Saturday, October 20, 2007

Read: "Darwin's Blade" by Dan Simmons

Read: Darwin's Blade by Dan Simmons, 2000, 0380973693.

Run of the mill, nothing special, mostly a waste of time. I read this after a plug by Bill Crider where Crider said there was lots of gun stuff. In fact, Crider said, "If Simmons and Stephen Hunter sat down to talk, they could go on about guns and ammo for, at a rough guess, thirty-seven years without repeating themselves."

With that kind of plug my expectations were high, so high that Simmons' gun errors stood out even more than usual. I was so annoyed by this that I wrote them down. Some of the errors could be attributed to poor typesetting, like incorrectly writing in .60 and .748 caliber. Other errors seem to fall to Simmons' attempt to overload on detail. Like when main character Darwin gets shot at by a sniper and an hour later the cops/FBI talk say the sniper was using handloaded cartridges with such-and-such a powder and bullet weight. Bullshit.

Simmons' also recycles every internet story about fatal accidents you already read about. Like the solid rocket booster attached to a wahoo's car, a guy using a .22 LR cartridge as a car fuse, and the list of absurd drivers' statements after wrecks. The theory that racking a shotgun will solve all burglaries and the erroneous idea that you cannot miss with said shotgun.

Darwin Minor, professional accident investigator and reconstructionist has some interesting bits to him. But the pretension of being a no television watching, single-malt drinking, classical music listening, philosopher quoting, sports car driving, loft living, grieving after dead wife and son dying, former Marine snipering, loner is way, way too much.

I won't bother with the secretive Russian hitmen, who are also former snipers, killing everyone from afar rather than just walking up and shooting someone in the face.

Anyway. Darwin works for a company that does accident reconstruction for insurance companies. He gets shot at by some Russian killers because, due to a lame plot connection, an accident reconstruction he did helps point to accident fraud. Darwin gets shot at and humps a lady cop investigator assigned to assist him then kills some other Russians in sniper set piece.

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