Book reviews / Science Fiction

Book review: Lucifer’s Hammer

Where do you start. Maybe I’ll start with the tiny bit I did enjoy and then rant on from there. The last 100 pages were okay – it had some dramatic tension and all that jazz. They had a big battle and that was kind of fun.

However. This does not make up for the mere existence of this book.

The basic plot is that meteors hit the earth and everything is pretty much fucked. It mainly centres around one area in California.

Let me count the ways I loathed it:

  • 2 astronauts and 2 cosmonauts are sent into space. One of the cosmonauts is a woman and she gets described as “cold but beautiful”. She acts the same as all the other cosmonauts but because she’s professional – she is somehow an ice queen. Fuck off.
  • This fucking quote: “Frank was concerned for Joanna. He didn’t think Mark could protect her. And Joanna, with her Kung Fu training and Women’s Lib self-confidence probably thought she could protect herself.” Also the repeating theme of ‘women need strong MANLY MEN because they’re helpless in this terrifying new world.’
  • When there are important decisions to made, perhaps the ladies should go to the kitchen.
  • Apparently, within minutes of disaster striking, everyone just starts fucking killing everyone.
  • Cannibalism: only takes 2 weeks.
  • Let’s throw this dead baby out the car window.
  • Does literally everyone have to have an affair?
  • The ever so see-through plot (I predicted almost as soon as I read that when one character found another character attractive, that his wife would die. She did. Brutally murdered. Charming.)
  • Apparently after only a few weeks, your 14 year old children will a) reject their family b) be able to cut people’s throats c) claim a girl scout as their woman d) decide they can survive on their own in the wilderness.
  • The boy scout leader who also takes at 16 year old girl as his concubine.
  • The pages spent on the sexual offender who stalks a woman, spies on her via telescope and then brutally rapes and murders her (and everyone involved with that subplot disappears the moment he gets shot. It was a completely unnecessary subplot).
  • The fact that you can land in a Soyuz (after months in space) and be up and about with no problem at all (if I’ve learned anything from Commander Hadfield’s book, this is not the case.)
  • I almost forgot! That you can just throw together an Apollo spacecraft, Mercury rocket, Soyuz capsule and a fucking lab in space in mere months because ‘it’s just sitting around and getting rusty.’
  • The comet has wiped out civilisation, your kids want attention. Now’s the time to start hitting them for no reason whatsoever.
  • This absolutely disgusting line: The only good thing about Hammerfall, women’s lib was dead milliseconds after Hammerstrike…”

There’s so much more. So much utter sexism and sprinkles of racism. It really doesn’t pass the test. Women are objects for the various male characters in the book. They sometimes have good traits – like being good with a rifle or driving or being a doctor. But it doesn’t make up for all the…I’m going to say misogyny. It wasn’t a pleasant read. It felt like a fantasy novel for men’s rights activists.

The other thing that was terrible about this book was that there were so many characters who are never really given character descriptions (except for the women, their boobs get described quite a bit). They all have 1970s names that seem so dated now: Barry, Harvey, Dolores, Gordon, Fred, Harold.

The characters are never described and so everytime we flip back to their storyline, I had to sit for a moment and remember who they fucking were! Usually when I read a book I get an image of what the characters would look like – I had none of that for this book. They could have all been lego characters.

I utterly loath the central pretense of the story as well: everyone out for themselves, everyone turing into brutal murderers, MANLY MEN TO DO MANLY THINGS and fucking cannibals.

Seriously, save yourself. Never read anything by these guys. They are totally awful. 640 pages of the utter worst of humanity. -5/5 stars. I think this book actively harms people’s brains. If there’s ever a comet strike I hope every single copy is wiped out.

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