Thursday, 20 January 2011

Slurping down the Paperbacks

Robert Silverberg's Tower of Glass is a pulpy scifi tale of hubris with a super rich industrialist dementedly building a ginormous tachyon transmitter to respond to a recently received alien signal unfortunately his slave workforce are growing restless. It's not bad but there's little that raises it above the neverending pile of scifi potboilers and little things started irritating me like the stupid names, shallow characters and the irksome misuse of the word android - I dunno bout you but android means a human styled robot to me but Silverberg uses it to describe the cloned humans that build the tower maybe the word had different connotations in 1970 or I'm just a pedant. It's ok but his Book of Skulls is much better.

The Collector is the debut novel from John Fowles first published in 1963. I've only ever read his The Magus before which was both brilliant and frustrating so I wasn't sure what to expect from this earlier psychothriller. A much simpler and disturbing tale unfolds here with the narrative split, diary style between a disturbed entomologist and his recently imprisoned female captive. Beautifully written it's a dark, twisted depiction of madness and loneliness that reminded me of Highsmith's Ripley novels. Might look into some of Fowles' other books - avoiding French Lieutenant's Woman obviously.

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