Read Iapetus Shift free

Hi friends. I’ve begun publishing my first sci fi novella for free on Wattpad, the first 2 chapters are up and you can read them here:

https://www.wattpad.com/user/TheJonasDavid

All the chapters will eventually be posted for free, over the next weeks.

I’d appreciate likes and follows on that site, as I’m fairly new to it. And check out my other stories I’ve been posting there too šŸ™‚

Thanks!

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The Orville: Episode 8, into the fold

In the first really boring episode of the series, Dr. Claire and her two sons attempt to go on vacation, but are instead sucked into a fold in space and shot out a thousand lightyears away, and crash land on an alien planet.

It sounds interesting in principle, but instead it’s just endless bickering children and diseased cannibals.

I guess the ‘moral’ of the episode is you should appreciate your parents and how much they care for you. But it is shown in a really dull way.

The kids are separated from Dr. Claire, and have to be taken care of by Isaac, who with his robot ignorance, shows us what parent/child relationships are like by asking very blunt questions like ‘why are you such little shitstains to your mom’, to paraphrase.

In the end the kids feel bad and apologize for being jerks.

Also Dr. Claire is locked up by a survivalist alien who tries to feed her, but won’t let her go outside because of the poison water and hoards of diseased that will try to kill and eat her. To repay him for his kindness, she tricks him into going to her ship to search for medicine (which he does, because he is worried she will die) then when he gets back she kills him. How kind.

On the plus side this episode was real light on the stupid humor.

Rewriting

That thing I was talking about that had gripped me? Yeah, well, it let go…

I’m really terrible at staying focused…

Now I’ve decided to try something new that I’ve never done in my life… rewriting!

I’m going to go back over one of my unfinished novels, clean it up, and see if I can find the thread of what I was doing and follow it to an end of some kind.

I had around 40k words, so, it seems a shame to let it all go to waste.

Let’s see if I can make something out of it.

Also, its a fun sci fi adventure, instead of whatever pretentious nonsense I was trying to write just now. Got to get back to my roots!

Intentional annoyance?

I’m on to my next audiobook, and this time it’sĀ Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, by Haruki Murakami, who I’ve heard many good things about but have never read.

The opening of this book takes place in an elevator. An extended elevator ride that is described repeatedly, in an overly-longĀ and quite annoying way that made me say ‘come on!’ out loud. This was not a good first impression of the book.

But I wonder, was this aĀ purposeful way to evoke the irritation of riding in such an elevator? The rest of the book so far, outside the elevator, has not been annoying at all, so I have to assume it must have been a desired outcome of the author.

This seems to me a very risky way to start your novel. Intentionally annoying the reader in the first pages? This guy must have supreme confidence in his ability to entertain.

I hope he’s right…

Ā 

The Warrior’s Apprentice

I finished this today on audible, and though it had some fun, clever action and witty, likable characters, I never really got into it enough to care about what was happening.

As mentioned in previous posts, I was at a loss for the main character’s motivation. He sometimes seems to Ā want to impress his father by being soldierly, but other times wants desperately for his father to never find out anything he’s doing and to escape it all. He Doesn’t seem to be after adventure or money, he is somewhat after love but nothing he is doing could ever be seen to be bringing him closer to that goal.

What does Miles want? After the end of the book I’m still not sure. I think it is ‘to be a soldier’ but any reference to these desires throughout the story seem to have been forgotten.

Miles is the perfect character for an adventure story: a proactive one. He solves problems, he takes action, he is against the odds but still tries for a solution. These are all great attributes that are missing in too many adventure stories. But all this is kind of deflated by the fact that I have no idea what the character is putting himself in dangerĀ for, what he is trying to liveĀ for, other than the banal reason of simply not dying.

Without an overall objective that is clear to the reader throughout, even the most proactive character is still going to come across as a passive one with things just happening to them.

 

The disappeared

I finished it, and was over all underwhelmed.

A detective story is not very entertaining when there is no mystery. That is the number one rule to learn from this, I think.

Second thing to learn is that I don’t care about a character’s emotions just because you tell me to. Show, don’t tell.

A major plot point in this story is aliens coming to take away human children as payment for the crimes of the parents. We are told over and over how horrible it is for the parents to lose their children, and how awful it will be for the poor kids to live with the aliens, but never shown. We never see anyone actually lose a child, we never see where these children might go or what they might experience. All we get are things like ‘it would be a day seared into his memory forever’ and ‘the pain, and sadness were very bad and he was sad and also mad’ to paraphrase in a snarky way.

