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2004-03-08 01:13:33.406608+00 by Dan Lyke 1 comments

Last night at the emergency room I finished up Passage[Wiki] by Connie Willis. I think I'd picked this up in response to some of the comments I had when I was pissing about the state of speculative fiction in September of last year.

Synopsis: Researcher looking at "near death experiences" falls in with researcher who was running some sort of real-time brain imaging on a patient who had a heart attach and who has discovered drugs which trigger the same brain patterns. Both team up to look at what these experiences might mean, while hiding from hokey guy who writes religious books about the afterlife.

I've got mixed feelings. The ending was effective. The "whoah, that was unexpected" was, in fact, completely foreshadowed even though it took me tens of pages to convince me that what had just happened had really happened.

But somewhere in the 550 pages that Willis takes to get to the real story I found myself starting to question the setup. Had she gotten down to the meat of the tale more quickly I would have been willing to discount the ways in which her fantastic world differed from mine, but in the end the revelations weren't worth the half a K of pages that the setup took. We didn't learn more than a hundred pages worth of what the characters were about, why they did what they did, and in that excess space I started to wonder about some of those differences in ways that made me question the story.

So a read which got me to think about a few things, but one which was trying to hard to be mainstream literary, and in the end I can't recommend it because of that.

[ related topics: Religion Drugs Books Physiology ]

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#Comment Re: made: 2004-03-08 03:47:08.781178+00 by: TheSHAD0W

Passage could've been cut better, but I still liked it. I'll recommend it.