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Syndrome

  • Au­thor: Thomas Hoover
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    Some may com­­plain about the sci­ence in the book and they would be right. I will com­­plain about some­thing else: the plot and the writ­ing.

    Not on­­ly is the plot fu­eled by co­in­­ci­­dence in a scale that would make any­one no­tice (ex­am­­ples? the jour­­nal­ist is the son of the bad guy bil­lion­aire *and* the old flame of the ar­chi­tec­t/­ex­per­i­­men­­tal sub­­­ject who is the sis­ter of the bad guys's CFO kind of co­in­­ci­­dences).

    There is al­­so the ran­­dom de­­tailed de­scrip­­tion of things that don't mat­ter in the least, but al­­so make no sense. Here's the de­crip­­tion of Alan the door­­man:


    "When Al­ly and Knick­ers walked in­to her lob­by, Alan, the morn­ing door­man, was there, just ar­rived, tun­ing
    his blond acous­tic gui­tar.
    Watch­ing over her con­do­mini­um build­ing was his day job, but writ­ing a mu­si­cal for Off Broad­way (about
    Bil­ly the Kid) was his dream. He was a tal­l, gaunt guy with a mane of red hair he kept tied back in a pony­tail
    while he was in uni­form and on du­ty. Ev­ery­body in the build­ing was root­ing for him to get his show mount­ed,
    and he rou­tine­ly de­clared that he and his part­ner were this close to get­ting back­er­s. "We're gonna have the
    next Ren­t, so you'd bet­ter in­vest now" was how he put it. Alan had the good cheer of a per­pet­u­al op­ti­mist and
    he need­ed it, giv­en the odds he was up against."


    Then he pats the dog and ex­changes two phras­es with the pro­tag­o­nist.

    I mar­vel at the idea of a door­man that's al­lowed to play gui­tar on the lob­by on work­ing hours. With this in­tro­duc­tion you may won­der what role Alan plays in the plot. Well, let me quote the on­ly oth­er men­tion of Alan in the whole book. It comes very near the end.


    "The con­do­mini­um no longer had a door­man. In hopes of trim­ming cost­s, the con­do board had sent out a se­cret
    bal­lot on the sub­jec­t. By a nar­row mar­gin the own­ers had vot­ed to dis­pense with that par­tic­u­lar frill. Al­though
    she missed Alan and his ear­ly morn­ing op­ti­mism about his Of­f-Broad­way hopes, she re­al­ized the econ­o­my
    was prob­a­bly time­ly. "


    I rest my case. The plot is just lazy, the sci­ence is con­trived, and the writ­ing lame. Not a good book.