Andrew Skyes would do just about anything to be a dad. Unfortunately, a twist of fate leaves him unable to conceive a child, making his life a nightmare. His wife Denise leaves him because of this. He can't even perform well at work after the divorce. If he could just focus on making enough sales to keep his boss happy, he might turn things around for himself.
While trying to score a sale outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Andrew's jeep blows a flat. Just as a tow truck operator named Tucker comes to his rescue, a weird ship crashes in the desert. Curiosity getting the best of both men, they investigate the vessel, only to find themselves at the mercy of aliens known as the Ph'mleez. Confusion and fear lead to both men being zapped by one of the Ph'mleez's strange devices. Upon awakening, Andrew finds himself back in his apartment with no sign of Tucker or the aliens.
But just as Andrew decides to go on with his life, he starts experiencing symptoms similar to morning sickness. Could Andrew be pregnant? Whatever happened to Tucker and the aliens? And through all of this, is Denise having second thoughts about their split? One thing's for sure. Andrew probably won't make employee of the month now.
©2014 Jeff Beesler (P)2014 Jeff Beesler
Basic plot: After breaking down on the side of the road, a recently-divorced man and the tow truck driver who came to help him witness the crash landing of an alien vessel. After some shenanigans, both men end up impregnated by a race of Amazonian green-hued aliens.
Awesome, right? I thought so.
The story is *really* about the uncertainty and fear and wonder that comes with fatherhood. The author attempts to explore the question why some fathers don't care for their children while others are hopelessly enamored with the idea of fatherhood. And why we are so drawn to the idea of having children, AND how some of us deal with the inability to have kids. We also have the ex-wife: a character who is hard to like, but is also hard to hate, which is something I really appreciate. It's left up to the reader to decide what to think of her, and by the end, there's no real resolution to that question. Again, that's something I'm okay with.
There were a couple non-resolutions I'm not so okay with, but it's clear this was meant to be part of a series, so it's acceptable as a reader, as long as these are cleared up by the end of the series. (What's up with the crazy lady who wanted the quote on the windows? Tucker's ambiguity at the end. The relationship with the navigator, etc.)
I'm giving this five stars for the sheer ambitiousness of the story and the easy execution. This is not a typical sci-fi/fantasy novel. There are no great space battles. There's very, very little violence. There are no harrowing action sequences ....and that's okay. It's a story about wonder, and it's a story about new beginnings, with an easy humor sprinkled throughout. In many ways, it's very quiet and subtle. For that, I think many people won't enjoy--or 'get'-- this, but those who like the idea of a story about fatherhood, they will be quite pleased, I think.
The prose itself almost makes the story read like it is for young adults, though the subject matter obviously is for an older audience. The storytelling style is quick and matter-of-fact. The author has a few quirks... an over reliance on cliched phrases, the tendency to over-remind readers of previous details, which is a sign of an author who isn't so trusting of his own work. And the story itself has a few technical issues (for example, the main character is lamenting in one scene how he doesn't have the ability to contact another character, and is suddenly calling him on the phone a few scenes later), all of which another edit would have caught, and in the end they are very minor details, and are mostly things only a person reading with a critical eye would really be bothered by. Also, I did find myself wondering multiple times why the main character didn't just ask the aliens some more question about the baby within him, which would've cleared up a lot of his stress and wonder. Again, minor details.
Overall a good, solid book. I will read part 2 when it is released.
Regarding the audio production itself... Very well done. I have listened to probably 100+ audio book in the past couple years, and this ranks up there in quality, especially considering this is a self-published book. Robert Neil DeVoe does an excellent job narrating this. Kudos.
Robert Neil DeVoe does a very good job with this book. I was impressed (also relieved) when the main female character undergoes a transformation and becomes much more likable (and easier to listen to) in the 2nd half. All other characters solid, and the first conversation between the navigationally challenged aliens is the strongest point in the piece.
The plot structure is quite interesting. However, I found the character development somewhat lacking. Primarily, I could not reconcile the lack of incredulity of the characters given the bizarre situation in which they find themselves. Not much there to back up the plot.
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