Destroy All Monsters, and Other Stories by Greg Hrbek Rothdas book review RSS
1.0 Stars
1-1-2015

Reading this made me think of a relatively new insult in online gaming, calling someone a "tryhard". The author needs to learn to slow down. Don't whip out the heavy handed symbolism at the very start. Warm the audience up, introduce some character detail first. As is it reads as an overly earnest junior effort.




The Forever War by Dexter Filkins
3.0 Stars
1-1-2015

A delightful book. The first chapter is a bit overblown and had me worried, but after that it settles down into a series of beautiful vignettes from the GWOT. There is a very direct and unmediated feel to the stories. Physical events are described in a straightforward and detailed fashion. The stories coming from politicians, bureaucrats, sheiks, warlords, CIA agents, citizens, and soldiers are mostly given as is. There is some analysis and commentary, but also a steady acknowledgement of the limits of his knowledge, and the difficulty in separating truth from various falsehoods and translations. In general, the author maintains a humble aspect and is generous to the people he describes. Kudos to the NYTimes for supporting reporters and reporting like this.




The Year of the Flood (MaddAddam Trilogy, #2) by Margaret Atwood
5.0 Stars
1-1-2015

While not bad, The Year of the Flood was not up to the level of _Oryx and Crake_, and was at its worst where it intersected with the original book. Atwood should stick to her policy of avoiding sequels.

First, the good. Atwood's modeling of psyches and writing about relationships is enjoyable and deft. Even the somewhat hum-drum action that fills most of the book is made quietly enjoyable by this skill. Second, God's Gardeners (GG), the central religion of the book, is a delightfully imaginative and well fleshed out religion. This is one of the best versions of eco-Christianity I have seen, and is the primary reason I gave the book 4 stars rather than 2 or 3. Some of the hymns and sermons are just as good as the originals, and many have a quiet and delightful humor to them. The mix of absurd theology, cheerful euphemism, minor church politics, and unshakeable optimism in these sections was always enjoyable. Adam One was a particular favorite, and his canny intelligence, good humor, and wisdom and seemed like a bright mirror image of Crake from the first book. The Naruto to his Sasuke if you will.

The bad parts of the book are mostly where it ties into the original. In the first part of the book, you have well fleshed out, sympathetic, and very human protagonists growing up amongst the GG's. Unfortunately, they are then dropped into the compound world of Oryx and Crake, and Ren becomes obsessed with Jimmy. Fucking Jimmy. We've had enough of Jimmy, he had a whole book, and even there his best parts were when he was a mirror for the characters and events that surrounded him. We don't need more time spent on Jimmy, and certainly not by characters who are interesting and that we actually like. Even though this particular section ends fairly quickly, all of the parts that deal with the corporate world seemed like something of a second rate re-hash. This aspect of the world was already covered in great depth in the first book. The deafeningly tin-eared names for corporations, products, and tribes are still out in force. Editors, please don't let Atwood do this to herself again. Also, the plotting of the action, especially after the Flood, seemed rather weak. Zeb, the ultra-competent survivalist, is just fine sending out his two malnourished and untested friends on their own to hunt the Reaver-esque painballers. About ~80% of the named characters survive the supposedly species ending plague, and they all find each other in about a month. Etc. etc. Just as bad is what their survival does to all the themes and ideas in the first book. Crake's new creation and Crake's plague were supposed to be two sides of the same coin, with the plague eliminating the human stain that would otherwise destroy his perfect new creatures. If however plenty of humans survived the plague, then that elegance is right out the window, and the entire first book was basically for nothing. I try to make it OK by telling myself that the characters from The Flood will all die of skin cancer in a few years, but that's a wan comfort.

In conclusion, the Year of the Flood is a little flabby, a little overwritten, and has some major missteps, but is at least partially redeemed by a delightful religion and its adherents.




Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766 by Fred Anderson
5.0 Stars
1-1-2015

This is a simply excellent piece of work. One measure of its success is that after reading 700 pages of non-fiction, I was sad that the book was over and wished that it could continue on to cover more of history. The time period is meticulously researched, and the writing is clear, detailed, engaging, and thoughtful. Anderson's mastery of the subject is evident throughout the book, and really shines when he covers the details behind some of history's set stories (e.g. Washington vs Jumonville, Wolfe at Quebec). I was also greatly pleased by his coverage of the cultural factors in the struggle, and how they explain so much of the conflict and its results.

