Cover for 'Beyond Uranus'

Far from being a guide to posterior lovemaking, Beyond Uranus by Stewart Bruce is a book about a school teacher who goes to space and eats pizza and beer. It bills itself as a comedy.
It was the most interesting, least stupid looking book I could find for free on Smashwords this week. Its premise and title reminded of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy–one of my favorites–and it’s not necessarily fair, but you know any sci-fi comedy is going to be measured against Douglas Adam’s iconic work.
I stopped on page ten as our main character proceeded to smugly dominate everyone in the world in his favorite videogame. I stopped because, at this time there’s no hint of a plot and the humor is falling a little flat. Our main character gets only one chance to show his wit in a confrontation with his boss, and while the scene is amusing, it’s never really funny.
This is probably the thing I rag on most among books I review, but there’s nothing to invest me. The book opens detailing this character’s boring life. It’s instantly relatable, but if I want to hear about someone’s boring life I’d call my mom and ask how her day was.

Let’s give in to the inevitable and compare this with the beginning of Hitchiker’s Guide. The two books start very similarly, with the main character awakening in his boring life. But Hitchiker’s has a prologue with two little words–“stupid catastrophe“–which PROMISES US something exciting is going to happen.
Adams goes further, interspersing his main character’s boring morning with glimpses of one such stupid catastrophe which his character doesn’t notice until it’s too late.
Bruce however falls victim to another common author pitfall–presenting an ordinary day in the life, while Adams took the ‘day in the life’ and turned it on its head within the first few pages, hooking the readers.

Bruce is a competent writer, and his prose is free of errors and completely coherent, it just didn’t promise me it was going anywhere. He is at least literate, so his writing is bound to improve.

What did you think? Leave a comment and let me know!


3 thoughts on “FREEBOOK FRIDAY: Beyond Uranus

  1. Thanks for your not ungracious and constructive comments. This was our first attempt at writing and your comments will help us improve.

  2. I’m glad! As a first novel, this isn’t bad at all–I actually looked at a hardbound book in a bookstore which included, within the first paragraph, a simlie likening the descent of carrion birds upon prey to “a swarm of vicious bats” (it was not a comedy).
    And this was a book published through traditional channels.

    • That was a little tangential, but to clarify–your book was better written than a traditionally published work of hardbound fiction from Barnes and Noble.

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