Brad’s Big Book Queue 2017 Book #2 of 25
Independence Day: Crucible by Greg Keyes
I can safely say that the only thing my second novel of this book-reading project has in common with the one I read previous to it, is — uh — words, paragraphs, and — oh — they both have a colon in the title.
In every other respect this book is nothing like Hesse’s literary work. And that’s fine. It’s cool. I knew that going in. In fact I’ll quote myself and say the whole point was to “lighten the mood… significantly… and read a bit of modern pulp fiction.”
For sake of clarity, let’s call this book Independence Day 1.5 — as in after Independence Day 1 and before Independence Day 2. It’s a transition novel. And I think just to clear a few things up, the second film was not nearly as good as the first film (if you’re into that type of campy science fiction and consider it a bit of a modern classic) and the novel, while being a completely different medium was probably about equal in quality to the second film. In other words, meh — okay, but as they said in the Honest Trailers review of the film… “you had TWENTY YEARS to write this thing!”
It was pulp. It was candy. It was entirely readable and like the sweet, delicious nectar that it was meant to be, I gulped it down in big droughts barely stopping to breathe.
But here’s the thing:
This was a bridging story. A so-so story rammed between two other very different, arguably more action-intense film-ready stories They saved all the good-times-world-ending destruction for the big screen. They saved all the great alien-fighting action for the visual medium. And they barely blew anything up at all. This novel was actually mostly relationships, romances, bromances, a whole lotta father-son face-offs, and of course bffs-bashing each other as they build to the opening scenes of ID4 2.0.
In fact, I would venture to guess that when this was first drafted as a novel, lots of the 2.0 story was already locked down, such as which actors were coming back and which were not, et cetera. So when a novel has been written around which actors are and which actors are not returning for a movie sequel, you start to see trends that overlap into real life: like, such and such an actress didn’t want to be in the sequel, so there is a whole plot line that emerges about how she dies of cancer and the shakedown that happens with her main character husband. Or, because Will Smith didn’t sign onto the sequel, the plot of this novel rams down your gob the constant reminder that he died heroically (if completely randomly) and yes, it really was meant that way and we didn’t just create a subplot because our film budget wasn’t quite up to snuff.
Short chapters. Lots of dialog. Ping-pong-paced scene-to-scene action. Candy.
I guess what I’m saying is that it was a fun little novel, but not exactly great literature, and not something I’d recommend unless you’re an ID fanboy. I have nostalgic feelings down in my icy heart about the original and though I didn’t actually put too much stock in the sequel it was good enough fun for two hours of my life, expecially on a flight en route to vacation. Like any extended universe fiction this short novel added a bit to a mythology that I know and –well, not love but — enjoy.
One more short novel and then I might get into something more serious and lengthy.
For now I’ll get as serious as I can with an author who is probably anything but: Vonnegut. I’ve picked up a digital copy of Galápagos by master of surreal fiction, Kurt Vonnegut as a Kindle Daily Deal, still feeding my fiction addiction through algorithmically-selected on-sale books promoted through my email: maybe, probably, oddly enough Vonnegut would be proud that a computer suggested that I read his novel, so mundanely surreal as that seems, so thus I am.