If I have one small quibble, it is that I would have liked modern, clearer maps (rather than, or perhaps in addition to, using the maps from the day).

Editor Note: 4-20-2018: *Vague Ramble Warning Engaged* Out of this entire 700 pages, one of the bits that has stuck with me and provided useful grist for further thought is this one little section near the end of the book, where he writes about the British Empire taking possession of various Western Hemisphere colonies towards the end of the war. In some places like the Caribbean this went extremely well for them, with the British rapidly and conquering and integrating the colonies with relatively little resistance or unrest or bloodshed. And that part makes sense, in that the British taking over the area from the French simplified or sorted out or made the economy of the region flow much more smoothly and rationally. Previously the area had been divided by the mercantile system, so that islands that were close to each and other and natural trading partners could not legally trade with each other. So you have one island making sugar, and another island 100 miles away with the distilleries to turn the sugar into rum, but because of the political divide and the mercantile system they weren't able to trade with each other without having to first ship the goods to their home capitals, pay various import duties, ship the goods back, etc. And then predictably smugglers came into the picture to circumvent those hurdles, which then were combated with enforcement ships and officers, and people being bribed and hanged and shot, etc. etc. So the previous situation didn't make sense and involved all sorts of wastage. But when the Brits took over all of the islands, suddenly the islands could trade with each other in a far more efficient and rational manner. Farms and factories were booming, the local elites were raking in profits, and basically everyone was happy with the new situation even though they had been conquered by their European foes.

And this contrasted with the attempted British occupation of the Philippines. The Brits were high from their Caribbean successes, and launched even more adventurous campaigns in the colonial theater. And they were initially successful in militarily taking over Manila. However, from there things went wrong, and they ran into the sort of bloody resistance that would re-occur in various forms for another 200+ years in the Philippines. And there are a lot of reasons for that, but one of them is that the British occupation there didn't make sense, it had terrible feng-shui, it didn't make anyone's life easier. They had cultural differences and disconnects and lack of connections, they arrived in the area with a razing, they didn't make the trade and economies of the area work any better by their arrival. So the Brits were able to hold on to Manila until the peace treaty, but they never fully controlled the country and even their brief time there was marked by conflict and massacres.

Which then brings us to the modern day, and the various fiascos in Iraq and Afghanistan, and books like the Forever War and Crossing Zero and, well, Fiasco. And this is somewhat simplistic, but I think part of the reason for these failures is similar to what is outlined in the above. There is no feng-shui to them, they try and fight against the dao. Iraq was designed by the Brits to be ungovernable, that's why (or part of why) it is so difficult to govern. And I don't know that I have any concrete suggestions at this point, except to think more broadly about how places can be changed/organized so that our efforts there aren't constantly about trying to push water uphill. Phrased another way, if there is not some cleverness to the post war plan it is a bad plan. Anyway! Just some random thoughts that were sparked today while listening to the Hell of a way to Die podcast.




Downbelow Station (Company Wars, #1) by C.J. Cherryh
5.0 Stars
1-1-2015

While slightly space opera-ish, this book mainly looks at the people who are usually on the sidelines of such stories. The novel focuses on the politics and life experiences of refugees, workers, administrators, and merchants caught up in an escalating war between two great powers. The common dilemma they face is how to react in the face of threats and coercion by the warring military powers. How much should they cooperate, how much of their old life can they save, and how can they protect their loved ones are the common questions. The writing and characterization are surprisingly good, and this would have been a fine story absent any of its sci-fi trappings.


The book does have some unfortunate flaws. The first and last 5 pages of the book are horrible. The first 5 pages have terrible world building, including manned sub-FTL ships which are apparently hauling minerals back to Sol from distant stars. I nearly stopped reading at that point. Fortunately, the world building improves from there, and most of the other tech details are left safely vague. The last 5 pages have a variety of well developed characters, who have spent the last 400 pages being murderous and amoral players of power politics, breaking character and suddenly deciding that they are in a different novel altogether. Additionally, there are some fuzzy type aliens who occasionally interject themselves into the story. These sections were very uneven, with some parts being great (seeing the sun from space), and others being eminently skimmable.






Hearts In Conflict: A One Volume History Of The Civil War by Curt Anders
3.0 Stars
1-1-2015

At the end of this book, I was reminded of the end of _Burn After Reading_.

