Time Keeps on Slippin'

When I was writing my wrap-up posts for the entertainment I consumed in 2012, I was pretty pleased, overall. Sure, there were some disappointments in the mix, but the only truly awful things were a book I chose essentially at random and a movie that's celebrated for being bad. Nothing that I expected to be good (or at least acceptably good) wound up sucking outright.

Daaaaamn, Africa. What happened?

We're only four months into 2013 and I've already suffered through as much bad entertainment as the whole of last year. Television has been a welcome exception - all of the shows I've been watching lately have been at least good, if not excellent. But movies? Ugh. Games? Ugh. Music? Ugh. And here we are at books.

I picked up Sean Ferrell's Man in the Empty Suit from the library after reading a review that mentioned its fascinating premise: A man who has mastered time travel attends a yearly party where he is the only guest. That makes it sound like he's there alone, but no. The other partygoers are him, too. In fact, all of the guests are him, but from different years. The book starts off with some promise, as Protagonist Him tries to navigate the tricky cause-and-effect traps that dealing with past/future versions of yourself can create. Things get even hairier when a murdered guest falls into the mix, meaning that the victim, the killer, and the reluctant-detective are all the same person. Intriguing, right?

And then it all falls to shit. Having spotted a mysterious woman in attendance at what's supposed to be a Him party, Protagonist Him decides that she's the key to the murder. And then we wander away from the hotel where the party is taking place so that we can devote a bunch of chapters to her origin story and how the people out on the street subsist in this destitute future. WHY? By the time Protagonist Him gets back to party to see the same events from a different perspective, I'd lost all interest. Ferrell has a terrific concept on his hands, but the execution was sorely lacking. I'd love to see what a heavily-rewritten version of this book would look like, but I'm stuck in this timeline. And in this timeline, this book kinda sucked.

Man in the Empty Suit: D+


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