Star Trek: Deep Space 9 Season 1 “The Passenger” and “Move Along Home”

All of my rhymes, forever will be Ever forever, stuck with thee

All of my rhymes, forever will be
Ever forever, stuck with thee

I’ve completed my re-watch of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Now it’s time to start Deep Space Nine! I am much less familiar with this show, though I’m pretty sure I’ve seen about 80-90% of the episodes. It’s been so long that I’m sure it will all feel brand new. My wife has never seen the show. She and I will go through, review every episode, and give commentary and a grade from A-F. There are SPOILERS for each episode below. Without further adieu, here’s:

“The Passenger”

Synopsis

Kira and Bashir pick up Kobliad distress signal and go to help There, they discover Ty Kajada, and her prisoner Rao Vantika. Vantika has sabotaged the ship. As Bashir tries to stabilize Vantika, the man grabs his neck threateningly and seemingly dies. Back on DS9, a starfleet officer, Primmin, has been assigned to help establish security for a shipment of rare material. Things start going wrong, and Kajada blames Vantika, despite it seeming clear he is dead. However, Vantika’s belongings show he has been researching brains and how to transfer consciousness. It seems Kajada might be the carrier, but instead it turns out Bashir has been taken over. He takes over the ship with the rare material, threatening to kill the crew. Kira manages to figure out a way to disrupt Vantika’s psychic control over Bashir, and htey trap his conscious self in a small data disc. That disc is given to Kajada, who summarily executes Vantika’s consciousness.

Commentary

Whew. That was a lot to summarize. This is one of those episodes where you will enjoy it best by simply ignoring everything that makes no sense whatsoever and just letting the explanations stand as they are given. Even a cursory examination of how things work in the universe seems to throw discredit on the notion that Vantika could take over Bashir’s brain (different species, mind you) just because he studied human brains (why did he do so? was he expecting to take over humans instead of those of his own species?) and had some goop under his nails. But really, the core of the episode is quite good. It’s one of those Indiana-Jones like episodes of rip-roaring adventure that you expect more from The Original Series or TNG if you let Riker stay in charge for too long.

In other words, this episode was pretty fun. I didn’t guess Bashir as the Vantika-slave until very close to it being revealed, and when I did guess it, it made a lot of sense. They used all kinds of space magic to make the episode work, but when it came to the mystery itself, enough seeds were planted that you could figure it out on your own if you paid attention. That’s what sold me on this one. Yes, it’s full of holes, but yes, it’s also fun.

Grade: B+ “They kept me guessing with the rabbit trails, but there were too many holes to take it as seriously as needed.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “They made good use of the characters and a few epic red herrings. Overall, highly enjoyable.”

“Move Along Home”

Synopsis

Sisko and crew prepare for first contact with the Wadi, a group of people from the Gamma Quandrant. Turns out they just want to play games, though. After trying to stay up all night partying with the Wadi, Sisko and others give up, leaving Quark to entertain. Bad idea, as Quark almost immediately cheats them. He gets caught, and they challenge him to a “fair” game called chula. This game features four units and random challenges with increasing prizes. Quark likes it, but even he loses some gusto for the game when he discovers the player pieces are really Sisko, Bashir, Kira, and Dax facing challenges that are quite dangerous. He manages to lose (!) in the end, but turns out it really was just a game and the “players” are unhurt.

Commentary

Apparently this is one of the more hated episodes of the early seasons of DS9, but I found it pretty enjoyable. That dang kid’s rhyme has been stuck in my head for days, though. In fact, searching that rhyme on Bing yielded the following in the top results: “Allamaraine, in your head, allamaraine, until you’re dead.” Yep.

