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Glimmering [Hardcover]

Elizabeth Hand
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 30 1997
In the violence- and pollution-stricken world of 1999, HIV-positive publisher Jack Finnegan is drawn into the seductive web of Leonard Thorpe, who possesses a magical elixir that cures Jack and transforms his world.

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Product Description

From Amazon

In 1999 the world has gone to hell: global warming, AIDS, urban decay, environmental disasters, and, above it all, the Glimmering. The Glimmering is an accident of modern society, a phenomenon that is destroying the ozone layer and killing the earth. In these last days, Jack Finnegan, suffering from AIDS, has come home to his family's decaying Manhattan mansion to die. He will meet Trip Marlowe, a rock star hooked on the hallucinogenic IZE, and unknowingly play out a bizarre drama scripted by his former lover, the "sociocultural pathologist" Leonard Thrope. You won't be able to put down this engrossing tale.

From Library Journal

After a March 1997 Antarctic ocean avalanche released methane to mix with bromotetrachloride in the atmosphere during a solar storm, strange charged particles began the glimmering in the ozone layer. HIV-positive magazine publisher Jack Finnegan awaits the millennium in his crumbling New York mansion. Hand's (Waking the Moon, HarperPrism: HarperCollins, 1995) bleak ecological disaster novel, which straddles sf and fantasy, belongs in most collections.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What in the H-E-Double Hockeystix Was THAT? Dec 2 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have long been a die hard fan of intense science fiction. The one star I'll give Hand for this book is for her excellent use of deep imagery in the work to invoke almost physical responses from the reader.
However, the rest of what makes a story into a novel is missing. The characters are lackluster (at best), having no real passion or direction, and gaining none as the story progresses. For a while I was truly enthralled by the read, one page pulling me into the next until I had burned through the first three hundred pages in as many minutes.
And then it died...not in a blast, or a convoluted plot twist, or even in any way that could be defined as heroic, romantic, philosophical, or otherwise. It faded as if it had never been. The story just seems to stop (like a car stalling silently on a fast highway) the story coasts in neutral for about 150 pages, flares like the engine sputtering to life for a heartbeat, (but not really) and then sliding onto the shoulder, making you wonder why you got in the car at all!
Even if you like the occasional anticlimactic plot twist, this takes the concept a step further, where the only characters who receive any sort of finality die in ignoble, boring ways. I am also a male reader, but unlike one of my fellow reviewers, I don't need a huge hollywood style ending.
I would, however, like an ACTUAL ending.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hey, let's try to appeal to the mainstream... Sept. 3 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
OK... I understand that pop culture is what sells these days, but I don't think that you should push it to the extreme. Elizabeth Hand has tried to turn the next millenium into a Generation X sex fest. I am having a hard time finishing this book, due to the fact that I want to gag each time I read about Leonard Thorpe and all of Jack Finnegan's past homosexual activities and Trip Marlowe's narcissistic sexcapades. Who ever made the comment that this book is like Stephen King rewriting TS Elliot must not have read either of these authors. Elizabeth Hand should take time off from trying to write novels, and either write _Star Trek_ episodes or write for FOX's _Dark Angel_.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Glimmering Feb. 23 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
With the discovery of Brite as a replacement for fluorocarbons, rejoicing scientists believe that they have saved the ozone layer. However, the expert scientists were quickly proven wrong when a mining expedition off the Antarctic coast released an enormous amount of methane gas coupled with Brite into the atmosphere. A solar flare charged the compound producing a surging electrical current that altered the magnetic field and shredded large chunks of the ozone layer. Thus the atmospheric glimmering began. Electricity failed; communication became erratic; transportation was almost non-existent; manufacturing almost came to a complete halt. The atmosphere had become a constant array of florescent glowing colors bathing the planet in 24 hour light while virtually hiding the stars and the moon from view. Climates and ecosystems change for the worst as droughts, floods, famine, and plague become an everyday occurrence.
The world is divided as to how to deal with the man-made catastrophe. Some people believe that the apocalypse is now. They use drugs and other stimulation to revel in the final days of doom as they feast on the death throes of a dying civilization. While others like John struggle to keep the decaying world out of his enclave. This is the world entering what appears to be the final millennium.
