Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Few Good Men, by Sarah A. Hoyt

Last night, I mentioned to my gift-from-God, happily-ever-after trophy wife Vanessa, the elegant foxy praying black grandmother of Woodstock, GA, that I might review a Bible study series published by our pastor, John Fichtner. She asked me if I would be able to be impartial. I looked at her, not comprehending, for a moment, and then told her "I'm NEVER impartial! I'm reading books by authors I love!"
And so it is with A Few Good Men. I discovered Sarah's works, if I remember correctly, through the Baen Free Library, with 'Draw One In The Dark.' Later, when Baen granted my VIP application, I read everything she wrote, and love it all. And I like to think that one day, I'll greet her at a convention with "N U U U N S In S P A A C E!" Maybe I'll get a T-Shirt. Or a hat. I like hats.

Anyway, if you want the free Bible Study about the Whole Armor of God, go to Youtube or click on "Prayers Answered Immediately."

It's a collection of 7 short videos, and if you like, let me know and I'll try to hook you up with a free copy of the workbook (or you can buy it on Amazon).

But, here's my take on "A Few Good Men:"

5.0 out of 5 stars
What do you do when you get preached to? Fall asleep in your milk! (Not your soup),
March 4, 2015
By Pat Patterson (Woodstock, Georgia, USA)

This review is from: A Few Good Men (Darkship Book 3) (Kindle Edition)

As I was reading 'A Few Good Men,' I couldn't help but wonder of this 'Internet Neutrality Act is going to lead to more constrictions on communication.
But let me see if I can figure out what Sarah has done here. I'm not sure I can, because every time I think 'OH YEAH, THAT'S IT!!' something else crops up. So, let me get simple, and see if I can find wisdom.
First, although this book is a sequel to Darkship Thieves and Darkship Renegades, and a prequel to other books in Earth's Revolution Saga, it is a stand-alone work. Having some backstory will give you added value, but you definitely aren't left wondering about important plot points that you missed.
Secondly, the Bad Guys rank right up there with the worst mother stabbing father rapers in literature, and they rule the world, which is divided into enclaves for them, where their word is law. The Good Men clone themselves, and when their current bodies get worn out, they harvest their 'children' by coring them, and putting their evil old brains in the body of the innocent young man. This was to be the destiny of the main character, Luce Keeva, but 'something,' (which I'll get to in a minute) prevented that, and he was framed for murder and put in prison for 15 years, the last 14 in solitary. He may have gone bughouse nuts, we aren't ever sure, but it brought him a functional existence.
Thus far, we have a pretty straight story, which could have been written by Heinlein. (Note: that is high praise coming from me, because RAH is the Gold Standard by which all other authors are evaluated). But then Sarah, because she is the Evil Princess of Evil and the Worst Person Ever, just kicks this thing into overdrive.
The reason that Luce is put into jail is because he is gay. His 'father,' which means the old brain occupying the body of Mr. Keeva senior, fears that one of two bad things could happen to him: 1. Luce might establish a reputation for being gay, and then when Old Brain takes over his body, they will treat Old Brain as gay, which is something he cannot abide in the least; 2. When Old Brain is inserted into Luce's cored body, the cored body might transmit gayness into Old Brain , which is also something Old Brain cannot abide in the least.
So, why does this reinforce the Evil League of Evil status for Sarah?
It's because, with the exception of the by-definition whacked out Old Brain, nobody really seems to care about the sexual preferences of Luce, or of any of the other characters. It's not a big deal.
"But it MUST be a Big Deal!" wail some. "His sexual identity must be the focal point of the story! You can't just tell us he's gay and then never even have him kiss or hold hands with a man! It's not FAIR!"
Well, evidently you CAN have multiple gay characters in a story and never once have them exchange precious body fluids. Because that's exactly what Sarah has done.
So, after I thought it was a straight up adventure story, THEN I thought it was a story about gay sex.
Nope. Wrong about that, too.
So, what is the story about? That's what I spent the last few chapters puzzling over. And then I got it.
See, Sarah, bless her heart, is just being CONSISTENT!!! She wants a story to stand on merits other than a gimmick, and she wants characters to stand on other merits than what is between their legs and who they sleep with. THAT'S IT! That's all that it is, and as long as she writes books that only contain the kind of men who only sleep with women, and the kind of women who only sleep with men, she can't communicate effectively about that value of hers, that we, as persons, are more than just plumbing.
Now, Luce, because he was raised to become a repository for the Old Brain, had limited opportunities to find out what it was to become a person. He was mostly socialized by Ben, first in friendship, then later as sexual partners. Together, they rebelled by joining what you can only think of as the equivalent of biker culture, and that connection was the only external contact he had, until he was thrown in jail, and after a year, forced to kill Ben who was being constantly tortured. For that crime, he was placed in solitary confinement, and the ONLY contact he had with the outside world was via an Amazon Kindle and a subscription to KU. The last part of that sentence is a lie, but he did get a reader and material.
Anyway, my point is this: some people have said that they didn't like Luce. I get that. But don't be too hard on the guy. He just wants to be loved.

1 comment:

  1. Another one I've read. I like stories where the oddity/difference to the mainstream (and is being gay really even odd any more?) is just part of the story, not the point of the story. It's called diversity, and it is important - for developing empathy in other humans, among other things.

    And just accepting it - since that's the way God made him - and the story works just fine. I like diversity. I just don't like being preached to - no reader does.