Waves of Atlantis: A Tale of Terrible Plot Development Under the Sea [Hard Drive Archive].

Author’s Note: this review was written back in 2012 on a website that — thankfully — no longer exists. I wasn’t the best writer (or even reviewer) at the time, but there were a few gems that I feel stood the test of time. This is one of them. I hope you enjoy it!

When I first heard about “Waves of Atlantis” I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into. There was virtually nothing about this book online, except for two posts, by two disgruntled readers, claiming that this book was the worst literary piece of garbage to come out since Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kompf.” Bold words really, when you think about it: how can a work of fiction, about astronauts discovering Atlantis, be that bad? Sure, it’s probably as campy as hell, but I’ve read worse. At this point I should have wished for my future self to step out of a time portal and punch me unconscious before I whipped out my credit card to order this “novel.” Oh God was I wrong. So, so, wrong.

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Waves of Atlantis: a book so good, no reviewer ever saw a copy of this hit their desk.

“Waves of Atlantis,” written by “Professor,” of “accredited,” University (read: mail-order-degree-mill) known as American World U., Maxine Asher, is the story of two astronauts, which should be noted are written in the likeness of a young Al Gore and future VP-candidate Sarah Palin, who discover Atlantis. The first page of the book can only be described as the best, worst first page of any novel ever written. As an English major, I couldn’t help but stare at the page, utterly dumbfounded and yet extremely amused at the sheer incompetent skillfulness of its execution, while at the same time, giving off an air of proud defiance, as if to say “Yes, I don’t need an editor and you’re going to sit through 136 pages of this shit.” Miss Asher apparently, yet unsurprisingly, got this book self-published through her “University.” Probably because she thought it was so good publishers wouldn’t even bother putting it on the shelves before selfishly trying to steal this masterpiece from under her. Or maybe because it was terrible, could go either way, really. I present to you exhibit A:

“What a bust!”

“Was it that bad?”

“Listen Pierre, it was worse. We have absolutely no information to report to Houston.”

“Well whose fault is that?”

“It certainly isn’t mine. Don’t look at me. I warned you guys—I mean guys and gal—about the possible problems with the mission.”

“Hey, wait a minute…I was the one who knew from the start that this crew could never detect estra low frequency waves in the atmosphere.”

“Look Jane,” Tom said, staring at his feet, “ no one ever doubted your special abilities to understand mind control. The difficulty is that we simply don’t have the right instruments to find out where these waves are coming from.”

As the crew continued to sit around on the floor of the spacecraft looking dejected [huh?], Jane threw [threw? Like a Frisbee?] a sly smile at Tom, unaware that the rest of the men caught her look and began to snicker.

That, ladies and gentlemen is the first page of the novel. I shit you not. No context or setting that one can gather here, except something about mind control and the sexual tension of two lovers that’s about as subtle as a baseball bat.

The story, which unfortunately takes several pages of tooth-pulling dialogue to get to, is that the world is on the brink of chaos. An invisible psychic wave, known as ELF waves, are spreading across the Atlantic, affecting everyone that gets caught in it’s radius immobile, in a state of extreme depression and laziness, followed by death. The Supernatural Council under UN authority orders NASA (sigh…just roll with it) to send scientists into space to find the origin of these invisible waves. So why are they going into space to try to find the source of the problem? Because fuck you, that’s why! Maxine does not need to explain herself, the same way Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins don’t need to explain why their “Left Behind” series lasted eight books longer than it ought to. (Un)Fortunately, Miss. Asher doesn’t shrink the margins in her book and it’s only 136 pages so…great, I guess?

Either way, this book suffers from one of the major flaws of providing expulsion in long, LONG chunks of paragraphs. Most of which involve people and places on Earth with characters that you only read about once and are soon after killed off or just never mentioned again. Asher, like a bored, vengeful, uncaring God dispatches her minor characters with ease, without even providing any real backstory for them or having them even accomplish anything remotely significant in the book. Those Archeologists who get close to finding the origin of the ELF waves? Death by falling. Those secret agents who try to discover what’s behind the waves? Killed in a freak explosion. Those psychic children that the government uses to track the waves? We never hear from them again. The biracial family stuck in the city that’s being engulfed by the waves? You don’t hear from them again either, but the author assures us that they’re all dead, so don’t bother.

