Customer Reviews for

The Derelict

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2002

    Just Say No

    As a college librarian, I've been exposed to lots of book, Both professionally, and as an avid reader starting since I can remember. I have literally read thousands of books, and have been reading science fiction since I was a teenager. It is my favorite genre of books. I've read the usual authors, such as Heinlein, Asimov, Poul Andersen, Andre Norton, Larry Niven. Right now I'm reading a lot of military science fiction, and in my own 300+ book collection include authors such as David Weber, David Drake, John Ringo, John Steakley, Sharon Lee, C.J. Cherryh, and others. Simply put, I love reading science fiction. I tell you this because it should give some credence to my statement that Derelict is one of the worst written books I've ever read of any genre. Or I should say started to read. It is 714 pages long and I couldn't get past page 41. I really tried to give the book the benefit of the doubt, but the pain of reading it soon overwhelmed any optimism I had that it would improve. While I admire the author's ambition and effort to write a book of this length, I sincerely wish he had taken some writing classes, or at least had someone edit the book. The book is published by Writer's Showcase, an imprint of, Inc. What this publisher allows authors to do is to pay to have their books published. The website for the publisher states that Writer's Showcase is for "authors who could benefit from additional editorial and marketing direction." I think Williams, the author, should ask Writer's Showcase for his money back. The only editing direction this book took was backwards. Where to start? One problem was that I kept stopping to mentally correct problems in basic grammar and punctuation, and wonder why an author would include exclamation marks (!) at the end of almost every other sentence and even use them in place of question marks. These may seem insignificant matters, but grammar and punctuation can greatly assist or hinder the flow of a book. So it should come as no surprise that the sentences themselves that comprise the book have no flow, no cohesion, and seemingly no purpose other than to use up as many words as possible. Try reading a few pages of sentences such as: "like the steel jaws of a soporific leviathan the access doors parted, breaking in half the great chrysanthemum painted center as the two doors vanished into the overhead and deck, unveiling ahead the rapier like probe which pointed directly towards the Promenade Room like a glaring broadsword." And no, reading it in context does not help a bit. Here's another one: "Human bodies caught by the section's gravitional pull twirled slowly about its imaginary axis, all frozen hard into grotesque poses like hearty contortionists condemned forever to remain the still objects of their bizarre craft." And lastly, "Unannounced, Heather Gagnon quietly entered Goss's office and eased her dark-suited endowments into a cushiony swivel high-back and friviously gave it a twist....Quickly Gagnon placed her compact away and just a quickly produced a Virginia Slims Menthol and placed it into her thin, frosted lips. Taking a quick puff she pushed her brunette fullness away and primly adjusted the high collar of her imported smock." Now imagine paragraph after paragraph, chapter after chapter of this, for 714 pages. I can't really tell you about the plot of the book because I didn't finish it. If I was a paid reviewer, I would have made a more heroic effort to read the book. I just couldn't. Instead, I went to a bookstore and purchased one of Terry Pratchett's Discworld books, and read it to restore my faith in good writing. By the way, if you think I am being too hard on the book, then spend the $30 to buy it and make up your own mind. And you can enjoy how "in the spot of lighting a small hatch sprung and beings started dislodging enmasse from the hellacious innards of that old, rotting hulk. The 24 men immediately tore in horror from the onrus

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