The Proximity of Stars
Benedict Stuart, May 2018
307 pages, Kindle, paperback
Sci-fi, adventure, dystopian, romance, humor
KU, recommended to me
This book was recommended to me by a friend. It is for a discussion group. Not a book I would have picked up at first, but that’s the whole point, I think, of this group. To introduce us to writers and books we wouldn’t normally read and to get us talking about them so that others read them. So I read it and found it definitely worth reading and talking about.
The cover isn’t what I would have chosen for this very busy book, but it definitely is appropriate and reflects events or an event in the book. It just didn’t really draw me to the book in the beginning. It made me think of a poetry book more than a very active adventure across the universe with good and evil.
The story was quite amazing. I kept me engaged, though I did have to sleep in there for a while. I was back at it first thing in the morning. Dixon is a possessed ruler of Earth, though he really is trying to take over the Universe. His current focus and obsession is his brother, Brian. Brian’s just finished school and is trying to relax on an island with his friend, Gary when two young women, Alice and Brenda, pop up. Gary gets drunk and has to be put to bed. Brian gives the young women a bed for the night. The world turns topsy-turvy when a government helicopter lands on the front lawn to take them all prisoner first thing in the morning. I’d say it all goes to hell, but really it all goes to space from there. Well, Alice gets killed, but the rest of them go to space. Yup, it’s weird until you wrap your brain around the fact that you have just stepped into science fiction without any preparation.
The characters are a complete mixed bag. The most wonderful one is the General. He is a complete gentleman from the word go. He is even a gentleman when dealing with complete evil. He’s polite in his requests and when voicing complaints. He’s so caring about people, even ones he doesn’t really like. But he cares deeply about his family and those close to him. It’s so sad when he dies. The rest of the characters are a lot more shallow than the General, but they are pretty good in their own ways. Brian is something of a wimp being shoved around and manipulated by others. He’d just as soon find another island and stay there quietly for the rest of his life. But he has a great destiny that isn’t going to leave him alone. It didn’t let him die when he jumped out of that helicopter in a straight jacket and two pair of cuffs into shark-infested waters. So, I guess he’s going to have to rise to the occasion and be what they want him to be. Gary is into being a Governor of a planet with his wife, Brenda. Brenda’s secure professionally, but not as a woman. Same with Lianne, she’s all set with the destiny bit, but not too secure as a woman. And Peter is an old man putting his house in order before he dies. He’s done great things to set this all up so that this destiny can take place. Now he’s going off to another dimension through a small black hole to see his long-dead wife.
The pace was quite good. In a few places, some transitions didn’t work quite right and it wobbled a bit. But for the most part, it was really good. And the tension had me wondering what was going to happen next through the whole book.
There were editing issues that bothered me, with pronouns and prepositions. And I don’t care for the use of “ain’t”. I always wonder why authors use it. This was used as a normal word, not as slang or by an uneducated person. I was uncomfortable with it. But I did enjoy the sense of humor I felt throughout the book. A certain uplifting feeling contained in the very fiber of the writing. That has to be the author’s personality coming through in the writing.