Suzanne Collins ~ The Hunger Games

Suzanne Collins ~ The Hunger Games

Richard Bachman ~ The Running ManI really have to stop reading these blatantly fad driven over promoted books. Things like Twilight or Fifty Shades Of Grey just do not stand up to all the hype that surrounds them. The first thing I noticed reading this book was I have read a very similar story exactly like it already. Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman ~ The Running Man had already told this story of man against a corrupt government using a gladiator event in a far more defined good guys versus bad guys way. The problem is Collins for some reason decided to have the contestants {The kids in this case.} fight each other ala Lord Of The Flies when the plot really works better when you make it an elaborate televised obstacle course with winning based on survival.

It’s not that I am against recycling a story so much but at least spend the time to make the next telling unique, rational, maybe even logical while finding a way to focus the story on some new interesting aspect. In other words if you have decided to serve the “same old, same old” at least come to the table with something as equally tasty.

Because frankly if I have to choose between a warmed over Suzanne Collins “knock off” or Stephen King writing at his peak, well… Collins is heading for a fall.

The worst issue to me personally is the manhandling of the plot to not only force it to be Science Fiction but an overly sterilized Young Adult Science Fiction at that with a heavily forced HEA. Jesus! I frankly ignored the whole Mockingjay bullshit at the beginning in order to sentimentally describe her long dead father but by the time we had bungled our way through a decidedly sterile description of a supposedly “futuristic city” only to be slapped into a “futuristic arena” with the whole “Tracker Jacker” deal. I mean really… just call them Giant Mutant Space Wasps at that point! Modify all those nouns baby since you are not really doing any work to sell this as actual Science Fiction. It’s just damn lazy.

Anne McCaffrey ~ The Dragonriders Of PernAbout as lazy as choosing to make this story about kids killing kids and doing your best Tina Turner ruler of Thunderdome impression forcing me to read page after page with Katniss “we’re all going to die” followed by a rousing chorus of “two men enter, one man leaves” and then, and then… and then when the contest finally begins. Katniss and Peeta barely lift a finger as all those other kids fall dead around them. I don’t consider dropping a Giant Mutant Space Wasp nest on some guys head as really having to stretch as a writer pulling a knock off out of your ass. Then by the end of the contest we not only have Katniss winning but she gets to keep both Peeta and Gale for her potential love interests and to force a pseudo HEA when Gale would have been fine without breaking any rules just to give us the obvious “next on Dallas” sequel bait for a love triangle I have absolutely no interest in.

Some of you out there might remember I gave Anne McCaffrey seriously low marks for the whole mating ritual or what I consider dragon rule breaking she tried to get away with. I honestly feel as a reader if you as a writer are going to harp about your own world building rules again and again (In Anne’s case the whole queen dragons rise to mate and all bronze riders have a chance to win her.) making it a central motivation to this EPIC drama you are creating do not turn around and wuss out and start breaking those same underlined rules to force an HEA. Or in Collins case… Force modifiers in front of nouns to substitute for actual Science Fiction world building. Force coincidence after coincidence to substitute for the real moral crisis of having to kill someone else for sport. Force the changing of rules in order to create an HEA when there is a perfectly decent one all ready built into the story.

I came away from reading this book feeling most of the key scenes were overly chatty and character driven. Written from the start as dialog for a script. I never felt a strong sense of place I personally enjoy in well written Science Fiction. You could take all that key dialog and change the background to a Historical or a Western and the story would need little adjusting in order to change the freaking wallpaper.

There are no real hooks like… The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel. William Gibson ~ Neuromancer or even the ancient post apocalyptic DANGER 6,600 VOLTS sign found in John Christopher ~ The White Mountains.

So it’s forced Science Fiction based on modifiers not ideas and it’s forced Young Adult based on misdirection and deceit and lastly it’s forced Romance rules requiring a misguided HEA. The three words I would use to describe this overly elaborated mess are Derivative, Lazy and Weak. As I said before I’d rather be reading Stephen King even if he writes an honest if somewhat tragic story in the end using all the same toys. Two books enter, one book leaves! I bet you can guess whose book got it’s ass kicked to the curb.

