Sunday, April 01, 2007

Une riske acceptable

Now that moot court is o v e r, I can get back to l-i-v-i-n. Like blathering.

I read Sphere a while back, and the more I think about it, the closer it comes into breaking into my best-books-ever stratosphere. In fact, I was so impressed with that book and Crichton's general way of thinking/writing, that I thought I'd look into some other doctors. For my birthday, my lovely wife got me four books, all by doctors:
- Keith Ablow's Compulsion
- Robin Cook's Acceptable Risk and Fatal Cure
- Marshall Goldberg, M.D.'s The Karamanov Equations.

I've read Compulsion and Acceptable Risk, and let me tell you something: they're just OK.

Compulsion was a very entertaining, fast-reading thriller with a psychiatrist-detective at the forefront. Some of the characters were thrown in for no reason, and the author was clearly biased toward a certain character for whom I had no sympathy. While it didn't break any new ground literarily, it was entertaining enough that I'd recommend borrowing it from the library or buying it from a used book store.

As for Acceptable Risk . . . let's just say that some books are written to be movies. The book begins with a foray into the Salem witchraft trials in 1692. Then we hop three hundred years into the future and spend the rest of the book getting to know one of the witch's descendants. The descendant's boyfriend discovers that the witchcraft hysteria was caused by a just-now-newly discovered mold in the rye bread eaten by the Salemites in 1692. The boyfriend develops a drug from the mold, and we spend most of the book watching the descendant vascillate about what she should do. Finally, in clicheish fashion, the house burns down during Salem's worst storm since 1692, and the world is set aright again. It felt very much like reading a slow-developing "thriller" movie, complete with the five minutes of break-neck thrills that suddenly end with explosions and massacre. I couldn't wait to finish the book, but not in the good way. I don't really recommend this.

I started The Karamanov Equations yesterday. Published in 1972, this book has all the indications of a classic, golden-age-of-science-fiction novel full of fun and science puzzles. If it sucks, I won't write anything else about it


Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure that is a movie. And the guy turns into a crazy guy who sees wolves chasing him in the woods when he is running, then he starts killing people to keep his secret safe.

RG said...

Yes yes I saw that movie! I didn't know that it was also a book.... I don't think it occurred to me that something like that could have gotten published. I keep hearing how hard it is to get published - how does that explain some of the books I've run across?? Maybe they've used up all the space they have for BLAH.

avacadojer said...

Wow--it was a made-for-TBS movie. I think Robin Cook got away with it because it was like his 8th or 10th book. I guess once you reach a certain point, you can put out blah and still rake in the dough.