This is also the first episode of DS9 to feature a game as a central feature, a theme that recurs throughout Star Trek. Games = nefarious in some way. It’s not quite 3D chess in that I actually want to go get it and play it, but it is kind of a cool concept, even if it is completely nonsensical and the rules are never explained at all. Wait, that makes it sound kind of terrible. Also, the whole thing appeared like just decided to make the movie Labyrinth into an episode of DS9. But Labyrinth is a cool movie, so…

The idea of first contact with a species that pretty much doesn’t take anything seriously… except games. I mean, at some point you gotta figure the Federation would realize they have no clue what they’re going to run into and shouldn’t even bother with a playbook. Moreover, the ending was pretty satisfying. Turns out sometimes games are just games! I liked this one, even if Allamaraine will forever haunt the corners of my subconscious.

Grade: B+ “It’s like they decided to make ‘Labyrinth’ into a DS9 Episode. Great ending.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “It was enjoyable, but nothing extraordinary.”

Links

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

Star Trek: DS9- For more episode reviews, follow this site and also click this link to read more (scroll down as needed)! Drop me a comment to let me know what you thought!

SDG.

Star Trek: Deep Space 9 Season 1 “Q-Less” and “Dax”

We're in the wrong series!

We’re in the wrong series!

I’ve completed my re-watch of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Now it’s time to start Deep Space Nine! I am much less familiar with this show, though I’m pretty sure I’ve seen about 80-90% of the episodes. It’s been so long that I’m sure it will all feel brand new. My wife has never seen the show. She and I will go through, review every episode, and give commentary and a grade from A-F. There are SPOILERS for each episode below. Without further adieu, here’s:

“Q-Less”

Synopsis

Vash, the archaeologist friend/lover of Captain Picard, arrives at Deep Space Nine amidst some difficult circumstances. Almost immediately, things on the station start going haywire as power outages to various systems break out. Chief O’Brien thinks he has it figured out when Q shows up on station as well, but Q taunts Sisko and others for thinking it is him. Meanwhile, Vash is trying to sell a bunch of artifacts and partners with Quark to set up an auction. During the auction, the station gets in even more peril, and it turns out it is coming from one of the artifacts Vash has stolen. They beam it off station just before it explodes.

Commentary

I really like the character Vash, and I’m pretty lukewarm about Q. So I expected this to be overall a decent episode when both of them showed up, and it was. But the difficulty is that this was a story that seems to only exist for the sake of having these crossover characters show up. It’s like a big ad: “Hey everybody, you liked TNG? Check out DS9, because we bring TNG people over!” Meanwhile, O’Brien has been developed into a regular (and great) character. That’s how to cross characters from one series to a next. Don’t inundate–develop.

Oh well. The episode is kind of silly all around, and making Q try to have the same dynamics with Sisko as he had with Picard seemed forced. The mystery over what’s happening at the station–once it clearly became not Q–was very predictable. And, again, stop me if you’ve heard this before: Q gets blamed for something but makes other people figure out the real thing that’s happening. Oh yeah, TNG did that too.

Grade: B- “It was a little overdone, but I enjoyed the crossover characters from The Next Generation.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B- “It mostly just felt like they were rehashing The Next Generation storylines in a different setting.”

“Dax”

Synopsis

Police (?) from Klaestron IV come onto Deep Space Nine and capture Jadzia Dax to try to take her back home for trial for murder committed by Curzon Dax. However, Sisko and crew manage to stop them in time to use some political loopholes to force a hearing governed by Bajor over whether Dax will be extradited to Klaestron. At the hearing, the senior officers of Deep Space Nine endeavor to prove that Jadzia Dax is not the same as Curzon Dax and so cannot be responsible for the alleged crimes of the latter. Meanwhile, Odo is dispatched to Klaestron to investigate there. Dax is oddly reticent about defending her(?)self but Odo discovers this is because Curzon Dax had an affair with a woman back on Klaestron and is trying to protect that woman’s reputation. The trial seems to show that the two Daxs are the same, but with the evidence of Curzon’s alibi, the case falls through.

Commentary

The second episode in a row that seems to have major plot stolen from The Next Generation, “Dax” manages to pull it off with much better results. Yes, this is basically just “The Measure of a Man” retold with different characters, but because that inspiration was itself so good, this episode can’t be all bad. And it isn’t–it’s pretty good.

