Wednesday, February 26, 2014

LUC (Kimball Lee)

(The In the Age of Copies series, Book 1)
Kimball Lee
Fiction, Romance/Sci-Fi
** (Bad)

DESCRIPTION: In a polluted future where clones, cyborgs, and Copies outnumber Original humans, Dr. Henley Carr has pinned her career on the LUC program. Designed to be genetically superior and capable of independent thought, integrating both organic and computer mental abilities, he was supposed to be the next generation of soldier, a true warrior instead of a mindless killing machine. But word has come down to pull the plug - just when Henley realizes that she's succeeded beyond her own expectations, producing a truly sapient Copy. Worse, LUC's newfound emotions have found a wholly inappropriate, irresistible target: his creator, Dr. Henley Carr.
An eBook-exclusive title.

REVIEW: This short story disappointed me on a few levels. First off, it's not even a proper story, but an overlong introduction, ending in the middle of nowhere. I also couldn't connect with the characters, who seemed more like stock caricatures than individuals. LUC is too perfect and naive, Henley is too career-obsessed and oblivious, and her opponents are greedy and evil simply to be greedy and evil - I honestly was surprised they didn't have moustaches simply to twirl them, though one does puff on the obligatory illegal cigar as he practically cackles about his nefarious scheme. This emotional disconnect wasn't helped by the writing, which head-hops terribly and jumps scenes mid-paragraph. Though billed as a romance, I found little emotional engagement; LUC tries more than once to convince Henley of his devotion, but she's too hung up on seeing him as a creation to begin to reciprocate. The woman hardly seems capable of love, to be perfectly honest; she has a boyfriend of sorts, but admits to being happier in the lab than in the bedroom. It's more of a one-sided attempted seduction, bordering on erotica, than a romance. The story also tends to ramble, shoehorning in stretches of backstory and infodumping. Beyond this static are hints of a potentially interesting world. Unfortunately, I just couldn't engage with it.

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