Gridlock | Ben Elton |

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UK Vacation 5

I highly recommended this book.   I suspect the reviewer cited in my March 9th entry  has a problem seeing the trees (story details) for the wood (prior knowledge of Ben’s political beliefs).   The review misses Ben’s keen observation of the familiar and ability to smoothly transform this into the plausibly bizarre.   An example of a non-political observation that doesn’t give away part of the plot:

From Newton to Einstein there has been much fascinating discussion on the various factors that affect time.   These include speed, mass, weight distance and strange phrases like quantum mechanics which scientists make up in order to sound important and convince the rest of us that we are thick.   However, for some inexplicable reason, despite all this racking of the brain,   no serious research has been done into the commonest form and most radical time bender of them all,   which is,   of course, exercise.

The plot has many characteristics of a classical western.   Clearly identified good guys and bad guys.   The good guys are revealed as people with strengths and weaknesses and the bad guys are evil, powerful and sometimes just stupid.  Think about westerns where the good guys own the small farms and the bad guys are the big cattle or oil companies whose plans for mass production are radically changing the lives of the farmers.  Think of Star Wars,   the rebels against the Federation.   It’s a classic format that Ben spins with very clever twists.

The strongest impact for me was in the introduction and description of the heros. opening scenes are fabulous because of the way Ben lets your assumptions fill in gaps about the people he is describing, then he gradually introduces fundamental challenges to those assumptions.

It has an excellent chase scene which easily rivals Bullitt.   The key characters are distinctive and richly described, as you would expect from the writer of the Black Adder series.

My main complaints are petty.   For example he describes a character as being  Farty this is not a descriptor that I recognise.   The closing scene was rather a sensible close,   and consequently I found it a little disappointing.   I was hoping for something a little more comically fulfilling.    That aside,   this is the 3rd Ben Elton book I have read and I plan to read all the rest.

Good reading,   Wendy

Gridlock | Ben Elton |
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