So there was no mystery, and no surprises really either, no big reveals, no twists, no character development either that I could tell. The character I liked most was not the main character, and I’m not sure but she was maybe supposed to be a villain?

Anyway, not recommended. Sad, cause I thought I’d found a sci fi detective series to read!

 

The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R. Carey

girl

I’m sure you’re tired of hearing me talk about this book in all my posts, so you should be glad to know that this is the last post about it! I finished it! And although it was creative, exciting, with well developed characters, interesting ideas and great prose–it also irritated me quite a bit.

Along with the other things that bothered me (scientist looking for the cure is the villain, zombies in general) one of the main characters was so annoying to me, that I was hoping for her to die or be injured for most of the book. Not because I disliked her or she was an awful person, but because she was so careless, and disrespectful of the danger around her and made such rash decisions that consistently had no consequence for her, that I found myself wanting her to learn a lesson.

Here are some of the things Miss J, a schoolteacher, does with no consequence (spoilers, etc):

  1. Refuses to see zombie children as threats: In this story, zombies roam the earth, but for some reason the children are able to think and learn, although they still chase down people and gorge on their flesh like any other zombie. Miss J. teaches a class of these children which have been captured, as a way to study how well they are able to learn (she’s not the one doing the studying, she’s just a teacher, others study the results of her teaching.) The children are tied up in restraints during the class, because if they smell human pheromones they go berserk and have to eat it. Miss J seems to disbelieve this, and touches the zombiesĀ as if they are normal children, despite the soldiers’ shocked horror and warning for her not to. Several times later in the book, she tells soldiers “don’t shoot them they’re children!” even as the ‘children’ are attacking and eating other characters in the group. She herself is never injured by any of the ‘children’ though, which would have been very satisfying to me.
  2. Attacks a scientist for trying to do experiments on child zombies: In a military base, the sole purpose of which is to research zombies for a cure, Miss J–whoseĀ entire purpose for being on this base is to help gather data about the zombie children, for the purpose of researching a cure–finds out that her favorite zombie child is about to be dissected. So she breaks into the lab and physically attacks the scientist in order to stop it, not giving any thought that this is necessary for learning of a cure, not giving any thought that she is on a military base, attacking another person, and will surely be locked up, and the experiment will continue anyway while she is locked in a cell. But once again, she experiences no consequences for her actions, because at just the right time the base is overrun by zombies and everyone has to flee.
  3. Shoots a flare up in the middle of a zombie infested city street, while also being pursued by human enemies:Ā Miss J’s favorite zombie child, which she’s brought along with the group (another crazy decision she forced on the group with no consequences, but that is kind of the whole story so I’ll let that one slide) has gone off into the night to search for food to eat, so that she wont have such a hard time resisting the urge to eat the other people in the group. Miss J gets worried that the zombie child isĀ lost, and even though they are surrounded by other zombies that are attracted to sounds and lights, and also are being pursued by another group of humans who want to kill them, decides that it is worth it to risk the lives of the entire group and shoot up a flare so that her favorite zombie child can find her way back. This time, the soldier in the group pulls his gun and actually thinks about shooting Miss JĀ to stop her–this is how emphatically it is explained to her that this is a bad idea. She shoots the flare anyway, while basically daring the soldier to kill her. No one finds them due to the flare. There is no consequences for this action.

All of the above is to explain that, as I read the story, and these instances piled up (there were many more, smaller ones that I won’t take the time to mention) I more and more found myself wanting bad things to happen to Miss J–one of the main characters of the story, who I presume I should have been rooting for.

Instead, the only time I found myself cheering was when doctor Caldwell, the ‘evil’scientist who cuts up zombie children, and who the other characters treat like shit for the entire book, finally lost it and took off in the tank-like vehicle they’d been traveling in, leaving the others behind to die. This was very satisfying to me because it was finally a consequence for Miss J’s actions. She was a real horrible person to Caldwell, and finally something happened because of it. Even though I got the impression I was supposed to dislike Caldwell, she was my favorite character in the story.

In the end, though, Miss J is the only one left alive. This was no surprise to me, as by this point I had got the picture that she was the writer’s pet and would never come to any real harm.

I’m doing a lot of complaining because this was actually a fun, exciting, interesting, and well written book. And when you are enjoying something so much, the things you dislike stand out even more. It’s an exciting zombie apocalypse story, where the science of the zombies is explained in a way I’d never heard before. Even though the scientist explaining it has to be a villain for some reason I can never understand.

Creative, thrilling and fun, give it a try!