Thursday, October 24, 2013

I Think I'm Infected but Not in a Good Way

BLACKOUT by Robison Wells reminds me of this old joke.

There are two dyslexics working in a kitchen. One says, "Can you smell gas?" And the other says, "I can't even smell my own name." (Remember, it's just a witticism, a spoonerism, if you will. Not necessarily derogatory.)

BLACKOUT was an entertaining read, fast-paced, intriguing. I guess you could say engaging. I was engaged, then… Well, I think you'll like those characteristics. I haven't read its predecessor if there is one. But after reading it, I feel like one of those kitchen workers. Nonetheless, I don't have dyslexia. There just wasn't enough narrative explanation for my tastes. Maybe if there are successor volumes, I could be more satisfied. But that's speculative.

Perhaps I have the worldwide virus that's a premise to what happens in the novel. I finished the whole book, but I didn't learn sufficient information about that virus. Or about the motivation of both the mentioned and unmentioned antagonists in this work. There was not nearly enough knowledge and development for my tastes, other than the virus is totally weird, inexplicably so, and creative. One thing I did learn about the virus was the fact that it only infected youth --- teenagers --- and it made them super- or sub-human. Superpowers.

(So, because I'm old, I don't have "that" virus. Whew! Something's infected me, though. I hope it can be treated.)

In BLACKOUT the primary players on the dark side, who, of course, are all infected, include Alec, Laura, and Dan. And on the side of light --- after all, they're probably Saints, since they're from central Utah --- are Aubrey and Jack. Or, perhaps, that should be "on the light side" --- ha ha. At least, I think that's right, but recall that I might be infected (although not with "the" virus). The former trio serve as terrorists, utilizing their viral superpowers to wreak havoc. The nation's military ends up exploiting the later two heroes' superpowers to thwart the villains. These characters are all viewpoint characters, and they're not the only ones, as I recall. Character development suffered.

You see, this virus shows itself in varying ways, but never with the same symptoms in any two different individuals. It's unlike any other disease or virus known to mankind, at least in my experience. Or in my imagination. And its symptomatic manifestations are all over the place as far as superpowers or darkpowers for these teens go. The antagonists wreak havoc across the United States --- for what purpose is unclear --- and the protagonists are simply manipulated by their government without a satisfactory justification for my tastes in doing so.

Hence, as in all fantasy and/or pseudoscience fiction, such powers can be and are manipulated in a deus ex machina way. It's very, very convenient.

That's how I spell it.