Today’s song is called Eyes of a Stranger by Queensrÿche and is taken from one of my favourite concept albums, Operation Mindcrime.
Operation Mindcrime tells the story of a naïve political idealist who is manipulated into joining a secret revolutionary society, ultimately being brainwashed into becoming a political assassin with the help of heroin and forced to kill whenever triggered by the word “mindcrime”. When he realises what is happening, he tries to fight back and escape with disastrous consequences.
The album was such a success for the band that they released a follow up called Operation Mindcrime 2.
The music on the album is excellent but I really love the story and I think that it would make a great film, with a few tweaks to improve the plot.
I often think this, to be honest. When reading a book or watching a movie, my mind tries to retell the story, filling in plot holes or trying to make weird plot twists more credible. I’ve read a lot of great books and in the majority of cases, I have been completely satisfied with what I have read.
Some books, however, have made me rant like a madman. I’m sure that these books have been hailed as masterpieces by some people but to me they are nothing but a disappointment. In some cases, I think the author has simply over-thought the plot to such an extent that he simply cannot finish it properly.
This is particularly true of science fiction, horror and fantasy, three genres that I love. Don’t get me wrong, most of the books I have read are wonderful; it’s just that some of the authors cannot think of a logical ending to the story and just make something up that is unbelievable, even within the context of the incredible storyline.
For example, let me talk about a prolific author whose books I love, on the whole. Stephen King has a fantastic imagination and has written some classic stories, such as Christine, The Stand, It, ‘Salem’s Lot, The Dead Zone, The Running Man, Misery, Needful Things, The Green Mile, Under The Dome and 11/22/63 to name but a few.
However, when he wrote The Dark Tower series, I was filled with anticipation and excitement because ultimately, I hoped, this would be his masterpiece. I decided that I was going to wait until he had finished the series before starting it so that I could read it all in one long sitting without having forgotten what happened in the first books by the time I reached the end.
I was hoping for Lord of The Rings on acid.
What I actually got was a disappointing mess.
I don’t know what he was thinking and I don’t really think that he planned the epic storyline at all. Instead I think it became the bane of his life, and instead of thinking it through, he rushed through it to get it all over with. The first couple of novels were vaguely enjoyable but by the time we ended up with novel number seven, an epic in the number of pages (over 1000) but, to me at least, rushed and disappointing.
The sixth book is bizarre and goes down as one of the worst books of his that I have read.
Yet I had to complete it. Once I have started a novel or series of novels, I have to finish them no matter how awful they are.
And this is what happened with The Dark Tower.
I remember when I finally finished book 7. I was on holiday sitting by a swimming pool. I closed the book and I was so disappointed that I almost threw the volume into the pool. After suffering books 6 and 7, I had hoped that Stephen King would redeem himself and at least give me a good ending.
It was awful.
I threw the book on the floor and moaned like buggery to Mrs PM who was not interested at all.
I won’t add any spoilers because I know that there are a lot of people out there who disagree with me and call The Dark Tower series, Stephen King’s magnum opus.
How can that be? Did they read the bloody thing?
Anyway, rumour has it that they are making a movie (or presumably an entire set of movies). All I can say is that I hope the filmmakers concentrate on the first couple of books and ultimately rewrite the rest.
Unless there is a massive improvement this is one set of movies I won’t be going to see.