Another aspect of this episode is that it turns its inspiration around. Rather than trying to prove Jadzia Dax is something, the crew [or whatever I should call the main characters on a space station–the cadre?] is trying to prove she is not something (one). That’s enough of a twist to keep this episode from feeling entirely like it has been done before, and the added dimension of Odo going and doing some serious investigating ups the ante.

Overall, the episode builds Dax as a character more than has been done so far, and shows how complex her past is. Hopefully that theme continues through the series.

Grade: B+ “The plot has been done before, and on Star Trek, but it was still an enjoyable episode.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “It was an interesting idea, and there were good plot twists.”

Links

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

Star Trek: DS9- For more episode reviews, follow this site and also click this link to read more (scroll down as needed)! Drop me a comment to let me know what you thought!

SDG.

Star Wars: Expanded Universe Read Through: “Tales of the Bounty Hunters” edited by Kevin J. Anderson

sw-tobhI have embarked on a quest to read through the Star Wars Expanded Universe once more. Be sure to check the linked text there to see other posts in this series. Here, we look at Tales of the Bounty Hunters, a collection of stories about the bounty hunters that show up in some way or another in The Empire Strikes Back. There will be SPOILERS in what follows. Please do not SPOIL later books in the comments.

Tales of the Bounty Hunters

First, what is inside this book? It’s a collection of stories from each of the bounty hunters that shows up to get assigned by Darth Vader to hunt down Han Solo, basically providing background for each of them. The tales are, “Therefore I Am: The Tale of IG-88” by Kevin J. Anderson (IG-88 is an assassin droid, not pictured); “Payback: The Tale of Dengar” by Dave Wolverton (Dengar is the older looking man); “The Prize Pelt: The Tale of Bossk” by Kathy Tyers (Bossk is the reptilian… thing on the front); “Of Possible Futures: The Tale of Zuckuss and 4-LOM” by M. Shayne Bell (they are the insectoid looking thing and droid); and “The Last One Standing: The Tale of Boba Fett” by Daniel Keys Moran (it’s Boba Fett, come on). I adored this book when I first read it when it came out. I was maybe 10 years old. 11? Anyway… how was it on the re-read?

The quality of the stories is variable, with some being particularly good and others being middling or below average. Let’s just go over them. IG-88’s story is full of action and has a massive scope, as is typical of Kevin J. Anderson adaptations (see his Dune books, which I frankly enjoyed quite a bit… deal with it). It also has major plot holes and difficulties that are too easily resolved, a problem that surfaced in his Jedi Academy trilogy as well. It’s not a bad story, but the sheer speed by which the droids manage to take over is surprising, as well as the immediate galaxy-threatening intensity. The tie-in to the movie by having IG-88 in one form take over the Second Death Star without anyone realizing it was a stretch.

Dengar’s story was neat and provided some background for how Boba Fett could survive, so it wins major extra credit points in my book, because I love Boba Fett. It also has some cool look at the insidious nature of the Empire, which is appreciated. Kathy Tyers’ look at Bossk… wow! That was a lot darker than I expected to find in a Star Wars book. Tyers is an ultra-talented writer who penned the fabulous Firebird series (see my reviews). This story really showed her range as she wrote about a somewhat disturbing reptile whose goal is to skin a Wookie and wear its pelt. Yucky. Very well done story, though.

The tale of Zuckuss and 4-LOM was also pretty neat. I liked the idea of a kind of transcendental meditation idea crossing over into Star Wars (which has, in the EU, explored a lot about religion, even if it does so obliquely). It has a bit of Dune influence as well. The tale of Boba Fett… well… I wanted to love it. I remember as a kid being blown away by it. But there’s not really that much there. It was kind of a let down, and I think that was in part because I had some huge and kind of unrealistic expectations for it. It wasn’t bad… it just didn’t match up to what I’d remembered it as, which turns out to largely be a lot of imagined additional fanfic in my head that I assigned to that short story.

So we have a somewhat uneven but overall good collection of stories here. I think the Zuckus+4-LOM/Bossk ones are worth the price of entry on their own. IG-88 was fun but way overdone. The other two were decent but not great. The best part was how they all tied back into the films in one way or another, but this also lead to some unnecessarily open-ended conclusions that didn’t so much leave me wanting more as it did leave me disappointed.

