Wednesday, January 7, 2015

It's the End of the World As We Know It by Saci Lloyd

Title: It's the End of the World As We Know It
Author: Saci Lloyd
Publisher: Hachette
Rating: WARTY!

DISCLOSURE: Unlike the majority of reviews in this blog, I've neither bought this book nor borrowed it from the library. This is a "galley" copy ebook, supplied by Net Galley. I'm not receiving (nor will I expect to receive or accept) remuneration for this review. The chance to read a new book is often enough reward aplenty!

In this book, there are so many deliberate misspellings that it's hard to tell what's intentional and what's not, but for the record, it's 'au naturel', not 'au natural'.

In this novel, chapter one starts on page five. It had a prologue. I skipped it. The Adobe Digital Editions version what a bit weird - it didn't recognize page numbers as you can see from the images on my blog. Type in page "27" and it tells you there's no page 27! I can assure you there was, as indeed there was a page 35!

The main male character is Mikey Malone, whose only interest is in getting into a girl's pants - and I don't mean he wanted to wear them. His inevitable female counterpart is Kix Kaloux who is inevitably hostile, so we all know exactly Where this relationship is headed.

Due to unspecified activity at CERN - the site of the Large Hadron Collider which is largely in France (with bits of it in Switzerland), and the place where, on July 4th, 2012, came the discovery of what appears to be the long sought-after Higgs boson, a rip is opened in space-time connecting Mikey's world (our world) with Kix's world - where things are so cool they're actually nauseating, but which is a dystopian world, nonetheless.

If had been just that, it might have been bearable, but Kix's world is weirdness squared - and sometimes cubed - and for me it wasn't a good thing. One of the main characters was the miniature bot named Bitzer, who became really annoying really fast. I have no idea what the author was intent upon creating, but it felt vaguely racist to me.

Pretty much the sole defining trait of Bitzer was that his speech had all the 'S's replaced with 'Z's. The result of this, from an auditory PoV was pointless because it sounded exactly the same, so I don't get why this was done other than as a rather pretentious attempt to make the text seem cooler, I guess.

A standard Bitzer sentence would be something like , "Thatz what we'z trying to work out. Quit it with the dramatix." It didn't work for me. Neither did the bizarre naming of the cube characters: Σëë and DØØ, who were given a variety of dyslexia for no apparent reason. Maybe this will appeal to younger kids?

Another annoyance was the authors insistence upon spelling out sounds to an irritating degree. At one point (p65) the word 'ping' was repeated 51 times. I really, really appreciated that. In fact, I dub it 'Area 51' in its own honor. My life could not have been as complete as it is today without this unique contribution to literature. In the end, that's what this novel became - a meaningless string of annoyances matched for sound and color, and it wasn't even that which turned me off. It was the sinking feeling in my stomach that this could have been so much more.

Please note that the role of the tracker-jacker in this novel is taken by the 'calabrones', little electronic hornets. Everyone throws up their arms at these evil little bugs, claiming helplessness and fleeing to hide amongst the tigallos (tiger buffalo hybrids - and yes, inexplicably two 'L's), when all it would take was a little EMP and the hornets would have been completely disabled. In the end a new too-cute-for-words character shows up ex machina and brings them down with honey, claiming he doesn't work in a bio-lab lab and learn nothing. Evidently, in his case he does, since these weren't biological organisms, but it made as much sense as the rest of this novel.

Mikey is so dumb that despite seeing how utterly different this parallel world is to his own, he's nevertheless convinced that somewhere in this world he has an inevitable counterpart Mikey who is inevitably getting into some girl's pants - and I don't mean he's wearing them. Mikey is completely obnoxious in all dimensions.

One third of the way through this novel, Kix observes, "We're in a hole, BitZ." and I couldn't agree more. That's where I climbed out of this hole and ditched this novel. Life is too short to waste on stories which don't completely thrill you. I moved on to a different universe.

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