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The Overton Window Hardcover – Bargain Price, June 15, 2010
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
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- All the necessary elements of a good action-adventure dystopia: suspense, some (clean) romance, nukes, abuse of modern technology, government tyranny.
- Easy writing style. Flows well.
- Uses the classic and enjoyable writing technique where multiple storylines coalesce at the end.
- Enough reach to be fictional, but enough incorporation of modern day politics, culture and technology to be chilling.
- Kind of like a cross between Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising and Huxley's Brave New World.
- It's a cliffhanger book, which left me wanting. (That was probably the point.) Plan on reading the sequel The Eye of Moloch to feel satisfied.
- The (clean) romance between the two main characters proceeds far too fast to feel realistic.
Well, that sounds simplistic, but after a lot of thought, it's true. I happened to watch Beck on Fox when he was talking about the concept of the overton window & how it works (an actual technique of changing group attitudes). Scared me then & it scares me now.
So, the story is just the vehicle Beck uses to show his perspective of what's happening in today's world. There are 40 pages of documentation of source material - honestly overwhelming. He says repeatedly 'do your own research', but I'm not sure how many casual readers will do just that. Maybe they feel as I do - what would I do if I found even half of this stuff true? Well, it's more than I can handle & just reading the list of sources is difficult.
I think we, the people of the United States, are probably heading down the same path traveled numerous times before us by other great nations (Romans, Greeks). And unless we make huge changes - that many won't do - we'll probably continue down the path to ruin. Wouldn't have thought these things 20 years ago, but now it seems almost a given.
The Overton Window is a quick and fun read but while a lot of thought was put into how to weave the various threads of government conspiracy theory into a fun story, the basic plot elements of the narrative were left horribly neglected. For instance, if your going to write a story from the omniscient point of view, then the audience ought to be treated to the back story of the characters in the plot. The character development was scant; we barely know or learn anything about the protagonist, Noah Gardner, let alone any of his supporting cast. Without some deeply thought out backgrounds, it's next to impossible to believe the characters would act the way they do and do the things they do simply from the animus of the stories environment. I'm all for the "love, liberty & search for the truth" motivations, but, in the real world, it takes a lot more than that to get people involved. If I am to believe Noah will do the things he does in this story, then the author needs to show us his "Road to Damascus" experience, those "turning points" that the author tells us about...
Another painful aspect of the story is the ending. I will not spoil it, but Mr. Beck must have just put down his well-worn and dog-eared copies of Tom Clancey's "Sum of All Fears" and Orwell's "1984" just prior to writing it. Some minor differences to fit the characters and circumstances, but not very original...
Thanks Mr. Beck, it was a fun read but perhaps your publisher and editors were a little too eager to birth this story just in time for the November elections than to actually help you to refine your fiction writing. Give it another try and I'll be glad to read the next installment...
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What's scary is that the scenario portrayed is actually possible.