Archive for plastic surgery

COLDHEART CANYON By Clive Barker (Audiobook) Read by Frank Fuller – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2009 by stanleyriiks

This is huge, it’s epic. The novel is 751 pages, and the audiobook is 1360 minutes! Which is long, really long. What we have here would make an excellent and fairly brutal short novel, stretched out beyond all necessity into a massive, sprawling tale of Hollywood excess. A ghost story at its heart.

Actor and superstar Todd Pickett’s career is on the wane. On the advice of a studio executive he goes to see the premier plastic surgeon, who promptly botches his face-lift, leaving Todd a mass of scar tissue and wounds. As the tabloid frenzy around his disappearance begins, Todd needs to find a nice hideaway so that he can relax and recuperate. But unfortunately he finds himself in Coldheart Canyon, home to many a ghost from Hollywood’s past, and Katya Lupi, a near hundred-year-old former movie star who has managed to retain her looks for the past eighty years.

Intermixed with this is a stalker fan, a portrait of the dirty-nasty underbelly of Hollywood, Satan’s wife and son, an ancient curse, and all manner of other stuff.

Despite an excellent reading, it even feels like Frank has had enough about three quarters of the way through. He ploughs on, giving us a nice change of voice for each of the characters, although it does get a bit confusing towards the end when all the characters are together. The problem with the audiobook, is the same problem the novel has. It’s just too long, too long-winded, like Barker is being paid by the word. Of course, in book form it’s probably not quite so evident, but the audiobook version becomes like water torture as it continually continues, seemingly without end. Just when you think it’s all done and dusted, I won’t spoil it for you, but it could well have been the end, you’re forced to endure another several hours of what could have been summed up quite well in a ten-page epilogue.

This is a shame, because the reading is good. For my first professional venture into audiobooks (I usually download for free from librivox), I was delighted. To begin with anyway. A shame it was wasted on this overlong rubbish.

CHI By Alexander Besher – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2009 by stanleyriiks

CHI By Alexander Besher

This is a hard book to read. It’s difficult to explain why it’s so difficult to read. The lack of justification of the text sets off my OCD, but shouldn’t make it any more difficult to read. The complete inability of this reader to gain more than a temporary understanding of what’s going on during the first hundred pages, also shouldn’t make it difficult to read. I’ve read entire books not quite knowing what’s going on. It’s not like I haven’t visited this world before, I’ve been with Frank Gobi since Besher’s first book, and only read the second a little more than a year ago, so why oh why is this book so hard to read?

The first third of the novel, set in a futuristic world of the 2030s, basically sets up the actual story. Chi is being siphoned from a Thai Transsexual called Butterfly by the evil Wing Fat, a 650 pound porn king, who’s also the biggest chi trader in the world. It isn’t until the second third of the novel that we meet our protagonist Frank Gobi, who’s trying to find out about Wing Fat and being sucked into the plans of one Trevor Jordan.

There’s also a pair of orang-utans who have been given plastic surgery to look human and brought up as children of sterile humans, who are now reaching puberty and discovering that they’re not what they thought they were.

The plot is ridiculous, but that isn’t what makes it bad. The fact that virtually nothing happens, the writer doesn’t even appear to be aware of when to finish the book as much of the action happens in the Epilogue, and it all turns out to be one big joke in the end anyway.

This reader can’t help but feel cheated, especially as this 300 page novel feels at least double that length. To say it’s an effort to read this codswallop is an understatement. Besher’s worst novel, this really shouldn’t have been forced on the public. Editors should certainly have taken a look at this and sent it back for some serious revision.

Mir, Besher’s second book, took a hell of a while to warm up, but eventually it did and then it had some kind of plot. Chion the other hand lacks plot, story, characters, it’s big on ideas, there are a couple of nice ones in here, and for anyone familiar with Bangkok you’re feel all warm and fuzzy with some reminiscences. Other than that this is a pretty pathetic effort on the part of Besher, his editor and his publisher.

It’s a travesty that a novel (I use the word very loosely) of this quality (again loosely) is allowed into the marketplace when there is so much better that’s not being published.