Tales of the Bounty Hunters is a good read. I look forward to reading the other “Tales of…” collections.

The Good

+Good background for each bounty hunter
+Darker tone shows depth of Star Wars possibilities

The Bad

-Unresolved storylines at points
-Too ambitious/easily resolved plots in some

Best Droid Moment

IG-88’s utter self-confidence getting wrecked at the end of his story as we know the Death Star blows up.

Grade: C+ “A somewhat inconsistent quality level of stories mars a good collection of rather dark (for Star Wars) stories.”

Links

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Reading through Star Wars: Expanded Universe– Here you can read other posts in this series (reviews of other EU books) and make suggestions about what I should include in my reviews.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

There are other posts on science fiction books to be found! Read them here.

SDG.

Star Trek: Deep Space 9 Season 1 “Babel” and “Captive Pursuit”

Our outfits are magnificent, k?

Our outfits are magnificent, k?

I’ve completed my re-watch of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Now it’s time to start Deep Space Nine! I am much less familiar with this show, though I’m pretty sure I’ve seen about 80-90% of the episodes. It’s been so long that I’m sure it will all feel brand new. My wife has never seen the show. She and I will go through, review every episode, and give commentary and a grade from A-F. There are SPOILERS for each episode below. Without further adieu, here’s:

“Babel”

Synopsis

Chief O’Brien continues to try to catch up on all the work that needs to be done to get Deep Space Nine back in working condition. As he does so, however, people start getting sick, and it looks like there is a booby trap that was left on the station. Odo and others try to solve the problem as people continue to lose their capacity to speak and understand communication. Finally, Major Kira uses some unorthodox methods to convince the one possible link to tell them how to cure the virus. All is saved!

Commentary

The main thing I want to say here is that I found the episode kinda boring. It was hard to take seriously a threat to the entire space station this early in the show. Of course they’re not going to let so many main characters be unable to talk with each other for the rest of the series. There was almost no suspense here. The plot itself wasn’t a bad one–it definitely makes you wonder whether there are a lot more traps scattered around the station. Heck, with the Cardassians you expect that to happen! It just felt predictable and “ho hum” throughout. Kira’s saving everything with her probably illegal kidnapping of a doctor was the only thing that spiced it up.

Grade: C- “It was a bit boring, despite attempts to make it suspenseful.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “It was good and fairly creative, but the suspension of the disbelief was a bit much.”

“Captive Pursuit”

Synopsis

A man arrives at Deep Space Nine through the wormhole, and appears to be in great fear, wanting to arm himself and flee at the earliest opportunity. He is locked up for trying to break into a weapons cache. Meanwhile, an aggressive ship shows up and beams intruders on board the station finally ending their attack when they discover the man who’d come earlier. Turns out that that man’s function in their culture is to flee to the best of the ability, and provide a good hunt. Disgusted at his capture, they consign him to humiliation back home. O’Brien, however, has other plans, and busts him out of prison, releasing him back to his ship to keep the hunt going.

Commentary

First, let me say that this was the episode that really hammered home that costumes on DS9 are really well done. The costumes for the people from the Gamma Quadrant were pretty spectacular. A little bit campy sci-fi, a touch of old Trek, and a bunch of flair. I enjoyed them very much.

Anyway, the plot isn’t what drives this episode, and that’s good because it’s pretty bare-bones. There’s a guy running from lots of people chasing him. But wait, turns out he is supposed to be chased in their society so that’s okay, right? Well O’Brien doesn’t think so, and he worked with the “Tosk” to help him keep running. It’s straightforward, but it is also action-packed and intense, with a touch of silliness mixed in. The hardest part of the episode to swallow, to be honest, was O’Brien just throwing the Prime Directive out the window. Of course, his twisted logic actually makes some kind of sense, so maybe that’s okay too. It’s good to see DS9 execute this kind of “fun” mixer episode so early in the series.

