Friday, March 7, 2014

John Smith: Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars - Roland Hughes

Summary: What if the Mayans got the start of the end correct because they had survived it once before? What if our written history was just as accurate as the old tale about three blind men describing an elephant? What if classic science fiction writing and television shows each got a piece of it correct, would you know which ones? If your eyes can only see a tiny portion of a collage do you know it is a collage?

Fans of Babylon 5, Star Trek TNG, Battle Star Galactica (the new one) and classic science fiction writing will enjoy the bountiful Easter Egg hunt contained within. When you were a child you learned to connect paper clips or thread beads together to make a necklace. Sit back and watch the beads you’ve had all your life form the picture you could not see. Consider for one second the possibility of the story, then hang onto your mind with both hands while you take the ride.  (Summary and book cover from goodreads.com.  A copy of the book was provided for me in exchange for my honest review.) 

My Review:  "SK" shows up to a dwelling to interview the oldest living human about the "Microsoft Wars", a cataclysmic series of wars that changed the face of earth, essentially ending the world as we know it.  Her purpose is to provide her readers with a firsthand account of the end of the wars, in order to prevent them happening again.  John Smith was only 11 when his grandfather and he sealed themselves in a bunker at the end of the wars, but at nearly 80, he is the world's oldest man.

Roland Hughes writes John Smith as though the reader has obtained the transcript of the interview between "SK" and Smith.  While refreshing to read straight dialogue, there were times that I felt I would have identified or bonded with the characters more had I been privy to their mannerisms or other clues not available in a transcript.  I felt like the style of Hughes' writing was so disjointed and scattered that it took all of my brain power to follow where he may be heading.  I had none left over to develop the characters on my own, and I think that would have endeared them and their stories to me more.

As for the story itself, I am a fan of science fiction, and I was so intrigued as to the bones of Hughes' story.  Also, the title itself, Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars, got my imagination racing.  However, given his propensity for jumping around from subject to subject, skipping forward and backward throughout time, and mixing pop culture as fact, I found this book very difficult to read.  (I just quit trying to understand once he tried to pass Soylent Green as real.)

I was frustrated trying to understand the mythology and the rules that Hughes tries to set up from the beginning.  By the time the pieces of the puzzle would have started to fall into place, I had stopped trying.  It felt like I was trying to assemble one 1,000-piece puzzle without knowing what it looks like, with no edge pieces, and with three other 1,000-piece puzzles mixed into the batch.  

My Rating:  One and a half stars

For the Sensitive Reader:  It's clean, but I found the views about religion offensive, as well as the condescending view taken toward women.

1 comment:

Teddy Rose said...

Thanks for taking part in the tour.

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