Sunday, October 6, 2013

Review: Originated Under Twin Suns, by Michael Pickard

I'm notoriously nitpicky about my sci-fi.  I've been a fan of all versions of Star Trek since before I knew how to properly pronounce Rene Aberjoinois.  I like Star Wars, but I don't feel the need to wear my light saber to work.  Other than that, I really am more into Tolkein and Butcher than Bradbury or Asimov.

When I received Michael Pickard's novel, billed as "space satire," my ears perked up a bit.  The first chapter made me chuckle, so I threw caution to the wind and decided to dive in.  

The Good

Mr. Pickard's experience as a previously published author made this book's quality a definite cut above most self-published books.  
  • The text had good flow and a defined voice.  
  • Language use by the Frobs were consistent and had voice.
  • It was filled with clever puns that made me chuckle.
  • There were parts that reminded me of Monty Python, which always brightens my day, even if it doesn't involve fish slapping, silly walks, or shrubberies.
  • It was easy to visualize the action.  
  • The plot was multi-layered and complex enough to be interesting, but not so complicated and spread out that it felt like reading Game of Thrones.

The Bad

  • The middle sagged, lacking enough action to compel the reader to need to turn the page.
  • Occasionally he spent too much time inside the characters' heads.
  • I see what he was going for when he wrote the ending, but I found it a bit unsatisfying.
  • The title doesn't flow as well as I'd like.

The Ugly

  • The cover art.  Eeeep.

The quality is a far cut above most self-published works.  As space satire goes, the closest analog I could think of was Space Balls, but the humor reminded me more of British understatement than Brooksian absurdity.  Overall, it was worth the read.