Archive for billionaire

BAG OF BONES By Stephen King – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2010 by stanleyriiks

Michael Noonan is a writer suffering hideous writers’ block after the tragic and unexpected death of his wife. But the block, resulting in all manner of symptoms including migraines, stomach cramps and vomiting, seems to disappear entirely when Michael heads to Sara Laughs, his holiday home on the lake.

There, Mike meets Kyra, a three year old girl, walking down the centre line of the high street in town. And shortly thereafter he meets Kyra’s mother, a teenage widow who is in the middle of a custody battle with a billionaire father-in-law who will stop at nothing to grab her child away. Without meaning to Mike gets caught up in the drama and decides to help out.

What Mike gets himself into will turn all of their lives upside down.

Only King could get away with the first hundred pages of the novel just warming you up, hardly anything happens and yet he still manages to keep you attention. The book builds slowly, developing towards the epic finale which continues in intensity, depth and astoundingness the further into it we get.

King always feels the need to put in some kind of supernatural entity, and here, like in Rose Madder, it feels like its being forced. This could have been a shockingly horrific action thriller, without the supernatural element. But King refuses to deny his roots (normally such a good thing!), and produces not only bad ghosts but good, friendly and helpful ghosts too. A stretch too far perhaps?

Of course, even bad King is good. And this certainly isn’t bad, it’s one of the better novels, although slightly over-the-top in terms of the supernatural, and a little long-winded, but what King novel isn’t. It’s too easy to pick criticisms when you have such a great deal of choice and such a wide range of novels, but some of those criticisms are certainly justified. On the whole Stephen King is a story-teller who grips the reader, entertaining us wholeheartedly, and providing lifelong memories.

Bag of Bones is one of King’s better novels, which puts it towards the top of any pile of horror novels. It sucks you in and makes you feel, and really, what more could you ask for.

SLANT By Greg Bear – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2009 by stanleyriiks

Midway through the 21st century there is a huge reliance on psycho-therapy using nano-technology monitors to keep society sane and well-adjusted.

A billionaire commits suicide after spending an evening with a Yox (latest immersive technology) pornstar and escort.

A man is regularly visiting the Omphalos, a strange building filled with the dead who are waiting to be brought back to life when the technology arrives.

Jill is a Thinker, a massive super intelligent computer.

Mary Choy is a Seattle Police Detective trying to find out the truth about the billionaire’s suicide.

Then people’s therapy monitors start to break down, sending society in a paroxysm of depression and mental instability, a group of criminals plans to invade Ompholas and steal the treasures within, the pornstar is attacked, Jill is hacked, and Mary Choy starts to literally fall apart.

This is what SF is all about. Great ideas and good plotting. The characters are merely there to give us some focus, not really to get attached to. There are some really good ideas, most of which aren’t outdated despite this book being ten years old. The plotting is where the book really shows its strength, as the various separate strands come together in a complex climax. OK, so you can see where most of this is coming from before the end, and there aren’t really any surprises, in fact there nothing really spectacular at all. This is good solid SF, some nice ideas, some good plotting, decent characters, but nothing special, nothing memorable. All the right ingredients, but really nothing to make it stand out.