This apocalyptic fiction is for hard-core fans of "end of the world" science fiction. Though well written and exciting, Elizabeth Hand paints a depressing picture of a future destroyed by scientific haughtiness. This novel is not for everyone, but those who enjoy reading about the planet Earth imploding need to peruse this tale of dread. The novel has a haunting quality that makes it near impossible to forget and a lyrical writing (in spite of its gloomy topic) that seems almost poetic in nature.
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By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
After 15 pages, the first major milestone occurred, keep reading or throw it away? I wanted to throw it away, but decided to suffer forward on the promise of potential and to see what Leonard would do next. After completion, I regretted not sticking with my commitment to avoid indiscriminately reading critically acclaimed novels. For Stephen King fans, the Wastelands is not reincarnated in this piece of work.
This novel was tedious because it felt like 80% of the plot was dedicated to homosexual relations---in reality it was probably only 40%, so I guess it's understandable why it had such critical acclaim. It actually took three weeks of reading to finish this book---a little like Chinese water torture. The whole book felt contrived, even the profanity?
The biggest disappointment was the good job Hand did with developing her world, but wasting it on such uninspiring characters. The real reason this book is not likable is that the plot and characters went nowhere. What a shame, it had such potential.
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By Auliya
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The book never unites. It operates in strobe. Glimpses, snapshots, snatches of imagery, implications of plot. It's hard work to stay with the characters, to remain curious and invested in their activity with minimal help from the author, who deals scenes like playing cards with quick flicks of the wrist.
One of the miracles of style in the story is the recurrance of characters passing like ships in the night. Passing blindly almost without exception, because not one of the characters realizes the serendipity, the proximity, the intersections; not one of the characters seems to see the thick fog of fate or destiny that blankets everything.
So the reading is difficult. The visuals come and go. The myriad descriptions of drug-induced moods and visions mix unreliably with what is trying to be description of the real world. But it was hard for me to tell, while reading the book, whether the lack of coherency was the author's mistake or the author's point. You know?
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Extremely disappointing
I read this book around 2 years ago - having been a fan of previous books. What an extreme disappointment! Read more
Published on March 30 2000
2.0 out of 5 stars A let down even if you haven't read her other books
This book started out pretty good. It had a cool framing tale, even believable, and the characters seem to be pretty well-developed, if not very deep. Read more
Published on March 2 2000 by Robert Tanory
3.0 out of 5 stars Fundamentally disturbing
Though it didn't disturb me quite as much as "Winterlong," this novel still set my teeth on edge. Read more
Published on Nov. 2 1999 by Stephanie Flatley
4.0 out of 5 stars MESMERIZING
I FINISHED THE BOOK A FEW WEEKS AGO AND AM STILL HAUNTED BY IT. LIKE ONE OTHER REVIEWER WROTE: IS THE SCATTERED DRUG-INDUCED PLOT HER POINT, OR IS IT JUST THAT SHE HAS NO... Read more
Published on Oct. 15 1999 by VICTORIA
2.0 out of 5 stars A letdown if you've read her other works
I read the phenominally good Waking the Moon in two sittings. Glimmering, however, took me two weeks due to my general impatience with the book and its plot (or lack thereof). Read more
Published on Aug. 31 1999
2.0 out of 5 stars should have been better
I'm a fan of Hand's writing, and when I found this book I was terribly excited. The plot looked great, and the reviews were good. But it was really a let-down. Read more
Published on April 1 1999 by erincbtm@aol.com
2.0 out of 5 stars I'm a Hand fan, but this was weak.
I love almost everything by Elizabeth Hand - she is probably the most unique writer working today. I really didn't like this book, though. Read more
Published on Feb. 19 1999 by Peter F. Delaney
2.0 out of 5 stars Depressing view of sexuality
You may be entranced by the author's language. You may be fascinated by her view of the "future" (1999). You may enjoy her characters. Read more
Published on Jan. 2 1999
2.0 out of 5 stars Written by - or for - the MTV Generation
Eliabeth Hand has a way with words, but she's terrible with sustaining a narrative. Plot threads are introduced, only to unravel later as she gets distracted and pursues another... Read more
Published on Dec 1 1998
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad Science
I know it's fiction, but it is supposed to be SCIENCE fiction. I couldn't get past the first chapter. Read more
Published on Nov. 24 1998
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