introducing readers to writers since 1995

August 08, 2005

Traveler Sales Going South

by Ron Hogan

Sarah Weinman told me yesterday about an AP story on the declining sales of The Traveler, the much-hyped sci-fi knockoff by the pseudonymous "John Twelve Hawks." Who knows, though: maybe Gerald Jonas' backhanded compliments in yesterday's NYTBR will spur a comeback. And the closer--"As a metaphor for modern paranoia, the Vast Machine seems a lot closer to the mark than the fantastic apparatus in the Matrix movies"--certainly seems a likelier blurb candidate than "Twelve Hawks knows how to hide the holes in a fast-moving narrative by piling up believable details."

Although, frankly, I didn't find the details all that believable when I tried to read it. For example, one of the book's main characters is described as living in Los Angeles, just off the San Diego Freeway. Yes, there is a San Diego Freeway in Los Angeles...but nobody who lives in Los Angeles calls it "the San Diego Freeway." It's "the 405," just like every other freeway in the region is referred to by its number, not its name.

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