Sunday, October 7, 2012

Review: The Black Seas Of Infinity

The Black Seas Of Infinity
The Black Seas Of Infinity by Dan Henk

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Pulp Science Fiction
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Those who enjoy the journey, first-person narrative, lush prose.

Disclosure: I picked up a copy of this book when it was free on Amazon in January. Recently the author contacted me to offer me a copy in exchange for an honest review. Since I already had it, I said I would be happy to provide a review and move it up in my reading queue.

Synopsis: “Visions of pulp era heroes fill his thoughts. Taking advanced physics, he dreams big, but harsh reality bites as he grows up, and he resigns himself to building surveillance drones for the military. After a brief probative period, he’s unexpectedly moved into the clandestine world of investigating crashed alien craft. Fascinated beyond anything he thought possible, it’s a dream come true but his lack of social skills get him fired. However, he’s seen too much – and a year later returns to pull off a bloody heist… Fleeing into the woods with the military in hot pursuit, he makes a mad scramble up the coast. It’s only then he discovers the world has grown strange. Businesses are closed. Highways deserted. The US has become fractured… Trigger happy locals and violent militias are only the beginning. Death, madness, and the unwelcome return of creatures from beyond this world await…” 

Think X-Files crossed with the fabulous Alastair Reynolds, and you’ll begin to get a picture of where Dan’s stunning original SF writing will lead you… Artwork and internal illustrations by Dan Henk.

My Thoughts: Trying to analyze this book is almost as difficult as trying to write a blurb or synopsis. It is... very odd, but beautifully written and lush. Folks who aren’t a fan of first-person point of view might have some trouble, as we spend the entire time in the narrator’s head, and he’s not the most personable of people – sort of self-centered and inner-oriented. There are no names ever mentioned, and physical descriptions are few and far between – most of the people with whom he interacts are faceless minions, grunts, below his notice.

People who are easily bored will probably have difficulty with this book, as it is all about the journey – the minutia, the actual events few and far between. He never learns much in the way of details over what has happened in the USA, no neither does the reader. Personally, I’m impressed that the author was able to maintain such a strict presence in the narrator’s head and not give in to the temptation to reveal more.

Technically, this book is fairly well edited. There were a few questionable word choices, places where it felt like he was trying to be a bit too clever with his thesaurus, and the form of “lay” was regularly incorrectly used (usually “lie” where “lay” or “laid” would have been more appropriate), but those were the only major problems. In any given book a few minor editing errors are going to creep through, but this was on a par with the quality of work I would expect from myself.

People who enjoy the journey, who like lush prose, who are interested in the alien astronaut theories of civilization, all should enjoy this book.

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