Thursday, March 1, 2012
Bastard Reaction: The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny by Simon R. Green
The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny is the tenth novel by Simon R. Green in the Nightside series; enter at your own peril. I would have shortened the title to The Bad as this book is simply, well, bad.
This is the part of the review in which I give you the setup of the novel, well can't really do that here. I can tell you this much, it has an 80 page introductory portion, including about 40 pages of an entertaining action packed car chase. Only that by the end of it, you still don't know what the heck this book is going to be about. Once you finish the novel, you'll notice that this early portion was simply the setup for the next book. Needless to say that something, the most horrible thing you can imagine that will end up destroying everyone we love and the world as we know it is coming to the Nightside. Then again, everything introduced in this series is like that. I'll give you the setup for the next one then. Excalibur is coming, we don't know what the crap it is, but know that shit will hit the fan and eat your babies in an inexplicable way.
Up to this point in the series, I've had a bit of love and hate relationship with it, but at the very least the Nightside has always entertained me, with a few very good installments in the middle. That's all I'm asking, a little bit of fun and entertainment. But when you have gone through 140 pages of a 275 page novel and still looking for the book's plot to pick up in some way, then there's something seriously wrong with it by my estimation. The worst part of it is that we had to go through 40 pages of a fairly pointless flashback narrated by a minor character one doesn't care for and within the first few sentences you can pretty much tell what the whole flashback is going to be about and how it'll conclude. So why torture your readers through this?
Even worse than the worst, and inside the Nightside that's possible, is that the final portion of the book where everything comes together is actually promising and the prospect of excitement finally makes you want to forget the journey to this point. It's the culmination of what was begun in the first novel, a moment we've all been waiting for, and in typical The Bad style, it falls flat on its face; completely anti-climatic and uninspiring. Just another day in the Nightside I guess.
Above all of this, as hard as it may be to believe, what has really gotten to me is that for a place that should be unique and different, everything is the same. We enter a shop, careful with the plates, they eat balls for breakfast. "Buyer beware!" We enter another shop, don't look at the mirror, it'll suck the light out of your eyes and steal your soul. "Buyer beware!". We enter a bar, it's filled with the worst criminals of the Nightside. "Enter at your own peril!" We got to a different bar, it's filled with the worst criminals. What? "Enter at your own peril!" Careful with Timmy the man-eating blob, it's so horrible it can't be described. Don't pet the Garakunta, the half-dragon half-rabbit beast, it's so horrible it can't be described. I think you get the idea. Every time we enter a new establishment we spend pages in passages like this one, and everything is the freaking same, the same old shit over and over. Though I particularly never cared for this type of dynamic, I can admit it had its charm early on. Ten books later, and still doing the same crap? Well, it's gotten old.
The Nightside series has a lot of parodical elements, but it has become a parody of itself. Though I've enjoyed most of it to this point, I've kept waiting for the series to take that other step, and things were looking up after five or so novels, but now, I'm just not sure if it'll ever get there for me. I'll keep reading, and I hope that this particular installment is simply an aberration, but at this moment I'm completely disenamored with the Nightside.
The Nightside has a big fanbase and they'll enjoy the heck out of this novel, and it seems like most have, but it just didn't do anything for me other than to wish to get to the end of it. The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny was the perfect storm of everything I've disliked of this series and ruined some of what I've enjoyed the most. I'm hoping for the best for the next ones, but hard to feel optimistic about the prospects. For all the attempts of being fun, funny, entertaining, witty, exciting I simply got bored and that's a hard thing to do. Seems fitting that the next one is titled A Hard Day's Knight.
Buy The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny from The Book Depository.
For more information please visit Simon R. Green's website.