Friday, 10 January 2014

I knew you guys would lap me on the first book, since I only got it a couple of days back and am only now 1/3 of the way into it - so I haven't reached the GSC or read your last two posts (until I catch up).

But let's go back to the beginning...

Chapter 1 is a marvel - it's almost all exposition.  It consists of, as Chris has said to me often, two people telling each other things they already know.  Thankfully President Blank is there to tell the PM the ins and outs of the treaty issues,  energy shortages and political climate down south (all backed up with stats galore) so that the reader is sufficiently knocked out when he delivers his "shocking" ultimatum.  If real life were like this chapter, it would sound like this:

(Phone rings).

Me:  Hello
Voice:  Hi -it's Dr. Smith's office calling.
Me: Well, if it isn't Marie, my long-time Dentist's Dr. Smith's receptionist calling!
Voice:  Just calling to remind you that you have a check up and cleaning appointment.  Wouldn't want to miss out the necessary preventative maintenance on your teeth.  Checking your teeth regularly is as necessary as brushing and flossing after every meal.  You can't be to careful.
Me: Right! You'll remember the last time I came in and Dr. Smith found a cavity.  You had warned me about this and I didn't take heed!

Also - President Blank refers to Canadians numerous times as "you people".  I thought this was an attempt at imbuing him with a folksy Texan charm, but then the PM refers to Americans the same way as the chapter ends.

Chapter 2 consists entirely of the PM trying to think of everyone - and I mean everyone - that needs to know about the situation.  Page after page of him listing off who needs to be invited to Ottawa to deal the crisis.  At this early point in the book I was thinking "so I guess when the action comes it'll be fast and furious now that we have all the 456 players in place"?

One final thought (this stops me from going on to nit pick about chapter 3):  at one point Prime Minister Porter asks to meet the ranking officials in the media for their advice on handling the public disclosure of information.  I'm trying to imagine any situation in which Stephen Harper would ask for the heads of any major media outlets to meet with him to provide advice.

The 70s were so much more a trusting and cooperative time.


  1. If near the beginning of a story one character says to a room full of characters, "Welcome gentlemen, as you know..." you're in for a low level of genre entertainment. Not a bad level; just a low one.

  2. Life lesson taught to me by Chris: In Megaforce when once character says to another "don't forget, we were heroes in the last mission" and you pointed this out at the worst example of this sort of exposition to me. I think I've thought of this everytime I hear or read " you know" and groan inwardly.

  3. Not to spoil things for you, Stan, but you'll soon hit a bit in which Porter provides the premiers with a recap of their stances on the ULTIMATUM, while informing each of the historical and economic elements that influenced.