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V: The Second Generation

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Kenneth Johnson

Johnson has been writing television science fiction (The Six Million Dollar Man; Alien Nation) for over three decades. Anticipating the 2008 television spin-off from the cult classic miniseries V, Johnson has created this insubstantial tie-in novel. … see full wiki

Tags: Book
Author: Kenneth Johnson
Publisher: Tor Books
1 review about V: The Second Generation

Erasing the Mistakes of the Past: The V Saga Continues

  • Mar 18, 2010
The plot of V: THE SECOND GENERATION is basically this: over twenty years ago the Visitors arrived. They came in 50 gigantic motherships and said they came in peace. They said that their world was dying and that they needed the help of the citizens of Earth in manufacturing chemicals to help save their planet. In exchange, they promised a cure to all our diseases, access to their technology, and knowledge about the universe. It seemed too good to be true and it was. Those who questioned the Visitors intentions, particularly scientists, disappeared never to be seen from again. A reporter, Mike Donovan, was granted access to flag mothership above L.A. and through a bit of good old fashioned snooping discovered who the visitors really were and what their true intentions were. They were really a race of reptiles. Their world was dying, but because of their own mismanagement. They had come to Earth not to manufacture chemicals, but to take water and food, the food being humans. Donovan joined the L.A. Resistance, led by Dr. Juliette Parrish, and with the help from Martin, a Visitor who was a part of the Fifth Column (a group of Visitors who were trying to internally sabotage their Leader's plans) they won a small victory against the Visitors and sent a message into space aimed at the adversaries of the Visitors.

Since that time, a lot has happened. Much of the Resistance worldwide was eradicated during the Great Purge in 1999 by the Visitor's Commander, Diana. The Visitor's presence is accepted. Most everyone knows they are reptiles hiding under fake masks, as evidenced by the large amount of hybrid children, known as Dregs, running all over the world. An entire generation has grown up under Visitor occupation and believe the lies and propaganda that have been fed to them their entire lives. They follow the Visitor way and though the oceans and lakes of the world are fifty percent gone, they believe the Visitors are trying to help with the problem instead of actually being the cause. But not all of the new generation believes the Visitors. A growing number of them have discovered the truth and are fighting back. Not only that, but the distress call sent into space a generation ago has been answered and the enemy of the Visitors, the Zedti, an humanoid race of insects, has sent aid to the remaining Resistance in hopes of wiping out the majority of Visitors while they can. However, the Visitors came claiming to need help and wanting to help the human race, when in reality they sought to slowly destroy Earth. Are the Zedti any different?

I was a kid when the mini-series "V" first aired on television. I found it enthralling and over twenty-five years later, it still holds up very well. Therefore, I was excited to read Kenneth Johnson's sequel, V: THE SECOND GENERATION. I wasn't disappointed. The story is an exciting read. Whereas "V" tried to illustrate how fascism and Nazi-type Holocaust could happen in the U.S., V: THE SECOND GENERATION plays with the ideas of terrorism, counter-terrorism, and political indifference. Like the mini-series, there are a lot of characters to keep track of, but once the exposition is clear the book becomes a real page-turner.

The biggest complaint people have about the book is that it completely ignores the events of V: THE FINAL BATTLE as well as V: THE COMPLETE SERIES. I watched most of V: THE COMPLETE SERIES when it first aired on television and have since watched the entire series again on DVD. Personally, I had no problem ignoring the events of V: THE COMPLETE SERIES. NBC just wanted to cash in on what had been an incredibly profitable property. They kept most of the characters and actors to appease fans, but apparently didn't keep many good writers because the series just wasn't the same. I liked some of the episodes of V, but when the killed Martin off I knew things just weren't going to be good.

As for V: THE FINAL BATTLE, it was a mixed bag. I enjoyed the introduction of Ham Tyler and Chris Farber, but the entire birth of Elizabeth and her mysterious powers was almost incomprehensible. Kenneth Johnson had originally been set to direct the mini-series and had written an earlier draft, but left the project when NBC refused to give the series money for special effects and decided to go in "different direction" than Johnson's script. So, even though they aren't in V: THE SECOND GENERATION, I have a suspicion that Ham Tyler and Chris Farber were probably part of Johnson's original story and Elizabeth was not. V: THE FINAL BATTLE isn't quite as enjoyable as V, but for most people it was the concluding chapters to the V saga. I admit, it was a bit difficult for me to ignore the events of V: THE FINAL BATTLE when I first starting reading V: THE SECOND GENERATION. At first I kept thinking, "What, no Ham Tyler?", "What, no red dust?", "No star-child? (thank goodness!)." However, once I got passed that, I didn't have any major problems with the story.

Things are a bit rushed and there are some plot holes, but the story is entertaining and moves at a fairly quick pace. In fact, there are times that it almost reads like a screenplay, which might actually be how the novel started out. Kenneth Johnson has been trying to get his creation turned into a motion picture for years. He's even stated he has a sequel written. I have a feeling that V: THE SECOND GENERATION is an adaptation of that screenplay.

In terms of a sci-fi story, V: THE SECOND GENERATION is about average. For fans of V, if you can get passed the idea that the events of V: THE FINAL BATTLE didn't actually take place, you should have an enjoyable read.

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