Thursday, June 03, 2010

Lost Boys

Lost Boys is the most personal and perhaps the best Orson Scott Card novel. It is part "memoir of Mormon life in the south", part "struggles of a freelancer in the early home-computer era" and part light-fantasy novel.

It starts with a Mormon family moving from Indiana to North Carolina, closely paralleling Card's actual move. The minute struggles of daily life of the family are brought out in great detail, as is the inner relations of life in the local church. The characters are all very easy to relate and "real", with no one character being "right" all the time.

The "realistic" story centers around the freelancer's move to the corporate world and his struggles in a rotten small company. This alone would make a quality book.

The "fantasy" deals with a boy that plays with "imaginary" friends who are actually those killed by a child killer. (The book throws out lots of red herrings, who we think are the evil one, but end up being friends of the main characters.)

The introduction is perhaps the biggest fault of the book. It sets up an evil "boy" who commits crimes that will be resolved at a certain point. With this it is set up as a simple mystery. Without this initial knowledge, the book is a much more powerful psychological family thriller. It would have also been nice to see the "super amazing video game" better explained. (Why was he able to communicate with the missing via a video game that was better than anything possible?)

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