Sunday, July 19, 2015

Review:: Marsbound, by Joe Haldeman

Title: Marsbound
Author: Joe Haldeman
Format: Hardcover
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

No, you're not going to see me rip apart this book. This one wasn't entirely awful; I just didn't like it. Trite is a good word for it. Uninspired. Thrown together using a random plot generator as necessary. Okay, maybe I'm in denial. It was pretty bad.

I'm kind of sad about this one. I enjoyed The Accidental Time Machine (although I didn't think it was the best thing since sliced bread... keep in mind, though that I am allergic to wheat) and expected Marsbound to be a similarly fun read, though not much.

Instead, I got a whole bunch of characters I couldn't give a fuck about, and a plot that was so cobbled together I couldn't keep myself interested. It was like every time Joe Haldeman couldn't figure out where the plot was going next, he just rolled some dice and went with it.

Oh, so about those characters. The main character is a 19-year-old young woman who immediately starts fucking a pilot almost twice her age because she's so mature. She's not mature. Just reading from her perspective, all I can think is, "oh, honey, grow the fuck up." (Wow, I'm using fuck a lot in this review. Maybe I disliked this book more than I'm willing to admit.)

We see some weird sex scenes and veiled references to the Kama Sutra, as if that's edgy or something? She's oh-so-innocent, but oh-so-mature and he's not cradle robbing because she wanted it. And it's like, okay, yes, she's of the age of majority. But um, if he's just slightly younger than your father and pretty much starts hitting on you immediately, stop and think about what you're doing.

Maybe a good portion of why it felt so trite was the fact that I got this Valley Girl air off the protagonist. I could just see her rolling her eyes and saying the future equivalent of "gag me with a spoon." Oh, speaking of future equivalents: Haldeman tries to build in some future!slang and the way them crazy kids now say "going crazy" is "going detroit." Wow! That's... something. (Gag me with a fucking spoon already.)

Oh, and right, there are aliens and they keep waxing on about how alien they are, and all I could think was, "um, maybe Haldeman could read some Brin or something and figure out how to write alien aliens that don't just come across as ~mystical wiseman and a horrible caricature of the US impression of native culture." It may be kind of difficult to write good aliens that are, you know, alien, but writing ones that don't lean toward offensive stereotypes? I fucking swear it is not difficult.

Blah blah blah, weird intelligent design arguments. And the plot doesn't really... have a cohesive end. It's just kind of what the fuck. Granted, I was getting so bored I wasn't even trying to keep track of what was going on completely.

Yup. More feelings than I thought.

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