Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Stars Came Back, by Rolf Nelson

Castalia House, January 2014

Rolf Nelson is a 2015 nominee for the John W. Campbell Best New Writer Award.

It's a movie script that "morphed into a novel." Except no, it didn't. So it has none of the sights, sounds, and actors that make a move or tv show work, and none of the narrative features that make novels work. Here's the script; you the reader do all the work.

Helton Strom has failed at most things he's tried; the script opens with him managing to crash a flight simulator while doing a crash simulation program. Crashes it in the sense of doing serious damage to it. How? Who knows?

So he's stuck with his job as a teacher, except he hasn't signed that contract for the new term yet. Then he gets a message from his sister, on another planet, offering him a possible techie job in her husband's business. Remember, this is the guy that crashed a flight simulator. But that's not going to happen; instead, he tangles with a nightmare version of the TSA, and is stripped of everything, all his assets, and even his citizenship, in the course of a few hours. The next logical step is of course a surplus military starship with a mercenary crew, and Helton doing repairs. Of course this means his troubles are just beginning.

I do not care what happens to these people. Best New Writer? I don't think so.

Not recommended.