Grade: B+ “It’s enjoyable, but apparently O’Brien also discards Starfleet regulations at the drop of a hat as well.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “Chief O’Brien clearly takes Riker for his role model instead of Picard in his pursuit of the Prime Directive.”

Links

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

Star Trek: DS9- For more episode reviews, follow this site and also click this link to read more (scroll down as needed)! Drop me a comment to let me know what you thought!

SDG.

Star Trek: Deep Space 9 Season 1 “Past Prologue” and “A Man Alone”

Look, I'm handing you this case on a platter. Can you please figure out what I'm talking about!?

Look, I’m handing you this case on a platter. Can you please figure out what I’m talking about!?

I’ve completed my re-watch of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Now it’s time to start Deep Space Nine! I am much less familiar with this show, though I’m pretty sure I’ve seen about 80-90% of the episodes. It’s been so long that I’m sure it will all feel brand new. My wife has never seen the show. She and I will go through, review every episode, and give commentary and a grade from A-F. There are SPOILERS for each episode below. Without further adieu, here’s:

“Past Prologue”

Synopsis

Tahna Los is rescued by DS9’s crew from a ship being pursued by Cardassians. The Cardassians demand his return because he is a terrorist, but Sisko grants him at least temporary asylum. Meanwhile, the Klingon Duras sisters show up on station and it is unclear why they are there. Dr. Bashir, however, forms a friendship with a Cardassian on the station, Elim Garak, who is ostensibly a tailor and clothier. Garak’s repeated and pointed directions lead Bashir to help uncover a possible plot that the Duras sisters are helping Los obtain materials for an explosive. Major Kira goes with Los, who ultimately wants to destroy the wormhole, thus keeping Bajor out of international meddling over the economic prosperity that wormhole would bring. Kira, saddened by his betrayal of trust, foils his plan, and he is given over to Starfleet authorities.

Commentary

This is another jam-packed episode, which does make sense given it being so early in the series. There are several threads here, I have to say I enjoyed pretty much all of them. Garak, the Cardassian tailor, is a fun addition to the station and I hope he keeps showing up. The way that he continually talks in a way that effectively punts to more meaning is exciting. Moreover, the cluelessness of the adventure-seeking Bashir was a delight to behold. I also enjoyed the continued look at political turmoil. It’s not like having the Cardassians pull of the region suddenly stabilized Bajor. I’m sure this is a theme throughout the show if I have any memory of it whatsoever, and I’m excited to see more.

The tie-ins to TNG continue as well, as those Klingon sisters show up on DS9, clearly up to no good. Can they really be Klingon if they have no honor? File that away to think about later.

I felt that this gave a good look into the fact that the Cardassian-Bajoran conflict has broader ramifications in the region. It helped to set the stage for future conflict. I look forward to learning more.

Grade: A- “An exciting set-up with great payoff that shows continued political turmoil in the region. It’s just a tad predictable, though.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “The story was overall good, but there were a few things that just didn’t add up.”

“A Man Alone”

Synopsis

Ibudan, a former smuggler who killed a Cardassian officer, shows up on the station. Odo recognizes him and wants to arrest him, but Sisko says he cannot be arrested if he hasn’t committed a crime on the station. Odo relents, but Ibudan turns up dead, and Odo is the prime suspect. As they scramble to figure out who committed the murder, more and more evidences surfaces that implicates Odo. However, it turns out that Ibudan cloned himself and killed the clone, and Odo takes him into custody for murder. A side story follows Keiko O’Brien’s struggle to find a place to fit on the station, and she does when she founds a school.

Commentary

Jake and his Ferengi buddy, Nog! I remember reading the heck out of the children’s series for DS9 that almost entirely followed their adventures around the station, so I admit I have very fond memories of them. Hopefully the show keeps featuring interactions between the two that build their characters. I also enjoyed the subplot of Keiko O’Brien setting up a school on board the station.

