Wednesday, September 23, 2009


My mom has been talking up this book to me since I was in middle school. She had an old copy with the covers long gone. I remember trying to read it once - maybe I was 13 or 15, and didn't get very far into it. So it's appearance on the 1,001 books list (2006 edition - it was removed for the 2008 version) gave me a great excuse to finally come around to it.

I have a love-hate relationship with science fiction. In theory, I love it. But I often find that the stories are poorly written. A notable exception is Philip K. Dick (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep - friggin awesome). For me, the plot is only ever half of the enjoyment of a book - the language, style, etc. is the other half. A terribly boring book can give me the greatest pleasure if it's well written, and a great story can be ruined by the writing. Unfortunately, Chocky has fallen into the poorly written category. I just didn't like the prose.

I was also a little disappointed in the plot. It was interesting, but in the end, it just became really strange (and not in the sci-fi awesome strange way). Matthew (who talks to Chocky, an alien, in his head) is kidnapped by a mysterious "they" and it is said that Matthew will be followed for the rest of his life because of Chocky. Because of that, Matthew isn't supposed to have a career in science because of the things that Chocky told him. Also, though Chocky has determined that Earth isn't a place that his species could colonize, he stays in contact with Matthew because he wants to teach him about harnessing different types of power. Yawn. I don't mean that the book was bad, I just didn't like it.

Wyndham's Day of the Triffids is also on the 1,001 list...I'm hoping that it's better than Chocky. In the mean time, I'll stick to Philip K. Dick for my sci-fi fixes. And I would do well to remember that my mom and I don't have the same taste in books.

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