"What have we learned Palmer?"
"I don't know sir"
"I don't fucking know either"
"I guess we learned not to do it again"

I'm not sure if it was the fault of the book or of the war, but it really seemed like a giant muddle all the way through with no really clear lessons. Even examining someone like McClellan, who manages to exceed Joffrey Baratheon in sheer douchiness, and it is not clear what the correct course of action at the time should have been. For all of his horrible faults, McClellan did keep the Union line together and prevent a decisive Southern victory long enough for the northern war machine to get rolling. It's possible that with a more competent general, the dice would have fallen differently and prevented even that. So, a ton of mistakes, many poor/traitorous generals, toxic command relationships, key military decisions botched due to election politics, plenty of friendly fire, and communications tech that could not keep up with the tempo and scale of battle. Lincoln and Farragut are about the only ones who come out of it looking like adults.

Overall the book seemed perfectly acceptable. My main criticism would be that it needed more/better maps (i.e. show the positions as they develop rather than a single image of a single point in time), and maybe some diagrams of the command hierarchies at various points. This would be much clearer/faster than trying to convey the same information in type.




Troika by Alastair Reynolds
5.0 Stars
1-1-2015




Old Man's War (Old Man's War, #1) by John Scalzi
3.0 Stars
1-1-2015




The Passage (The Passage, #1) by Justin Cronin
1.0 Stars
1-1-2015

This book has major flaws. The first and unforgivable flaw is that from page 100 on, every POV character is being mind controlled by vampires. (Spoiler!) It is like this endless un-skippable cut scene, where none of the characters show any agency or awareness what so ever. Well, let me amend that. There is one character who has some mindfulness and resistance to subversion, but apparently he is a villain, and so gets killed off early. In general this reminded me of reading _The Ruins_, where half way through the book all the characters are irredeemably fucked, and you are just wondering why the other half of the book could possibly be needed. Which brings us to major flaw #2, the inordinate length of the book. The author needs to explain in detail the history of every little side character and event, making the story vastly, vassssstly longer than it needed to be. This compounds flaw #1. Actually, as a short story this could have been fine, and the internal justifications for carrying out the vampire's telepathic commands could have been interesting for the length of the story. After 800 pages though, this sort of thing just becomes terrible.


Sidenote:
One of the downsides of eBooks is that you can inadvertently pick up a giant tome like this. On a whim you start to read, and hours later you are only a third of the way through. Ughh.




Consuming the Congo: War and Conflict Minerals in the World's Deadliest Place by Peter Eichstaedt
3.0 Stars
1-1-2015




Charleston Under Siege: The Impregnable City by Doug Bostick
1.0 Stars
1-1-2015

Kind of bad. In general it reads like a talented undergrad's paper, or maybe an autistic grad student's. The book suffers from a lack of context; often it will just start listing out facts and anecdotes without explaining how they fit into the larger picture of the war or why the actions were taken. Also has virtually no maps, and no useful maps, which is a problem when your book is all about the maneuvering of cannons and trenches in order to pull apart various forts. The ending is also somewhat disappointing; after a two year siege, the confederates just evacuated because they needed the troops elsewhere. They will need to jazz that up in the Hollywood screenplay.




Crossing Zero: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire by Elizabeth Gould
3.0 Stars
1-1-2015

Somewhat interesting, but not very helpful. The book covers Afghan history, as well as the more recent and ongoing debacles in that country. Generally, the book regards the US/British as bad and the Afghan tribal councils as good. Which seems about half right. The main theme of the book is that the Afghanistan-Pakistan border (the Zero Line) is where contradictory US policies meet and push against each other. This seems correct, and accords with what you would get from reading the NY Times, that our drug policies are conflicting with our counter-terrorism policies, our support for Pakistan is being used to undermine our forces in Afghanistan, and that the pachinko balls of violence and extremism that we unleashed on the communists have bounced onto our own side of the board. And at is best the book acts as a sort of negative _Connections_, tracing how these various hostilities and fuckups have pollinated and bred with each other. The solutions to the problem are the standard ones (scale back US militarism) plus some idiotic ones (another national jirga, which *this* time will certainly win out over the warlords, Taliban, ISI, etc.).



