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Review - 'the Passage' By Justin Cronin


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Great stuff gobble - about half way through it and loving every page. Will start shopping for the twelve asap - the missus will be delighted.


Downloaded the audiobook of The Twelve today (free). Interesting first chapters. Not just a linear continuation of the previous book.

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Downloaded the audiobook of The Twelve today (free). Interesting first chapters. Not just a linear continuation of the previous book.


The audiobooks are just too big given my crappy bandwidth limit and the woeful speed on this connection. Its shit living in a third world country. When the government announced they were going to spend 30 billion laying fiber from one end of the country to the other, the opposition came out with some shit about 'thats the equivalent of running a 6-lane freeway to every driveway in the country'. These fools just dont get the concept that you need to do it once and do it right - they were throwing out insane plans for more wi-fi .... ffs, I give up. Thailand has a better telecommunications infrastructure than this wasteland.

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(I knew joining a board as 'Giles Babcock' was some kind of in-joke, but it wasnt until someone recommended this book that I realised how many sick bastards are out there. The Many, apparently. :evilpumpkin: )


The Passage is Justin Cronin's epic vision of the apocalypse, strongly reminiscent of Stephen King's 'The Stand'. It's currently in pre-production with Ridley Scott directing - he reportedly has a screenplay but no word on cast or anything else beyond a vague 2013 release date. It's the first part of a trilogy, with the next installment ('The Twelve') scheduled for release in October, 2012.


Unlike the Antichrist's legions in 'The Stand', this time, the enemy is us - more specifically, an infected 'viral' version of humanity (there is a single reference to 'non-human mammalian infection', but all of the attackers were human initially, fwir). Referred to variously as 'vampires', 'smokes', 'dracs' and 'the infected', I'll stick with 'virals' for the remainder of this review. They proceed to decimate everything with a pulse - fish being the sole exception - from the icy wastes of Alaska to the Isthmus of Panama despite attempts by the military to contain the spread of the virus. Too fast for anything beyond a single shot/stab wound to the 'sweet spot', a triangle of roughly 3-inches in the chest area, they are almost 100% lethal at night or in a shaded environment, infecting 1 in every 10 victims and eviscerating the other 9. The UN mines the coast and sinks any ship which attempts to leave the US - as I said, an apocalyptic vision.


There are some very familiar elements - the super-secret US Army project which unleashes the whole nightmare on the rest of the world, and the old 'fate of humanity rests with this little girl' chestnut - but Cronin seems more intent on fleshing out each of his human characters than graphically depicting the demise of any single protagonist. There is gore, no question, but he rarely dwells on it. Like King, (and Shakespeare before him) Cronin has a gift for detailing the Achilles Heel of each of his band of intrepid 'goodies' and, just as importantly, the tiniest speck of nobility in several of the creations - human and viral - which seek to destroy said goodies. I thought this was more successful in some instances than others, but it seems to work better with vampires than zombies, even when these vampires dont have any snappy dialog to explain their bloodthirsty ways.


The first few chapters are so unremittingly grim that I found myself wondering whether it wasn't an act of mercy for *everyone* concerned when the virals finally break free and start tearing people asunder. The author paints the darkest possible picture of life for the American underclass (Houston just joined Atlanta on my list of places to avoid), but it goes beyond that - everyone involved in the research project seems utterly doomed. Amy was the only character I wanted to see live beyond those first few chapters. There is also a tendency for any post-apocalyptic world to look suspiciously like an episode of 'Xena : Warrior Princess' meets 'Mad Max : Road Warrior' - annoying, but what can you do when crossbows and knives are the only weapons you have left ? A real challenge for Scott's costume department, IMO.


If I could sum the book up in a single word, it would be 'relentless'. Once the virals escape, there are very few pages where I wasnt poised on the edge of my seat, even when I had correctly anticipated a given plot development. Some of the action sequences are straight out of one of James Cameron's wet dreams, and the impact of an impending attack never becomes a case of 'here we go again'. As someone said to me after I had made it halfway through the book, 'It never gives up, does it ?', and he was right - I think Cronin has done a magnificent job of maintaining the pace.