The main of plot one gives a great mystery that kept me in the dark for the most part but didn’t just have some kind of deus ex machina moment that is all too common in science fiction mysteries. Yes, it was a clone, but there were enough hints along the way that you could figure it out if you paid attention. The mystery also serves to distract from the episode’s major, glaring error. Namely, there is little-to-no motive for setting Odo up to take the blame for a murder. Sure, getting rid of the changeling security chief may make it easier on this specific smuggler for one time, but Sisko already told Odo he couldn’t just arrest the guy for no reason. So going through all the trouble to frame Odo seems superfluous. Still, as long as you don’t think too hard about it, it’s a solid episode that is a lot of fun.

Grade: A- “It’s a good mystery episode that keeps you guessing for most of the duration.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “It was a good way to show us more about the individual characters while still having an interesting plot.”

Links

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

Star Trek: DS9- For more episode reviews, follow this site and also click this link to read more (scroll down as needed)! Drop me a comment to let me know what you thought!

SDG.

One Sentence Book Review: “The Signature of All Things” by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

Review

Though beautifully written, The Signature of All Things meanders aimlessly for hundreds of pages and ultimately ends up as a strange, unfulfilling read.

Links

One Sentence Book Reviews– Read more one sentence book reviews here. I’ve decided to do one for every book I read, which is a lot. I got started on 5/14/16 so this list will grow from there.

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

SDG.

“Zeroboxer” by Fonda Lee- Book Review

zeroboxer

Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee was intriguing to me. It’s science fiction, and its central focus is a sport. I love science fiction, and I also love sports. I picked it up from the library immediately purely based on the brief description of it being sci-fi with a sports arena. Well, I didn’t even think about it, but the title has “boxer” in it and so I should have expected boxing. I don’t like boxing–I just don’t see the appeal of watching people beat each other up–so my expectations went down. Lee would have to really write a great book to keep me hooked. In short, she did. There are SPOILERS in what follows.

The first thing that sold me was the frantic pace of the action in the book. The fight scenes are truly spectacularly done, as boxing in zero gravity sounds pretty intense and strategic. I liked that Lee came up with different broad styles for how people fought, and then used announcers to highlight these different styles for different fights. This was balanced with a look at the realities of having to sign contracts and try to move up in a sport as the main character, Carr “The Raptor” Luka, had to balance all of these things.

But that still wouldn’t have been enough to grab me. Sure, far-future sports could be interesting, but it needed more. Well, Lee had more to give. The book offered mere hints of a broader conflict shaping in the solar system, but these hints were put forward in such a way as to maintain interest in how “normal” citizens could live amid the tensions. More importantly, however, was the aspect of bioethics that Lee introduced into the book.

Luka, unknown to himself, has been genetically enhanced beyond the legal limits. In other words, he is not allowed to be a zeroboxer, or be in any sport, due to his enhancements. He finds this out when the criminal who worked with his mom to do this for/to him turns up as his popularity increases, and he must internally struggle with whether to turn himself in or keep going under a falsified genetic profile. He must also decide whether to share this with Risha, his Brandhelm–adviser/marketer. I appreciated the thought involved in these moral quandaries, and it added dimension to the novel that, had it not been there, would have been merely okay.

The biggest flaws in the book are intertwined. There are several pretty explicit scenes which I felt were pretty unnecessary and a little out of place in a book largely marketed for teens. The book speaks frankly and not infrequently of sex and would rate an “R” if it were a film. Given that “R” ratings are for 17+, it seems out of place in a young adult novel. The second issue is that these same scenes are written awkwardly. There’s a frankness in the language that makes it feel forced. It’s hard to describe, but the stilted feel of it takes away from the plot just as much as the unnecessarily explicit scenes.

Overall, Zeroboxer was an adrenaline-filled ride with more thoughtful moments than one might expect from the premise. It was a truly promising debut. I look forward to more from the author.

The Good

+Intense, frenetic action in the ring
+Interweaves bioethics into the text in compelling fashion
+Decent twists and turns
+Interesting world
+Potential for more

The Bad

-Quite explicit at times
-Strangely literal/stilted when speaking of sex
-Only glimpses of the universe offered

Links

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

SDG.