Book Review: V Second Generation by Kenneth Johnson 7.0

Published by Tor Books, Paperback

Release Date: Out Now

I couldnít possibly describe just how much of an impression V made on me and my television viewing habits. While I was aware of watching science fiction at a young age, Star Trek re-runs, etc, V was the first series I was actually really into. I loved both of the miniseries and the television series. Of course, watching it today, I can see huge missteps even in The Final Battle and most certainly in the series. So I have been awaiting V: The Second Generation for a good few years. Impatiently I sat looking at my computer as the publication date kept getting pushed back. I yearned to know what Kenneth Johnson had originally planned for the second miniseries, before he walked out over creative differences. While some fans complained that they didnít want their favourite characters from the series and Final Battle to disappear just because Johnson decided to pick up from where his series left off, I was very open to seeing how it was supposed to be.

The story picks up 20 years after Julie and Elias sent out their signal into space. A lot of things have changed in this time. The visitors are stealing our water at a rapid rate, leaving San Francisco Bay a wasteland. The visitorís true faces have been revealed, and ever since Robin Maxwell conceived her first visitor child, many human-visitor hybrids have been born. However, no starchild abilities are seen with these hybrids. In Johnsonís book, human-visitor hybrids are considered by human and visitors alike to be the lowest of the low. Finally, however, help has arrived in the form of the Zedti, an insect race and enemies of the visitors. But are they really here to help us?

This book is truly a hard one to review. I really wanted it to be goodÖ which isnít to say that itís a bad novel by any means. I think that this one is likely to have fans divided. A big problem is the timeline. I think I would much rather have seen a direct continuation from where the miniseries left off. I found myself eagerly looking for all my favourite characters, and for the most part, many of them were actually on the sideline. Instead we had new, younger characters who were given more story time. Thatís not necessarily a bad thing, but as a fan, Iíve had a lot invested in those original characters, and the payoff wasnít quite as expected. While we did get to see certain original characters, other characters had completely disappeared. For instance, there was Robert Maxwell, but not his family which had been such a cornerstone of the original miniseries. Elias too had disappeared. Itís to be expected that not everyone would make it through twenty years of occupation but a mention would have been nice. A lot is made of the visitor-human hybrids, but never a mention of Robin and her child. I can understand why Johnson steered away from having them in the story given the whole starchild thing, but I think it deserved at least a small mention. Of course, it was nice to see previously killed characters now resurrected, like Harmony and Martin, although I find it hard to believe that Martin wouldíve lasted so long in the fifth column. Strangely, other characters appeared that seemed too similar to characters from the miniseries like Debra Stein who is obviously supposed to be another Daniel Bernstein- even the surnames are similar!

Other problems with the novel were plot inconsistencies. I could forgive Johnson for making the motherships bigger than originally stated as a slap in the face to Independence Day, but the Leader is now a woman? Since when? Iím 99% certain that there are references to the Visitors great leader, and being a man. Then thereís the cheese factor: flying motorcycles? Unfortunately for Kenneth Johnson, flying motorcycles will be forever associated with Galactica 1980- well, that and Harry Potter, and frankly it went into the Galactica 1980 area more often than not.

And yet, itís a page turner, Iíll admit. Not the best book Iíve ever read, but for one more chance to step into the world of V, even if itís not like what I remembered, well, itís enough for me. While writing this review, Iíve learned that A.C. Crispinís novelization of V will be re-released with changes by Kenneth Johnson, probably to correspond with this novel. Iím not sure how I feel about this yet. Curious, but at the same time wishing it could be left alone. But Iím a fan, so Iíll probably have to get that one too.

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