Daniel H. reviewed Vespers (87th Precinct, Bk 42) on
Helpful Score: 1
Always one to take unusual stories with a grain of salt, I truly believe that Whitley Strieber believes what he says has happened to him and has an amazing ability to convey that feeling. This is a very interesting book with a somewhat differnt feel than Communion, however, if you enjoyed that book, you will also like Transformation.
The latest in the 87th Precinct series, this bizarre and gripping novel shows why MWA Grand Master McBain is acclaimed for his stories about police at work in a big city. Detectives Carella and Hawes are investigating the murder of Fr. Birney at St. Catherine's, a church near the headquarters of satanists, which makes them obvious suspects. But Carella and Hawes, hearing different stories from all the people concerned, recognize the enormous task of separating the truth from lies. There are hints that the pastor was being blackmailed; that the black boy he saved from a beating by a gang of white teens, as well as his attackers, are guarding guilty secrets; that a parishioner who quarreled with Birney could be the killer. As usual, the author's uncannily accurate eye and ear make the many characters identifible as real people. Not as usual, however, the solution to this case and related crimes reverberates with the shocks of totally unexpected disclosures.
ISBN 0380705354 - I believe in life on other planets. I believe in life outside our galaxy and that there is little - if any - reason to think we are the most intelligent and technologically advanced creatures ever. I also think Whitley Strieber is a really good writer (Warday comes to mind). The problem is, I also think he's a nutjob.
In Transformation, Strieber basically tells the story of what happened while he was working on Communion (if there's another book about what happened while he was working on Transformation, I will not be surprised) as well as now claiming that he and his siblings had encounters of one sort or another throughout their childhoods. Not just them, either, but pretty much every single person who ever came into contact with the guy, and a few people who only came into contact with people who came into contact with him. That alone makes his story wildly suspect, but it isn't the reason for the 2 stars ranking.
Strieber seems to hop all over the place in this book, at times leaving a story half-told. When "predictions" from his visitor contacts don't happen as they were foretold, he bends what DOES happen to fit, much like the gullible do when crystal-ball weilding women bedecked in scarves tell them they will suffer a loss. Who WON'T suffer a loss? And who CAN'T bend reality to conform to a "prediction"? He creates theories that seem to have little basis in reality - even if you accept his visitors as reality. If it weren't laughable, it would be irresponsible. There are so many people who genuinely, and mistakenly, believe they've been abducted that there's no telling where they might run with the fantastic ball of theories laid forth by Strieber.
There are some things in the book that made me wonder... for example, this adult male parent of a young child has a house in the woods that is frequently visited by aliens and his son sleeps a floor away, closer to the entrances to the house than his parents. What? Like Al Gore and his famously stupid internet-creation claims, Strieber states "I realized the seriousness of the ozone crisis long before most others", an "indisputable" fact - and one that I'm pretty sure is easily disproven. In the end, Strieber ends up sounding mildly disturbed and a bit like a guy with an inflated ego. His credibility is irrelevant, since he's usually writing fiction and aware that it IS fiction; the only difference I think there is here is that Transformation is less well-written and he thinks, genuinely believes, it's real.
On February 10, 1987, one of the most starÂtling and controversial books of our time was published: Whitley Strieber's CommuÂnion. In Communion, Whitley Strieber deÂscribed the shattering effects of an assault from the unknownâwhat seemed to be an encounter with intelligent nonhuman beings.
Transformation is the chronicle of his effort to form a relationship with the unknown reality he has come to call "the visitors."
After writing Communion, Whitley StrieÂber firmly expected that his encounters with the "visitors" would end. They did not.
At first he was desperate and terrified. He struggled frantically to push the visitors out of his life, to prove to himself that they were figments of his imagination, that they were anything but a reality separate from himself.
He was finally forced to admit, because of their persistence and the undeniably intelliÂgent structure of their encounters with him, that they had to be a genuine mystery, an intelligence of unknown nature and origin.
Whitley began to challenge his fear of the visitors, to try to confront them with objecÂtivity, in an effort to gain real insight into their impact on our lives. The more he did this, he found, the deeper and richer his exÂperience became.
Do the visitors represent a force that has been with mankind throughout history? Has it played an absolutely central role in altering human culture? Has a conscious force emerged from the unknown as the single most powerful instrument of change in history?
Transformation is a journey from the secret depths of the mind to the secret depths of the universe, a story of fear and courage and the final, triumphant breakthrough that may lead at last to real understanding. Communion was only the beginning.
Whitley Strieber's worldwide bestseller Communion, describing his personal encounters with non-human beings, was taken to heart by millions of readers, many of whom recognized in this strange but true story echoes of their own still-secret experiences.
After Communion, Strieber believed -- hoped -- that the encounters that had changed his life would end. He was wrong. The visitors have become even more insistent -- intervening in his life, revealing their language, and giving Strieber, for the first time, a glimpse of their true intentions. A glimpse that will certainly chill you -- but may give you new hope for humankind...