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The Word Warehouse

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Black Hills - Dan Simmons If I was given this book without knowing who wrote it, I would never think it was written by Dan Simmons. Hyperion is fabulous and I would strongly recommend The Terror but this novel pales by comparison. I still would never say one of his books was dull but this one comes perilously close.The trouble with Black Hills is it reads like non-fiction. You’ll learn all sorts of facts about Mt. Rushmore and the Brooklyn Bridge but the entertainment value is mighty low. And since when did the author get so into numbers? Just to give an example: "And there he had gaped at forty-three steam engines, each producing 18,000 to 20,000 horsepower, that drove 127 dynamos that powered all of the buildings at the exposition." And that’s one of the shorter passages. There are others in a similar vein that run on for pages.The story centers around a Native American named Paha Sapa. It does so in a very disjointed fashion, skipping around between his youth and old age. Included are letters that Custer would have written to his wife which add next to nothing to the story and go on at length. There is very little sense of drama. Yet I did care about the main character at least, and the story does have its better moments, but they are too few and far between.It’s like whoever usually edits Dan Simmons’ work was on vacation when this was written because it sure could have used a paring down. This barely gets by with 3 stars and is no doubt the weakest novel by the author I’ve ever read. Even die-hard fans of his will have a tough time enjoying it.