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Summary: A middle of the road effort for Herbert.
Review: '48 is as about as action packed as you can get. It starts off running and never really stops, the book is almost exhausting to read.
The plot is pure b-movie pulp. Hitler uses an unstable chemical weapon that, ala The Andromeda Strain, turns blood to dusty clots in the veins of victims. Too bad it spreads and kills everyone in the world, except for a lucky few. The luckiest of the dead died quick, in a matter of minutes. But some live on, clots slowly forming throughout their bloodstream and causing gangrene and other nasty and terribly slow ways to die. It is from these last few, and quite insane, hangers on that our mixed bag of immune heroes must alternate between fleeing and fighting.
Most of the novel uses plot points taken from either the cult classic Mad Max or the cheese classic The Omega Man. It's a quick enough read that is easy to forget. Mr. Herbert may have written far better books, but this one is as about as exciting as a plate of literary whipped cream can get. Recommended to those looking for light, fast paced, and exciting reading.
Summary: Don't be put off by the nay sayers!!
Review: It seems that '48 was a huge let down for the vast majority of people that have given their reviews here. Although it seems that Majority Rules would be speaking volumes in this instance, decrying the book as nothing more than pulp, I want to offer a more balanced opinion.
Firstly, James Herbert is a master of horror fiction, he has always had a great ability to write with an immeadiacy that quickly pulls the reader into his world. Notice how, even though many people critisized the book, the resounding agreement was that '48 was an action packed, fast paced read. A curious oxymoron since many great reviews of populist fiction will often include the words "fast paced", "a page turner", "non-stop action". How did these reviewers turn these comments into negatives?!!
Approaching '48 as an example from the Horror genre is the first mistake when reading this book. It's clear to me that the tone of '48 is dervived from the "Boy's Own" style of action/adventure stories popular in the era in which the book was set. Kudos then need to be payed to Mr Herbert for deciding to write a period piece in the style of popular fiction from the period it illustrates. On that level it was clearly a resounding success.
'48 is without a doubt an exceptionally visceral novel. It doesn't make any claims to be of any social relevance, or offer any intellectual or political dogma. It is just a story created to offer high level, low brow entertainment, something you can pick up and throw yourself into on a rainy afternoon.
In cinematic terms, sometimes you feel like watching "Schindlers List".... sometimes you feel like watching "Die Hard with a Vengeance".... In this case '48 is a "Die Hard". I loved it.
Summary: I Am Legend Revisited
Review: OK, most of the previous reviews here have been negative. Look folks, this ain't high literature. I believe some of the problem may lie in the expectation of this being a horror novel. It isn't. This is strictly a Alternate Reality/Science Fiction novel. So take it for what it is: light, escapist reading. This is the first (and so-far only) book by Mr. Herbert that I have read, and I found it to be lots of fun. It's the kind of summer beach read that is fun and doesn't require a great deal of grey matter exercising. Although only one other reviewer mentioned this, the only thing I may have against it, was also one of it's more attractive aspects: that of it's obvious similarities to Richard Matheson's I Am Legend. This is without a doubt one of my all time favorite Horror/Science Fiction novels, and reading '48 gave me the unique feeling of reading another take on the same story that you sometimes get in well-tracked genre pieces like this. In fact, I think the best way to review this book is to compare it to two of the film versions of Mr. Matheson's wonderful novel: First there is Charlton Heston's Omega Man released in '71. This was a fast-paced, action-packed Hollywood take on the novel. On the other hand, Vincent Price's The Last Man On Earth from '64 was a much better, darker and closer to the source example. Both are good in and of themselves, yet also different in their take on the story. That doesn't make either one bad, just different. When all is said and done, I must say that it is in fact a fun read, and perfect for summer reading. Pick it up and decide for yourself.
Summary: What a page turner
Review: This sci-fi/horror/thriller page turner from James Herbert takes place, obviously enough, in 1948, after the allies have lost the second world war in ravaged London. Due to one of Hitler's biological devices, the vast majority of the citizenry have been killed, while only those with the extremely rare AB- blood type have been spared, and a slightly larger minority have been condemned to a slow, lingering death.
The main character, Hoke, is one of the fortunate few that has been spared the disease, and he spends a good deal of his time fleeing those who are dying the slow death (they are attempting to capture him to steal his blood and in theory his immunity to the disease through a transfusion). Along the way he meets a few other survivors, and, of course, races towards a final showdown with his pursuers.
By no means a deep, meaningful, or socially conscious novel, '48 simply offers vivid scenery and top notch entertainment, and I was completely incapable of putting it down. (I stayed up till 4AM to finish it) It's non-stop action from cover to cover, and its the perfect answer for an otherwise quiet evening. Don't listen to all the negative reviews, because in terms of sheer entertainment value this book is quality. Enjoy.
Summary: The Future we ALL dread becomes reality...
Review: What a journey! Just after you've opened the front cover of this book, you are transported into a world of true hell where Hitler has had his final victory. This book is nothing short of excellent. You just can't put it down. The half Zombie soldiers give the books hero a hard time from start to finish. The leader of these evil and vile villans is hell bent on sucking the blood out of every living person in London and that's the feeling you get when you read this book.The book twists through the underground of London and out onto the deserted streets where twisted evil lives.You never know what's going to happen on the next page and this with the high paced action keeps you glued to the pages until the very end..Essential reading to anyone who enjoys a gripping and fast paced book....
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