New: Book Report: Devices and Desires

Monday did not go as I hoped.

Monday, I thought I was going in for HEAD & NECK SURGERY. Instead, I was going in to the Head and Neck Surgery department so they could look at my lip, diagnose that icky bump, and then schedule the actual surgery for a later date. (It's not cancer, Ron! It's not serious--or else they would have scheduled the surgery sooner, I guess. It's seriously gross, though.) Then I went to visit my parents. That Monday afternoon I woke up from a nap, felt dizzy, was hyperventilating, and my heart was beating super-hard. Apparently, if I was an experienced fainter, I would have known that this was "feeling faint" and would have called up my doctor. Not an experienced fainter, I thought Wow this must be serious and I asked my parents to call an ambulance. So I spent Monday night in the emergency room and Tuesday getting tested in the hospital. All this so that at the end, the doctors could tell me that probably most of my symptoms were results of me freaking out over feeling faint. (The doctors didn't say "freaking out". They were nice. Don't refuse an ambulance because you think the doctors will make fun of your nonimpressive health problems; the doctors I talked to were nice. And if you aren't sure whether or not to call the ambulance, you should probably call the ambulance.)

Anyhow, enough with all of the health whining. Reading someone's descriptions of their own medical complaints is rarely interesting. The writer wants to go into more detail than you want to read. It's like a novel whose author has grown to love the characters so much that those characters can do no wrong...

Oh, yeah. This is a book report. I picked up the book Devices and Desires because it had a cool cover and the blurb said that the hero was an engineer. Great way to choose a book, right?

Devices and Desires did not go as I had hoped.

In this novel by K.J. Parker, an engineer beats two trained guardsmen in a fight after they have him pinned. Wow. And all of the protagonists are very reasonable and carefully explain their clever reasoning and... I gave up on this book; the protagonists were all just a little too perfect. Oh, part of the book's premise is that there's a city of engineers under such tight government control that it runs like clockwork. How... clever.

If someone's read further than I have and can tell me "Later on, the book gives a darned good reason why that engineer is such a badass at hand-to-hand combat," please let me know. I can give this book another chance.

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Posted 2007-12-19