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Friday, September 28, 2012

Reading List: Nuclear Assault

Imholt, Timothy James. Nuclear Assault. Unknown: Zwicky Press, 2012. ISBN 978-0-615-69158-9.
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.

Posted at September 28, 2012 21:20