Hey, I am not the idiot who chose to dumb down Stephen fucking King at his peak. That is something Collins was never going to get out of in the first place.

Grade C

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"Suzanne Collins: The Hunger Games" by TeddyPig was published on August 3rd, 2012 and is listed in Grade C, SciFi, Straight Romance, Suzanne Collins.

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Comments on "Suzanne Collins: The Hunger Games": 8 Comments

  1. Anonymouse wrote,

    I haven’t read The Hunger Games yet… I think because, like you, I am REALLY wary of jumping on the bandwagon of books other people rave about, and that makes me want to not get involved. However, from what I have read, Katniss sounds very Mary Sue-ish– is that the case?

    I loved those William Gibson cyberpunk books (still do), with all their dystopian cynicism. But oddly, for some reason, I don’t care for Neal Stephenson’s books, which I would have thought would be right up my alley. And John Christopher… OMG. I read those books over and over as a teenager. Although he has some weird ones that made me roll my eyes, even back in the mid-70′s when I read them. Did you read his take on Adam and Eve? I still remember that, but not the title because I suck at remembering that stuff (but they were named Dom and Va, haha).

  2. TeddyPig wrote,

    I love Neal Stephenson’s first two books. Snow Crash was amazing and The Diamond Age does make you think especially the first parts even if the ending was a bit muddled but those were I guess you could say “obvious” in their approach. They had a sense of humor and surprise. I did not feel that way about his latest attempts though.

    As far as Katniss being Mary Sue-ish… Frankly so many books I have read recently are such blatant wish fulfillment on the writers part I take it as relief if it does not set my teeth on edge. There was enough going on that I did not notice so much.

  3. Wahoo Suze wrote,

    Ugh! Reading John Christopher at an impressionable age turned me right off dystopian anything. I watched the Hunger Games movie (it was entertaining, but my seat mate informed me that I missed a lot of symbolism by not having read the book). Have not and will not read the books.

  4. TeddyPig wrote,

    Well I read the book and um… What symbolism? Tracker Jackers? Mockingjays? The writer did not allude to anything fantastically new as much give stuff snazzy nicknames while having her characters wander around various not-futuristic forests.

    I must have missed the whole symbolism thing.

  5. TeddyPig wrote,

    I mentioned John Christopher because he was good with being “subtle” now the whole Tripods deal was obviously lifted from War Of The Worlds but he had these memorable moments. Visuals he would write that on the surface were everyday and common to us but in a way that started you realizing the time period you thought you were reading about was not the past something was awfully wrong here.

    He was good at “unsettling” the reader but to me that is an awesome memorable talent even if his eventual plot is lacking. He only had maybe one or two hits at the most even then and the rest of the novels were pretty much misses but I still remember The White Mountains to this day for it’s images.

    I guess I was trying to point out that young adult science fiction is nothing new without pulling from the typical group of the more fantasy/magic oriented crowd or early Heinlein who was never that visual for me.

  6. LBea wrote,

    I love your reviews, TPig.

    And now I need to read Running Man.

  7. AnneD wrote,

    I’ve not read it, but the kid (12) loved all of them. And with how hard it is to find him books he’ll read (I despair at the fact that I can’t get him to read high fantasy) I’ll take that for now.

    Although, he’s come around to ‘mythology’ (he’s getting into historical aspects of the Percy Jackson et al books), maybe I can slip some fantasy and scifi in there soon. I have hopes, thought they might have to be sneaky ones

  8. AM Riley wrote,

    I couldn’t finish it but I know of several young girls who really enjoyed it. So, like ‘Twilight’ which I also couldn’t finish, maybe the market is young women. I thought I’d hate the movie and only saw it because one of those young women really really wanted to see it in the theater. And I was pleasantly surprised. The actors are all so attractive, and it is so obviously not meant to be examined closely, I just relaxed and went with it. But an hour in a theater is a much more economical investment of time than a whole fricking day or two reading a bad and boring book.

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