Sunday, January 28, 2007

Review of “The Final Programme” novel by Michael Moorcock

Although Moorcock’s most popular sci-fi novel, “The Final Programme” comes off as steadfastly average and nearly instantly forgettable. With 1/3 heist thriller, 1/3 cross-country adventure and 1/3 doomsday chronicle all the groundwork potential seems to be there for a stirring, gripping vision of a near future but nothing really comes together like it should. Definitely a skip for all but Moorcock fans.

The Good:
Interesting story framework with hints of buried insight. Early example of a bisexual protagonist.

The Bad:
Each of the three sections in the book fails to capture the interest they should. Handfuls of tangents to the main plot are tentatively mentioned but none of the best ideas are explored or brought to life. Subplots involving a technological maze security system, a vast secret abandoned underground Nazi bunker, a psychologically troubling incestual romance, an underground network of criminals and revolutionaries with a world-changing agenda, a censored copy of an astronaut’s final log and many other intriguing lines dead-end or get abandoned by the author with little explanation. Instead, the majority of the pages are expended on standard plodding chapters of well-worn sci-fi territory and a dated “ultimate party” final act. The ending, which is clearly meant to seem shocking and progressive, also feels dated and plagued by a total sense of underdevelopment and randomness.

Grade: C-

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