Wednesday, May 09, 2007


The Bathys by Jonathan Ward is typical sci-fi fare with the human race battling an alien race they seemingly have nothing in common with and neither race realizes their actual commonalities...."Enemy Mine," anyone?

The year is 2493, and the human Confederation is at war. The Bathys, an utterly alien species with whom no communication is possible, have risen from their watery homes and attacked the scattered worlds of humanity, destroying everything in their path. The fighting is bitter, and the Confederation is losing. Caught up in the conflict are two people who could not be more different. One is a soldier, dedicated to the defence of the Confederation. The other is a civilian, completely opposed to the war. The wildly different paths they take bring them together as both enemies and unlikely allies. As battle rages all around them, they struggle to uncover the shocking truth behind the war with the Bathys and, perhaps, to do something to stop it.

When a novel receives only two stars from me, this means I probably encountered so many problems that the decent storyline was unable to keep me reading to the end.

To Mr. Ward's credit, he is a very descriptive writer and as far as the story itself is concerned, there is a great deal of action and he throws the reader into the mix very quickly. But this is where compliments end because The Bathys has a number of problems working against it including:
  • Editing problems: Paragraph indents are almost non-existent and there are continual grammar problems throughout the novel.
  • Perspective jumps: Chapter 1 begins in first person -- Chapter 2 goes to omniscient -- Chapter 3 is back to first person -- and Chapter 4 jumps back to omniscient p.o.v. This gets very frustrating after awhile and the story simply wasn't engaging enough to keep me going any further.
  • The cover is black and white and lacks interest and any tangible connection to the story. My first impression, unfortunately, was Asteroid or something unmentionable.

The Bathys may not be unique in story, but the main problem was execution. There are many unoriginal takes on sci-fi that still manage to be entertaining, but these numerous problems make the effort to continue reading seem wasted.

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