Sunday, July 14, 2013

Your basic journey across American and its parallel fantasy land

Book: The Talisman
Authors: Stephen King and Peter Straub
Published: 1984 (Ballentine)
Pages: 735

Reading this book made me wonder what parts King wrote and what parts Straub wrote. It’s a very King-esque travel narrative with a lot of his tropes, but they’re noticeably reigned in. I wonder if King wrote, and then Straub edited. It’s more even than King’s own prose about slowly going crazy over the course of a road trip when the only thing that keeps a shred of sanity is the moral convictions of your ideals, but it’s also not as interesting. Lowest lows and highest highs just sort of level off into a slog you can feel with the poor kid.

The boy who goes on a cross-country, cross-dimensional trip to find a cure for his dying mother and the other dimension’s queen is pretty bland. The only things that make him interesting are what’s given to him in the end, physically and psychically along the way. His friend’s got a whole fiercely self-protected logical fallacy to grapple along with the fact that his dad’s the main bad guy, so that makes the friend’s heroics more complex than just the good-vs-evil the protagonist has to clearly guide his way.

And they can jump from this world to a magical parallel one but the magic rules aren’t consistent enough to get a good hold on why and how this started. There’s a lot of talk about their two dads discovering and trying to start a business in the realm (corruption ahoy!) but it quickly gives way to a sort of Geneva Convention weapons debate that doesn’t get resolved before the good one is killed, turning all that debate into a moot point that could’ve better been spent exploring or convincing me of its half-ass, selectively working magic.

Anyway, I’m not really a fan of fantasy. This is like the lightest fantasy you could read in adult fiction, probably, including the Dark Tower series, and my attention kept wandering. It just didn’t feel as immediate as a lot of King’s writing, so it was sort of boring. I guess I’ll donate it.


No comments:

Post a Comment