Glimmering (Hc) Hardcover – Jan 30 1997
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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?
Most recent customer reviews
I read this book around 2 years ago - having been a fan of previous books. What an extreme disappointment! Read morePublished on March 30 2000
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 morePublished on March 2 2000 by Robert Tanory
Though it didn't disturb me quite as much as "Winterlong," this novel still set my teeth on edge. Read morePublished on Nov. 2 1999 by Stephanie Flatley
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 morePublished on Oct. 15 1999 by VICTORIA
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 morePublished on Aug. 31 1999
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 morePublished on April 1 1999 by email@example.com
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 morePublished on Feb. 19 1999 by Peter F. Delaney
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 morePublished on Jan. 2 1999
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 morePublished on Dec 1 1998