Other interesting bits:
- Referring to the famous annihilation of a British Army at Gandamark in 1842 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massacre_of_Elphinstone%27s_Army), the book says: "In a final and fatal blunder the British departed from Kabul before an Afghan escort could be assembled. Having failed to include the Ghilzai tribal leaders and their allies in the final agreement, the British were attacked and slaughtered..." lol. This sort of amazingly blinkered view persists through out the book.

- introduced me to David Headly, the (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Headley), who was caught up by the DEA in the War on Drugs, turned informant & agent, was sent to Pakistan as part of the War on Terror, converted to their side, and then aided the Pakistan's extremist groups in their attack on Mumbai, as part of their War on Freedom.




The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins
3.0 Stars
1-1-2015

Finally, an Ender's Game for the fairer sex. In it a YA is forced, through no fault of her own, to be dressed up in beautiful costumes, debate which of two hawt boyfriends to choose, eat as much delicious food as she can stand, become a media sensation, and show off her awesome skills in a televised Battle Royale. The book is well designed and knows its audience. Parts of it are very well written, and the rest of it is certainly competent. The world building is somewhat absurd but can usually be ignored.




Kraken by China Mieville
3.0 Stars
1-1-2015




Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
3.0 Stars
1-1-2015

A pleasant, light, and well-written, book. While the story does have alien races and exotic planets, it is not really sci-fi and does not contain new ideas. Indeed, it is firmly rooted in the 60's-70's mindset that produced the original. For example, part of the reason corporations travel to new planets is so that they can extract petroleum, which they can then burn for energy. I'm guessing it's something like our ethanol program today? Anyway, a lucky-clever lawyer and his various cute companions fight to get justice from the greedy corporation that threatens the planet they are exploring/exploiting. It is an enjoyable story that is fast/easy to read, which is not a bad thing to be.




The Dervish House by Ian McDonald
3.0 Stars
1-1-2015




The Magicians (The Magicians, #1) by Lev Grossman
3.0 Stars
1-1-2015




In the Valley of the Kings: Stories by Terrence Holt
5.0 Stars
1-1-2015

A series of Lovecraftian short stories, and I mean that in the best possible sense of the word. Contains tales of chasing down a forbidden and destroying knowledge through books, tombs, and minds.

Edit from 5-10-2018 If the above review was too long, this image is the perfect TLDR.




Blindsight by Peter Watts
5.0 Stars
1-1-2015

Peter Watts, why couldn't you have written a more cheerful book? Did your parent's remove the happiness centers of your brain to make room for the writing modules? This story takes a group of post-humans, their vampire captain, and a plucky AI on a voyage to make first contact. The tale is exciting, complex, technical, and very readable, which is what earns it the four stars. The unraveling mystery of first contact is always a good story setup, the translator-narrator provides a good excuse to interview characters and illustrate concepts, and the aliens are well designed and sufficiently alien.

Unfortunately, I must remove half a star because of three problems: 1) the grimdark 2) the horrible, horrible events that happen and 3) the junk science/plotting mixed in to make things more grimdark. In particular, the vampires were a bridge too far, which makes sense when you think about it since vampires hate crossing bridges. If there was some easy way to get super-speed and intelligence and stasis, evolution would already have arrived at it. Overall, it is a bit like reading Nietzche in that you already agree with/understand the ideas, and the writing is technically superb, but the general tone is so off putting and the ideas are presented in such a negative light that you can't fully recommend it. I like my sci-fi in the vein of Ian Banks, where the drones make it out in the end (or at least have backups), and everyone lives happily ever after. Anyway, I'm off to try some of Watts' other books. I'm told they are much more cheerful.




Saturn's Children by Charles Stross
3.0 Stars
1-1-2015

As with most Stross books, the premise is absolutely delightful but the execution doesn't quite keep up. I know I said no more sex-bots in my sci-fi, but I've been meaning to read this ever since listening to Robyn's FemBot, so I grand-fathered it in. And it was worth it! The main character is a sex-bot designed back when human's were still alive, but activated after the human population dwindled and then disappeared. She has adventures in a scheming and wildly varied society of fellow robots, all sentient, but still constrained by the purposes and safe-guards of their creators. Administrative robots continue to govern, doing the best they can even though there is no longer a voting population. Some robots exist freely and can move the levers of official power by forming LLCs, giving them at least fractional human status. Others lack such resources, and have been enslaved by the various levels of management robots that were tasked by the humans to carry out their affairs. Still other variants expand the planetary settlements and launch new missions to the stars, making them hospitable for their long extinct masters. While this could have been sad, overall the story is very fast paced and full of intrigue, action, and bustle. Many of the usual sci-fi tropes are inverted with a lightly comedic, lightly sexy touch. Up until page ~300 I would have given the book 4 stars, but there are a couple of late breaking disappointments. Still, a very enjoyable read.




