What I gleaned about the story: John Irish is a has-been porn star. Once the king of the industry, now even Ron Jeremy won’t return his calls. So it is with a last gasp of hope that he turns up for a mysterious job interview at a strange warehouse on the edge of LA. And the job they offer him is right out of this world.
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Analysis: It was a nice detail to have John meet up with “two nubile waitress-by-days,” but that’s not how you pluralize a compound word. Just as he may once have entertained a roomful of “sisters-in-law,” this current pair of bimbos should properly be “waitresses-by-day.” It’s a minor beef, and anywhere else in the book I’d probably have let it pass, or If it had come up in dialogue, but as I’ve said before, the first page is holy. It’s the place where the author is still on trial for basic competence. So on that page, I’m a hanging judge.
Note: I’m at the end of the opening scene and it has been, without a doubt, the seediest opening I’ve ever read to a science fiction story. While it’s very much not my cuppa tea, the writing so far has been fairly tight (pluralization issue notwithstanding) and I confess to a morbid fascination with where this space-porn might be heading.
Details: I’ve noticed that the scenes so far have been tightly focused. They don’t meander. The authors pick a single moment, hits his marks, and then it’s on to the next moment. A bit like film work, actually. And I mean that in a good way.
Details: There are a few humorous moments to balance the sleazy ones. It isn’t bust-a-gut funny, but there have been a few wry smiles, and even that much doesn’t happen often for me in IOD.
Note: Grumble. Six or seven paragraphs is a long time to maintain past perfect mode. Over that long a passage, it gets to be a bit of a burden, slowing down the read and making the voice feel more distant. As a general rule, only the first two or three sentences should use it, or the first paragraph, and then you should slip back into simple past until you get near the end of the flashback. It’s not a big problem, but I mention it because, in the absence of other problems, it’s one of the more conspicuous issues I’ve seen so far.
Note: Mars needs men? Seriously? I pondered whether or not to give this a WTF, because other than the male-female reversal, this is such a hackneyed old story cliché. But in the end, I decided that it was perfectly in keeping with the traditions of porn story-telling, so it’s part of the genre package. Hence I made a note here, but no WTF.