Oxygen

Rated 2.67/5 based on 5 reviews
Valkerie Jansen is tough, beautiful, and has an uncanny knack for survival. NASA has chosen her to be the fourth crew member on the first manned mission to Mars. Halfway to the Red Planet, an explosion leaves the ship with only enough oxygen for one. Strong evidence suggests that one of the astronauts is the saboteur -- and Valkerie's crewmates think it's her. More

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Words: 151,940
Language: English
ISBN: 9781476490373
About Randy Ingermanson

Randy Ingermanson is the award-winning author of six novels and two non-fiction books. He is known around the world as "the Snowflake Guy" in honor of his wildly popular "Snowflake method" of writing a novel. Randy has a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from UC Berkeley and publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, by far the most widely read e-zine on fiction writing in the world. He is director of software engineering at Vala Sciences, a biotech company in San Diego. Randy hopes someday to achieve Total World Domination, but first he has to escape from a painful life of involuntary servitude to three surly cats.

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Reviews

Review by: Thomas Neufeld on Nov. 02, 2012 :
This is a wonderful novel. The novel itself is awesome and entertaining with great storylines, while there is also a very helpful instructional appendix at the end of the book if you are interested in writing fiction. It's a great purchase.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Carl Weddle on Aug. 27, 2012 :
It is sad, but the most remarkable thing about this book is how utterly unremarkable it is. The authors could have worked in some cool controversy of science, of faith, of conscience, the existence of alien soul, something, but they were so engrossed in their magic story writing algorithm that they forgot to write a plot much less offend anyone. The story careens from contrived situation to contrived situation, following random impulses of undeveloped shallow characters. Pretty much a waste of bandwidth, much less the three bucks.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Joseph Dylan on July 22, 2012 :
I had so very many problems with this book. I had high hopes for it since one of the authors has a very useful "How to Write" website. But reading about wafer-thin characters constantly doing dumb things eventually gets on the nerves so much that one finally checks out from the book's otherwise admirable level of dramatic tension.

Let's start with Valkerie, the main character. From the very opening scene, I knew we were in trouble. Implausibility after implausibility occurs in that first chapter, but at least the character shows some toughness and gumption, matching the stature of that tough woman on the cover of the book. Not so much as we get further into the book, however. Because Valkerie, as it turns out, is a complete and total wimp. In fact, I don't think it would be unfair to call her a "typical, whimpering female character" (or "caricature" if I were to be less kind). Instead of confronting male characters throughout the book who are rude to her, threaten her or otherwise try to control and dominate her, she's pretty much a standard shrinking violet. I found this to be horribly boring, as well as completely implausible (there's that word again!). Would NASA really insert an astronaut late into mission prep for the MOST IMPORTANT MISSION IT'S HAD SINCE THE FIRST MOON LANDING who was such a weak sister? I sincerely doubt it. But most of all, it was simply disappointing, because the bad-ass female character that I thought we were going to have the pleasure of getting to know over 200+ pages suddenly becomes the opposite of the independent, tough woman we were led to expect. It's entirely disconcerting and the true failure of the book, as well as a gigantic missed opportunity.

Do I have enough time and space to convey to you how much I disliked the "Bob" character, the second main character in the book? (and how implausible I found the Bob/Valkerie love story?) Bob, in short, is a complete idiot. Not only that, but he's a BUMBLING idiot. I can think of few things that make less-appetizing reading than having one of the main characters be a socially-retarded, bumbling misfit. Not only is it boring, but it's also just EMBARRASSING. I want to read about heroes, not zeros! Bob also has the honor of giving us an absolute clinic on HOW NOT TO TALK TO WOMEN. One suspects that the authors are equally inept at romancing the female race and that this bled into the character. And the funniest thing is that, despite his utter ineptness and his unmatched ability to make himself into the most unattractive male character in the history of literature, he still GETS THE GIRL IN THE END! WHa?? No woman I know would be attracted to a guy who shows constant displays of paranoid jealous rage throughout the book. This is how women get shot by ex-boyfriends. Those ex-boyfriends are named "Bob". And again we have the incongruity of an obviously unbalanced mind being assigned to NASA's MOST IMPORTANT MISSION EVER! Inconceivable!

