Saturday, June 20, 2009


Last night book club, the book: Angels and Demons by Dan Brown.

I didn't really like that book. Sure, lots of twists and turns but ahhhh, it was unbelieveably simplistic in it's complexity. The characters: an academic who could solve puzzles in an hour that were unbreakable since the time of Da Vinci. The lovely female scientist who discovered how to extract and contain anti-matter but needed the academic to explain some concepts to her (as a vehicle to explain to the reader). Such as I did just now. bhwhahahaha. There were some things like a regular man on the street that knew what a symbologist was but others, science guys didn't. Why Brown feels like he has to explain every exposition is beyond me.

Cell phones that had dial tones, broadcasting camera feeds when underground, racing around Rome and the Vatican without any traffic to speak of during a papal conclave, protagonist surviving being beaten, nearly suffocated, jumping out of a helicopter and using a tarp as a parachute while antimatter blows up (enough to blow up city blocks), getting taken to the hosptial, examined and then getting back to the Vatican pretty much in one piece (and still being able to see and hear after the antimatter exploded) was just too much for me to swallow.

In any case, I didn't really like it. Did I mention all of this (plus more) took place between 5:00 a.m. US time and a couple of hours after midnight Rome time? Oh yeah, and the protagonist flew in some kind of plane that got him from the US to Switzerland in an hour.

Even tho I read tons of science fiction and fantasy I expect things to work differently. I expect to be told the "rules" of whatever universe and I can accept that's the way things work in that universe. I cannot bend the rules to accomodate the things Dan Brown wants me to accomodate in this book.

Neal Stephenson does breaking code better in Cryptonomicon. And he doesn't treat the reader as if they're stupid. Brown panders to readers who'd rather not think but have someone tell them in couched conversations so they feel like they're smarter than they are.

If you want to breeze thru a book and not think that much, this is a good book. It will entertain you. But if you want something meaty, you'll find yourself snickering while reading and wondering what other stupid thing will come up so you can make fun of it. Sorry, one more: Droll quip by the female scientist who is tied up tighly by the hassassin yet at the zero hour, while the protagonist is hanging off a balcony with one hand that is about to smashed so he'll let go and fall to his death...the female brands the hassassin and they both push the bad guy off the balcony to his death. When the protagonist asks how she got out of her bonds she says (I believe possibly with a twinkle in her eye) "he's never tied up a someone who does yoga." or something to that effect. As a yoga instructor I do not know how one unties oneself from bonds like that.

Ok, that's it.

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