The only fiction I am reading this year is by women, with a presumed bias away from white western women (though there’s nowt wrong with the Barbara Kingsolvers and Margaret Atwoods of this world).
However, I need another ‘rule’ – no schlock. Life is Too Short – I am not getting any younger, and the apocalypse might be just around the corner.
Which was the theme of the last schlock book I read (in every sense). “The Three” is a page-turner by Sarah Lotz. The cover kinda sums it up – a jet (if you look carefully, it’s a 747) heading towards three (not two) uprights of similar dimension to, well, you know…
Think the Midwich Cuckoos meets Predator meets the (forgotten?) 80s moral-panic-about-video-games ‘Arcade’, in the style of World War Z (an oral history of the zombie wars, by Max Brooks) and Blair Witch Project. But this is longer (and not better for it), and the inter-textuality/meta-textuality gets a bit tricksy. There is nothing new here, but what redeems it is Lotz’s clear ability to give voice (mostly convincingly) to a range of characters and create a trail of bread crumbs that you want to follow.
The set-up – four passenger jets crash simultaneously and there are only three (or four?) young survivors is well laid out, but as the book goes on it’s not as creepy as it would like to be, and ends, inevitably, a little flat.
A lesson to me- I have fantastic fiction and non-fiction to read when I am not DOING MY FRICKING PHD, WHICH I SHOULD BE DOING ALL THE TIME. And so; No. More. Schlock.