|Posted by Mark Cantrell on November 10, 2012 at 2:15 PM|
'Movie-style' novel is a poor
Intrigued by the concept for this 'movie-style' novel, Mark Cantrell was disappointed to discover a stilted and characterless story that meandered into nowhere
SOONER or later, it was bound to happen that I'd find myself compelled to write a less than favourable review, and that brings me to The Alien Artifact 2 by Victor Bertolaccini.
The novel disappointed me, which is a shame. Not only did the story fail to deliver on the terms of its blurb, it proved to be a badly-written affair, with little in the way of coherent plot, narrative rhythm, engaging dialogue, or indeed any kind of feeling whatsoever.
The concept was intriguing, however; I'm a sucker for the discovery of mysterious alien relics, the big 'what ifs' they invoke, the terrifying scope for extinction-level mayhem, and the last-ditch heroics that a vastly-disadvantaged humanity manages to pull off to save the day.
As far as the storyline goes, a fantastically advanced alien craft in pursuit of another fantastically advanced alien craft crash-lands on Earth millions of years ago. Any questions the reader might have in regard to any of this isn't addressed. It's simply a given.
"[E]ven with its vast abilities and powers, while it was exiting this galaxy, after almost colliding with a star, exactly as the other entity/transcendent had done, it also crashed into the Earth -- leaving its alien artefact buried away for millions of years -- with the entity/transcendent inside -- waiting to be found, and revived -- but with powers capable of destroying the galaxy," as it says in the lengthy, and rather repetitive prologue (a large chunk of it, I later noted, is pretty much repeated word for word later on the novel).
Eventually, the crashed ship is discovered by humanity. The initial discovery comes as they are testing some new ground scanning equipment that allows them to identify and map underground structures. Flying over an uncharted island, their equipment picks something up. Then the plane crashes.
This is an example of the lack of feeling in the book. The plane is going down; a pretty dramatic turn of events in anyone's life, but you don't really get that impression from the writing, or the characters' reaction. Indeed, all the way through the book, characterisation is notable by its absence.
Eventually, the crashed team of scientists make it back to civilisation, only to be kidnapped and taken back to the island by people who suspect there is a fortune in treasure hidden there. Back and forth they go, and somehow the kidnappers fade into the background, as the island becomes the focus of a government/military expedition to explore the crashed ship. The transitions along these plot points seemed to be very disjointed and rather disorientating, but it ploughs on regardless.
Danger comes in the form of a whole menagerie of alien and mutant beasties, so the expedition has a tough fight to secure the wreck so they can begin to explore it, but for all the promise of mystery and an alien force that might endanger the very galaxy, at the end this all boiled down to very much of an aside. In short, the book seemed to go nowhere in the end.
The book is billed as a 'movie-style' sci-fi classic; I would add, the kind of 1950s B-movie with a very low budget and actors who simply read their lines. Indeed, the dialogue was stilted even by the standards of the worst of that era's movie-making.
All told, The Alien Artifact 2 was a poor show; a box office crash, one might say.
10 November 2012
Copyright (C) November 2012. All Rights Reserved.