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Friday, September 28, 2012
Reading List: Nuclear Assault
- Imholt, Timothy James.
Unknown: Zwicky Press, 2012.
I am not going to fret about spoilers in this review. This book is
so awful that nobody should read it, and avoiding spoilers is like
worrying about getting a dog turd dirty when you pick it up with toilet
paper to throw it in the loo.
I acquired this book based on an Amazon suggestion of
“Customers who Viewed this Item Also Viewed” and
especially because, at the time I encountered it, the
Kindle edition was free (it is no longer,
as of this writing). Well, I'm always a sucker for
free stuff, so I figured, “How bad can it be?” and
downloaded it. How wrong I was—even for free, this botched
attempt at a novel is overpriced.
Apart from the story, which is absurd, the author has not
begun to master the basics of English composition. If I had
taken a chapter or two from this novel and submitted it as a
short story in my 10th grade English class, I would have received
a failing grade, and deservedly so. Scarcely a page in this 224
page novel is unmarred by errors of orthography, grammar, or
punctuation. The author appears to have invented his own way of
expressing quotes. The following is a partial list of words
in the text which are either misspelled or for which homonyms
are incorrectly used:
Americans OK advice affected an arrival assess attack bathe become
breathe chaperone closed continuous counsel enemy's feet first foul
from had hangar harm's hero holding host hostilely intelligence it's
its let's morale nights not ordnance overheard pus rarefied scientists
sent sights sure the their them they times were
When you come across an instance of “where” being used
in place of “were”, you might put it down to the kind
of fat finger we all commit from time to time, plus sloppy proofreading.
But when it happens 13 times in 224 pages, you begin to suspect
the author might not really comprehend the difference between the two.
All of the characters, from special forces troops, emergency room nurses,
senior military commanders, the President of the United States, to
Iranian nuclear scientists speak in precisely the same dialect of
fractured grammar laced with malaprops. The author has his own
eccentric idea of what words should be capitalised, and applies them
inconsistently. Each chapter concludes with a “news flash”
and “economic news flash”, also in
bizarro dialect, with the
latter demonstrating the author as illiterate in economics as he is
in the English language.
Then, in the last line of the novel, the reader is kicked in the
teeth with something totally out of the blue.
I'd like to call this book “eminently forgettable”, but
I doubt I'll forget it soon. I have read a number of manuscripts
by aspiring writers (as a savage copy editor and fact checker, authors
occasionally invite me to have at their work, in confidence, before
sending it for publication), but this is, by far, the worst I have
encountered in my entire life. You may ask why I persisted in reading
beyond the first couple of chapters. It's kind of like driving
past a terrible accident on the highway—do you really
not slow down and look? Besides, I only review books I've finished, and
I looked forward to this review as the only fun I could derive from
this novel, and writing this wave-off a public service for others who
might stumble upon this piece of…fiction and be inclined to
pick it up.