18 July 2011
Post 405: Breathless
I'm pretty sure this book is called Breathless due to sheer number of plotlines that all come together at the end and decide to punch you in your soft, fleshy midsection. And I'm talking about the kind that involve mindless violence and not startling intellect.I was not impressed by his wordsmithing, but rather totally confused and then mauled by it before I could get back to my feet.
For at least three fourths of the book I wanted to rewrite just about every sentence. They were awkward and stilted. Chapter three came in and slapped me with a murder when I was least expecting it with absolutely no lead up. I know it's been done in other books, but this was really a "Rocks fall everyone dies" sort of moment, also known as, "Well, something has to move this shit bucket of plot along." Where did the rocks come from? I don't know, probably the same place as the plotline for Breathless, which I'm going to say originated in a flying unicorn anus.* Because I can. The joys of not being published in The New York Times Book Review. Although I might actually subscribe if they published a review that included the phrase "flying unicorn anus." Hm, I should probably hyphenate that so that you don't think it's the detached anus of a unicorn, but I'm not going to.**
If you think me mentioning unicorn anus is funny/obnoxious, I just want to point out that Koontz writes the words "oscillating butt whistle" in the same sentence where one character is debating the merits of keeping an intelligent but "plain" looking woman in his post-apocalyptic sadist love stables. To that I say, Mr. Koontz, your face is an oscillating butt whistle, and I don't care how educated your character is, a fart is a fart is a fart is pfffftttbllllllffffft.***
So enough of the fart joke review. Even though I don't agree with some of the weird mystical pseudo science stuff going on this, I will give credit where it's due. I did like Lamar Woolsey's**** take on the fluidity of science. From the man who gave you the oscillating butt whistle, take it away Koontz:
"When a sciencist tells you that 'the science is settled' in regard to any subject... he's ceased to be a scientist, and he's become an evangelist for one cult or another. The entire history of science is that nothing in science is ever settled. New discoveries are continuously made, and they upend old certainties." Page 254.
Koontz via Woolsey goes on to discount several major scientists, and how their theories, while useful, are unequivocally wrong even though they are still being taught in school. I'm pretty sure this is all set up so that Koontz can go into this whole "I made fictional characters, god can do that too...only real" sort of thing. But whatever, I don't really care if Koontz's science-y arguments are valid or not, his outlook on science is not necessarily a bad one.
There is however a problem: if the science isn't settled, then we can't agree on the rules that govern our universe. For instance, if half of the population says that gravity is what holds us to the earth and the other half says it's the noodley appendage of the Flying Spaghetti Monster on top of our heads, one theory is going to be more right than the other. Since we can all scientifically agree that gravity is the more likely answer, that's how we agree to view our world. This does not prevent you from privately believing that the FSM is preventing you from flying off into space, but it does prevent you from getting funding for your new flying machine based on those principles.
So great, science is ever changing. I get that. I respect that. I love that about science. But we still have to agree on something, on some rules or values or else society is going to get all confused. Even if the theory of gravity is completely and utterly wrong, until someone else comes up with a better, more universally accepted answer, that's what holds us to the earth. Strangely, the Bible has had "similar" discoveries, but most of those have been by powerful old white dudes who at least supposedly abstain from sex and wear funny headgear... Wait a minute...
Collateral Bloggage manages to point out all of the myriad faults of this book, while still stating he liked it. I agree that the main characters were enjoyable, but there were so many subplots I sometimes wasn't sure who the main characters were... until the end.
LibsNote: Library copy via Overdrive Media.
*I am sure that including "anus" in my blog will make for some very interesting search term retrievals/hits. Yeah, sometimes I include terms just to see where my blog pops up... like a boner...
***I should not be allowed to blog past my bedtime. Also, I'm pretty sure that sometimes I blog almost solely for my fiance/editor's sake.
****This name is entirely too close to Hedley Lamarr.