The plot, thankfully, turned my initial disinterest in the fate of various characters around - 180 degrees - and there is an especially touching scene right at the end of the book that I just didnt see coming. I believe that if Mr Scott can bring the power of that meeting to the screen, most will find it hard to suppress a tear. Given that a screen adaptation will require at least 3 hours of densely scripted action and dialog, I suspect that tears could already be welling up in your eyes well before Amy steps into the forest to embrace her long lost friend. I sincerely hope Scott can pull it off - other than 'The Shining' and 'Misery', most of King's best work has been left on the pages of his novels. Hope springs eternal that this will be one of those rare moments where Hollywood gets it right.


Highly Recommended - 9/10


(Justin Cronin is a Professor of English at Rice University - fwiw - if only my own lecturers had written something this entertaining. Such is life.)





Read it and liked it. Good story. Also recently read 'Angelology'. Strange story, but a decent interesting read that hooked me in for the most part.

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I bought a Kindle while back in the states in Sept. Love it. I have around 12,500 Kindle books on my computer given to me by friends over the year. Now have 350 books stashed on the Kindle and it is great! Finish one book, stroll through the Kindle to find the next one. I recommend the Kindle. Excellent for a serious reader.

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Finished 'The Twelve' on the weekend - no question that the 'middle' book in a trilogy is always going to be a tough gig. While I wasnt totally happy with Cronin's willingness to kill off some much loved characters, its inevitable when you have a timeline spanning a century that begins with an apocalypse and steadily goes downhill from there. I havent seen anything on the title for the final novel, but based on the ending he has written for The Twelve, my guess is that it will be either 'The Zero' or simply 'Amy'. I also foresee a trip down south - WAY down south - to the jungle where it all began : IMO, Personally, I look forward to it - I found the early chapters of the twelve - Fanning's emails particularly - left us with a lot of unanswered questions regarding the origin of the virus and the obvious question : had this same plague wiped other civilisations out centuries before Lear's ill-fated project left the Colorado reservation ?


In any case, I just hope Ridley Scott's team can do justice to the trilogy.



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Happy to help, Red. Next time I'd get her 'Fifty Shades' and wait for the payoff !






The novel "Fifty Shades Of Grey" has seduced women - and baffled blokes.

Now a spoof, Fifty Sheds Of Grey, offers a treat for the men. The book has author Colin Grey recounting his love encounters at the bottom of the garden. Here are some extracts...


Fifty Sheds Of Grey


We tried various positions - round the back, on the side, up against a wall...but in the end we came to the conclusion the bottom of the garden was the only place for a good shed.


She stood before me, trembling in my shed.

"I'm yours for the night," she gasped, "You can do whatever you want with me."

So I took her to McDonalds.


She knelt before me on the shed floor and tugged gently at first, then harder until finally it came.

I moaned with pleasure. Now for the other boot.


Ever since she read THAT book, I've had to buy all kinds of ropes, chains and shackles.

She still manages to get into the shed, though.


"Put on this rubber suit and mask," I instructed, calmly.

"Mmmm, kinky!" she purred.

"Yes," I said, "You can't be too careful with all that asbestos in the shed roof."


"I'm a very naughty girl," she said, biting her lip.

"I need to be punished."

So I invited my mum to stay for the weekend.


"Harder!" she cried, gripping the workbench tightly. "Harder!"

"Okay," I said. "What's the gross domestic product of Nicaragua?"


I lay back exhausted, gazing happily out of the shed window.

Despite my concerns about my inexperience, my rhubarb had come up a treat.


"Are you sure you can take the pain?" she demanded, brandishing stilettos.

"I think so," I gulped.

·"Here we go, then," she said and showed me the receipt.


"Hurt me!" she begged, raising her skirt as she bent over my workbench.

"Very well," I replied. "You've got fat ankles and no dress sense."


"Are you sure you want this?" I asked. "When I'm done, you won't be able to sit down for weeks."

She nodded.

·â€œOkay," I said, putting the three-piece suite on eBay.


"Punish me!" she cried. "Make me suffer like only a real man can!"

"Very well," I replied, leaving the toilet seat up.


"Pleasure and pain can be experienced simultaneously," she said, gently massaging my back as we listened to her Coldplay CD

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