Willful Child: the Search for Spark
November 28th, 2018 by diane92345

If you think the show The Orville doesn’t take its homage far enough, you will enjoy Willful Child: The Search for Spark.

Captain Haddrick of the starship Willful Child is a conceited and not too smart wannabe ladies’ man. His crew consists of various stereotypes. He also has an incredibly sarcastic incorporeal AI named Tammy constantly haranguing him. His only outlet is frivolously killing entire alien races. When one, from an alien bar on a suspiciously familiar desert planet, decides to get revenge using free porn and cute cat videos, Captain Haddrick and, mostly, the female dog lovers of his crew have to fight back.

Willful Child: The Search for Spark is an over-the-top spoof of the extremely positive Star Trek and somewhat grim Star Wars worldviews. The mash-up works. Somewhere between all the jokes, homages to individual scenes, and pure human stupidity is an interesting plot. While this can be read as a standalone, I think it would be less confusing at the beginning if I had read either of the two previous books. 3 stars for those new to the series like me.

Thanks to Tor Books and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: , , ,

Severance
August 19th, 2018 by diane92345

A literary take on a post-apocalyptic novel sure to be nominated for a literary award or two.  Severance is the story of Candace, a Chinese immigrant and millennial, who is trying to just live her dull life when a real apocalypse hits.

At first, Candace is in denial and continues to live in an eerily empty NYC.  Eventually, she leaves in an old NYC taxi and collapses by the side of the road.  A group of other NYC survivors take her on a trip to the Facility, where the nerdy leader, Bob, says he has a crash pad perfectly suited to the apocalypse he knew was coming thanks to gaming and Internet conspiracy sites.

I enjoyed the beautiful evocative prose of this novel the most.  The plot works but some of its satirical aspects seem forced.  I get that Candace’s life is an endless repetition of the same tasks with no knowledge gained from them.  Why does the epidemic have the same symptom?  It is like getting hit over the head with her point. Also, I would have liked characters other than Candace to be more fully fleshed out.  Most seem like stereotypes like Bob the nerd.  It is hard to care if something bad happens to a stereotype.

While I don’t think this will appeal to most Walking Dead or World War Z fans because it is too slow as literary fiction often is, it will be a fine change in setting for literary fiction fans. Since I am more the first choice, I give Severance 3 stars. I wanted more horror or more satire. However, your star rating may vary depending on your genre preference.

Thanks to the publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Humor, Literary Fiction, Science Fiction Tagged with: , ,