Review of Sleeping Giants

I usually don’t do too many reviews, but this being an advance readers edition, it prevents me from quoting the book (since its still subject to change).

But I just want to say one of my reasons for excitement for this book is it’s mostly dialogue. And that’s exactly what I need. This way I can use it as a guide on how to edit my own mostly dialogue book.

And the dialogue is definitely unique. If you read normal dialogue, it’s main purpose is to communicate feeling or intent. This dialogue, while maintaining that same purpose, also has to communicate movement and scenery, which Neuvel did a good job with by using the technique of a constant interviewer. All the sudden when you’re on the phone, the listener is ordering you to tell him what’s happening since he doesn’t have a camera on you. It’s very entertaining.

And in my last post, I was so confused about the giant; I thought they giant was going to be removed from the story since SPOILER they sank him in the ocean. But nope. It was a trick to retrieve him later. So the whole story was in fact about the giant.

One thing I did not like, besides the characters seeming to fit standard archetypes, is that I didn’t find any real, driving conflict within the story until the later half. In the beginning, it was a very plot oriented story, telling you how they recovered each of the pieces, which although was stressful at times, was not conflicted. At the times with high stress, it was mainly filled with regret or sadness for accidentally killing someone. But once Alyssa came in, there was some tension. Here there was conflict. She didn’t like the characters (we don’t really find out why) but she wants them replaceable, willing to go to any means to do so. She’s very selfish, demanding, confident…making her a great enemy in the book that I’m sad we didn’t see more of.

There was also some political conflict between nations, which we didn’t get to see a lot of, which could’ve definitely increased the tension. We got some more at the end with Korea. Definitely a high point.

In the end, I would say it was a good book. I liked seeing the unique stylistic approach, and it was a good story, even if it didn’t have a lot of tension in the first half of the story.

Neuvel, Sylvain. Sleeping Giants. New York, NY: Del Rey, 2016. Print.

Halfway through SLEEPING GIANTS

So I had a bit of a fan girl moment at comic con at Seattle. Everyone was waiting half an hour to an hour to meet their favorite actors and actresses, and I could waltz to the front of my line because no one wanted to get the autograph of some well known writer.

Thank you Brent Weeks and Kevin Hearne. You made my week!

Also thank you Sylvain Neuvel not only for your autograph but for your new and first published book, Sleeping Giants, which was an obvious attempt and marketing but I didn’t care because cool! Advance Reader’s Edition!

Right now I’m on page 201 out of 302, having read most of the book on my flight, and I have to say it was interesting, even if this was my only means for entertainment.

This book follows a very predictable timeline pattern: linear consecutive flow, excusing the initial prologue where the story is introduced two decades in the past. After that what follows is a series of dialogue within interviews and reflective diaries from three/four characters.

And firstly, I like the interviews. I would say Neuvel definitely has his dialogue down. What I like most of all is how the interviews are always conducted by the same character, this mysterious main whom we never know the name or position of, except that he holds control over the president and NATO’s bank. This is my favorite part.

I do like the little diaries, except they seem like necessary scene breaks in order to break up the dialogue, which doesn’t get boring but seems almost required in order to get descriptions of actions or visuals, especially if the giant which is integral to the story.

The characters do have a good voice, and you can see the gender and age differences between characters, even their personalities just by their voice. But what I felt was lacking within the characters is a real dimension. Maybe it’s because they felt like stereotypes, overused archetypes: motherly overseer,  angsty pilot, etc. They didn’t have too much history or purpose behind them besides curiosity for the job driving them forward.

And right now, that’s all I can see driving this book forward: curiosity. So far what’s played out has consisted of “Ooo. Robot! Let’s find it!” to “This robot is a deadly murder machine. We’ve got to hide it!”

Seems like transformers except more technology advanced, it’s own hardships, and it’s own looks.

I’m waiting to read what happens next. What’s the arc?

Juxtaposition of beauty and need

What’s considered ‘right and proper’? I feel like this phrase is the equivalent of asking what’s normal? And that’s a weighty statement, one I’ve been asking myself right now. After all, it’s hard to judge what’s normal when no two people are alike.

This is the question the short story, “Right and Proper,” raises within Matthew Buscemi’s book Transmutations of Fire and Void. In “Right and Proper,” the reader follows along with Kailey, a meticulous manager whose emotion has almost been completely removed in her practical, opinion-less job. For someone working in quantum decoherence, they remove the possibility of an object’s existence in order to generate energy. Unfortunately, this means the elimination of art, creativity, of this spark of existence – the thing that gives us life.

I like how this story brings this fact of life to light, that without creativity and enjoyment, the world be an expressionless, boring place. You can tell immediately that the characters have the bare minimum of emotion – happiness at order, sadness in the face of chaos. I think what I liked most in this story is the contrast between beauty and need.

“The interior is a simple lattice, but it grows more
angles and curves as you go outward, until the edges, with those helices and spirals. Oh Su Ges-Limnu-Nis-Limmu. It’s amazing.”

The hunk of transparent tungsten remained to Kailey nothing more than a hunk of transparent tungsten, despite the recruit’s description.

Kailey produced her computer, and instructed the nanite control system to synthesize a glass of water into her hand. (7)

In this scene, we witness the superior diss the imagination of the inferior intern, although internally, who even though is inexperienced, imagines beauty in the creation of complexity. But while the superior explains this object is just for power, ignoring its beauty, she uses that same power to generate a glass of water.

To me, contrasting the justification of creativity/beauty/enjoyment with the necessity of food/water argues that some elements of life are hard to achieve without first moving past the sacrifice to necessity. Where the need to survive comes first, art will always come second, only after comfort has been first achieved. This juxtaposition I really enjoyed, which didn’t take more that putting the two actions side-by-side. A relatively simple solution.

Buscemi, Matthew. “Right and Proper.” Transmutations of Fire and Void. Seattle, WA: Fuzzy Hedgehog Press, 1-10. Print.