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Monday, October 3, 2016

The Power by Frank M. Robinson

I haven't coughed in 3 days. Last night, I start coughing again. Back to hot honey and lemon juice, which are not doing my teeth any favors, let me tell you.

I watched The Power with George Hamilton and Suzanne Pleshette as a child. IMDB says it came out in 1968 (before I was born) so I probably saw it on HBO sometime in the early 80s in my preteen years. I have a vague memory of writing fanfic about it, although that might be mixing it up with Scanners, another telekinetic thriller that left an impression and an obsession with movies starring Michael Ironside. I was young enough not to notice the movie was based on a book.

Amazon now sells The Power as a DVD, so in my very recent rewatch, I learned about the book. Amazon also provided a dealer of the unrevised 1957 version so I didn't have to cope with the "updated" 90s version that has come out since. The reviews were disappointed in that one, and preferred the original.

I hate revised books, btw, even when its the author's idea. You published; it's out there. Cope by writing another book if you're that unhappy.

Normally, I like the version I encounter first. If it's the book, I like the book better. If it's the movie, I like the movie better. I'm torn on this one.

I liked the book a lot. It was tense, dark, logical and tightly written. I didn't mind where the movie varied. Some made a lot of sense - the removal of Marge as a companion, for one, which added to the tension. Even knowing how I expected it to end didn't make it boring, because there were enough differences I wasn't sure it would end the same.

It didn't. It ended as most early scifi ends, on a sour note.

I like the movie ending better. I suspect, in the future, I will treat it as William Goldman treated the end of The Princess Bride as read by his father. Don't know what that means? Read the book. It's good, and the movie makes a lot more sense after.

I have two other gripes. First, the protagonist is "Jim" in the movie and "Bill" in the book. I have no idea why, and it annoys me when names get changed for no obvious reason. Maybe George didn't want to play a "Bill." Second, a tendency to run-on sentences. Should I read it again, I may just add a few semicolons in my copy.

Those are small, very personal gripes about what was otherwise an interesting adventure, so I give the book 5 stars.

Applaud the jellyfish.

Spoiler: A dog is killed in this book. Normally, that would make me close the cover, pitch it in the trash and never think on it again, but, frankly, I could see it coming, it wasn't dwelt on, and it didn't seem to be thrown in just to get me upset. I've moved on with my life, but I'll understand if that's too much for you.

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