Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic
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Review: Telempath

Spider Robinson wrote Telempath in the mid-70's, and I picked up a recent re-issue in the used book store. I've read most of his other books, having enjoyed Callahan's Crosstime Saloon and hoping he would grow into a less juvenile, less hippie dippy writer and still keep the excellent puns.

Instead, he has remained juvenile and if anything more hippie dippy, and his puns have gotten dull and witless.

Telempath is typical Spider Robinson, where a Bad and Dangerous Man finds Peace through Truth and Brotherhood and saves the world by talking to Higher Beings, to whom previously nobody was able to get through.

The book starts off pretty good. Isham Stone is a young black man who has been turned into a human killing machine at his father's orders, with the directive of going into the remains of NYC, finding the (white) man who destroyed Civilization As We Know It, and killing him.

Instead, he is overpowered by ghost-like beings who have been on earth for eons but we never knew about them for some lame reason or other. The beings have been called in by the evil white man, who turns out to be not so evil after all. The evil white man reveals to Isham that Isham's Dad was really the one who destroyed Civilization As We Know It. Much angst ensues. At no time does Isham doubt that the evil white man was lying about that. So he goes back home to kill his Dad.



At least four times, at the end of a chapter I would look down and wonder how come there was still more book left. And each time, the next chapter would be some plot twist which wreaked of the author saying, "WTF do I write now? I need 10,000 more words at least!"

Ironically, when the book does end, there are a lot of pieces left hanging which I thought should have been wrapped up, but do not warrant a sequel.

Sometimes, Spider makes me want to puke , with his sappy philosophies and back-to-the-woods themes. Bleeding heart doesn't begin to cover it - hemorrhaging heart might. He also seems to want us to be saved by non-humans, as if humanity must learn peace, truth and brotherhood from a higher intelligence which is not a God. He also subscribes to the peace and joy which controlled substances can bring, without paying much more than lip service to their ill effects. I don't mind characters in a book sharing a joint now and then, but smoking pot isn't going to help save the world.

And I don't like the way his leading man does an instant 180 when he finds out the woman he dumped 5 years ago is having his baby. Awfully macho for the world he's put the guy in.

I'll probably try another Spider Robinson book sometime, but someone please stop me if you see me heading in that direction.
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