Sunday, 13 April 2014

Terran Psychosis
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Author: Christopher D. Votey
Genre: Scifi/humor
Book Rating: 7.7
Personal Rating: 7.5

I started of thinking ‘oh this is different.’  I knew this was a short book and the first of a series so I also expected it to be fast, direct and to the point.  You have to be to pack a punch in under 200/100 pages.  Just think Narnia or any of the Robert Dahl books.  That being said I ultimately ended up being let down.  It seemed like it was going somewhere and ended like it was still going somewhere.  It didn’t end in a way that said ‘this is done but the story isn’t over’.

The one saving thing about this book, revealed very early on, is that this is a play on the garden-variety alien invasion.  There was also the notion that only humans had a subconscious that I found intriguing.  The two main characters were handled well, the doctor. Dr. Kleen, and the patient, Gordon.  All in all this was a well-crafted book plot wise, beyond that, not much.  The humor was fairly well too.  Not hysterical but good enough to say I enjoyed it which is enough.

I’m usually not one for details.  Kind of like how Anne Rice can spend an entire book describing the veins on a leaf and then another book on how the veins interact with the dew drop on the leaf.  I do love them though if they are necessary.  The problem here is that I know to a degree what each alien looks like, but I needed more for a first book.  For example, the director, whose name I don’t think was mentioned, is taking a mud bath in one scene.  She calls this a ‘private’ moment that most outside her species don’t get to see.  If it was just a bath well people walk in on baths all the time, but if it was so special that it warranted an ‘outside my species’ what was it really.  There was also the scene where the Director tells the doctor he’s arrogant, actually his species as a whole.  I would be interested to know what it is that his species does in general.  Mostly because the Doctor said the arrogance is warranted.  Clearly that means they tend to do things that allow them to be so self-assured.  But what?

For a first book, little descriptive details about the species important to this book, the Director, the Doctor and the Patient, would be nice.  It would lay down the foundation so that whenever this new species I’ve never read about before does something I would know that this is what their species does and not assume that all aliens do this.  Much like it is on earth, there are something’s all humans do but there are things the Brazilians do that are different from the French, that are different from the Filipinos that are different from the Greek and so on.  And a lot of the differences you can learn by seeing, but most people like to learn as many of the quirks before moving to a country so they can be better prepared for the cultural shift.  A good example of this is how the patients eyes are described.  I can tell you that it is the outside around the iris that is used for sight and not the iris.  I can also tell you that the iris moves down when they are thinking.  I can even tell you that no matter what position the iris is in that he can always see what was right in front of him as the iris served other functions besides sight.  There are even a few traits about his particular alien race thrown in there.  I would’ve loved to have seen the other two main characters treated this way.  Yes I know the old adage of ‘show not tell’ but there are just some things I’d rather just know and then you can focuses on showing me more plot worthy stuff.

I found this book to read as if it were brimming with potential but its plot moved to slow.  Not enough information-giving for a series setup.  It read more like the beginning of a book, as opposed to the beginning of a book in a series.  The end seemed too constructed, too predictable.  Like ‘this is book one so it must have a cliff hanger,’ which is accurate.  However, this one just felt like it needed a few more pages.  It was an incomplete feeling felt instead of ‘part one is over, there’s more to come,’ feeling.  I actually saw it coming from so far away I checked my page count to try and convince myself I wasn’t really at the end before reading it.  Sadly, I really was about two pages from the end.

Still, the premise of this story was good but it just felt like it needed a little bit more, or a little bit less.  Since it appears the author wants less I’d go for a little less.  The director wanted a piece of information, she tasked the doctor to get it and when she got it and dictated their next move, that should’ve been the end.  It might not have changed my opinion entirely but something that simple would’ve upped my rating because cutting it of there would’ve made the book, even with my issues, round out much more fully.  And the end reads like a very good start to the second part.  If not then this book needs a few more pages.  Something to round it out more and bring me into the next book.  More closure with the promise of more to come.  It’s under 100 pages so a few more would still keep it short and punchy.

Now that I’ve said all that I do think this is a book worth reading.  In fact I’m excited about reading the next installment.  I would recommend it to any one who is tired of the stereotypical alien invasion stuff that has flooded entertainment for so long.  And it’s fun.  Sometimes a good light fun read is just what the Doctor ordered to take us from this world into the next.

1 comment:

  1. I find it funny that you think the book should have stopped when the Director responded to the Doctor's report. I only added the part after that because my editor told me that I needed to resolve what happened to Gordon. The original ending actually did stop where you suggested it should have been.

    Thank you for the review.