Reviews of books, articles, and poetry written by or about ssbbw/bbw
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Jeff's Review Corner
The subject of the article for this month was originally going to be about Male-Female relationships. However, I decided this was not a good idea after reviewing my initial ideas for the article, which seemed to rapidly devolve into something-or-other about the respective genders being in two dystopian Orwellian cityscapes and waging wars in the middle ground for transient reasons. Somehow dinosaurs and lasers were involved but, me? I blame sleep deprivation. So, instead, I decided I’d dedicate this month to share the rare and obscure things I’ve discovered that others might enjoy as well. This month I bring you:
Today’s Book: The Dig by Alan Dean Foster
What’s most surprising to me about this is the fact that no one’s ever heard of it and yet some major names threw their weight behind it. Steven Spielberg aided in its early writing and later post-production, George Lucas’s company handled rights for a PC game and the writers for both the game and novel worked on episodes of Star Trek and the Alien movies. With that kind of backing, one would assume it would’ve been a bigger deal than it was.
Of course, The Dig has an unusual history. It was originally written as an issue for “Amazing Stories” – a sci-fi magazine. However, the idea was so well-liked that it was taken and developed into a point-and-click adventure game which suffered numerous delays and having been abandoned twice before a third company completed and released it. Gamers might be interested to know that it was the second-to-last game developed with the game engine/programming code SCUMM and was even homage as such when the main character’s palm pilot was called “Pen Ultimate”.
Eventually, the game was released properly in 1995 and the book around the same time. The two are not entirely consistent for obvious reasons (for example, the game starts around the equivalent to the book’s chapter 5) but it’s curious to note that this is the first time I’ve ever had it where the back of the book actually had screenshots from the game on it. Further examples would be their respective cover art: the book has four characters present (as the game did in its second iteration) while the game has three.
Anyways, the book opens up with the unveiling of a massive meteor named Attila (after the Mongol warlord) because this rock’s particular destination is also Europe. A scientist speaks with the President of the United States and convinces him to set aside the then-present tensions with Russia to put together an international plan to redirect the oncoming rock with low-wield nuclear devices and move it into a stable orbit around Earth – essentially making Attila a second moon. The price of failure would not be a cataclysm, but it would be less than pleasant. While the measurements of the meteor are not entirely consistent it easily fits a Category 9 on the Torino Scale. For reference, the Tunguska Event was an 8.
They round together the best crew they can manage, starting with the eldest member of the crew – Boston Low. He had been onboard a shuttle that would’ve been doomed in anyone else’s hands, but Low landed it and survived to tell the tale. Because of his record, he was the natural pick – in spite of his hesitance. Next we’re introduced to Ludger Brink – a German man with a specialty in geology. He plays a sort of comic relief character early on and complements Low’s solid, stern disposition exceedingly well.
The third major cast member is Maggie Robbins. To tell the truth, even after reading the book and playing the game, I’m still not sure how I feel about this character. She’s a go-to reporter with a spinal column of granite to have done the things she’s claimed to have done, but I cannot for the life of me shake the mental image of a little, yappy dog trying to make itself look bigger than it really is. Either that or I just really want to roll up a newspaper and swat her with it because she can come off as rather irksome. She’s what TVTropes.org refers to as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. You either love her or hate her on the spot.
The crew also has Ken Borden and Cora Miles but they’re largely ignored or forgotten after the crew arrives, which is sad as I rather liked the character of Cora. Once they do land on Attila, however, things take a turn for the weird. The blasts unveil that the meteor is more than half hollow and within, Low and his crew discover the remains of an ancient, alien world, filled with wondrous devices and creations so fantastic that they border on the magical. They even discover an amazing crystal that holds a fluid that holds the secret to reviving the dead. However, not all is well within Attila’s walls as the creators of such marvels are all gone and it’s strangely quiet.
To find out the truth about The Dig, you’ll have to read on for yourselves. The book has been out of print for a while now, but copies float around in large numbers. I got my copy (a mint-condition hardcover no less) for about ten US dollars. The game also has been re-released onto the Steam network for about the same price. Either way you go, you can’t go wrong with this forgotten classic. Join me again next time as I continue to prod and pry to find the rare and obscure and bring it to light for you all to enjoy. See you then.
|"May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely, than this our own country!"
~Mark Twain, "Old Times on the Mississippi" Atlantic Monthly, 1874
|"We peer so suspiciously at each other that we cannot see that we Canadians are standing on the mountaintop of human wealth, freedom and privilege."
~Pierre Elliott Trudeau