Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Is Distant Cousin for you?

No book is for everyone. Even a fun story that a wide variety of readers have enjoyed will not please all readers. Elsewhere on this blog there is a post on the subject of unhappy readers, but this new post is prompted by yet one more dissatisfied reader.

Basically, his complaint is that Distant Cousin is "barely science fiction." In the earlier post mentioned above, another reader complains that she wants to know more about Ana's home planet, that the story does not devote enough space to that. Both these readers are absolutely correct. The first gentleman must prefer "hard" science fiction. The last hard sci-fi novel I read (which I enjoyed), featured people zipping around the galaxy--or maybe it was across galaxies--involved in a battle to the death with an alien civilization, speaking over some kind of communication system to other people millions of light years away as if they were next door, and, most memorably, attractive female blue lizards with kissable lips.

If that type of thing is what you want when you begin a book you think will be science fiction, then Distant Cousin is not for you. Distant Cousin is set on Earth, in the present day, and the only alien in the story is a young human woman who has found her way back to the planet from which her people originated. One reader wrote "It's always a pleasure to read a book where the character is so fleshed out that I feel I would know him/her if I met them on the street. Not only would I know them, I'd have to invited them to lunch so we could chat!"

The truth is, if you could actually meet Ana Darcy, she would probably grow on you slowly. You would find her approachable and sweet, but not overtly friendly. She's essentially a very private person. If you could know her over time, you might come to understand and appreciate some of her more extraordinary qualities. This is one of the pleasures of a novel that real life seldom offers: getting to know the characters from the inside out. Another reader observed that Distant Cousin was less science fiction than mainstream literature, informed with a bit of scientific speculation. Other readers have called it "sci-fi lite," an adventure, or a romance. We do not disagree.

To the unhappy reader who wanted Star Trek-quality science fiction, we apologize. To those who might enjoy seeing themselves--us, the natives of planet Earth--through the eyes of someone from another planet, and who would enjoy the flights of imagination that might result, we think you might be happy with your Distant Cousin. If you read on a Kindle (or shop at, you can sample it for free.

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