Tuesday, June 8, 2010

E-Book Review: Airlocked by Bret Jordon

Airlocked By Bret Jordan
70 pages E-book
Purple sword publishing

So I am not sure why Monster Librarian was asked to review this novella. It is for E-readers only, and I am not sure how the librarian's whom our site is geared towards could help them. I know more than just librarians read our reviews. I can tell you one thing I am glad I did not judge this book by it's “Cover.” This book looks like a deep space porno, a blond woman closes her eyes in rapture while a scruffy man kisses her neck, in the background a phallic ship cuts through space. I would be embarrassed to hold this book and read it on the bus. It's a shame, because the Author Bret Jordan is a talented artist. I looked at his website, he is a great artist. Yet this is the cover of his “book?”

I had no idea a publisher existed that produces science fiction, horror and fantasy meant to be the harlequin of genre fiction. Airlocked is better than it's cover suggests, the author certainly has talent, but I do not think he is served at all by this format. This book is about 70 pages and it is a titanic style doomed love story set on a doomed ship in space.

The plot centers of three survivors on the empty (at the time) cargo ship Valkyrie. The plot is sent in motion when they are awakened by the malfunction of their cyro-sleep chambers. Apparently it just weighed to much to store a single shred of food on the empty cargo ship just in case. As you can see this a massive plot black hole that sucks the rest of the story into the void. I just couldn't believe that they would not have back up food. That no one would considered the possibility that maybe, just maybe a sleep chamber might possibly malfunction. A Cargo with no room for a single box of clif bars? There is no ship in range so with three protein bars and six months of journey, they are going to die on board. I could have lived with this plot if the food had been there but a meteor hit the hull and the food was lost or something. Nope the morons just didn't pack emergency food.

Ok so lets move on. Two of them fall in love while the third speaks to god and goes all Jack Torrance on them. This is where Jordan flexes his muscles. It's impossible to discuss this novella without spoilers, they are going to die. I thought when I was reading it that maybe they would find away to survive, and the characters could enjoy the romance that flourished when they were starving to death in deep space. It gets more and more hopeless all the time. Being a bleak fiction fan I enjoyed that Jordan didn't have a ship show up to save them by miracle.

Tyler, the character that thinks in his starvation that he is speaking to god is an interesting dude. Jordon does his best work in creating this storyline. The love story is syrupy sweet at times, and the insanity of Tyler should have been the story if you ask me. The most effective part of the book comes in the reveal that starts off the third act. Jordan shows he can tell a story because even though I knew it was coming I thought the reveal was powerfully told.

That being said I can't suggest this book, it is in need of serious editor. Someone who can work with dialogue(where characters explain things the reader should be smart enough to already know), inconsistencies (most of the time the ship has no gravity but it does when characters need to run, or fist fight) and worst of all that implausible plot hole. The best element and most effective part of Jordan's novella was the pacing and structure. The third act gets pretty horrific. As a romance novel I couldn't see lonely ignored housewives wanting curl with a book about slowly starving to death.

You may think I'm being hard on this author, but you see he is close enough to doing really good work he doesn't need me lying in a review. Stronger editor and this would have been solid Science Fiction horror, instead it's not. It's laughable at times and should remind authors the power of a hard working editor.


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Brandi said...

"I just couldn't believe that they would not have back up food"

Would you believe that a massive oil company would drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico without drilling relief wells? Nobody is perfect.

David Agranoff said...

Not convinced Brandi.