The Orion Plan by Mark Alpert

25663788

So, at the risk of spoiling everything, here’s what I gathered from this book:

Collectivist, hive-mind alien slime mold sends an AI probe to Earth, at first, to make initial contact, etc.  A former NASA scientist, Dr. Sarah Pooley sees the probe about to crash land in NYC and rushes off to the closet Air Force base.  A homeless guy, Joe Graham, has been sleeping near where the probe lands.  Dorothy…can’t remember her last name, but she is a cancer-stricken former vicar who distributes food to the homeless.  And the author’s weapon against evil whitey, Dominican wannabe gang banger Emilio Martinez comes across Joe and the probe and decides he wants to make some money off of it.

All but Dr. Pooley are infected by the probe, and all are used by the probe’s intelligent software program, of which it calls itself the Emissary, to prepare for the resurrection of the alien beings that created the probe — the alien slime mold, or the First People.

Of course, the US military is on the hunt for it, and of course, every member of the Air Force and the Army is stupid and wants to blow shit up.  Of course, Emilio is portrayed as a hero – hell, the alien slime mold thinks he’s awesome – all the while going on and on about evil whitey and how he wants to get revenge on them.  Emilio comes across as really fucking racist to me, not a hero, but whatever.

The Emissary chose Joe Graham to be its human translator, but as it turns out, the Emissary lied to him.  They didn’t come in peace.  They came to colonize the planet, just as they did to another planet in its solar system, because the Second People from the Second Planet (battle worms, basically) annihilated the First Planet.  So the probe comes to Earth to prepare our planet as their new home.

At first, I was really enjoying this.  I started to get suspicious with the introduction of Emilio, the junior Trinitarios and their hatred for white people.  Hell, there’s even a gay scene between Emilio and another gang member.  It’s got everything liberals love:

1.  Smart female doctor who basically predicts everything the alien does.
2.  Stupid US general that is hot-headed and chauvinistic.
3.  Heroic brown-skinned people stickin’ it to whitey
4.  Aliens that are superior because they’re collectivists trapped in a giant hive-mind.
5.  The aliens invading and colonizing Earth much in the same way eeeevil whitey did to the Americas.
6.  The allusion to the notion that humans deserve to be rendered extinct because of all the horrible things they’ve done to the planet via pollution (but for the aliens to make Earth into their home by changing the ecosystem…nuthin’ wrong with that).

Jesus people.  Can you try to be a little more original?  I loved all the science aspects – the bioengineering, the nanotechnology, etc.  It’s all very good, but there’s too much SJW-ness in it for me to ever reread it.  That is disappointing, but not surprising.  I also have to note that at least Emilio’s crew were horrified at being forced to kill using those particle-beam weapons embedded in their arms.  They are just pawns, kind of like how “people of color” are today – nothing more than the pawns of power hungry white Democrats.  Only, at least the junior Trinitarios know it and cannot help it.  Can’t say the same about these “people of color” Democrats.  Of course, Emilio doesn’t give a shit if whitey has to run for their lives, but when he sees “his” people running for their lives along with the hated whitey, then, all of a sudden, La Madre is a lyin’ ass bitch.

Who are the racists again?  Cuz it ain’t whitey.

I find this kind of stuff to be incredibly inspiring.  I love reading the opposition’s stuff.  It keeps my mind sharp, and gives me more motivation to finish my own novel, of which will probably challenge a great deal of liberal orthodoxy.

Story of Your Life

I just finished this story, written by Ted Chiang, and just in time for the movie it’s based on, Arrival. I thought it was fascinating — an alien first contact story told via the perspective of a linguist who is attempting to document and intrepret the aliens’ language.

I am writing my own alien story, and felt totally intimidated, because my story reads like an emotional mess. I dunno. I liked it though, but the end bummed me out, only because the aliens arrived, spoke with humans, and then left without telling the humans much about themselves.

