Flatland / Edwin A. Abbott
Synopsis – After a relatively lengthy primer on 2-dimensional entities living in 2 dimensions, a 2-dimensional entity is visited by a 3-dimensional entity and is temporarily pulled into a 3-dimensional existence. But does the mind-blowing knowledge translate back into 2 dimensions?
Reaction – The first half of this brief book covered the geometrical and social specifics of Flatlanders and their Flatland – sans plot. I found that focusing on the technical descriptions was challenging. It was like reading an other-worldly geometry and social etiquette manual in one. But the second half of the book picked up with an actual plot, complete with suspense and drama. I’m glad I powered through and finished this gem. Get through the background tedium, (as I’m pretty sure the author intended) and you’ll be rewarded with an inspirational tale of mind-expansive possibilities.
Recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.
The Raw Shark Texts / Steven Hall
Synopsis – After a violent psychosomatic trauma, a man discovers he’s been stripped of his personal memories and identity. Weirder still, he starts to receive rambling letters in the mail from his former self. Weirdest yet, he is befriended by a runaway who says she can help him escape the conceptual shark which has popped into existence and is trying to eat him. All they have to do is journey through unspace texts and find a mad word scientist. Yep, you read that right.
Reaction – The first part of this book was promising. Who is this man without a personal identity? Why and how is his former identity sending letters to him? Why is this mystery man not moving ocean and earth to rediscover his past? The middle part of this book morphs into what seems to be a YA fantasy, complete with long, drawn-out flirt scenes, irritating kissy games, and bizarre, unexplained non-logic, even for a fantasy novel. The last part of this book is a
copy of homage to last part of the novel “Jaws.” From start to finish, a lot of filler dialogue, and rambling, mincing non-action. The man’s incredibly docile pet cat is featured throughout the book, but I’m not sure why. Though I found this book a bit lengthy for its storyline, and lacking in a number of explanations, overall, it was worth the read. Wade through the chum and you’ll find a few clever literary surprises.
Recommendation –You’re taking your chances with this hit and miss book.