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The Edge of Reason Mass Market Paperback – June 2, 2009

19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Former SF author Snodgrass (Circuit Breaker) returns to novel writing after a 20-year break with this gritty narrative of a war between light and dark. Richard Oort, upper-class concert pianist turned Albuquerque cop, adds a new career as a paladin wielding a sword that embodies reason and order. Recruited by Kenntnis, a wealthy technology entrepreneur, after rescuing a sorceress in distress, Richard learns that Kenntnis is the Serpent, and Prometheus, and Lucifer. Richard is his latest weapon in the eons-old battle against the Old Ones, who feed on emotions stirred by religious beliefs. While Richard can be overly dramatic, he is generally portrayed sympathetically as he struggles to comprehend supernatural warfare and more earthly concerns such as his mother's suicide. Balancing a harsh critique of organized religion with touches of humor and a good-hearted priest who grounds his faith in the Golden Rule, Snodgrass just barely avoids polemic. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“It's the eve of Armageddon and the gates of hell are about to yawn open. Jesus Christ is a homeless schizophrenic living in a cardboard box, Lucifer commands the forces of light, and humanity's best hope is a tormented young beat cop from Albuquerque, New Mexico. If H.P. Lovecraft and H. L. Mencken had ever collaborated, they might have come up with something like The Edge of Reason . This one will delight thinkers--and outrage true believers--of all stripes.” --George R. R. Martin
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (June 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765354209
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765354204
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,030,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Patrick J. Callahan on December 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I managed to read my way through The Edge of Reason rather quickly, drawn on by the author's excellent writing on the level of the sentence and paragraph. A mastery of description, a great sense for the revealing detail, fine images, a pretty good gift for dialog -- all these promise a delightful read. Alas, plotting problems do the book in.

The opening chapter or two provide excellent action, and a slam-bang introduction to the story. However, as you continue reading, there are long "dead spots" where nothing seems to happen except endless talking. The plot veers and turns, taking the reader on several side-trips that are almost akin to "filler" material. One wonders if the author had a firm outline, and a clear sense of where she was going.

Issues also get in the way. The author appears to have some strongly held views about gayness. We only learn halfway through the novel that the protagonist is a gay man. From there on, many pages are devoted to his fight against prejudice and slights. It is almost as though, "hey, this book is a great soapbox . . . let's take a vacation from the plot for a while."

The protagonist Richard is a pretty complex and interesting character, but many of the book's characters are like cardboard cut-outs, altogether evil or surpassingly good.

I really believe this author has excellent talent. If she could just get out of her own way, and master more discipline, she could write the kind of books that I could review very positively. As it is, the time wading through this one was not really time well spent.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Stefan VINE VOICE on August 6, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Richard Oort, a police officer in Albuquerque, finds out that he is a paladin for the forces of rationality and science. He is recruited in the fight against the forces of evil: Cthulhu-esque beings from another dimension who feed on humanity's fears and pain to break through to our world and use religion to gain power by spreading hatred and fear.

The Edge of Reason is set in the present day but successfully ties the history of various myths and religions into its background. At times, the "religion = bad" message is a bit heavy (and I can imagine some people taking offense to it), but at the same time, it manages to turn this fantasy novel into a sharp social commentary that, depending on your political views, may or may not make you nod in agreement. Regardless, the connection between religion and a Chtulhu-type invasion is quite original -- and it's not every day you encounter a fantasy novel in which rationalism is good and magic is evil.

Oort is an interesting and complex character, and the way Melinda Snodgrass slowly reveals his personality and his past is one of the best aspects of this novel. There's also a cast of solid, well-realized side-characters (human and otherwise) who make this novel a pleasure to read. I also enjoyed the loving way Melinda Snodgrass described New Mexico and Albuquerque, the setting for most of the novel.

The Edge of Reason is a fascinating present-day fantasy with a unique concept and solid characters.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this after reading a short story with the same characters and premise in "Down These Streets". It is such an interesting premise, ruined by reason of trite plot twists and preaching so heavy-handed it would sit better in a Baptist revival tent. Halfway through and I could have written the rest, it was that predictable.
It has such an interesting idea, which makes it all the more disappointing when it fails across the board and ends just boring.
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19 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Chris B on July 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
You kind of know you're in trouble with a book when you discover that one of the protagonist's big problems in life is that he's just so pretty. I only wish I was making this up, but there it is, just after he's rescued The Girl:

"Now he was standing next to a woman who matched his extraordinary good looks. 'And I wonder if it's been as much of a burden to her as it has been for me?'"

Feel his pain! How can you not empathize with him? He's just your average concert pianist with a Master in Arts turned police officer after the requisite stints at Cornell and the Rome Academy who also spent time in fencing, gymnastics and also did some yachting with his dad back in the day. Just your regular Joe Six Pack, except for that interesting six month gap in his records.

I'd probably have a lot more vested in this obviously extraordinary character and his difficulties if the writing elevated the story at all. Instead, we learn his backstory in a fashion that is only slightly less interesting than my summary. We are literally told all of this as one of the big movers of the plot reads it out of a file. And there is the biggest problem with the book: we are not shown that things have meaning or feeling. Instead we are told, over and over again in a shrill, tone deaf authorial voice that our heroes are heroic (but with cliched Dramatic Problems) and that the villains, though beguiling, are in fact so Wrong that they should really be twirling their mustaches (a la Snidely Whiplash).

Which is a real shame because the story about the various magical and scientific forces battling over the Earth could make for a fascinating book, but this really isn't it. This is bad fanfic.
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