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5.0 out of 5 stars You Can telekinesis, but will he listen?
I originally saw the movie with George Hamilton and Suzanne Pleshette. They still show it periodically on Turner Classic Movies. Of course, I had to read the book to find out what is always missing and implied in the movie. Naturally, the book was out of print. However, I found a copy. I was right the book was better. Of course I was disappointed to find that...
Published 12 months ago by bernie

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More 'Power for the Course' than Will-To-Power
This book improved with a second reading. The first time, it read like a script to some pulp fiction movie of the 1950s, which it almost was. (The book was '50s, the film was '60s.) Sentences are short, paragraphs are mostly sentences, twists and chase sequences abound, heroes smoke pipes while wearing tweed, and dames are swooning or hard-bitten.

In this...
Published on 30 Jun 2012 by Allen Baird


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More 'Power for the Course' than Will-To-Power, 30 Jun 2012
By 
Allen Baird (Belfast, Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Power (Paperback)
This book improved with a second reading. The first time, it read like a script to some pulp fiction movie of the 1950s, which it almost was. (The book was '50s, the film was '60s.) Sentences are short, paragraphs are mostly sentences, twists and chase sequences abound, heroes smoke pipes while wearing tweed, and dames are swooning or hard-bitten.

In this edition, there has been a bit of an effort made to modernise it up. But changing it from the Korean War to the Gulf War hardly alters the feel of the narrative much. In fact, I don't want it to. Some of those '50s sci-fi movies are my favourites. It's just that it doesn't work as well in written form. There's no room for creepy music and bulging eyes.

The novel's premise is that a group of academics from different disciplines are engaged in a project to study why some people survive in situations of war and other do not. During the course of their research, they test themselves anonymously, only to find out that one of their number shows superhuman levels of resilience. No one admits to it. Then they start to die one by one...

This is a novel about a, or rather the, superman. First of all, the word "superman" is frequently used. Second, he is described as "the Man of Tomorrow" (24, 29, 116). This is a title of the DC Comics character aka Clark Kent; I don't know which came first. But third, Nietzsche is both mentioned and quoted (54), as are his ideas. Non-super types are a "herd" (30). Superhumans enjoy the feeling of power; they are masters, the rest are slaves (84).

At the start and peppered throughout there are some interesting questions raised about what, rather than who, this 'superman' might be like (60). Specifically, what would his attitude be to the rest of humankind (27)? Would he want to take over the world (95-6, 107)? Does he act for the fun of the game (as the last line of the novel implies) and for the thrill of the hunt (notice the oft-used metaphor of cat and mouse)? Or are his superior ways incomprehensible to us mere human animals?

And what about the other way around. To us, would he appear a monster (82, 85, 188-9, 203, 210, 220), like one of Nietzsche 'tropical monsters' and blond beasts? Is he a normal human working on 100% efficiency, or a kind of magician, like Kuda Bux (27)? Maybe a mutation (27, 92, 127) and the next stage of evolution? Or, as the author finally seems to decide, does an answer lie in "heterosis", advantages of intelligence and health an organism gains through mixed parentage.

This is all quite exceptional for a pulp novel. Then Robinson does what so many other superman authors do and makes "the power" all about telepathy, clairvoyance and associated inanity. Shame, since he seemed to know better. After all, his hero is called Tanner, a surname with shades of Shaw's own superman about it.

I've only given it three stars because I don't think the two levels of the novel - the pulp story and the ubermensch ramblings - fit well together. Plus there are plot elements that are beyond feasible. It makes for decent holiday fare, nothing more. But nothing less either. And the ending of the novel is superior to the film, which I am keen now to view.

PS Yes, I know the proper phrase is "par for the course" as indicated by my use of inverted commas in the title. So there.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You Can telekinesis, but will he listen?, 14 July 2013
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Power (Kindle Edition)
I originally saw the movie with George Hamilton and Suzanne Pleshette. They still show it periodically on Turner Classic Movies. Of course, I had to read the book to find out what is always missing and implied in the movie. Naturally, the book was out of print. However, I found a copy. I was right the book was better. Of course I was disappointed to find that Suzanne (Margery Lansing) was written into many seines.

While looking for his new book I found to my amazement that "The Power" has been re-issued. However upon reading the book, I found dates and places changed. The changes were not significant. I just wished that he did not do it. Arthur Nordlund was in the Korean Campaign and that was before me. Now he was in the Gulf War and that was after me. Luckily, I know if I had met him, he would have been from the Vietnam War. I would have named this book "You've got to have Hart"

The Dark Beyond the Stars: A Novel
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