow the rapidly rotating POV for the first few chapters. Three POV characters - two women in first person and one man in third person, swapped back and forth every scene, and they were pretty short scenes. The whole book was rather short, so when I failed to understand the ending, I read the whole thing over to see if it made more sense. It didn’t.

I’m always annoyed when authors mistake ambiguity for depth. I’m not sure what happened in The Hole, and I doubt the author knows, either. Lovecraft can convey horror by a rather sketchy approach to the darkness from outside, but that’s not plot, that’s description. When you get into XF government conspiracies, or What Really Happened in The Hole, the plot is AWOL and the reader is left empty-handed.

Teranesia by Greg Egan seemed like a sure thing. It started out well, but the plot never seemed to come together. I expected more and bigger things to come from the main characters’ youth on the eponymic island. I wanted to see more of what future evolution held for humanity. I wanted an ending, and instead I got a two-page resolution.

Teranesia was short and somewhat bitter. The main characters bashed both religion and, more amusingly, Social Text. At one point the brother worried terribly that his little sister, having fallen under the bad influence of their aunt the professor, would grow up to be a deconstructionist, but she didn’t. I had hoped there would be an explanation somewhere of why. Egan even skimped on the science, giving only enough biology for an above-average sci-fi novel, rather than his usual idea overload - which, perhaps, is an advantage to this novel over his others.

Comments are closed.