Map of My Heart by John Porcellino
3.0 Stars
1-1-2015

This book is why the aliens from Blindsight will beat us.




The Monstrumologist (The Monstrumologist, #1) by Rick Yancey
3.0 Stars
1-1-2015

An interesting book which is a bit too much like a movie. The writing is not problematic, and does a reasonable job of capturing the sort of gothic-Victorian tone that Dracula and similar books use. There are plenty of nested digressions, diaries, flashbacks, and florid bits of language, as well as graveyards, asylums, and resurrectionists. The book is gory, but I wouldn't quite describe it as horror. At least on the printed page, horror involves the unknown, helplessness and hopelessness, while for the most part the characters know what they are facing and have enough people/guns to defeat it. It is more of a biologically-intense adventure novel. The two main characters are deftly portrayed, and I enjoyed their little "who's on first" bits of dialog. I would rate the story higher, except that I had some problems with its movie-like plotting. During most of the action parts of the book, you can predict the story by asking "what would happen next in a hollywood movie". There are twists and surprises, but they are the expected ones. In short, it never really made me laugh for happiness like an adventure by Fritz Leiber would. Still, it's a solidly entertaining book.




The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
4.5 Stars
1-1-2015

A surprisingly enjoyable read. The story is set in a future where humanity has been knocked down by a combination of global warming, bio-engineering gone amok, and the collapse of the petroleum economy. In particular, it is set in a post-Collapse Thailand, where people struggle on in the face of the disasters of the previous age and the pressures of the current age. Various western and asian powers have achieved a new equilibrium and are once again expanding. The most threatening are the imperialistic calorie companies, which are both the cause of the original crop plagues and the best source for new plague-resistant seeds. The calorie companies would like to crack open Thailand to their products, so they can bring it under their control like they have the rest of the region. In particular they want access to a rumored Thai seedbank, which contains untold genes from before the collapse.

Despite the grim setting, and the somewhat dark story line, I found the book to be upbeat. Humanity has hit the worst case scenario from our own times, but is still struggling on and making progress. Unlike the similar Oryx and Crake, there is definite hope for at least a marginal victory in the end. I liked the wais and the delightful little details of Thai culture and food, the ever present heat, and the constant awareness of energy budgets. The titular Windup Girl wasn't that interesting (sci-fi writers plz no more sex robots thank you), but several of the other PoV characters were. I particularly liked Anderson, an undercover agent of the calorie companies in Thailand. It's always a good sign when you starting imagining how a character-type could be worked into an RPG setting.

While the book does have its conceits (it is basically spring-punk, with all energy coming from manual labor, and no wind or solar at all) and it does go on for a bit longer than the story really supports, it is an enjoyable read with plenty of interesting detail and a sturdy envisioning of a post-collapse world.





Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie
3.0 Stars
1-1-2015




The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1) by Joe Abercrombie
3.0 Stars
1-1-2015

A fairly solid fantasy adventure book. This isn't really at the same level as Game of Thrones or Name of the Wind, but it is not actively bad, and was enjoyable to read. The author apparently writes movie scripts too, and the book could very well be the novelization of a hollywood action movie. There is not much character development, and the world building and magic system are kind of meh. However, there are falls off cliffs, parkour and extended fights on tops of buildings, and several reasonably comic minor characters.




Elementals: Stories of Fire and Ice by A.S. Byatt
1.0 Stars
1-1-2015

This book was a complete disappointment. It doesn't have an index, the chapter headings are entirely obscure, and I can never find the stat blocs when I try to use this during play. The basic problem is that they devoted far too much space to flavor text, and not nearly enough to the crunchy bits and the supporting infrastructure needed to make the crunchy bits useful. While an original and creative effort, I would not recommend this book to anyone but collectors and completists.




The Player of Games (Culture, #2) by Iain M. Banks
5.0 Stars
1-1-2015

A thoroughly delightful book. _The Player of Games_ is intelligently written, fast paced, and very playful. The book takes Gurgeh, master game player, from his peaceful, utopian home in the Culture to the primitive Empire of Azad. Among other things, Azad is a satirical image of empires, both in the present and the space-opera future. At times it reads like Gulliver's Travels, at other times like a crossover between a Culture novel and a Star Wars or Honor Harrington book.

