September 06, 2004

Chondrules of Crap


Chondrules Have a Role to Play in "Deception Point"
(Image credit: The Meteorite Exchange)

I just finished another Dan Brown book, "Deception Point", and it's quality is somewhere between the other two books of his I've read, "Digital Fortress" being worse and "The Da Vinci Code" somewhat better. He seems to be getting better with time, which makes me pessimistic about reading "Angels and Demons", which was written after "Fortress" but before "Deception".

The plot of this book involves a new meteorite discovered by NASA up in the Arctic. This meteorite supposedly has signs of fossilized advanced life, which would be proof of extraterrestrial life, if verified. The problem is that some of the people sent to check out the meteorite pretty quickly discover that it is an elaborate hoax NASA is trying to put on in order to save itself from political oblivion.

Now I'm willing to suspend my disbelief on some things, but when it comes to meteoritics, that's kind of tough. I mean, it's a pretty boring field of study, but I happen to know an awful lot about it. I also know how scientific research works. If any meteorite had this kind of stuff in it, teams from all over the world would be wanting a piece of it for independent analysis, just like with the famous Martian meteorite, ALH 84001.

The characters in this novel are too smart (sort of) to think that this would not get shot down. The idea that you can get an intact fossil in the same body that also contains chondrules is also a pretty amazing stretch once you realize chondrules can only form in certain conditions that just aren't compatible with sticking a fossil in there with them! But ok, suppose I'm willing to ignore the gaping scientific plot holes (I guess now I can understand why some religious/art history types were really pissed at Brown for pretending he knew something in "Da Vinci"). Was it good?

It was another good airplane book. A good book to sit down a kill a few enjoyable hours with and then promptly forget about. I continue to assert that when it comes to techno-thrillers, Crichton beats Dan Brown convincingly.

Posted by Observer at September 6, 2004 12:01 PM
Comments

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Interesting. When I find an author that I think, "hm, not that good", I don't keep going back to him again and again.

Posted by: Humbaba on September 7, 2004 01:37 AM

Well, I like the genre, and I'm hoping Brown can write something else that was good (and a fast read) like "Da Vinci". I've already read all of Crichton's stuff, except maybe his latest, which is on my list.

Sometimes I want something that is easy and fast. Brain candy. But not all brain candy is equal.

Posted by: Observer on September 7, 2004 06:28 AM