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Monday, April 18, 2005

cover of Sahara

This book made an impression on me, but maybe not the impression you might think. I found Sahara to be so poorly written, that it made me believe I could be a writer, and sell tons of books, and get them turned into big-budget movies, since I'm pretty sure I can write better than this. Of course, most people probably can.

G and I saw the trailer for the movie based on this book; he'd read the book before, and recognized it with excitement when he saw first saw the trailer for the movie. So, since he already had a copy of the book (an old hard-cover, not the new one pictured here), and I wasn't sure what to read next, he suggested I read this book before the movie came out. As it turns out, we never saw the movie (at least, we haven't yet-- maybe we'll catch it on TV sometime, just for larks, but it's not something I will be going out of our way to see). I've heard the movie was even more poorly written than the book.

I have to admit, the basic premise is fairly interesting, as far as end-of-the-world scenarios go-- this time it is an ecological crisis. Putting the crisis in the midst of African nations in political turmoil certainly ups the ante, and allows for some interesting scenery. For the most part, I tried to just relax and enjoy the ride of this far-fetched adventure, but the writing kept getting in my way. The characters are all very clich├ęd, and the writing itself is a mish-mash of clich├ęs, and often ones that don't belong together, resulting in some unintentionally humorous mixed metaphors and the like.

There are plenty of moments where this story strains credibility beyond even my limits (and I consider myself a fairly gullible reader). There are two moments in particular that I found to be completely ridiculous. When Dirk and his trusty, able (but not quite as handsome and witty) side-kick are trekking across the desert, the descriptions of their dehydration and exhaustion are extreme and even hyperbolic, as if they are about to keel over dead in any moment (no doubt this is to heighten the sense of their strength and determination); yet, when they find an old prop-plane in a gully they somehow have enough energy & intellect to convert it into a land-yacht. And then, later, when our heroes are under siege, the beautiful and intelligent love-interest (whose life Dirk has saved twice now) manages to find the energy - despite the fact that she was just recently dehydrated, exhausted, and malnourished (how sexy is that?) - and a quiet spot - despite falling bombs and the like - for a quick fling with Dirk.

Sahara did give me a few hours of diversion and entertainment - which I enjoyed, particularly since I was stuck on a plane for some of those hours; but I don't particularly recommend it to readers who actually pay attention to the words and phrases and characters in the books they read.

Title:Sahara
Author:Clive Cussler
Date published:1992
Genre:Popular Fiction / Adventure
Series:Dirk Pitt Adventures
Number of pages:541

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