Tag Archives: not recommended

Book review: Temporary Duty By Ric Locke

Temporary Duty starts off great, Earth has been visited by aliens who have invited mankind up for a drink as it were. Two enlisted men from the US Navy happen to be of the lucky kind and get the job of preparing the ships quarters so that the feathers of the officers and NCO’s who will be joining the Gallt (name of primary alien race encountered) remain unruffled. From here the story, the backdrop and the plot develops. I say plot, this is a space opera there is no “go there, do that plot” but rather the point of the story is the story. And it continues to develop, some might note when reading it that it seems to cover alot of day to day minutia of the characters lives. This is as I mentioned a space opera, but of course there is some action in the story. This is not what drives the story but it adds to the backdrop of the story.


The story evolves as the ship departs on its trade journey through space with the human delegation on board (US Navy SPADET 1, is the name for it) and the interaction between humans themselves and human and aliens. The story is mainly told from the perspective of the two enlisted men, and how they somehow seem to end up getting along with aliens more than the officers and NCO’s at times. This is one of the things that makes the bones of this story, there are many other elements, but this is I think something most people who have served will snicker and smile at. And those who haven’t will still get it, but possibly not to the same “ooooh my gooood that is soooo true!” extent.

Where this book runs into trouble is the end, there will be no spoilers here so fear not. Read on..


The story builds up, and a thread if not a small plot appears that suggests that an end might be coming soon, and it does with screetching sounds of metal against metal and then implodes with such force that it drags all characters into a vacuum, and you sit there in disbelief. Not because it is not the ending you wanted nor because the hero didn’t get the girl (not actually spoilers as I use these phrases without referring to the story) But because of the sudden abrupt turn of the story, the sudden change that lacks credibility, unexplained out of nowhere I am tempted to use the phrase deus-ex machina…. and it would be fitting. When characters suddenly and without explanation turn it to stereotypical nit-wits of such caliber as this *gah* speechless.


HOWEVER, in conclusion. The story upon till the ending is great and makes somewhat up for the horrible ending, you will have laughs and some snickering throughout this story, and possibly a great one at the end when faced with the story’s implosion, of the “I really can’t believe I have just read something so bad.” To put it in perspective, the last few chapters is basically as bad as the entire “Battlefield Earth” movie (without any other comparison or similarities other than the quality of BAD they represent)


I would not recommend this book to people who are just getting in to sci-fi/space opera, as it might scare them off. Those who have been around the block a few times I would recommend it to, with the caveat that they should expect it to implode towards the end.


Book review: Hull Zero Three by Greg Bear

Hull Zero Three by Greg BearThis book is interesting and challenging, interesting in the same way that you might think chugging a bottle of tequila in one go to be interesting. Better leave it to someone else. And the challenging part is to actually muster the will to keep turning over to another page.

In this case the reviewer (me) has chugged this particular bottle of tequila*, but rather than an intoxicating effect and a massive hangover (and possibly a trip to A&E.)
I am left with the feeling of having spent a weekend watching paint dry.

Now I must confess; this is one of the very few books that I have given up on. I have not read it through. Despite encouragements from friends who have also read it and said that it picks up towards the end I still can not bring my self to open up this particular book again. So this review is based solely on the first half of the book. If I however should at some point read the rest and discover that I was wrong about my educated assumptions I will of course post a mea culpa.

The story has potential, and for the first few pages I was interested in what kind of story this was going to be, the problem is that after reading 1/3 of the book I still had now clear idea of what, why or how or even if I should care.

Now I can understand that some stories have a slow build up, that there are methods that authors use to instill uncertainty  in the reader as to what is happening and who we actually are reading about.

But after reading about half the book the thing that I remember most from the book. (after only 24 hours of reading in it last) Is that for the better part of the beginning the main character, who we only get to know as “Teacher” has very few interactions and seems to focus more on his internal monologues regarding his vocabulary and how it is expanding. And/or that he remembers a word, but not quite what it means. And when that is the only part of the story you’re left with after reading well it should give you some idea of how boring I found this book to be.

And the rest of the characters introduced have as much dimension to them as an IKEA flat pack bookshelf, before assembly. There is really nothing more to say about them… I am at a loss to describe them as anything other than lifeless, uninteresting and dull.

Now as I said earlier in this review, there are reasons to build a story slowly but then you need something to keep me turning the pages other than pure stubbornness… this book does not have that. It felt like a chore to read and frankly the only reason I stuck it out as far as I did was that I wanted to be able to write an accurate review. But even that was not enough in the end. Thus I end this review and recommend that you read something other than this book.

If anyone has read this book and disagrees with me please leave a comment detailing why you think I am wrong…


* – well half of it anyway, since I did not finish the book… but still it is not recommended; both the book and the tequila.