Vincent Alan Chell has a lot to say. He talks about his wife, Yael, who committed suicide. He talks about a cult group that meets in a church basement. And he talks about the robots serving mankind and how the Peacemaker – an artificial intelligence – has been controlling the peace for decades. Vincent Alan Chell talks, and not much else.
The most important thing to know about this book is not what it has to say, but how it says it. This book is told as a series of interviews – Chell answering questions … without the questions presented to the reader. Instead, a square black bullet indicates where a question is posed and all we get is Chell’s response. Clearly we could generally infer what the question might have been, if we wanted to.
“If we wanted to.” That’s the key. There is very little here to keep a reader engaged. Given the challenge of the style of writing for this book, we need to be brought in to something really interesting or really exciting right away. The idea of a character being interviewed or interrogated was interesting for about a chapter, but the novelty of this wore off which left a slow, one-sided narrative.
One of the first rules of writing that every first year college English student learns is “show, don’t tell.” It is very hard to show when the entire narrative is someone telling someone else their side of a story.
The ideas in this sci-fi book had the potential to be interesting and maybe even a little bit on the order of a Phil Dick novel, but the execution wasn’t even close.
Looking for a good book? You’re not likely to find it here.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Solomon the Peacemaker
author: Hunter Welles
publisher: Cowcatcher Press
paperback, 232 pages