Thursday, 9 January 2014

Okay, I finished Ultimatum. Stan?

A couple of thoughts while everything is fresh in my mind: We need a system with reading these things. I fell behind and when Brian said he was done, it felt like I was getting an ULTIMATUM to catch up. And the bad part about reading a collection of novels on an iPad is if you don’t think to check how many pages you have left you can run smack into the GOBSMACKING SHOCK CLIMAX.

Stan, when do you think you’d be in a position to discuss the GSC?

The pipeline. What was the deal with the president inspecting the pipeline? Goddamn that was boring.

The terrorists. Everyone seems to not mind them very much. A simpler time. Everyone who deals with them seems more or less as angry as I am when my kids leave their dirty dishes in the sink. I kept expecting various people in charge to get off the phone after saying, “Well sorry to hear you’re behind all the terrorism” to get on the other line and start calling teams of surly people with night vision goggles to kill everyone the terrorists have ever met. But this never happens. Is that weird, or am I weird?

The terrorists. (Spoiler) If the Americans want to force Canada to make them a deal, why do they start helping Canada? Dueling speeches. Near he beginning of the book, the President and the Prime Minister prepare to address their nations on television. We hear every single detail, second by second, of the their preparation. I mean, it goes on and on. But neither of them puts on make-up. Did Rohmer think that was too girly?

The thing with the Prime Minister refusing to tell anyone how he’s going to vote. I understand that Rohmer wants to build suspense, but this is moronic. We keep hearing that the country is rallying in support… of what? He refuses to tell them what he thinks. It feels really, really, really, really fake-aroo.

The giant planes. This is the other absurd thing in a book that I was surprised to find was mostly pretty realistic. (I mean about parliament.) The giant planes don’t make any sense at all. There’s a reason you don’t transport heating oil by jet plane, and it’s the same reason you don’t ask someone to pass you the ketchup by Federal Express: Because it doesn’t make any economic sense at all. Even if you could build a fleet of the world’s biggest planes, you wouldn’t use them to carry fossil fuel. If the fuel to power them was cheap enough to make flying them work economically, it would be too cheap to make it worth carrying.

I wonder what the point is.

The icebreakers. Remember when the arctic was all covered with ice?

President _______. I’m all for this conceit. But Rohmer makes it kind of silly by telling us the names of the President’s parents in a bio on page one.

Characters. I’m going to be nice here, and say Rohmer’s characters aren’t weighed down with a lot of personality. We hear that two women are hot, that the President’s sneaky adviser “Wolf” has a long thin nose, and that’s it.

Texas. Except President ______, whose character is that he tells people he’s from Texas at least a dozen times. He likes steak, because he’s from Texas. He likes high stakes poker, because he’s from Texas. He’s plain spoken, because, well, you know.

Long thin nose. What the hell?


1 comment:


    Before I forget: My favorite moment in the whole book. The President and the oil guys talk about the beautiful water under the arctic ice. ("Clear as a bell" one of them says, unfortunately.) And the amazing animals you can see, including narwhals. Five pages later, they blow it all up.