Bard Bloom (bard_bloom) wrote,
Bard Bloom

Occasional Review: Forbidden the Stars

Forbidden the Stars by Valmore Daniels is a large tofu-flavored lump of Space Does Not Work That Way. I think there's a plot there and some characters, but they're pretty forgettable and/or nonsensical compared to the scientific mistakes and malaproprisms. (In fact, the author spends 3/4 of the book setting up a particular pirate king as the major villain, and then entirely forgets about him.) The author feels the need to remind us of the main character's main life event constantly — the life event from chapter 1 — and that's actually almost appropriate, because it's insipid enough so that we might have forgotten it. Oh, and there's also some connection with ancient Mayan legends, and modern Mayan people who somehow carry them on, except that there isn't.

But the most memorable stuff is the nonsense science and malaproprisms. We're talking nonsense highschool-level science here.

Like, the McGuffin of the stuff that enables near-lightspeed travel (occasionally and confusingly described as "lightspeed travel" or "faster-than-light travel" — Daniels evidently couldn't remember which it was) is a new and previously-undiscovered element, but one that exists in mass quantities in the asteriod belt. And, when the lightspeed-or-so travel is first observed, all the scientists instantly assume that some new element is responsible for it. There is mention of "hundreds of undiscovered new elements with attributes that could improve the quality of life for everyone on Earth." Elements do not work like that.

"Casement" — normally defined as "a window or part of a window set on a hinge so that it opens like a door." — is used as a synonym for "case". Constantly. On every other page, people are staring into their computer casements, or thumping on engine casements, or that sort of thing.

When the pirate ship is trying to ram the explorers' spaceship, the explorers can't alter their course because, at that velocity, course changes would rip their ship apart. Motion does not work like that.

"The phenomenon is not uncommon to people who have been struck by lightning. They, themselves, have become living ions." Lightning does not work like that.

"…the most important byte of intelligence that could ever have been forwarded to him…" There are only 256 possible bytes. That's approximately like saying, "The most important letter of the alphabet that was ever sent to him". A single byte does not have much information in it.

Alec is not a "fortuitous youth", though he is a "fortunate youth".

I don't even get the title. Nobody was forbidden any stars.

Anyways, this was terrible. I only finished it so I could write the review. Rating: one undiscovered new element out of five, or hundreds even.

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