Monday, October 22, 2012

Book (Excerpt) Review: "Genesis" by Ken Shufeldt

I realize that usually, when one reviews a book, one reads more than just a part of it. But I am going to tell you, right off the bat, this book is so terrible that I couldn't stand to read more than a few pages from the Prologue. And this is not some self-published slop thrown up against the wall of Amazon, oh no, dear reader, it was published by Tor Books, one of the major SF publishing houses.

Genesis can be best categorized as a shitty apocalypse book, in the vein of Left Behind. The prologue takes place during the Persian Gulf War, when a group of "rangers", by which the author presumably means these guys, and not those guys, finds an archaeological site guarded by Republican Guards. There's some military babble, and they call in a B-52 for some reason that I don't quite get.

And then it turns out that the leader of the "rangers" is a member of a secret society, and he calls home to tell them that he's found some ancient sarcophagus of some alien dude with a name that contains "Adam". They send some other guy out, and he somehow gets it back to America, where blah blah blah, oh fuck, this stupid infodump isn't fucking over and it's only been like three pages, oh fuck me this is so fucking terrible.

The point of it is, this is a terrible fucking book, and the author has no idea how to dole out information on the characters without dropping it on you like a ton of alien bricks. I'm not entirely sure how this book could be made better, (the simplest way would be to not have written it or published it in the first place) but I know for certain that this isn't how you do it.

Now, when I first heard about this, I assumed it was just another part of the vast sea of terrible self-published dreck that has flooded the eBook stores these days. Imagine my astonishment when I found out that, somehow, this book had gotten through the editing process at Tor Books, a publisher for which I generally have a lot of respect. If, say, Baen had been the publisher, I wouldn't have been as surprised. Baen, despite the gems in its firmament (like the Vorkosigan Saga), has a well-deserved reputation for publishing terrible books, like John Ringo's Ghost or the entirety of Tom Kratman's oeuvre.

So I'm left wondering how in the name of fuzzy pink kittens this book managed to get off the slush pile and onto the printing presses. I can think of two possibilities: either the book somehow became worse in the editing phase or the author had some sort of dirt on an editor at Tor. Otherwise, I would have to accept the possibility that Tor just fucked this up, and that's not a bridge I want to cross.

Having read this excerpt, I want a refund from someone, whether Tor Books or Amazon, despite the fact that I spent no money on it. If they could give me an extra few minutes of my life to cover the time I wasted on this goddamn book, I'm certain I could find something better to do with that time. Maybe I could poke myself with rusty needles from heroin junkies, or swallow bits of glass coated in smallpox, or stick a gun in my mouth and pull the trigger. Any of those activities would be infinitely preferable to reading that excerpt again.

So, in conclusion, this is a terrible book and I weep for the fact that there is a sequel that somehow got released. If you're a masochist, and you feel like seeing some of the worst writing I've ever seen, you can find it on Amazon.

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