Seed is what the author calls an agrarian sci-fi novella. I have to admit I found the concept quite ingenious and it appealed to me very much. The tale takes place in planet Eilon, colonized almost 500 prior to the events narrated, and it roughly describes an economy based on seeds as currency. As with any currency, it can be forged, and our main character’s job is to identify and prove such forgeries.
As I mentioned above, the concept is intriguing. However, I have to be honest and so I will cut to the chase: The novella needs to be properly edited. Where to start…
The prose needs a lot of work. The writing feels.. green, at lack of better expression. The narrative does not flow well. First of all, there is a lot of telling and not enough showing, especially in the beginning. Also, quite often the descriptions seem at the same time repetitive and unclear, though the repetitiveness is what bothered me the most. For instance, in the first chapter the subject of spent seeds is explored to exhaustion. It could have been shortened quite a lot. I felt like I was reading the same thing over and over with small variations. Later in the book, I saw the same expressions being used over and over again. Also, we would hear something from one point of view, and it would be repeated later from another person’s point of view.
All the characters sound much younger than they supposedly are. Almost every time there was a dialogue, most lines ended in exclamation marks, which made me feel like they were constantly uber excited and it got a bit tiresome. The characters just don’t seem to have any depth and sound pretty much all the same.
Some sections seemed very rushed. The characters make several assumptions without enough data, facts or even clues to back it up. For instance, when the spaceship was found they made several comments along those lines and then when the council was summoned they immediately accepted what the Learned, Thomas and Atalie said, no investigation was done or even issued, at least not that I was aware. So some things should be better explained, those transitions and others need a lot of improvement. This is also latent in the way some chapters ended so abruptly, particularly #5.
But one of the main issues for me, which accompanied me throughout the book, was punctuation. Lack of commas, commas instead of periods or semicolons, periods missing… The sentences were simply way too long; quite often, one sentence made up an entire paragraph. The whole book written like this! It led to me losing track of what I was reading all the time and having to go back repeatedly, which in turn caused me to take forever to read such a small book. Also, the verb tenses are all over the place, jumping from past to present tense back to past; there are numerous misspellings that should really be addressed and the writing itself isn’t clear. The pronouns who and whose are constantly used instead of which, sometimes the opposite. Redundancies such as Observing more carefully he observed a(…) and the Learned (…) learned, double negatives, meters are mixed with feet and the list goes on and on.
Bottom line: I think the idea behind this novella is pretty interesting, which is why I gave it an additional star to just the one. It just needs much better execution to be taken seriously and make it out there, in the midst of so many books of the genre.
Read from January 09 to 12, 2015
I would like to thank the author for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.