Top critical review
Hype, Plot, and Nothing Else to It!
on October 24, 2001
To be honest, the writing style of this book is enough to make any seasoned reader wince with frustration. Simply put: it is pitiful.
The characters are so cardboard that they are not even two-dimensional characters; they are one-dimensional. They are clearly acting out of the author's motives, and have no motives of their own. One can literally see the clunky mechanics behind them, it is quite sad. They have sudden bursts of wisdom and understanding that they could not possibly have, and there is so much data-dumping that often one gets the feel of reading an encyclopedia entry. They also see to be speaking with the same voice: that would be the author's voice.
Another thing was the way he handled descriptions. He simply gave off exact details in absolutely no order. One of the most importiant things in description is putting the details in an order (e.g. up to down, left to right, near to far) that is accessible to the reader. Farmer ignored this primary rule, and as a result it came out as unsortable. It is alright to break the rules, but one has to know how to break them. In his inept hands, the writing of the book is garbage, and he only embarrases himself and falls flat upon his face in mud. He was also far to exact to leave any room whatsoever to the imagination of the reader. Do I really care that the guy's nose was exactly three and half centimetres long or that the objects were spaced five and a quartet inches apart? I often had the impression that the characters carried measuring sticks about with them. Another thing was that he switched from the Metric System to the American Measuring System. That is called inconsistency.
There is also rampant sexism. When Burton said that he did not care much for woman's brains, I nearly threw the book across the room, but lucky for the book it did not belong to me. Besides, in a society where there was no pregnancy, the whole male-domination thing would not have happened. For some reason, Farmer seems to think that women were only there for one function and I will leave it at that. Anyone with any sence would be appaled by this [...junk] just as I was. It is due to people like him with attitudes like that, that women had to endure thousands of years of riddicue and suffering. It was simply unacceptable to find views such of his in a book in this modern, civilized age.
The only things that kept me reading to the end was that it was quite short for a novel, and the plot was original enough that I just wanted to see what it developed to in the end. And in the end there was no reward for my time enduring his ill-wrought pose, and I do not feel like investing more time to read another volume.
Trust me, you do not want to repeat my mistake and waste your time on this book too. Had I the option, this would have received negative stars. This was hands-down the single worst book that I have read, and the worst book that could ever be produced, ever.
And one last question: How in the name of goodness did this ever manage to get published? It is so maddening that this can be published, when there are far better authors out there slaving away who do not receive any recognition. Where were the editors? Asleep? Hypnotized? It is sad that such a book ever won any awards- but hey, if this is the cream of the crop, I hate to even imagine how bad the terrible books are.