Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The Abominable by Dan Simmons

The three of us learn about Mallory and Irvine's disappearance on Mount Everest while we are eating lunch on the summit of the Matterhorn.

There is an author introduction that begins this book, but I skipped that. Glancing over it, I assume it has something to do with the making of this novel or the inspiration or something like that behind it. If I'm wrong, it's because I didn't read it because I'm not interested because it doesn't have anything to do with the story.

Back to sentence one: Here we have three men on a mountain - eating lunch when they get, I suspect, some bad news. People disappearing is mildly interesting. When it happens in the news, most people take notice. Luckily, I'm well read enough to know who Mallory is and where Mount Everest is so, so far so good. The author cleverly establishes the time period without giving us the date.

Except: It is a perfect day in late June of 1924... begins paragraph two.

The second paragraph suggests how this long novel is paced. The food they are eating is documented. It doesn't hook, but it does make me hungry, so there is that little success, assuming that was the author's intention. It's a weird list of the rucksack contents: ...a goatskin of wine, two water bottles, three oranges, 100 feet of climbing rope, and a bulky salami.

We assume they aren't planning to eat the 100 feet of rope. Oh, and next time I'm at the supermarket, I'm going to ask to see some bulky salami because when I google "bulky salami", Google can't find any. Perhaps bulky salami is referring to something else?

Page one continues on by telling us what these characters had been up to for the past six days, and reads like a creatively crafted tourist brochure. Well done.

First thing said:

"Carrel and his team were there."

Sorry Mr. Simmons, I like a lot of your previous work, but...

Verdict: Fail

Theodore Moracht

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