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I've been reading before bed; last week I started The Doomsday Book…

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I've been reading before bed; last week I started The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. It was ok up to the last quarter of the book, where all but one of the tension hooks comes to its worst possible conclusion. I don't need all stories to have happy endings, but I do want them to have at least a modicum of hope. Maybe that was an unrealistic wish, given the title, but I've read genre titles with equally imposing names that were not so dark. It's not a good thing when your book makes the Forever War look like a delightful romp. If I wanted to see purposeless suffering that just goes on and on, I'd be watching the Haiti coverage right now.

Connie Willis is a good writer, this was a good book, and it deserved the awards it won. It wasn't good for me, though. I ended up reading through to the end, completely awake and quite upset. I'm sure that largely has to do with hormone levels - there's been some euphoria here this January, and there must be balance. All month I have been teary at songs, ads on the radio, glorious last stands, though that last one makes sense, really, even as it sounds amusing.

I don't really comprehend using that talent to write something so relentlessly grim. It's not a fun kind of darkness at any point, and there are also many characters who are obstinately obstructionist, or gadflies, or both, so there's a constant undercurrent of annoyance as well. Of the worst two, one died without ever once admitting to being wrong about anything, and the other one came through disaster completely unscathed. It makes me wonder if the time Willis spent writing it was a really bad period in her life.

Mostly this post has been about distancing myself from reading, and distracting myself with the act of writing, so that I can go to sleep.
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