When I was reading Origins (Spinward Fringe) it reminded me that sometimes you find yourself reading a book that you dislike, then hate, then kinda like, then like a lot.
This was my experience with this book.
It’s a story about a guy who has a dead-end job at a space station. He likes playing video games, er, combat simulations, and he’s hacked into the defense system’s combat simulation programs and, with his friends, are beating all the professionals at space combat simulations. He gets caught, and things get interesting from there on.
First, this was LaLonde’s first effort, and I believe it was written as a serial, in other words, in little pieces published on the web. So it doesn’t read, and shouldn’t be judged, like other books. For instance, I’m not really sure LaLonde had any idea whatsoever where he was going with his characters or his plot.
To a guy used to reading “pro” fiction, this got really annoying! At the beginning, there were parts where one of the characters gave long speeches. There was a lot of dialog. “Get on with it!” I wanted to yell at the author, and I suppose his fans did exactly that, because a little later we’re deep into the action. Then there was too much action, then back to too much dialog.
You get the picture.
I hated that. I mean really. Got under my skin. But before you think I am not recommending the book, let me tell you why I like it.
First, it was free. As in zilcho. Bupkis. $0.00 Just clicked on the little button on Amazon and there it was on my Kindle. Can’t beat that.
Second, it had a lot of great reviews. People really loved the guy. I figured it was worth a shot.
But what happened about 3/4ths of the way through the novel was that I started identifying with the author. Instead of a book series, to me this became something more like an extended series of fictional blogs — I got to watch his style improve, his characters deepen, and the plot thicken. By the end, hey, the guy was almost a pretty good author. I’ve always enjoyed good space opera from time-to-time, but watching not only the storyline grow but the author get better too? That was pretty cool.
So I ordered the next five books, which are $2.99 each. Something tells me Amazon is nobody’s fool!
If you like space opera, want a fun little diversion with space combat, adventure, a little bit of all the sci-fi you’ve seen in your life, and making friends with a new author? Origins (Spinward Side) is a pretty good place to start.