Aaron Bunce's Reviews > The Spaceship Next Door

The Spaceship Next Door by Gene Doucette
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Nov 06, 2016

it was ok

I picked The Spaceship Next Door as my next read because I was feeling the sudden and inexplicable need to read some good science fiction. The concept drew me in. It is intriguing, mysterious, and promises much more. Unfortunately, that promise falls flat due to clunky delivery and bloated, exposition (egregious) heavy narrative.

Are the characters good? Yes, they are. But none of them really stuck with me afterwards. Is this because none of them did anything particularly noteworthy? Partially. But also because they get swept up and drown in disappointing story telling. I knew I was in for a long read early on, when the narrator stops and drops into a disturbingly long expose about not only the history of Sorrow Falls, but more specifically the man that founded it. All of this triggered off a character glancing at a painting. Is it backstory, and in some way necessary? Yes, but it completely pulls you out of the action, and in fact, is rather clunky in its attempt to transition back in. This trend continues, dumping unearned information on us by the truckload, every time the characters encounter something the author feels is noteworthy or interesting. Doucette doesn't use the character's dialogue organically here, which is a shame, as Annie's voice would have been perfect for the task.

At about the halfway point, I couldn't help but feel that the actual story was only getting started, even though I'd already read a substantial number of pages. If I am being honest, I was bored and almost put the book down at this point. But I persevered, noting that it did improve as the action picked up. The science in Doucette's science fiction is pretty light, just like any violence or conflict isn't particular heavy. There is an indecisive hand at play with this story. It doesn't want to go too hard with the sci-fi, just like it promises a little horror, but backs away as soon as things could have gotten wonderfully dark. Focus blurs at many points, leaving us with a rather vague, dettached understanding of how things really stand for the town in general. I never felt much fear for the characters, unfortunately, nor was I particularly drawn into the plot. I continued almost purely out of curiosity. I wanted answers to all the "why" questions this story is built off of. We are rewarded with answers to most of them, but my response to the big reveal...flat. I won't spoil it, but I was disappointed.

Doucette is obviously a good writer. The prose is good, and the dialogue feels natural and does adequately build the characters, and to a point helps to support the greater concept at work, but unfortunately, for my money, it was spoiled by the overly padded delivery. Although not a horrible read, I found that The Spaceship Next Door requires an acquired taste. The end result here is a book full of clever writing, versus an engaging story.

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Reading Progress

October 20, 2016 – Started Reading
October 20, 2016 – Shelved
October 23, 2016 –
38.0%
October 23, 2016 –
38.0% "I'm 10 chapters in and the story has uet to materialize. Too little dialogue marooned amidst seas of exposition. There is entirely too much information simply dumped on the reader here. None of it is earned, and very little kf it supports the action or the progression of the story. Interesting moments, but slow, and unfortunately, boring."
October 23, 2016 –
38.0% "I'm 10 chapters in and the story has yet to materialize. Too little dialogue marooned amidst seas of exposition. There is entirely too much information simply dumped on the reader here. None of it is earned, and very little of it supports the action or the progression of the story. Interesting moments, but slow, and unfortunately, boring."
October 27, 2016 –
85.0%
November 6, 2016 – Finished Reading

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