Shame, Reilly, shame!

(A contender for the worst book I ever “read”).

A couple of years ago, on a long drive to a fly-in, I made the mistake of borrowing the Audio book of “Ice Station” by Matthew Reilly ( a young Australian author), to keep me amused. It’s 12 cassettes long.

Matthew, I want those wasted hours of my life back!

Reilly writes like a cross between (bad) Dean Koontz and RL Stine at his most cliffhangerish (and I’m talking “Goosebumps” here!). His books are “fast paced action” with nary a pause. I don’t think he knows what a pause is.

Which is a shame, because he, his proofreader and his editor should have taken a long one to consider their credibility before they published this book.

Put bluntly, Reilly tried to write “techno fiction” without a technical clue. It’s blindly obvious that at the time, Reilly was operating on one part 6th grade non-physics to nine parts of caffeine.

You can (grudgingly) accept stuff that’s obviously science fantasy that he’s made up and warned you about before using it (like scuba diving on air to depths of 3000ft with just some magic pills to save you from the bends, oxygen poisoning and the like). But when you encounter real world objects you expect them to work the way real world objects behave!

I’m about to give you an example, so if you really want to read Reilly’s book (not recommended for anyone who has a scientific clue and wants to stay sane), tune out now.

In a climactic scene, the hero and his nemesis are in a diving bell way down deep. The bad guy forces the hero out of the bottom of the bell (open to the water as diving bells are). Then the hero cracks the window of the bell. The bell implodes, squashing the bad guy to death.

The more perceptive among you will no doubt realise that the air inside the bell and the water are already at the same pressure, thanks to the hole at the bottom. All that’d happen is that the air would bubble out through the broken window.

The book’s riddled with this sort of stuff – real world objects that work in strange ways; abberant behaviour that’s pivotal to the plot and action.

Matthew Reilly is now famous. But I can’t forgive him.


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