Friday, July 5, 2019

Book Irreview: Timeline


***

I love Michael Crichton.  His novels were an integral part of my developmental years, beginning with my read of Jurassic Park, which was quickly followed by my readings of The Andromeda Strain, The Terminal Man, The Great Train Robbery, Eaters of the Dead, Congo, Sphere, Rising Sun, and - the novel that made me quit reading Michael Crichton - The Lost World.

Seriously, that run of eight novels is probably the best run of eight novels I've ever read, across any number of authors... and these were all written by the same guy: Michael motherfuckin' Crichton.

When I read The Lost World, it dawned on me that Mr. Crichton might now (then) be writing for the paycheck inevitably coming from Hollywood (for the record, I hated the movie, too).  I always intended on returning to Crichton at some time, but life (and other novels) kept getting in the way.

And, well, I finally did.  With Timeline.

I pretty much feel about Timeline the way I feel about The Lost World.  Sure, it starts well enough, and the mechanism of time travel is truly fascinating, but as soon as the protagonists go back in time, well... it's all downhill from there.

Seriously, the characters are flat archetypes, given skills that are so specific, their foreshadowed use is painfully obvious.  Neither villain is worth a shit, with the more harrowing villain barely explained (or even necessary to the plot) and the other... not really a villain.  In fact, the way he's dealt with is both literally and figuratively criminal.  Not to mention unsatisfying as Hell.

At least it's better than the movie.