on 18 January 2003
While reading this book, I kept on having to check the front cover to see if it really was by Caleb Carr, and not by someone orthographically similar. Sadly, it does appear to be by him. It's terrible. It reads like Matthew Reilly, but with 10% of the action. The plot is absurd, the characterisation is leaden, and the dialogue sounds like something out of Tintin. The french professor ends all his sentences with a french word "non?","mon ami","precisement" to, like, really drive home the point that he is french. A rebel general in Indonesia addresses the protagonists - invariably - as "my infidel friends". It made me wince. I probably wouldn't be so caustic, as I have read enough poor sf to be somewhat hardened to dodgy plots and silly charaters, except I was really excited to read a non-historical Carr, and was bitterly disappointed.
on 23 November 2001
If you read and enjoyed the brilliant The Alienist and Angel of Darkness, be prepared to be disappointed. This book is a fragmentary, predictable yarn set in a (surprise, surprise) dark future where all the terrible things man has done to the world has lead to an apocalyptic environment ruled by "Information". A ludicrous storyline finally leads to the highly unsatisfactory ending.
This book is already dated... I would advise readers to stay well away from this and to wait until Mr Carr writes a follow-up to the aforementioned titles (if he ever does!)
on 7 December 2001
The Alienist and the Angel of Darkness were brilliant and compelling with great in depth charecters. Both shared that urge to have to read on at the end of every cliff hanging chapter.
This does not. Some of the ideas are good, but it all feels a touch lazy. It involves an alinated rebel group fighting against convention using new technologies. This group contains; a psychologist, twins, a strong woman who is good with guns, and a genius with both a disability and childhood traumas. Sound at all familiar?
It is time Mr Carr used a new template rather than catapulting His existing one into the future and glazing it with a shiny sci-fi sheen. ...
on 13 January 2012
What a disappointment this book is. It is nothing like Carr's other excellent books and if you are thinking of buying it on that basis - don't.
A novel set in the future (but not far enough in the future for the technology to be in any way believable) with a massive nod towards Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, it simply doesn't work. It is almost all plot with ridiculously self-righteous characters who continually spout trite psychological tripe.
It's a very easy read and I did wonder how it would turn out but sadly even the ending is terrible.
Just plain silly.
on 8 November 2001
It is very difficult to believe that Caleb Carr, the author of 'The Alienist' is the same person with the one that wrote 'Killing Time'.
The book is a dissapointment. Based on his two previous novels one would expect a much thicker plot and more psychological insights into the human psyche. Unfortunately we receive neither of this. What we are left with is a pathetic attempt to write a SF novel based on a not-thoroughly explored idea that information is not knowldege. Sorry to say that this is old news to plenty of people.
His main character becomes involved with a group that manipulate information and re-create history with dissastrous effects (at some point). He becomes emotionally involved with the female co-leader of the group, a relationship that fails to demonstrate why anyone would seriously be bothered about it.
The plot is thinner that the page it is written on. THe characters are frankly boring and one-dimensional. The SF effects are those found in B-movies.
Whatever happened to Caleb Carr? He was a revelation in "The Alienist" and pretty good in "The Angel of Darkness" where he explored a taboo subject of women who are not made for mothering and nurturing.
"Killing Time" must obviously be referring to the readers' Time.
on 27 August 2008
I picked this up because I'd read The Alienist - an utterly brilliant book which deserves 5 stars. And for the first 2 or 3 chapters of Killing Time, I was hopeful that I was in for a similarly entertaining and enlightening time. Alas, twas not to be... This book is monumentally dull. Either Mr Carr has never read any modern science fiction, or he pines for the SF of the 1950s, because this reads like a checklist of every SF stereotype of that era: flying saucers, women in skintight silver jumpsuits, non-existent characterisation, infodump dialogue. In fact, if it wasn't for the fact that the internet is a major plot point, I would have guessed that this book was written decades ago. Maybe he's being all ironic and post-modern? If so, it fails dismally. When I was ten years old and watching Thunderbirds I was prepared to accept a billionaire family on a secret island base who build spaceships superior to anything any world government can build. These days I want a bit more realism in my plots, thank you very much.