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Smashwords book reviews by Art

  • Traveler's Notes: A Modest Proposal on March 02, 2017

    I just discovered the Orion's Arm Project so maybe this is supposed to rely on that future history for the plot to make any sense since the story, by itself, does not.. However, while familiarity with Heinlein's or Asmov's future history certainly added to the enjoyment of their stories, the stories themselves were complete and self-contained. While the author is very good at painting word pictures of unusual scenarios, due to the Orion's Arm Project home page, I expected some adherence (or at least lip service), to plausible science. What I got was way too much handwavium and gee-whiz tech marvels - the tech equivalent of the BEM fiction of the 1930s - tolerated only because of the quality of the elicited images. What really kills the story is the ending - or lack thereof. It just stops. The "story" seems like a long introduction that just ends.
  • The Lights of Ceres on March 03, 2017

    This work is so bad that I could not force myself to finish it. I gave up about halfway through. It reads like a teenage fantasy disguised as science fiction. The author has no concept of what it would take to mount such an expedition or the characters of the personnel involved. The story is about a three person exploration expedition to Ceres, a dwarf planet in the asteroid belt - five times further from Earth than Mars. One would expect that such a trip would be well planned, with specific goals and procedures. Yet the first thing we find out is that the decision to set foot on Ceres is still undecided! Months of travel and huge effort to land on a distant asteroid and then not explore it after landing??? Can you imagine landing Neil Armstrong on the moon and then telling him to just turn around and leave? When they finally do, all three leave the ship with no one left on board for emergencies. Likewise one would expect the personnel on such a trip be mature, highly trained and disciplined. Instead we get the equivalent of a bumbling parent and two unruly, giggling teenagers - totally unbelievable as responsible explorers. The captain is portrayed as weak, disrespected, lovesick - mooning over the female crew member. The other male crew member is a loose canon, argumentative, hyper who even gives the captain the finger. No such expedition is going to be launched unless the crew has worked and trained together in harmony This work is touted as science fiction. Fiction it is, science it is not.