Tag Archives: Science Fiction

Review: The Institute

The Institute

The Institute
By Stephen King
Scribner, 9781982110567,  September 2019, 576pp.

The Short of It:

Not what I expected.

The Rest of It:

When it comes to King, it’s obvious to me and has been for decades, that he enjoys the storytelling process. I imagine him at his computer, wringing his hands and laughing maniacally over the words spooling out of his head and I am here for it.

But…

Something happened with The Institute. Two thirds of the book was lackluster. The setup? Long. The characters? Somewhat likable. The story?  Unbelievable.  But I am a Constant Reader and a huge fan of his regardless so I will stick to the positives.

Luke Ellis, 10,  is kidnapped from the safety of his home and taken in an SUV to a place called, The Institute. There, kids are placed in rooms that look very much like home, but they are not home and in fact, being experimented on. These kids have powers, specifically telekinesis and telepathy but all to varying degrees. They are poked and prodded and injected with unknown substances to bring on the dots which represents their powers in action.

Luke befriends a group of kids, some older, some younger and together they attempt to figure out what is going on. Why are they there? What do the tests mean? What will happen to them in the end?

The Institute has some classic King elements but is definitely not horror. Not even close. I wouldn’t say it’s a thriller either. Although the last few chapters were nail biters the majority of the book hummed along and settled into the Sci-Fi category. A rather sleepy take on Sci-Fi, if that.

I enjoyed The Institute but it lacked that snappy King vibe that his most beloved books possess. Usually with King, the interactions between the kids are golden. I mean, think back to IT and how tight that circle was. That tightness was missing with Luke and his gang although there were hints of it when it came to The Institute’s youngest occupant, Avery. Overall, lukewarm.

I know many who read it when it first came out and loved it. It took me longer to get to than I wanted but now that I’ve read it I feel like maybe the lack of buzz while reading it might have affected my overall impression.

If you love King and have not read it yet, I would still recommend that you do because Constant Readers read it all. Right?

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: The Lathe of Heaven

The Lathe of Heaven

The Lathe of Heaven
By Ursula K. Le Guin
Scribner Book Company, 9781416556961,  May 2008, 184pp.

The Short of It:

Even though this book was originally published in 1971, it still possesses a futuristic feel.

The Rest of It:

In a future world racked by violence and environmental catastrophes, George Orr wakes up one day to discover that his dreams have the ability to alter reality. He seeks help from Dr. William Haber, a psychiatrist who immediately grasps the power George wields. Soon George must preserve reality itself as Dr. Haber becomes adept at manipulating George’s dreams for his own purposes. — From the publisher.

This was a fascinating read even though I’m pretty sure some of it went right over my head. For a short book, it certainly packs a punch and gets right into George’s head. His dreams have the power to change reality, which is why he so desperately wants to stop dreaming, but once Dr. Haber realizes what’s in front of him he takes advantage of the situation. He implants dream “suggestions”  into George’s mind but to George, everything is very literal so the end result is not always what the doctor had in mind.

People die or cease to exist. They come back. Aliens can’t communicate. Then they can, but only after they become turtles. Check out that cover. Turtles!

This is a crazy book but I could easily read it again because there’s so much I missed the first time around. The book club I belong to discussed it last week and it was a good discussion. Apparently, it was also made into a movie. Has anyone read the book or seen the movie?

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.