Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hellstrom's Hive: Book Review

Wow. Could I possibly be more disappointed in a book? Written by Frank Herbert (one of the supposed pillars of 20th century Science Fiction) author of the famous Dune, Hellstrom's Hive was given to me recently by my father. I began the book with high expectations but by the end I don't know if I'll read another Herbert story again.

It is claimed that the story is set in a "police state" America. Really? There is no evidence of a police state of any kind. The primary government division mentioned herein is called "The Agency" ( original...). Who controls this Agency or what its purpose is we are never told, just given generalities as to its connections to certain individual in the government. Again, how original...

The conflict in the story is between members of said Agency and members of a chemically and psychologically altered secret society that fashions themselves after the lives and behaviors of insects. There are a few memorable and kinda icky scenes within the book (reproductive stumps anyone??) but Herbert never fleshes out any of his characters with most of the Agency characters either getting killed off or shuffled off and not focused on and only the namesake of the book (Nils Hellstrom) getting any sort of detail on the "insect" side.

I guess the book is supposed to be some sort of commentary on communal societies, eugenics, government control, etc., but it all comes down to a simple game of cops and robbers with the Agency trying to figure out just what is going on down at that weird Hellstrom farm—Oh, its a bunch of free-love naked hippies!! Get 'em!! And the all powerful weapon that is the central macguffin? We never get any details...its just there and created by a bunch of midgets who are so ugly that even the insect people don't like them.

Even if you are a hardcore Science Fiction dork...stay far away from this boring non-entity...

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