Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I Really Hope I Missed Something In those 748 Pages.

Last night, I finished The Forever Hero by L.E. Modisett, Jr. I told you guys I was going to post a review and I fully intend to. I actually started to write the review last night and I got all of 4 paragraphs written. Guess what I've discovered. When I like a book, it's really easy to write a review. When I hate a book, it's really easy to write a review. You know what? I didn't like The Forever Hero. In fact, I'm pretty sure I was completely offended by it.

It's a compilation of three previously published novels in one volume and I was O.K. with the first two novels. The third one had two big problems. First, it started to bore me fairly quickly. Then, not long before the end, it started to show signs of life again and I thought it might end on a satisfying note. Then it took an unexpected turn and made me start wondering what kind a of misogynistic fuck the author was. I rarely look for or notice Mary-Sue-isms, but I'm left wondering if someone would actually write something that fits that model and simultaneously gives the reader queasy heebie-jeebies.

Stop reading here if you want to avoid spoilers.

In the last 50 pages of the book, our hero rapes two women. Granted, both women came to him, and one of them clearly showed up intending to fuck him, but in each case, he overpowers them after the fact and then follows up by raping them. I read each chapter a second time, trying to find some mitigating factors and I couldn't find any.

I'm left hoping the author found himself stuck. I'm left hoping he intended to tell the tragic story of a character who was driven to re-populate Earth with people who had the best chance for survival and advancement. I'm left hoping our hero was disgusted with himself but saw no other choice, regardless of what his actions cost him. I'm left hoping he meant for his readers to be uncomfortable with the final plot twists...but not that uncomfortable. No matter what I'm hoping, I can't find a way to view this trilogy as anything but the glorification of sociopathic behavior.

Like I said, I still intend to write a full review of The Forever Hero. Before reaching the creepy queasy-making part, there were other things I found annoying to various degrees. There were also enough good things to make me keep reading. The most revealing thing, to me, however, is how hard I'm finding it to write a thoughtful review of a book that I'm sure couldn't have intended to be so offensive, yet was.

If any of you have read this trilogy and think I'm totally off base, missed something, read it wrong, or whatever, I'd appreciate being corrected.


Jim Wright said...

No disagreement here. Couldn't finish it.

This isn't the first time for me either - I got seriously creeped out by David Gerrold's Ctorr series when the protagonist engaged in homosexual pedophilia with his adopted son because the son had metal issues from being in cult. Auuuugh! Stopped reading right there, stopped reading Gerrold in fact.

Nathan said...

If anything similar had shown up earlier, I'm pretty sure I'd have dropped it then, but he saved all the seriously warped shit for the very end. In hindsight, I can kind of see how he was setting this up, but it really just comes out of nowhere

And I can even see where he may have thought the guy was a sympathetic character...I just don't buy it.