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Book Review

Book Cover

Star Matters II


Author: David John West
Publisher: Matador
390 pages
RRP: £9.99
ISBN: 978 1 83859 162 5
Publication Date: 28 November 2019

Star Matters II (390 pages) is the self-published second novel in David John West’s science fiction trilogy.

The basic premise is that Earth, having achieved a level of technological advancement has become an object of interest to two other human, extra-terrestrial races, the Gayan’s and the Spargars.

In this novel first contact is quickly approaching. Both races have been on the planet for some time, the Gayan’s to help, guide and surreptitiously provide technological advancement, while the Spargars, in their grey protective suits are the source of many sittings and conspiracy theories.

The two races represent diametrically opposing views of the universe and how evolution should unfurl. The Gayan are a deeply spiritual race who are able to transmute their souls from one incarnation to another, whilst retaining their memories. If they are between bodies they are called, I kid you not, solely-souls.

The Spargars are a highly centralised and stratified society, led by the part biological and part machine, Omeyn MuneMei. I had thought that by making them diametrically opposite that the author would use this to examine the choice that humankind still faces, to either take a more spiritual journey into the future or to develop an increasingly invasive technological symbiosis with our machines. If that was the intention it was buried by the novel's faults.

I have to be honest and say that I just did not get on with this novel and it took me a while to work it out. The reason is that the novel does not have one massive error, it suffers from a death of a myriad of small cuts.

The first problem is the use of language and by that I mean sentence construction and its intention to convey information.

“David Harrier had returned early in the evening to his apartment in Westminster after driving back from Cambridge to Westminster…”

In the story we already know where he was and with whom, so everything written after the first Westminster is redundant and this is not the only example.

One of the ways to distinguish characters, one from another, is their speech patterns, the tempo and types of language used. However, nearly all the characters in the story have the same pattern of speech. Few, if any, contractions and a very formal way of talking. A lot of the characters speak in a way that humans just don’t and it just makes you feel that you’re reading a speech, rather than listening to a conversation.

Now, I don’t want to be too harsh, it is a difficult time out there for established writers, let alone one trying to make his first mark. Most of the good self-publishing houses offer the services of an editor, something I think would have benefitted this book.


Charles Packer

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