Newest Review: ... the set up of the book as an academic text about the sessions that Robert/Prot has with Dr Brewer. This gives the book an interesti... more
K-Pax II: On a Beam of S****
K-Pax II: On A Beam Of Light - Gene Brewer
Member Name: samueltyler
K-Pax II: On A Beam Of Light - Gene Brewer
Advantages: Central premise actually good
Disadvantages: Filler novel, stupid side plot
I must warn you that this review contains a SPOILER. As a rule I hate reviews that contain elements that will ruin the experience for others, but in this case I must do it to try and make you understand why this book is broken. It is not a SPOILER that affects the story in any real way and you can easily read my review and have no idea where the book is going. It is just something that happens as an aside that blew my mind. If I inform you about the blatant stupidity in ‘K-Pax II – On a Beam of Light’ you may avoid the anger that welled up in me!
Prot is back. He is an alien that reportedly comes from a planet called K-Pax and visits Earth regularly. Once again Dr Brewer is on hand to write in his journal the events that occur with Prot's time on Earth. Prot still has the power to understand mentally ill people and animals, but this time Robert, the man in whose body Prot inhabits wants to be free. Will Robert or Prot become the dominate personality?
‘K-Pax II’ is at heart a good book. It follows on 5 years after the original with the exact same style. The first book was very good and was made into a feature film and this is perhaps why Gene Brewer decided on writing not one, but two sequels. I really enjoyed the set up of the book as an academic text about the sessions that Robert/Prot has with Dr Brewer. This gives the book an interesting structure and allows Brewer to explore Prot’s visit from an outsider’s perspective. If the book had been told from Prot’s point of view, I do not think that the impact would have been as good.
I loved the central theme that ran through this book of American society waiting for the return of Prot. At the end of the previous book he promised to return in 5 years. ‘K-Pax II’ opens with his return after Robert has been in a self induced coma for 5 years. The media and public have been inspired by Prot and the wonderful things he seemed to be able to do in the first book. Gene Brewer writes these books as if they actually exist in the world as academic text. By doing this Brewer is able to take the reader on a very interesting journey.
The other area of the book that works well is the psychological sessions themselves. I found that the interaction between Dr Brewer and Prot/Robert seemed very lifelike and gave a true insight into the mind of a person that may have multiple personalities. Although this book is classed as science fiction it is more a psychological mystery as you are never sure where the truth lies. By keeping Prot’s origins ambiguous Brewer is able to explore both real world and fantasy ideas.
So for all intents and purposes ‘K-Pax II’ is not a bad book. I do have an issue with the fact that none of the characters developed enough, except for Prot/Robert. Dr Brewer is an interesting creation by the author Gene Brewer, but I do not think he is anything more than a vessel in which to discuss Prot. Prot does develop in the book, unfortunately some of the majesty and magic of the character is lost as Brewer insists in uncovering the deeper truths of the character.
I also have an issue with the structure of the book. It does not feel like a full story, but more of a stopgap between the first and third books in the series. There is no satisfactory conclusion here; instead we are left hanging in a quite cynical way waiting for the third book.
These issues would have been enough for me to make this book 3 stars as they lead to an interesting but slightly unfulfilling story. However, it is not these factors that made me dislike this book it was this
Prot character is known to be able to communicate better with the mentally ill than the doctors so when Dr Brewer asks him to look at several patients he does. One case is of a gay man who believes himself to be pregnant. Turns out that this man actually has a womb that is linked via his anus – therefore he was actually pregnant. What a lot of rubbish! Would no one in a psychological hospital actually do a physical? This is meant to be a serious book which looks at serious issues. The fact that a man gives birth to a baby via his bum is not seen as shocking and is brushed under the carpet in two pages. HELLO! This does not happen and was a stupid thing for Brewer to write and then choose to ignore. It was such juxtaposition with the rest of the book that it ruined it for me. I spend the remaining 100 pages going what, what, what?
In conclusion, this book is a perfectly acceptable read that is ruined in part by some poor narrative by the author. The story is an interesting one and I liked to see the character of Robert/Prot develop from the previous book. However, the fact that the book was just filler for the third novel means that the book shoots itself in the foot again. I would recommend this to people who have read the first book, or seen the film. Try to ignore the glaring impossibility and see it for what it is – flawed, but entertaining psychological science fiction.
Author: Gene Brewer
Price: amazon uk - £5.59
play.com - £5.49
2 out of 5
Summary: A good novel ruined by crazy plotlines