Aug 29, 2011

eBook Review - The Space Between by Scott J. Robinson

scottThe Space Between is a self published title by Queensland author Scott J. Robinson.  It’s Scott’s first novel, though he has been writing for some time. 

The cover quote from Jack Dann holds true there is some serious talent displayed in The Space Between, some very smooth writing. 

It’s an ambitious type of story for a first timer, here’s the synopsis to give you an idea:



The story is set in the multiverse of Ananake and draws on myths and legends of ancient Earth, weaving a tale that moves from Sherwood Forest to distant worlds and outer space. It involves, amongst other things, magical gateways, Area 51, sentient spacecraft, a 50 thousand year old intergalactic war, elves and dwarves, wonder bras, Machu Picchu and strong coffee.

Kim thinks her day is going badly when her friend fails to meet her at Sherwood Forest. Then an annoying knight hits on her and she is stalked by an elf and a dwarf. But then the aliens attack and things really start to go down hill. Collecting strange companions along the way she finds herself in a race to stop the war with the aliens before things really get out of control.

Why is it ambitious?

I think it’s an ambitious task, because the author is playing with lots of genres, in this case fantasy and sci-fi with a little thriller and adventure/mystery thrown in.  There’s lots of good ideas in the story and I found it a little difficult to suspend my disbelief when it came to some elements of the story line.  Some of the plot I found a little convenient, as if Robinson wanted to get all his great ideas in. It was, not surprising then, that the original ideas that Scott came up with were what really drew me into the story.

What I liked

I absolutely loved the character Keeble and Scott’s take on Dwarven Culture. I could read an entire fantasy series with the ideas that he developed around the idea of Dwarven singing and rock working alone.  Most fantasy dwarves are riffs off Tolkien, bearded, live underground and mine too deep.  But Robinson gives us snippets in The Space Between, of a culture that has far more depth.  The same can be said for the development of the character Tuki, a Moai.  We get a fully developed original culture that I find refreshing.  The most enjoyable parts of the novel for me were the ones that focussed on these two characters.

What I didn’t

I couldn’t invest myself in Kim, the main character and the one from contemporary Earth. As a reader I just didn’t connect. Mel the Elf was a bit the same, though she was an “aloof” elf, these characters had nowhere near the “meat” or interest of Tuki or Keeble.

Some of the humour seemed misplaced to me.  There was some good one liners and pop culture references but I felt that this detracted from the story rather than added to it.  If we are going to suspend our disbelief and accept the premise of this story I think it’s better to go a more serious action adventure route.

Summing Up

I read a fair bit of self published stuff, enough to come across the dregs and to find some real gems too. 

Scott displays solid writing, very smooth in parts, indeed it reminded me of Dr Who or Torchwood novelizations – you accept the premise (which might be a stretch i.e. Torchwood defending humanity from alien incursions sans all help from other nations) whole heartedly and then take the events and characters seriously.

I think this one is worth a look, if you are interested in something a little different than straight fantasy or Sci-Fi - a solid start.

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