Author Rating: C

All The Lives He Led (read 7/27/12) Meh

I haven’t finished reading this book yet, and I’m not sure I will finish it. Pohl is yet another example of a writer who is far more popular than the quality of the writing can possibly justify. Here’s a sample paragraph:

And then when she had finished devouring her pizza, she exploratorily ran her tongue over her teeth a time or two. Unsatisfied with the result, she unwrapped a coat of ruby-red foil from something she pulled out of her bellybag and popped it in her mouth. I guess I was really enjoying watching her chew, and showing it, because she grinned and pulled out another stick of the stuff for me, this one wrapped in green foil. “Cleans your teeth,” she informed me. Maybe it did. That wasn’t why I enjoyed it so much, though. It was the taste of the gum itself, I guess, that really got my little buds tingling, fruity and flowery and, I think most of all, just a tad warmed by the flesh of Gerda Fleming.

Really? This is what passes for quality writing?

The narrator announces at the beginning of the novel that he is going to tell us about his life, but he’s not sure why or that he should. In the above paragraph, do you know what Brad Sheridan is supposed to have enjoyed? Gerda Fleming is a person you would think he would be highly suspicious of — she comes up to him out of the blue, knowing his name and background information that she shouldn’t know unless she had been talking to the dreaded Security Forces, yet he acts as though she were just some random person.

We’re at page 82 of 347, and I’m very tempted to just throw it over and start the next. The aimless wandering is really annoying. Nothing has happened except I have wasted my time watching this kid chew gum. Pohl has given me no reason whatsoever to continue with this story. He has not created characters here that operate under any pattern of discernible motivation. We’re told things but they have little to no relationship to what happens during the filler.

Nope, we’re not going to finish it. My life is simply not that long.

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