The way the heptapods thought was reflected in the main character’s narration. The work Louise did with the heptapods was peppered with Louise’s memories of her daughter. Turns out that Gary, the physicist she was working with, was the father of her daughter, and that they conceived her after the aliens had left. I thought that was pretty cool.

The very last line was awesome, too. But I would have liked to know more about the aliens.

Anyway, I am looking forward to Arrival, and I am definitely going to see it.

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

The Book of Strange New Things

It was great. Beatrice’s loss of faith kind of annoyed me, and I knew that it was going to happen, but I think it happened too quick, and too late into the story. If a bunch of hoodlum brats were torturing my cat, I’d have been really upset (more like devastated and catatonic, because I love cats), but I don’t know if I’d have been all, “there’s no God.”

Not that I haven’t had my faith tested, because I have, and I am ashamed to admit it. I lost my faith for incredibly shallow and vain, prideful reasons.

But anyway, I loved it. I stayed up late to finish it, however, it left me wanting more and I had a lot of questions about Oasis, its inhabitants, and the bizarre environment.

This planet is supposed to be humid and tropical, but there’s no tropical plants. There’s hardly any animals. There’s no mountains or large bodies of water. I don’t know how the author could have conceived of such a massively boring world. I plan on writing a novel of my own that takes place on another planet, and boy do I have big plans for this planet. Exotic plants and animals, fantastic terrain, majestic mountains, etc.

The Oasans are so sweet and nice, and I thought it sad that Peter decided to leave them, although his wife clearly needed him. He never really lost his faith in God, and he never gave up on her, and was even willing to stay with her even if she had permanently turned her back on God. That’s far more than what I could do, given that I’ve had a falling out with a friend over this very matter.

Anyway, some reviewers have complained about the “proselytizing” and “preachiness” of this book. I don’t know if the author is a Christian – I have heard of his other novels, and I had started reading Under the Skin after seeing the film adaptation starring Scarlett Johansson. However, he knows his stuff as far as Christianity goes. I mean, the characters are never caricatures – they seemed real to me, although simply Christian, not cursing or whatnot (although Peter does let loose a curse when one of the aliens might die). Most secular authors just know nothing about Christianity, and often write characters that are these ridiculous parodies of Christians – street preachers bellowing about hell and damnation and how evil the world is. Oh, and they can’t resist writing Christian characters that are total hypocrites. No, Bea and Peter are not hypocrites, they are not hyper judgmental and they don’t constantly tell people they’re going to hell. They don’t push their religion on other people, but they don’t hide their faith either.

So there was a lot of talk about God, the Bible, the nature of Jesus, etc. Of course there would be – the story is told from the perspective of Peter the pastor. It’s not first person narrative, but it is told from his perspective, and Peter’s opinions aren’t necessarily the author’s opinions. He did a great job in writing a realistic Christian character and I guess some people don’t like actual, authentic Christians rather than the ridiculous caricature created by the mainstream media.

So if you hate Christianity portrayed in an even remotely flattering light, this novel isn’t for you. You might be delighted at Beatrice writing “there’s no god” after the torture of their cat, but Peter says no such thing. Sorry.

Anyways, as I said earlier, I really liked it. I wanted to know more about the Oasans – did they have a form of government? Were there more of them on the planet, or was the settlement their total population? Did they have any of their own creation myths prior to the arrival of the humans? Why did they look the way they did? Why did only some choose to be Christians?

This novel is really about long distance relationships and how they are tested, and how they endure. Unfortunately, we are left without knowing if Peter and Beatrice really patched things up. So much left unsaid, but the whole experience with the Oasans was just amazing.

Just a quick note about the Oasans. They like the New Testament better than the old testament. Jesus and forgiveness resonates with them more than any other story in the Bible.

I wonder if this is some kind of insight into their society and how they view themselves. Have they, as a society, done something bad, and are they in need of forgiveness from a savior?

I wonder.