Monday, 10 February 2014

Ahhh - now this is more like it.  I want to seize on a thought Chris posted and second it - he does indeed seem to be getting better with each book.  Sure people still talk in stats and tell each other things they already know (In Rohmer World, short-term amnesia must run rampant), but this is the first of the three that hangs together and keeps the digressions to a minimum.  (though the scene where we flashback to ravishing Jessica Swift being offered the Secretary of State job by the president is perhaps the best/worst example yet of this kind of thing.  "Don't forget Jessica, if you take this job..."  followed by a long paragraph telling her exactly what the job entailed.  In case, you know, she thought she was interviewing to work at Tim Horton's).

But the plane crash is actually a well-written action sequence - stressful and tense the way it should be.  Pity it means nothing overall - by the time the PM gets around to talking to the President, everything has been wrapped up except for the issue of the North Sea Oil rights - no thanks to that union-loving Hobson.

Speaking of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Hobson is less a character than a purposefully wimpy union supporter who exists to strengthen the theme that unions are the root of all of the UK's problems, not Saudi Arabia.  It's a little obvious that Rohmer is rather transparently anti-union - whenever anyone (okay - everyone except poor old Hobson) speaks about how evil they are, it's interchangeable regardless of the character.

But still - implausibilities aside,  this was definitely a big step up from the first two.  Letter grades????

Hmmm.  Okay - I'll try:




This is all in relation to each other - the only way I think of doing it.

So - what's next?

PS: I just realized Balls! is also about energy.  How many pages till we get to the first reference to the pipeline in the Mackenzie Delta?


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  2. These letter grades seem exactly right to me. Four more things to keep track of, as they seem to reappear for no reason:

    The Anik III satellite
    French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
    The troubled-but-recovering American auto industry
    The noteworthy color of Canadian Armed Forces uniforms (green)

  3. Would that I'd had you too as teachers, I'd already decided on D, D+ and C.

    B+! That was the grade Christgau gave Stage Fright.

  4. I might have been harsher if I'd graded them in general against other books I'd read, but I figured it was better to grade them in relation to each other.

    That and I'm a nice guy.