Friday, January 23, 2015

THE DEEP by Nick Cutter

Horror is on tap in this watery trip to hell. THE DEEP is an off kilter genetically modified nightbreed clone of Clive Barker, Stephen King, and a few of the Dead Poets Society (like TS Eliot, Alan Ginsberg, and ee cummings.) What starts out in our sane world slowly descends into madness. So HP Lovecraft too. Which is not to say it isn't riveting, or that Nick Cutter (not his real name) can't write. So into the meat grinder, James Patterson too. The final scene, after our hero goes into the dark deep (to perhaps find a cure to what is turning humanity into amnesia victims) is a savory exercise in wordplay, each revelation getting a focused triple slow-mo punch of phrasings. A kind of verbal tonality reminiscent of the final visual scene of Gone Girl. Rubbernecking at its finest. The setup is not without irony, too. There is reasoned talk about how homo sapiens are causing the mass extinctions of other species, and that something (like what is happening in the novel) may bring our population explosion more into line with what the Earth can sustain. To horror lovers, this is a must-hear---a deliciously disturbing book given an appropriately quirky performance by Corey Brill.
If your brain needs healing after hearing this, (or if you just need help with your own memories due to aging or Parkinson's), Dr. Norman Doidge's new audiobook is THE BRAIN'S WAY OF HEALING, read by George Newbern. It's the latest science involving brain research, with many examples of those who have been helped. The major takeaway: our brains are plastic (well, not literally--they look like four pound lumps of jelly in various Shades of Grey.) So although neurons can die or become less effective due to plaques, you can also grow new ones (unlike limbs.) Stupid is not forever, either, (except among Hollywood comic book movie producers.) 
Speaking of science, CARBIDE TIPPED PENS is a new hard SF story collection collected Ben Bova and Eric Choi, with multiple authors and narrators lending their respective talents to the mix. Those who appreciate and/or understand physics and time dilation effects will enjoy these 17 science heavy stories (which can stretch your hours more imaginatively than any frivolous game or game show.) Geeks are already in: "You had me at 'carbide.'" But for sports fans there is also a story featuring a baseball game in which players can continue into their 70s (playing as well as 30 year olds) due to implants that are better than PEDs. Naturally owners balk because the older players demand pay increases year after year. The solution? (Sorry, you'll have to buy a ticket.)

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