Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Space Vulture by Gary K. Wolf and Archbishop John J. Myers

The action-packed stories of the golden age are a wonderful place to go when you seek sheer escapism and lots of fun. They may not have been scientifically correct, and they may have had very little actual literary merit, but there is just something about them that makes them undeniably worth reading. Space Vulture was labelled as exactly that, a trip into a genre of the past, that is fun and exciting. The authors are rather out of the ordinary as well, Gary K. Wolf being the creator of Roger Rabbit, while Archbishop John J. Myers is the archbishop of New Jersey. The author combination was intriguing in itself, and the promise of action and adventure like in days past was even more icing on the cake. If only it had been as good as i had hoped.

Gil Terry is a thief, plain and simple. While he is out harvesting his next stolen find, he is caught by Galactic Marshal Victor Corsaire, known as a hero the universe over. Corsaire proceeds to be a touch dumb with his prisoner, and while they are in town, the entire place is attacked by dreaded interstellar pirate Space Vulture. He knocks out everyone on the planet and gathers them up for the slave trade. However, he decides to let Gil go (under the pretense of him spreading word of the Space Vultures newest conquest). Gil bumps into two kids who were left behind, and together they set off to find the children's parents.

I read about a third of it and finally just had to give up. The book is sadly not that exciting or adventuresome, and it certainly doesn't have the feel of the old stories. The dialogue has plenty of awkward moments that remind one of movies that are on TV and use replacement words for all of the swearing. I have not seen the word "crap" used as often in a fictional piece in quite some time. While gratuitous swearing is not my goal by any means, the awkward contortions that were done to avoid swearing strained parts of the book. However, with few books that have PG levels of swearing, this stilted dialogue may be worth it to you.

More jarring is the insertion in numerous cases of the ideological theories of the authors. This also is not a bad thing in concept, but hearing about the evils of action video games, rock music, and books that reminded me in plot of Indiana Jones is not going to draw me in much. I had thought that the condemnation of rock music was behind us, but apparently I was wrong. At the opposite end, the good children like classical music. Not that is wrong, but the stereotype is rough. The evils of alcohol, pride, and vanity are also asserted. While I don't inherently disagree with everything the authors state, it is the heavy handed assertions of rightness and wrongness that really pull the book away from my interest.

There is also an attempted seduction scene that is almost laughable for how much is skirted around. I don't believe I have ever seen one person try to seduce another without even flirting. Also convenient is that, while the woman in question allows herself to be seduced to save her kids, the villain doesn't do anything as he felt it was too easy. This just felt like a cop out of even implying sex. Again, I'm not calling for a sex scene by any means. I just want human interactions to feel like human interactions.

On top of those few examples, the writing just fell flat for me. It did not draw me in, and the action is almost non-existent. I was very much looking forward to a trip back into the literary timeline, but I was not to be rewarded. If Wolf and Myers try their hand at a science fiction novel again, I wish them the best of luck, but that is one trip I will not be joining them on.

Due to stopping 120 pages in, it is unfair to grade the whole book, but based on the parts I managed to get through:


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