on 13 January 1999
Jan Clark's Prodigy is a first time novel from an author who shows a few signs of promise. However, what is mostly there is inane space opera that appears to be overly influenced by various Star Trek episodes. What you get is something that might well work as a script for a SF movie: lots of action scenes with anti-matter spheres flying around interspersed with cuts to intimate scenes of a developing interspecies marriage. There are some evil villains (the Procyons) and some enigmatic but likeable Booleans, whose dialogue represents one of the few fresh touches. The problem is that in a novel that is more than mindless drivel you look for depth: there is none. To bring a novel to the screen, the scriptwriter usually has to simplify. No such process would be required here. In the end I made my own cuts, skipping paragraphs and then pages, trying to get on with this Star Warrian story, without the benefit of visual effects.
The human heroine is a good character and her marriage to a Centaurian provides most of the even slightly intriguing material. There is a bit of good stuff here, every now and again. But finding it in the midst of so much unoriginal prose is a frustrating task, leaving this reader with a strong sense of possibilities unrealized.
on 24 October 1998
While somewhat predictable, the plot has enough twists and turns to keep the reader interested. The style is open and refreshing with Ms. Clark doing a credible job on the dialog.
Before the end of the first chapter there are several plots and sub-plots in place for Captain Rieka Degahv to contest in until the end and that is where the story line weakens. However, the ending is sufficient for the Hollywood crowd and the stroy is maintained until then.
I will be looking for the next Jan Clark novel.
on 12 May 1998
A novel set in a parallel universe in which all semblance of logic has been sucked into a black hole. Thin plot with an unlikable, hormonally imbalanced protagonist and trite scenes, including "the old knock out the guard by swinging the bathroom stall door into him trick". The book should be reset in the turn of the century, with steam ships instead of startships, and moved to the romance rack.