Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Reviews 40 - John Dixon The Point

Reviews 40
The Point
John Dixon

Reviews have not yet been indexed.  I discuss many novels within the context of various writing techniques they illustrate, and a few (40 so far) separately, to be referred to later.

Today, I have a novel -- mostly Urban Fantasy -- by John Dixon from Del Rey books -- which was sent to me (free) in ARC form via Amazon Vine.

I review products for Amazon which they send out free samples to promote.  The deal is the reviewer pays the income tax on the wholesale price of the item, so it isn't really free, but the slug at the top of the review identifies the Vine Voice -- meaning, getting the item free, they might not be as critical as they should be.

I will post an Amazon page review of this novel, John Dixon's THE POINT, using most of what I have to say here, but the Amazon page comments are not "reviews" and not aimed at Romance readers or Romance writers looking to deepen their craft skills.

THE POINT - by John Dixon, is an attempt at a new angle on the "posthuman" or mutant human who gets "superpowers."

It is of interest to Romance Writers (probably not to READERS of Romance genre) because the main female kick-ass Character experiences a glancing infatuation after bouncing around among sexual encounters and the drug scene.  Having no home life to compare her feelings with, she risks her standing at West Point to meet her lover at night.  That's ALL there is in this novel - a mostly off-stage Relationship between wasted and weak Characters who turn out to redirect World History.

None of the characters are "admirable" in the sense of exemplifying Values our society today adheres to without realizing they are Values.

Since all the characters are on the same moral/spiritual level, there actually is no conflict -- not internal or external.  Conflict is the essence of both story and plot -- but this novel has neither.

This makes the book worth studying because it was published in August 2018 by Del Rey in Hardcover etc.  This prestigious publishing house expects broad audience appeal.  I don't think so -- but they might sell the movie rights.

Why would it make a movie, though it fails as a text story?

Because though there isn't much sex, there is Violence, and ESP powers that allow for burning, ugly events, explosions, levitation, and overpowering the Will of others, even in large groups.

There is lots of visual interest loosely glued together by a narrative line.

You don't "live" the growth experiences of these Characters, and learn their life lessons vicariously.  You are TOLD (not shown) that the Characters change their minds about how to live, usually under the hammer of Authority and threats of jail.

They "are forced" to West Point where they are press-ganged (legally) into a secret program (actually housed under ground at West Point) run by a guy who instigated the genetic mutation that caused them to be born with "powers."  Each has a different sort of "power."

This guy, the backstory reveals slowly, was in charge of a unit that got poisoned in a war theater, med-evaced to a place where experimental methods were used to "cure" them.  The children of those soldiers were born with "powers."

This is the oldest form of "science is evil" novel.

These Characters are the product of Science, and not a one of them has any sense of "right vs. wrong" -- just expediently adopting whatever ideas are floating around them.  They eventually adopt the ideals of West Point -- but there is no foundation for this philosophy.

There is no reason for these Powered People to loyally defend their country, except that their country has press-ganged them and brainwashed them.

There is a wan, half-hearted attempt at the end to enunciate the Values that West Point is based on, but it fails because it is all tell and no show.  And the infatuation which flickers randomly through the course of events is not a Soul-Mate driving force, bringing a flash of true illumination to the Souls of the couple.  There is no reason, other than being defeated by force, to adopt the Values of West Point or Patriotism in any form.  Nothing "good" is revealed about government.  There is no hint that these people will not switch loyalties again at the first challenge because there's no reason for them to become loyal to the government. 

Some of the products of this guy's experiment wash out of "The Point" program, and are sent to "The Farm" where they are imprisoned because they are too dangerous to release.  They escape and form the opposition the recruits at The Point are being trained to overcome.

One guy, some wild science experiments, and two factions are generated who strew the landscape with destruction.

The Point is the stuff Hollywood looks for, but not what novel readers seek.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg

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