What you should bother with though, and Asher will try her damnedest to make certain that you do, is the not so subtle third-basemenship between the two Astronauts, Tom and Jane, and their quest for the truth behind the ELF waves. After losing fuel on their space shuttle…for some reason, the crew crash into the ocean, namely the Bermuda Triangle. Fortunately Asher decides she wants these poor mortals to live, by turning the space shuttle into a submarine. Because that’s was just some ability the ship happened to have at its disposal (Obama spared no expense apparently, giving NASA such a huge budget for that).  It is here that our two-dimensional heroes find the lost city of Atlantis.

The only thing that saves this book, if you can even consider it its saving grace, is the dialogue. Asher, if anything else, can write the most laughably bad conversations fit for only an Uwe Boll film or an episode Adam West’s Batman. I present to you another excerpt from this masterpiece trash-theater starring Al Gore and Sarah Palin.

“Ok—I’ll give it a try,” said Tom grudgingly, beginning to turn the boat at a 180 degree angle. “Somehow I always do what you want me to do and then we get into trouble. If I didn’t love you so much, I could say no but I guess I am powerless under your spell.”

“You make me sound like a witch Tom. I’m just a red blooded adventurous American girl.”

Tom chuckled at the remark. Jane was very beautiful, very convincing and very glib in tongue. He was putty in her hands and she knew it.

Man, I’m gonna need an ice-pack to stifle this red blooded American boner. Oh, yeah, that page that I cited is real and yes, this book definitely did get published. It only gets worse from here as Tom and Jane learn from the inhabitants of Atlantis that it’s being caused by crystals that they themselves created in order to keep their civilization alive. And the only way to stop it is with…meditation, eating vegetables, the power of love and Jesus. Yes, Jesus Christ, meditating, all loving, vegetable eating, superstar is going to save us, with the help of Tom and Jane, prayin’ the waves away. I almost blacked out from the sheer absurdity of this revelation. Kurt Vonnegut or Philip K. Dick wish they could come up with something this retarded.

Unfortunately (or fortunately? I don’t know if it really matters now) the plot suddenly shifts to a secret location where we find the secret cabal that plans on using the ELF waves to take over the world. These “Evildoers,” (Yes, that is what Asher uses to describe this organization) is made of who else, but scary Russians, Chinese and other questionably evil minorities. Hey, at least this organization is all inclusive, unlike the obnoxiously Aryan Tom and Jane show. So of course being the godless communists that they are in the eyes of Asher, decide to use this opportunity to mobilize their armies to attack North America and Europe. I suppose those ELF waves won’t affect their troops, or what? And how do they plan on safe guarding against these waves themselves anyway? And why North America? I mean, I know most people hate us anyway (especially America), but if they do have a cure for the ELF waves why not use it as leverage over other world nations? That’d be way more profitable than invading two entire fucking continents.

The book comes to a rather Asherian, anti-climatic conclusion, with the final show down between the United States Rangers and the “Evildoers” army. It only takes three pages before everything ends in a Michael Bay-esque action sequence involving Tom, Jane and the Atlantians saving the day. The story ends with peace restored, the waves disrupted and Tom and Jane making out under the ocean.

This book is both a travesty and a work of pure comedy. Its badness is only matched by its unintended hilarity that makes this thing a gem among trashy literary gems. Last I heard was that this book was going for $25 on amazon. If you’re willing to drop cash like that on this turkey then may God have mercy on your soul.

[Review] Game of Thrones: A Whodunit of Medieval Proportions [Hard Drive Archive]

Author’s Note: this review was written back in 2012 on a website that — thankfully — no longer exists. I wasn’t the best writer (or even reviewer) at the time, but there were a few gems that I feel stood the test of time. This is one of them. I hope you enjoy it!

A lot people have been asking me to read this novel. It has been making the rounds recently what with the T.V adaptation on HBO and the recent reprints of the books in nice, glossy covers, on display, at my local book store. Though, before I get into this review I should probably tell you something: I’m not much of a fantasy fan. Though I read from several different genres, Science Fiction has always been my corner. You could probably chock it up to bad luck as well that my first exposure to fantasy was Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance series and the earlier World of Warcraft novels based on the MMO, both of which I didn’t like. Though, one can say I have moved on to greener pastures since then, having read the Narnia, Redwall and Lord of the Rings books (which are part of the modern fantasy canon anyway), none of them have been able to truly blow me away. Even J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter books couldn’t keep me interested past the second book and even supposed non-readers were going ape-shit over that series.

