So I’m reading through dead-for-a-decade Gary Jennings’ new book Apocalypse 2012.  Well, really, I’m not.  I quit this particular gem.

The first thing that put me off was incredibly short chapters, and the fact that a new chapter starts half-way down the next page.  Then there are at least two blank pages for a new Part of the book, and sometimes almost four.  At 19 Parts (plus an Epilogue), that’s a minimum of 40 blank pages, and probably closer to 60.  You can call it stylistic.  I call it padding.

Then there was the pages-long sex scene that I skipped over.  Which audience were you writing for, anyway, dead Mr. Jennings?

What tripped the trigger was on page 142, when they’re talking about a comet coming close to the earth.

“Earth’s gravity could give it a major makeover and cause it to hit us on return.”

“I read in one of my reports that it has to pass through the right “keyhole,'” President Raab said.

“We’ve extrapolated the existence of several gravitational keyholes.  If it passes through one, that keyhole will change its orbit and send it crashing into the earth seven years later.”

Lookout below.  Extrapolated gravitational keyholes coming through.  We gots ’em by the several.

It turns out that there was such a term invented, for a single comet.  I still reject the fact the fact of passing through the “keyhole” changes anything.  I accept the fact that if the comet does hit this point in space/time that it will alter its orbit, but it’s the work of the comet, Messrs. Newton and Kepler, and God’s own gravity doing the work, not some magical keyhole acting on the comet.  I also reject that there are several such animals.  Now if they wanted to explain that the earth’s gravitational field might alter the comet’s course and might send it crashing into the earth later, I could accept that.  To pop the term “gravitational keyhole” without explanation treats me like a fool, or someone who accepts explanations that include big words.

I didn’t make it to the bottom of page 142.  If it was mine, I’d throw it away.  I can take it back to the library tomorrow.

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