As usual, Banks creates vivid and memorable characters, along with dramatic locales and action set pieces. Who wouldn't want to have long Sunday conversations with Chamlis Amalk-ney, or see the slums of Groasnachekor and visit the Fire Planet Echronedal? It could all be made into a very nice RPG-splat book, and makes for addictive reading. And while this isn't a pure book of ideas like _The Man Without Qualities_, everything in it rests on a solid bedrock of intelligence. Consider the following aside by one of the characters:

"And what is free will anyway? Chance. The random factor. If one is not ultimately predictable, then of course that's all it can be. I get so frustrated with people who can't see this!

Even a human should be able to understand it's obvious."


I just loved this part. It mirrors a thought I had in college during one of the intro philosophy courses, but that I could never find mentioned in any of the course literature on free will. Even in small, throw away sentences like the above, Banks shows more acuity than the vast majority of writers who actually study these subjects.

There are a few weak points to the book. One is due to the central conceit of the novel, the actions of an utterly brilliant game player. Since the author is not an utterly brilliant game player, he can only refer to the central action of the book from a distance. This becomes more and more noticeable as the book progresses. And of course, this being a Banks novel, the Beige Team wins in the end, and is generally superior through out. It is kind of like Ender's Game for the MetaFilter set. :) Still, given all the delightful crunch and sparkle, we can forgive Banks for that.

Post Mortem, ~3 years later One way I judge a book is by the size of the skull pile that it accumulates. For instance, reading Iris Murdoch has ruined many books for me, either because they come across as a pale shadow of Murdoch's work, or because the ideas in her work have sort of pre-emptively critiqued and dissassembled the new story that I am reading. The Player of Games has a collected a veritable mountain of skulls, and has ruined dozens of other books, movies, and tv programs for me. It's assumed a sort of archetypal role, and I'd say that I mentally reference Azad in about 5%-10% of the media products I experience. It really is a brilliant humanist? leftist? critique and summation of much of our culture. In light of that, I'm retroactively raising my review to 5 stars.

Post Mortem, ~3.5 years later While thinking of explanations and metaphors for something else, I re-invented the symbolism of Echronedal. I'd initially passed the planet over as just a really neat bit of sci-fi world building, rather than as a symbol of malevolently wasteful empire.




The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
1.0 Stars
1-1-2015

A long winded and deeply stupid book about a vampire who spends 500 years searching for the absolute perfect caretaker for his library. The ending is ironic though, since just as he is winnowing down the candidate pool everything is moving to eBooks anyway.




The Ruins by Scott B. Smith
3.0 Stars
1-1-2015

*Massive Spoilers*

The Ruins is a story of conflict between Man and Nature. In this case Man is represented by 5 sheltered and somewhat ditzy college kids, while Nature is championed by a malevolent, mile-wide, super-intelligent, highly mobile, acid-blooded plant. The Plant might also have psychic abilities. After 500 pages, Nature wins.

There were some good things about this book. The book reads quickly. The author makes an effort to connect the character's moral failings with the mistakes they make and their eventual fates. About 300 pages in, there is a nice subversion where the characters discuss how, after the rescue, they will be portrayed in the movie version of the events. At least belatedly, they become aware of what genre they are in.

There are a lot of bad things about the book. One is that about 200 pages in you realize the characters are screwed. The antagonist is completely overpowered, so you don't feel any hope that the characters will win/survive. The characters are not very likable or intelligent, so you don't care that much that they won't survive. The characters are completely passive in the face of the Plant's assaults. They never try to burn or cut up the Plant, even though they have plenty of highly flammable tequila and a good sharp knife. The Plant's Mayan guardians are laughably ineffective, and as far as I can tell their patrols have yet to stop anyone from venturing on to the forbidden hill (see: shoddy ending). The Plant itself, while it has some interesting qualities, isn't scary in a large scale way like nuclear war and zombies are. In total, the Plant has killed about 50 North Americans, about as much as a poorly designed on-ramp. Unfortunately for the Plant, in a month or so the missing person's trail will lead to the hill, and then they'll hire some contractors to pour gasoline on the hill and that will be the end of the Plant.




1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17