on May 20, 2016 :
Foothold by FTG Thornton
This relatively short book was a fast read. The story is solid if a little rushed and not entirely original. Borrowing aspects from “Stargate” and other familiar science fiction series it felt like a Sci-Fi miniseries. (Which I think I woulod enjoy seeing.) A relatively unique handling of religion could use some significant fleshing out though and had me asking for more. What was covered in 330 pages might better have been handled in 500 - 600. It was a fun afternoon read.
It took about three chapters to really begin to understand the characters and settings. It was a few minutes before I actually understood the protagonist to be male. (thus a sudden shift in voice in my head as I read.) I had a similar issue with the University president. DR. is gender neutral so some physical description would have been helpful.
Childhood friends (all geniuses) end up in college together doing science. But their real “sciency” stuff is done on the sly. Their nemesis (lifelong it would seem) is also there to confound their efforts. Character development and relationships are a little slow to develop. Some names are so similar it begins to be difficult to sort out who is who in print without relying on context. (In film this is not much of an issue but in print it can make the heavy dialogue difficult to follow.)
Time and setting too were slow to develop. It is set in 2030s New England with little significant discussion of how technology had advanced. There are references to there being no cell phones in the ‘90s? Vague references to “communicators” in the ear and a “transport” in the garage. A few pages dedicated to world-building would have been helpful.
A fun afternoon read. If you have a flight coming up or want a light beach read, this would be fine. With summer reading season upon us, it’s worth a day. Just don’t pick this up expecting HG Wells. I do think it would be a decent miniseries and would likely translate better on screen than print in its present form. Adaptation to a screenplay might be the best thing for it. … I’d watch.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)
on Nov. 20, 2015 :
It took me a while to get into this book. It starts slowly, and is at times quite confusing. In fact, I was quite a few chapters in before I realised the story was set in the future, and although I do remember it saying, I couldn't tell you what year it was set in.
I'm still not entirely sure what caused the main event of the book. Let's just say that something happened, some kind of experiment went wrong, I think, and now the world is about to get sucked into a black hole. The protagonist and his friends find a way out, though. I'm not entirely sure how that came about either, but never mind, because I will admit that it started getting interesting from that point.
I was a bit frustrated, though, because the version of the e-book that I was reading suffered some formatting issues. First, there was no linked table of contents, which I think is pretty much essential in an e-book, because it's not easy to quickly page forward and see how long you have to go in the current chapter, like you can with a print book. Then, every once in a while (about once per chapter or so), a screen would end in mid sentence, and the next screen would be starting a new paragraph. I don't know why this is, but I doubt it's my e-reader, because I haven't seen this problem before. Thankfully, I was able to deduce from the context (most of the time) what I must've missed.
The ending was okay. There was some deux ex machina, but it wasn't as clichéd as I was expecting. The book in general could have done with some proof-reading and basic editing, though. Incorrectly used words, typos, and punctuation issues are fairly commonplace.
Not a bad story, all-in-all. I just wish it were packaged better.
(reviewed 6 months after purchase)