Celestial Weasel (celestialweasel) wrote,
Celestial Weasel

I blame the Lucas Parkes bloke, myself

Having abandoned listing books due to it being vaguely dispiriting I will have a go again for 2009. So far I have managed to not read very much. However the first two books completed are.

1. The Outward Urge by John Wynham & Lucas Parkes (reread from long ago)
Oh this is bad. I had hoped there would be moments of tweedpunk high camp, but actually not so much. The world of 1994 when it starts, and indeed the world of 2194 when it ends is not one jot or tittle different from Wyndham's world of the late 50s. The thing that struck me is how flat the prose is, how short it is on description and, largely, plot. I was reminded somehow thematically of Space Family Stone by Heinlein. The Heinlein comes out on top.
I read this in my earlyish childhood because my brother had a copy.

2. American Hero by Larry Beinhart (reread)
This is the book on which Wag The Dog is based. If, of course, by based you mean having no plot or characters in common and only a tangentially related plot - American Hero is a conspiracy novel about the first Gulf War, Wag The Dog is an alleged comedy about a war made up to divert attention from a president's affair. This being an American film, the idea that one could pretend to be having a war in Albania without anyone but the CIA noticing that one, er, wasn't, is not treated as being utterly ludicrous.
Anyway, the book is much better. Essentially, the idea is that Lee Atwater left a posthumous memo suggesting that Bush I could win reelection by staging a popular war. James Baker gets a film producer to stage the war. The producer cancels the film he is working on and an actress starts digging into why because she gets a heavy handed response when she asks questions. A hard-boiled Vietnam Vet PI get sucked into it, and things escalate. The novel has footnotes about the real people and events around the Gulf War. We assume the author doesn't really believe this, and that it is purely coincidence that, presumably, the film rights are bought and the film produced is about a fictional war and is a bit of a damp squib. Or was that damp squid?

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