happy halloweeeeen here’s a page

I’ve been working on a bunch of pages simultaneously, so the next few will go up much more quickly than this one (and the last one) did.

So I just started reading the new Dan Simmons book The Abominable.  I was a huge fan of his book The Terror, which I cannot recommend enough — The Terror being a somewhat supernatural horror/thriller about the doomed Franklin expedition through the Arctic.  It’s a fantastic book.

The Abominable follows a lot of the same themes as The Terror… initially.  Where The Terror is about men trying to survive in the Arctic in the mid-1800’s, Abominable is about a bunch of people trying to survive at high altitudes on Mt. Everest in the 1920’s, and both books suggest a threatening and malevolent supernatural element.  It sounds like more of the same coming off of Terror, but man… I loved that book so I was up for it.

Abominable is not The Terror.  At least, not as far as I’ve read it (about 500 pages into a 700 page book).  I’m not gonna lay down a lot of spoilers here, but it definitely goes in a different direction, and truth be told I’m not sure if I’m a fan.  The first like… 200 pages of Abominable are filled to the brim with some of the most boring descriptions of anything I’ve ever read (in this case, mountain climbing), such that I had to struggle not to fall asleep at some points — and this is after already skipping huge swathes of paragraphs because I was sick of descriptions of hobnailed boots or ice axes or whatever.  It was right up there with Tolkien at his rambling-est.  Once they actually got moving and arrived on Everest, the book became incredibly gripping, and I was devouring it.  It got all the mountain climbing jargon out of the way (in a very boring and longwinded way), so it could dive right into the meat of the story.  Also, they introduced Reggie after doing all the boring stuff, and she’s awesome.

The general premise is that three guys are using the disappearance of a high-ranking member of British society on Mt. Everest as an excuse to secure funding for their own bid for the summit.  They tell a grieving mother that they’ll assemble a small team and find out what happened to him, as any hope for a rescue is pretty much nonexistant — she just wants to know what happened to him, for some closure.  I’m a sucker for “disappeared without a trace” mysteries, so I was on board here, and the book does a pretty good job of setting up the mystery and the dangerous environment; what this guy was even doing on the mountain, let alone how he died.  It felt like it was going places.

Again, no spoilers, but the big Act III plot twist and revelation made me almost stop reading.  After baiting me in with a premise I loved, it went and jumped genres on me to something I hated.  I was hoping for a horror story like The Terror, and ended up with something more like a spy thriller.

If you haven’t read The Terror, go read it.  If you read The Terror and you’re thinking about reading The Abominable… go read The Terror again.

I crushed the last 200-ish pages after posting this comic, and my final verdict on the book is thus: