Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Review: Stalking The Unicorn

Stalking The Unicorn
Stalking The Unicorn by Mike Resnick

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When I was deciding whether to get this or not, I hesitated because of one or two reviews which suggested that it tends to be whimsical for no good reason. That is, there are whimsical scenes which don't end up having anything to do with the resolution of the story.

I should really have listened. Whimsical for no good reason works all right in a children's book, but this is definitely not one. It's a kind of clash, and I do mean clash, between a noir detective story and... not Alice in Wonderland, because it's not as good, and not Sylvie and Bruno, because nothing is that bad... maybe The Hunting of the Snark? The Phantom Tollbooth, only without the puns? Something along those lines.

If the whimsy was really, really hilarious, like Hitchhiker's Guide, that would be all right too, but it isn't. The completely unnecessary scene, for instance, in which the last surviving Genie of the Market mourns the loss of passion in the New York Stock Exchange now that it's all computerized. It has no significance for the plot, and it isn't funny. It just takes up space.

The characters are all stock, and never rise above that, even the protagonist. His dialogue is good, though, and generally I was amused by it.

Having said all that, if those pointless scenes were cut, and if a more careful editor had gone over the book after it was OCR converted from the print edition, it wouldn't be bad - though it would still be overpriced.

I won't be buying the rest of the series.

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