Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Vostok by Steve Alten

This book continues a sickening trend in Alten's writing.

What happened to his stories that were like watching an awesome Summer blockbuster? I understand that writers evolve over the years but this has crossed over to teasing one thing and delivering another.

I have enjoyed most of Alten's stories. I gobbled up his MEG series as quickly as I could even when they go so laughably goofy. They were so entertaining. The Loch was another thrill ride with a good dose of explainable reality.

Then we get The Grim Reaper story followed by The Omega one and everything has changed.

With Vostok it appears to promise a sequel to The Loch with another monster story. (Heck, the cover has a giant Croc head.) But what we get is a big tease - using the fan base of his sea creature tales to pump in something else.

The beginning of the book gives us the tease, "hey look I'll give you your underwater creature chase." But then it takes an abrupt turn into totally unrelated territory.

This book really shouldn't have sea creatures in it. It's about something else entirely.

Again, don't tar and feather me yet. I don't fault him for including those things in his stories. Authors can present any kind of agenda they wish. And it's not like Alten is a bad writer. I enjoy his books. He has tremendous skill!

I'm just worried at the direction this is going. Vostok is only a sequel because it has the same character from the Loch. It's painfully connected to the MEG series because of shoehorning in the main character from those books.

If the next MEG book is layed out and presented in the same way as Vostok was, I'm through with Alten. Which is a shame. He had a great niche and a fantastic storytelling ability.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Rebel Press.


SteveAlten said...

From the author:

In writing The LOCH, I penned a story about a clever marine biologist's personal quest to resolve a 70-year old mystery. As in all my books, a ton of research went into the novel, which served to flesh out the storyline.

The sequel, VOSTOK takes Zachary Wallace (yes, using the same characters DOES constitute a sequel) to a far different mysterious body of water. Lake Vostok's facts are mind-boggling. A 15 million year old liquid lake, sealed beneath 2.5 miles of ice, harboring life that can be traced to the Miocene era (where Megalodons and other creatures dominated). Two islands are present in this massive body of water - and something else - a mysterious object exuding a magnetic field off the scale.

Those are the facts. And from those facts, I wove a thriller that incorporates ALL of those facts.

Sure, I could have made it a simple monster tale (been there, done that), but that magnetic field and its implications were too powerful to ignore. Fifteen million years ago, SOMETHING landed/crash-landed in Lake Vostok, and it's still active.

I never believed in ETs or UFOs until I watched The Disclosure Project. The evidence is hard to dispute. The founder of The DISCLOSURE PROJECT is Dr. Steven Greer, the foremost authority on ETs. He and I spent several days together during the writing prccess and the stuff he shared is frightening in its implications. I filtered nothing in using it in Vostok.

There are always going to be critics - that goes with the territory. It's no coincidence Vostok's harshest critics were also OMEGA PROJECT, The SHELL GAME and GRIM REAPER's harshest critics -- hard-core Republicans who are climate-change deniers. And yet VOSTOK is not political, nor is it about climate change. It does include FACTUAL DETAILS on how clean energy technologies have been black-shelved and patents denied so that those in power keep society addicted to fossil fuels -- guilty as charged. Still, that info takes up about 4 scattered pages of a 400 page novel.

I have no doubt the reviewer lashed out because he doesn't want to be reminded that we're facing serious problems that have wrongly been politicized by oil oligarchs and the Koch Bros.

I write to both entertain and to inform. Unfortuunately, a few reviewers get upset when the latter gets interpreted as a political message.

Survival is not a political message.

--Steve Alten

PR said...

Thanks for replying to this review. I'm not sure if you read it though. I didn't write anything about politics in my review as that didn't come into play when I read VOSTOK.

As far as why I "lashed out": your belief is wrong. I have no political allegiance to political parties, oil oligarchs, or the Koch Bros.

I wrote that authors are free to pursue whatever agenda they wish to convey. Just be mindful that there will be readers who might not enjoy the journey as it is and then write about it.

A negative review does not a "hard-core Republican", "cllimate-change denier" make.