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Publishers Weekly“You might sum this up as a mixture of Moby Dick, The Caine Mutiny, and ‘Star Trek’ . . . a good adventure story.”
Posted January 20, 2012
"When we wrote this I was about twenty-two. If you choose to read it, please blame me for anything you dislike about it and assume that any part of it you enjoy was Dave's responsibility." - Dennis R. Bailey With a quote like that, it is hard not to believe that this is something that starts off well, and ends badly on certain levels. Unfortunately, Tin Woodman does just that. While some books are classics and others are duds, Tin Woodman would certainly rate as both. Only in this book's particular case, it started out as a classic short story in the Seventies(which was nominated for a Nebula Award in 1977)and later a brilliant novel in 1979, but only to end up as a dud when it was remade into a less-than-memorable(or as some fans have stated 'unpopular')episode of Star Trek - The Next Generation, some fifteen years later. Like John Carpenter allowing Rob Zombie to remake his 1978 horror classic 'Halloween', one wonders what Dennis R. Bailey and David Bischoff were thinking when they decided to recycle an original(and brilliant)plot into something mediocre. To quote an old saying, "If it isn't broken, then don't fix it'. While only being familiar with David Bischoff's WarGames novelization from 1983(the year that the science fiction thriller was released in cinemas), his ST-TNG novel Grounded, the SeaQuest DSV adventure 'The Ancient', the Austrailian sci-fi opus Farscape - Ship Of Ghosts, and the Space Precinct trilogy, I can't really comment on his mindset, concerning the idea of remaking this piece of science fiction literature. However, being quite familiar with Dennis R. Bailey's reputation - a political liberal with a staunch contempt for authority and others of staunch, conservative politics and for his flagrant disregard of such old fashioned sayings and values - it is clearly obvious that he chose to ignore such sage wisdom and tarnish his work into something less than enjoyable and less than entertaining. Bottom line is this. What was once colossal in the Seventies, was severely reduced to something diminuative in the Nineties. And that is only putting a gloss on the history of this sci-fi story. Tin Woodman tells the story about Div Harlthor. A misfit by anybody’s definition. A young man “gifted” with such strong psychic powers that he cannot bear human contact and is happiest living in isolation. Div is also an individual who is considered dangerous because of his ability to read minds. But Div is also the one human being whose powers may be strong enough to reach out and contact a mysterious alien creature found drifting in deep space. When Div is taken aboard a starship at the request of the government(more like he is taken into space and sent out against his will to examine the great creature with his mind)he learns that the mission of the crew is to somehow communicate with the alien craft and bring it back to earth. However, things don't go as planned when the young psychic makes contact with the sentient starship and decides to take matters into his own hands. From that point on, no one can imagine or even predict what will happen when his will and that of the alien intelligence are joined. Dennis Bailey...the man...the legend...the hero... Given his larger than life ego, he probably is. But only in his own mind. Avoid this and find something else worthy.
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Posted January 21, 2012
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