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Transformers Mass Market Paperback – May 29, 2007
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About the Author
Alan Dean Foster has written in a variety of genres, including hard science fiction, fantasy, horror, detective, western, historical, and contemporary fiction. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Star Wars: The Approaching Storm and the popular Pip & Flinx novels, as well as novelizations of several films including Star Wars, the first three Alien films, and Alien Nation. His novel Cyber Way won the Southwest Book Award for Fiction in 1990, the first science fiction work ever to do so. Foster and his wife, JoAnn Oxley, live in Prescott, Arizona, in a house built of brick that was salvaged from an early-twentieth-century miners’ brothel. He is currently at work on several new novels and media projects.
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The bulk of the book follows three groups of humans with varying degrees of interaction with the Transformers and each other. The main character, Sam, is very weak. He's targeted more at setting a stereotypical nerdy teenager then creating a real person and appealing to a younger audience. Sam had personal struggles that seemed more like they came from a Jerry Springer: Slum Edition. He's likeable enough but completely cookie cutter.
Among the other characters his parents are likable enough but everyone else in Sam's hometown seemed completely oblivious to everything going on around them. His father is one of the most likeable people in this written nior*. He is a strong father figure with solid values and respectable knowledge of family history. His mother, while very loving, is a bit of fruitcake. If you don't believe me, look for some history on Mojo.
The various section of the governmental and military complex(es) was admirably clandestine and well thought out. The executive branch of the government was painted in a less then attractive light and congress wasn't even mentioned. The soldier and governmental employees had clear motives and family matters that anyone could identify with. The soldiers were more believable and far more likable then all of the civilian.
The Transformer themselves gets a remarkably small amount of book time. They usually come in, do something, and then hide. The next 40 pages are dealing with the new deadly situation that was just generated. Yes I know its `Robots in Disguise' but this is sometimes ridiculous. You would think your title characters would get more visibility and development.
The Transformer's character development is horrible. Aside from how they mangled the characters from the original series, the character's personalities are stale. For creatures whose greatest ability is to physically mimic and assimilate their environment they do a horrible job. They seem unable to assimilate basic human speech patterns even though they have recorded trillion of gigabytes of written and verbal language.
I realize they are in a hurry but these creatures have been around for thousands, if not millions of years. Now they get anxious to find the `Allspark'. It seemed like the book reached a point in which the plot had to artificially sped up. Perhaps the original screenplay needed to shorten because of the costs for special effects. If that true then book should have been based on the original screenplay and not the current screenplay because the books suffers greatly.
Finally is the technology. One of the Transformers loses the ability to speak, but he can play any music or recorded message. So - Why - Doesn't - He - Record - Some - Words - And - Play - The - Back - One - At - A - Time? Can't they hook up a Speak-and-Spell to the guy? Maybe a laptop with wifi and a big speaker? I think that lack of vocalizations was a concession from the first draft of the movie script when none of Transformers would have speaking rolls. It really distracting and degenerates the unfortunate character appearance.
The Allspark, The Energon Cube, The Matrix, has one role, to create new transformers. Its no long the storage that mantle of leadership or a storehouse of Transformer knowledge its just a tool. It to can transform for no good reason.
All in all the story is somewhat thin and, many of the characters are Hollywood stereotypes put to paper. Its a good read for a lazy Sunday afternoon but not much else. Die-hard fans will not like the book. Fans may enjoy the movie for its special effects but they will not enjoy the book nearly as much.
* Noir - This book could be classified as noir because there are many mysteries and plot twists within the book.