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The Taking (2004-12-18 - 9:04 a.m.)

I recently finished a book by one of my top five favorite authors, Dean Koontz. The book, written earlier this year (it's not his most recent, as Life Expectancy was just released), is called The Taking.

As this story unfolds, it is kind of unclear what is actually happening. There is a weird rain falling on the house of Molly and Neal Sloan. It's kind of luminescent and has an eerie smell to it. The animals are acting strangely, evidenced by a group of coyotes that gather on the Sloans' front porch and don't scatter when Molly walks outside. In fact, they almost like the fact that she is there amongst them.

As the story progresses, electronic devices begin to malfunction, channels change automatically, and, voila! We are suddenly made aware that this is an alien invasion. *Gasp!* A broadcast from the International Space Station is heard, wherein the inhabitants of said space station are horribly massacred by said aliens. All who hear are forced to listen to the horrible screams of the people as they die.

To make matters worse, the television begins to automatically depict the worst of humanity. Molly and Neal watch as the channels change from news of murders, rapes, kidnappings, to shows of comedians telling jokes that are totally mean-spirited (and people laughing uproariously at those mean-spirited jokes), to hardcore porn depicting "gang rapes" that seem to be enjoyed by the "victims."

Here's a paragraph from the book.

"No crafted piece of propaganda could have mocked the pretensions of humanity more effectively than this apparently random selection of cruel entertainment."

Suddenly it becomes evident that this "invasion" is some sort of judgment for the horrors of the human race.

Neal's response? "This is a lie. This isn't what we are. It isn't all we are."

Maybe not, Neal, but it is mostly what we are. Sad, but true.

One of my favorite parts of the book occurs when a National Weather Service meteorologist (still don't understand why weathermen are named something that sounds like someone who studies meteors...) is asked by a fairly mindless tv reporter (are there any other kind??) if the weather anomalies that they are seeing are the result of *dun-dun-dun* GLOBAL WARMING!!

The meteorologist responds, "The vast majority of meteorologists don't believe there is any global warming, at least not any that isn't natural and cyclical."

WOOHOO!!! You go, Dean Koontz! I love it when one my favorite authors does his part to debunk the myth that is *dun-dun-dun* GLOBAL WARMING!!

*Jumps on soapbox* Ok. Why is *dun-dun-dun* GLOBAL WARMING a myth? It doesn't take much of a brain to figure it out. How long have we been measuring temperature? Officially. 50, maybe stretching it, 100 years? Now compare that to the length of time that the "global warming people" think the planet has been here. Most people who buy into the global warming myth are people who believe that the planet is millions, maybe billions of years old. How, then, do these same people, with any amount of intellectual integrity, think that a slight increase in temperature over the last hundred years (and by slight, we mean not even a whole degree) indicates a trend of global warming, when, by their own standards, there are billions of years of temperature cycles that are unaccounted for???? But, then, these are the same type of people who are posing naked on billboards in China to campaign against wearing fur. *Jumps off soapbox*

Back to the book.

As people die all around them, Molly and Neal, for some reason manage to escape this "judgment" and make into a small town, where they find pockets of survivors. Molly begins to understand that she needs to go around the town and rescue and protect children. For some reason, the children are untouched. Perhaps it is because children, to some degree, still maintain a measure of innocence. Molly and Neal are assisted by a somewhat supernaturally endowed dog. (Mr. Koontz, I detect a theme, here. I can't help but remember Orson from your Christopher Snow novels. Pleasepleasepleasepleasepleeeeeeeease write another Cristopher Snow novel! please?) The dog knows where the children are. He leads them around to find them in various buildings.

I won't reveal any more of the story. I don't want to spoil it in case any of the 4-6 people who read this might eventually read this book. Let me just say that the ending is somewhat chilling. Molly eventually deciphers the one alien statement that is heard toward the beginning of the story. It is bone-chilling. Seriously.

Mr. Koontz, this may be one of your best books ever.

Next, some Philip K. Dick short stories. Now there's a man who had a fantastically vivid imagination.


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