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Moon Age Daydream, by Shaun Von Dragen Book Review | SFReader.com
Moon Age Daydream, by Shaun Von Dragen Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Nuith Publications Published: 2007 Review Posted: 4/14/2008 Reviewer Rating:
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Moon Age Daydream, by Shaun Von Dragen
Book Review by Adam P. Knave
Have you read this book?
Moon Age Daydream is one of those books that you won't forget easily. That's generally because it's bad. Nothing against the author, I am sure Von Dragen is a wonderful person, and meant well - but the book didn't work. Pretty much on any level at all.
First off it uses "future slang." That's fine and it can be done wonderfully. But once you start crafting new words and new usages you are already starting an uphill battle. Languages drift and change so I can see the urge to play with the idea and make things your own. It is damned tricky though. You have to make words that sound like they could be used in every day speech and that manage to give the reader a sense of their meaning in context. You also have to follow basic rules of language. Replacing "freaks" with "skaweejazoids" just doesn't make sense, at all, to anyone.
And then there are the strange ones that aren't verbal. Seriously. "^riche (pronounced rEEsh) -- the very rich." Well that's fine. But if it is pronounced "reesh" instead of rich, just to say "rich", why bother, really? Because it looks cooler on a page? But you're coming up with WORDS PEOPLE SPEAK! Creating for the page alone makes no sense at all and is just done, in general, to do something and make the text look unique. It's a bad habit, it throws people out of a story and it doesn't add a single thing.
Also renaming body parts (I won't tell you what they stand for but: poohi-poohi, gieglobe, orvina, spartchek to name a few.) and then writing a book with a lot of sex scenes creates an unfortunate thing. See, most of the sex scenes now read as if they were written by a kid ashamed of saying the word "penis." It isn't that I am looking for good erotic literature, I'm not personally, but this "new slang" ends up making the whole affair seem laughable. And I did laugh, I admit it. More than once. At the sex scenes.
The story itself was weak and almost non-existent. The theoretical plot didn't really start (in the reader's eyes) until late in the game, and even then it always took a backseat to the romantic goings on. That can work, too, it just doesn't here. You end up with characters that you don't like at all. The characters, to a one, are fuzzy at the edges, drawn from ideas of what they should look like but with no real depth.
What depth there is, is generally shorthand. A character who has a bunch of scars and doesn't get them fixed because when he has the money there's always something better to spend it on? All right, that can be a nice character note, but it doesn't inform his being at all. It's just tossed out there. The character notes never seem to add up to character, they don't layer and add depth or inform choices. They just lie there. They are on a mission to save someone (eventually) but it always feels as if they simply don't care, or only care when the plot needs to be pushed forward.
Some of that is due to the end of the book, and I won't blow it but it involves a tricky thing to pull off, sadly this book is not an example of how to do it right. Instead you end up with characters that feel like they're in a John Hughes film gone horribly wrong. The entire novel just feels pointless, even though there is a point the author wants to make. The thing is it doesn't matter if there is a point and how good that point may be if the reader catches nothing but air. Because the reader's experience is key here, and you don't get one. Just long scenes that focus on romantic moments, that aren't romantic, and a lot of travel to foreign lands that are all futuristic and nonsensical.
The future, as seen in this book, is just kinda ... there. It sprung up from nothing and to nothing it shall return. Characters make reference to EY (Earth years, doncha' know) but we never hear about Earth itself. Or why people moved away, where they've gone in relation to things or much of anything else. We're just on other planets and everything from planetary travel to interplanetary travel is easy and fun and simple. Because when your future is made of cardboard you don't have to worry about grounding it in some sort of sense. There's no foundation to it and so it comes off as set dressing instead of a valid place or time.
At its heart I can see what the author tried to do and I respect it. I really, honestly and truly do. Creating a romance/horror/future SF novel is not easy. Dealing with modern concepts of magic and melding them to ancient ideas along the same lines is difficult as hell. So hats off to the attempt and better luck next time.
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