(Sorry for the delay... I evidently fell asleep during Ghost Lab again!)
OK... let's boogie. Strander by MR Charles D Hartik is a brave book, truly trendsetting in its near complete eschewal of the use of hyphens to disambiguate the masses of modifiers which the author loves to pile up on any noun unfortunate enough to wander within his grasp. From the paperback sample (Note: I've also checked the Kindle sample, and it's the same, indicating that the author has enough confidence in his work to have left it unchanged since the first publication in 2007):
Kallex was angry at himself. He'd failed his final exam by drifting into a momentary daydream of a Digi-ball game played earlier that day.
If he could step out through the thick glass in the neglected observation area and die in the hot wind and ultraviolet radiation, it would be better than separation from Karla, who he knew since the age of five when they both were brought into the dome by their Caver parents.
OK, that's not so bad, right? The "who he knew" should probably be past perfect, but then again, that construction is slowly merging with the past in American English and is pretty much just something fake professors worry about. Let's move on...
He leaned his whole back against the observation area's thick composite outer wall. Vibration from the wind powered generators several floors below soaked into his flesh. He pressed an ear against the wall and a roar of wind driven grit grinding against the outside of the dome seemed to fill his head.
Hmm... "wind powered generators". There's the first of those places I personally would find easier to read with a hyphen. And here's yet another: "wind driven grit"! That "a roar" is a bit odd, too. "A roar like a thousand angry voices" sounds better because it's somewhat indefinite, but Kallex here is hearing something very specific, so shouldn't it be "the roar"? (And do we really need to be told that the grit is GRinding aGainst the *outside* of the dome?) OK, brace yourselves...
He crouched low and moved to a corner of the opaque observation window long ago clouded like a cataract. He brushed a lock of hair from his eyes and gazed through the only clear spot in the thick glass. He saw bright ultraviolet saturated sunlight illuminating orange tinted blackish leaf covered tendrils of stocky green plants growing low to the ground wave in a horrendous wind.
Those first two sentences aren't terrible (we probably don't need to be reminded that the glass is "thick" again, but whatever), but then all hell breaks loose in the third. Go ahead, parse that sucker, I dare you! LOL. Hint: the main verb appears to be "wave", but Arrakeen sandworms take me if I have any idea what its subject is!
We could also discuss world-building a bit here and why an observation window on a planet with hot, grit-bearing winds [See what I did there, Charles? Hyphens are your friends!] was apparently not provided with retractable shutters, but there's just so much language-related bad writing goodness to savor, why bother?
He placed a cheek on the thermal resistant glass and felt heat soak into his face. He almost felt comfortable but his fear and anger grew larger than his efforts at distraction. The failure of his final exam crashed back into his mind.
Ignoring the problem of the warning signs of imminent failure inherent in a heat-resistant glass transmitting heat, that's not too bad. And there's what may probably be a major problem with this book: the spottiness of the quality of the writing...
He heard footsteps in the hallway. He had never run across anyone here before. There were too many interesting activities available for most dome residents than a visit to a neglected observation area.
Um... OK. I see a "than" but no comparative. "There were too many activities available more interesting for...." Come on, MR Hartik, that's just sloppy. And so is this:
When he was new to the dome, he'd wandered aimlessly through isolated dome hallways. On one such wandering, he found a neglected observation area. He considered it his private retreat.
I'm glad it was pointed out that they were "dome hallways". Otherwise I might have imagined hallways on the colony ship, or amidst the alien ruins. (No, I don't know if there are alien ruins; haven't read that far ahead in the Kindle sample. About 27 pages in that, versus only six or so in the paperback sample here.)
OK... that's just the first page. The REAL fun starts with the dialogue on the second page. I'll leave the joys of discovery hidden in that joust-on-stilts to any interested readers (unless asked to continue, that is!) and close this installment with...
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Charles D Hartik has had a lifelong interest in the health of planet Earth's life. His awareness of the critical problems life on Earth are currently facing grew when he realized that many worse case scenarios presented to the public were in many cases understated. He authored Strander in the hope of awakening readers to the possibilities of a cascade of worse case scenarios happening unless a change in priorities takes places.
(sigh) Can't help himself, can he? *IS* currently facing. And isn't it usually "worst case scenarios" (with or without hyphen!). And "risk" or "danger" would seem better than "possibilities".
Anyway, ask yourself: does this seem like something you want to risk $16.00 (or even $5.00 for the Kindle version) on?
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