Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Book Review: The Next Planet Over

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The Next Planet Over by Dennis Burns is a futuristic novella that taps into some of the fears, actions, and reactions surrounding the rebirth then eventual decay of human existence on this rock, rendering it uninhabitable. These people must move on. Bottom line: the story needed to be extended. The fine characters needed more depth, especially given their situation. While I do get the punch line at the end (which would be a big spoiler if mentioned here), there were several points that weren't wrapped up satisfactorily for me, especially the climax. Others might be okay with it--the end justifying the means by which we got there.

The story telling is fine and the writing adequate (like most self-pubbed stories, there are some grammatical issues, but nothing horrible). Some geo-political touches and environmental points made in the story are surface thin. Is the author trying to be sincere, ironic, or sarcastic with them? I could not put a pulse on the intent. It causes the story to lose some traction as a tense science fiction drama occasionally.

Still, it's a nice rainy afternoon or bedtime read with a lot of nifty futuristic gadgets and gizmos that the point-of-view character explains, sometimes a bit more than necessary, slowing the story a bit. The world-building is solid, and I never felt like I was being beaten up by the prose. For me, this is a three. Except for the ending "shocker," it's an average read with a few surprises and twists as you would expect, but only minimal characterization. But, this is a story for sci-fi buffs. For them, I can bump it up to a tepid "4".

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