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Seriously, a crack dealer couldn’t sell their drugs as fast as those books did.

And do you want to know what’s even more terrible? My favorite fantasy series, if it even counts among die-hard fans, is the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer and even it starts to lose its luster by the end of the fourth book (read the next four in the series at your own risk). It’s pitiful that I have to say that that series meant for middle schoolers is one of my favorites, with Narnia and Redwall coming at a close second and I think I know why.

Fantasy never seemed to want to walk on the “dark side” as I like to call it. For most fans of the genre, it seems to be all about the escapism and living vicariously through a “Chosen One” type of character and twisting it to become some Oliver Twist, rags to riches, good guys will always come through within the last fifty pages, storyline that just did not appeal to me as a reader. Yeah, call me a glum, cynical, emo-goth, but I cannot stand those types of novels. If I know for certain that it’s going to shit smilely faces at the end, why should I read it? You honestly think I can be surprised by that? Sci-fi seemed to at least be much more willing to take a more risky route in terms of storytelling by making their genre darker and grittier for it’s audiences. It’s those reasons alone that have turned me off from the genre of fantasy for several years until this point; despite the fact that Michael Moorcock and even Richard Morgan have been breaking new ground for years trying to drag fantasy out of the rainbow room. So can Game of Thrones change my mind on that? Well, keep reading, I dare you!

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A Game of Thrones: a hard cover novel thick enough to beat a crack dealer to death with.

Game of Thrones was written in 1996 by former screen writer George R.R Martin, who participated in the writing of several short stories in the 1970s that spearheaded his writing career on T.V., even writing for the 1987 series Beauty and the Beast. The series had a bit of a slow burn in terms of gaining popularity. Though considering he’s a man who once worked in Hollywood and has two middle names to call his own, I suppose that helps.

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“Yeah, I don’t know why have two middle names either.”

The book starts with the murdering of the King’s Hand by a mysterious assassin, along with the killing of two rangers and a lord at the hands of an ancient foe, both incidents occurring on different sides of the continent and it’s off to the races. From there this medieval tale takes an interesting turn as it soon transforms into not your average fantasy novel and becomes at its core, a mystery whodoneit scenario, based in a fantasy setting. Though the book is told from multiple perspectives, it mainly focuses on Lord Eddard Stark, as he tries to help his good friend, King Robert, solve this mystery of this murder while trying to navigate the political interests and intrigues of other lords and advisers, all wanting control over the Seven Kingdoms. Being also a fan of detective noir novels, I was immediately engrossed in the story. The characters were multilayered and had several competing interests with one another, not to mention most of these characters motivations were kept hidden throughout, leaving me to guess and even second guess their true allegiance to Stark and the other major characters.

My favorite character by far was Tyrion Lannister, if only because he’s such a likable smartass, as well as being a dwarf. His cunning and intelligence seem to make him the most interesting and dangerous character since he’s basically playing off of, as well as conspiring for and against, with three different factions throughout the novel.

If there is anything bad I can say about this book, if at all, it is the pacing and the amount of characters in the novel. Like any fantasy book, this one often tends to dwell on more often than necessary I feel, on the lore and history of the Seven Kingdoms. A trope often employed by fantasy writers, mainly because I suspect they seem to have no choice in terms of providing proper exposition, but could have been edited down or expanded in dialogue. Also, since the novel is told from seven different character’s perspectives, there is a bit of difficulty in trying to follow the multiple story lines and some character story arches were more interesting than others. Especially when Martin tries to tie up his character’s journey’s at the end, with the exception of the last chapter, I felt that the story ended fifty pages ago and the rest was epilogue. There’s also such a girth of secondary characters that their appearances half-way through the novel tended to run together until I was basically assigning them a generic blank face and clothing when they made their appearance again to interact with the main characters. I’m thankful for the index that is provided on the back, otherwise I would’ve been lost on who’s who. Though like I said, minor nit-picks.

Overall this is a very great book that keeps you at the edge of your set until the very shocking conclusion that definitely made me rethink the genre of fantasy. It’s dark, it’s gritty and most of all intriguing. I’d say it might be one of the best fantasy books I’ve ever read, though I’ll let you decide how much weight you’d want that endorsement to carry. I can’t wait to read the last two books in the trilogy…

Holy Seven Hells, he’s got five more of these books!?