Thursday, July 24, 2014

Touched by an Alien

Touched by an Alien, by Gini Koch.

A man suffers for his mistakes. This is a universal constant that I do not dispute, nor do I really even dislike. That said, attempting to be just and fair shouldn't be a mistake guys! This book was recommended to me by a Barnes and Noble employee, who I found out later, recommended it to me because she remembered seeing me attempt to read Twilight (some of the girls I was working with at the time excitedly recommended it, this was before the movies so I didn't know... Oh God I didn't know.). I say attempt to read because I only got 10 chapters into the book and decided to try something else, anything else to pass the time.

TbA is a sci-fi romance that gets by on massive amounts of pandering to it's reader. We're talking oil tanker amounts here. In this case the main character, one Katherine Katt is a witness to an alien attack and through aggressive action manages to foil it. By killing the poor bastard being controlled by an alien parasite with her pen. She is then scooped up by a flying squad of pretty young men in pretty sharp suits and whisked away to fantasy world. There are two sets of aliens here, one a band of parasites who feed on negative emotions and latch onto people experience them. They tend change the body of their host into some sort of raving monster (expect for a single class of super parasite of course) and go on rampages. They can hook up to any mammal, survive the void of space and atmospheric reentry. They can however be killed with enough firepower or when they first inhabit a host (then you can kill them with a pen, or a butter knife I suppose if you have no writing tools handy).

Opposing them are a bunch of superhuman aliens from Alpha Centauri who all look like supermodels, are super fast (like flash fast) and have two hearts (because of course they couldn't go fast without two hearts, don't you know anything about SCIENCE!!!). Of course two of them fall for Katherine, who must now face the agony of choosing between two really good looking men with superpowers who think she is the most awesome thing since buttered toast was invented.

To be fair, Gini is an equal opportunity panderer! The girl aliens are all super hot, super smart (we're talking NASA brains here guys), super nice and really want to meet nice human boys who are into science stuff. Yep, that's right, happy cheerleaders who want to bone nerds and then talk about your science project. They might even want to play in your Dungeons and Dragons game. So... Something for everyone I guess?

Oh there's also this side issue of saving all life on Earth from extinction. Don't worry though Katherine has all the brains we need! Her job in this story is to figure out everything! I mean everything! There is no important problem that she doesn't solve usually within an hour of hearing about it. All while telling us how dull, dumb and average looking she is. This isn't aggravating at all. Additionally some of her solutions make me want to rip out other people's hair. For example, one parasite looks like a slug, so we kill it with salt! EXPECT YOU TOLD ME THE PARASITE HOSTS WERE MAMMALS! MAMMALS DO NOT DIE FROM SALT LIKE SLUGS! Oh this parasite looks like a snake, we'll hypnotize it with rock music! Expect snakes aren't actually hypnotized by music guys, they're following the motion of the music player. Even then, it's not actually a snake because you told me the parasites only inhabit MAMMALS! A SNAKE IS NOT A MAMMAL! Look this is an issue of something we call internal consistency, when you are writing science fiction or fantasy. Internal consistency is setting up the rules of your setting (for example, elves are immortal, hobbits are short, orcs are bad and there are magic rings that make you invisible) and sticking to those rules. Using this you can break from reality. You can have super fast, super hot aliens with magic powers (look it's magic okay? Let's not pretend otherwise) you can have parasites that fly through the void of space are attracted by sadness, hate and anger and turn you into a giant mutant rage machine. But you can't break your own rules. That kills what we call suspension of disbelief, or my willing to put aside what I know to be possible or impossible and go along with your story. For example... Telling me that a parasite inhabits mammals and expect for a short time frame turns them into bullet proof rage monsters that are still mammals, but now much harder to kill and declaring that simply because the rage monster looks like a slug, it can be killed by salt. What the hell?

Sorry. Sorry. But yeah, Katherine and her rather simplistic solutions that magically solve everything is a big problem. But don't worry guys, she's not perfect, she can't cook and drinks to much Coke (how is she in such great shape then? Never mind!) to the point that every character makes jokes about her Coke fetish. That horse is reduced to paste. Now there is smut in this. Smut in and of itself isn't a problem, although it's not what I really want in a book. In this case? The smut is boring. You hear that smut, you're boring. I'm bored. BORED! I ended up skipping ahead. The romance is incredibly unrealistic and frankly rather heavy handed, not to mentioned rushed. I can believe in rushed romances but Gini fails to sell it. The aliens such blatant wish fulfillment I can't even begin to describe it all. That said, the characters are consistent and... Still a better romance then Twilight.

I think the big problem here is a demographic mix up. I'm clearly not the person this was written for. I think I'm the wrong gender, or wrong age or wrong everything. That said honestly? Ladies? Or anyone else interested in this? I think you can do better for sci-fi romance. I pray to God that you can do better for sci-fi romance.

Touched by an Alein gets D+. Avoid this book.

That said, I feel that Gini is owed money by the Coke Cola Corporation. Because after this book? I really wanted a Coke. Clearly she missed her calling as a marketer... Wait, that's Katherine's day job... SON OF A BITCH!

This is not the greatest start to this is it? I need something more... Faith driven maybe. Next up The Pope Who Quit.

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