The other characters are almost not worth mentioning. Some NASA administrators written skeleton-thin with cliche after cliche, a hot Asian (Diversity! Well, almost, since everybody else is white) astronaut who's a "tough girl" fighter pilot who promptly gets knocked to kingdom come early in the book so that she has absolutely ZERO CHANCE to show off her "tough female" abilities (I'm sensing a theme here of strong women NOT actually being strong!). Then we have Kennedy, a privileged rich kid (had to reach for that character name, didn't they?!) who's a hot-shot pilot and commander of the Mars mission who also, get this, is TOTALLY FREAKIN' NUTS! Yep. A complete mental case is able to COMPLETELY FOOL NASA's army of psychologists and doctors and make it through the "grueling" selection process. Inconceivable! (I'm using this word now instead of "implausible" because it has greater humorous connotations)

(WARNING: Don't read any further if you want to avoid MAJOR SPOILERS!)

And then we have Josh, the square-jawed, handsome and completely cliched All-American boy who's bumped from command of the mission by Kennedy's scheming. He's still part of the mission though, being the main contact on the ground for the crew and Josh REALLY wants this mission to succeed so that future missions, of which he might be a part of, will get funded. So what does Josh, our All-American hero decide to do? Yep, you guessed it: he plants a BOMB(!) on the spacecraft that will disperse a cannister of bacteria on the Martian surface which the astronauts will then find and then announce to the world that they've found life on Mars, assuring funding for future missions. Yep, COMPLETELY plausible! ;) I mean, planting a bomb on a spacecraft... nothing could go wrong, right? Yeah... anyways.

After said bomb is inadvertently set off (geez, never saw that one coming, eh Joshy?!) and disaster ensues, which the crew barely escapes from with their lives, they suddenly become as magnanimous as Jesus himself when they forgive ol' Joshy-poo and keep secret from everyone that JOSH PLANTED A BOMMMMMMMB ON THEIR SPACESHIP THAT NEARLY KILLED THEM ALL. Inconceivable!

Meh. THis book wore me out, with the Guiness world record for "Number of Implausibilities in One Book", the insipid dialogue and the failure of the female characters to give as good as they got. I give the authors credit for instilling the piece with dramatic tension, however. They were very effective at making you want to see what happened next, even if the characters and their actions were completely and utterly grating. But at the end of the book, you feel a bit cheated. Is it a page-turner? Sure. Does it have any lasting effect beyond that of a breath mint? Only if you choked on said breath mint, which I most assuredly did.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Dona General on June 29, 2012 : (no rating)
I liked this book, but I would have loved it when I was 12 years old. The plot and the idea is exciting and fun: It reads like a screenplay; but, for me, the characters were synthetic.

Why?

Using the multiple point of view seemed repetitious: Kaggo and Valkerie could be the same person. There was no 'real' sexual tension and differentiation among the astronauts. In real life there is a strong differential, and just because these 'models' are super scientists, doesn't remove them from how the sexes interact and react to each other. They are human, not robots.

This aspect is probably because of the Christian emphasis in the story. While most of us have at one time or another entertained the concept of God v. science; faith v. proof, we have deeply felt reasons as to why we 'choose' to believe, or not. The reader is never told why or when Valkerie is born again, which is a radical and emotionally charged personal experience. This aspect of the story is the 'root' of the romantic conflict between Kaggo and Valkerie.

The best scenes in the novel are in the action, pacing, mystery and resolutions to the scientific problems. The authors' research showed. I am impressed, but then, I'm not Tom Clancy or a space junky.

In all, Oxygen, is a thoroughly entertaining novel, like a fast paced action movie is entertaining. Save it for a boring afternoon when the surf is too low and slow.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Cheryl Brown on June 20, 2012 : (no rating)
This is a real page-turner! I bought it for the writers' instructional passages in the appendix, but forgot to read those until I'd finished! Realistic characters, beautifully researched story, and fascinating story line. Hard to pin down genre-wise --- so read it if you enjoy a good thriller, whodunit, sci-fi or adventure novel ! You won't be disappointed. I promise.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

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