Sunday, 8 April 2012

The Tommyknockers: 6th Feb - 8th Apr

This took me quite a bit longer than I'd have liked, initially intended and certainly longer than it should to have had the proper experience of the book. Aside from my usual indolence and distractions, I'm going to lay the blame at the door of comics and Walker Percy. Between The Walking Dead, Third World War, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Transmetropolitan, I've finally been making some progress with the Ultimate Edition Battle Royale manga I've had hanging around for the last year. Considering my usual slow progress with the King novels, this is clearly a terrible idea. I don't suppose reading Percy's The Moviegoer twice helped matters too much either.

So anyway, The Tommyknockers...
I started really hopeful that I was going to love it but was left it feeling a bit underwhelmed. Aside from my reading habits contributing to a complete lack of momentum, I had trouble giving much of a shit about the characters, well, maybe apart from Ruth and Ev. I didn't care much for the residents of Haven or the neighbouring locals who ended up being casualties of the maelstrom. As always, there is plenty to be gained from the simple act of reading Stephen King, but there were plenty of times when his long-windedness and painstaking backstory composition dragged. Had I been hammering my way through it, this may not have been as noticeable or off-putting for me.

The other problem I had was a lack of interest and connection with the plot as a whole. As so much of the nature of the Tommyknockers was left until the very last to be explained (not a problem in itself as constructing a story with so many unknowns and ultimately unexplaineds is not something I'm afraid of nor put off by, rather it's often something I'd prefer) we were left only with the effects of the ship and the Tommyknockers on Haven and its residents. As I didn't care much for them, even Bobbi, the whole thing ended up being a story I had to sit and see played out. I didn't expect Gard to figure quite so extensively but fear that any endearment I built up towards him in the first half didn't have the legs to perpetuate. Again, my halting reading was probably most to blame.

As for my usual question: did it scare me? The short answer is no. I'm not left watching the skies or fearing the resurgent energy of a buried alien ship. That sounds really dumb when I put it like that - I know that the scare factor of horror, and particularly sci-fi horror, is rarely concentrated on and confined to "what if this really happened?". In fact, is it ever? There were a couple of occasions where the physical transformation of the becoming had me squirming but past that, the chills were at a minimum.

I can imagine the tv mini-series was a pile of horseshit but you know I'll end up watching it, if only to revisit the book and scratch the nagging itch that it was better than I thought. We'll see. Until then I'm giving it a meh.

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