Saturday, March 10, 2007

F. Paul Wilson, Harbingers

F. Paul Wilson's Harbingers is a nominee for the Prometheus award. I understand the impulse to nominate the Repairman Jack novels for the Prometheus: Jack is a strong character who fights evil and eschews all contact with the government while living in New York City. His attitude toward self-help and antipathy to gun control also help his case. It's probably the fact that it's horror, and that both the cosmic bad guys and the cosmic okay guys are inscrutable that drives me away.

With this installment, I realized that there was another aspect that was bugging me. In the past 9 novels, little has changed about Jack's relationship to the two warring factions that are thoughtlessly interfering with Jack's life. Harbingers, on the other hand, contains several significant developments in that relationship. In fact, it reads like the second volume of a trilogy. Too bad it took Wilson 9 books (plus 6 others set in the Adversary world) to get us here.

But overall, I don't find the libertarian themes to predominate over the standard horror tropes. And inscrutable powers for whom we barely even qualify as pawns aren't much of a recommendation for a libertarian point of view.

In its defense, this book does have Jack standing up to the Ally after it attempts to take away what he most cherishes. But the negotiation ends with the Ally seeming to hint it won't hurt Jack's family for as long as he does what it wants. Not much of a recommendation.

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