Saturday, 22 August 2015

Review: Alien Contact For Idiots

Normally I shy away from science fiction. It's not that I dislike the genre (I even have plans to write a sci-fi trilogy one day), it's just that I don't feel the pull of the genre that so many others do. Maybe I don't have that connection or understanding to really appreciate it. That being said, every so often I stumble across a novel that reminds me why it's fun to read the genre every once in a while. A few days ago, a fellow Weekend Writing Warrior author named Ed Hoornaert contacted me offering to Beta my coming novel Crimson Sky in exchange for reading and reviewing his novels Alien Contact For Idiots (today's review) and Alien Contact For Kid Sisters (next week's review). I'm always happy to review the work of other independent authors, especially since I know that WeWriWa has some of the best. So trust me when I say that Alien Contact For Idiots is one of the funnest books I've read this year. It's endearing, heartfelt, and complex. It shows how diversity and responsibility can clash, and how we can overcome it with our minds (and hearts) intact.

Perfect models for Ell and Tro, and the text is a great parallel for the differences in characters/races.


When American Indians from the future move their entire island nation to our Earth, Ell Harmon makes the first alien contact. The take-charge Seattle biologist has yearned to find intelligent aliens, and her dream comes true when she meets Prince Tro Eaglesbrood.

Ell and Tro are quarantined together, while the fearful world wonders whether the newcomers are friends or foes, neighbors or conquerors. Ell knows Tro is honorable and Kwadrans are peaceful … but how to convince the world?

They broadcast a show, which she flippantly titles Alien Contact for Idiots. Every day, Ell interviews Tro and tries to humanize Kwadrans. The show is wildly popular, and the romance developing on-screen between Ell and Tro reassures the world. If a smart woman like her can fall for a Kwadran, they must not be monsters, right?

But Tro’s duty lies with his people, and soon that duty threatens not only the show but Ell’s heart -- as well as the peace and survival of our world.

From the moment Ell and Tro meet, there is undeniable chemistry. The dialogue is crisp and easily my favorite part of the novel. Because the Kwadrans are from another reality, their manner of speech is vastly different from our own, and some of the most entertaining moments were when the human characters corrected the speech of their alien guests.

Despite looking just like us, there are many differences between both cultures and Alien Contact For Idiots covers them perfectly. I can't think of many books that cover the possibility of contracting disease from a being from another planet. It's an angle that's carefully thought out and masterfully placed into the story, effectively causing the entire story to unfold. Nothing Hoornaert wrote or plotted was done so without reason, something I adore in a story. Every time I found myself wondering "okay, what about this person/problem," it was addressed in the very next chapter.

The characters themselves were wonderful and the highlight of the story for me. Ell is a great female lead, honest and fiery, if a little clumsy. Her sense of wonder always made me smile, and reminded me that the dreams we hoped for as children still have the chance to come true. Tro was equally as strong. He had a lot of depth to him, and despite the tension between him and Ell at some points, I could never stay mad at him for his actions. His responsibilities burdened him and caused friction and confusion within his heart and mind. Definitely a character worth swooning over.

While I liked the ending, it was almost a little too sweet. Don't get my wrong, I'm always a Happily-Ever-After girl, and this is just personal preference, but it felt like a little much at the end. Still, that's my own opinion. I like stories that end on the note that trouble is still on the horizon. Then again, I don't usually seek out sci-fi romances, so for all I know this is how they're supposed to end.

Hoornaert is definitely a talented writer. He has a great eye for connecting story points and creating characters that are both realistic and entertaining. I truly enjoyed reading this novel and am excited for what the sequel will bring. If you like aliens, comedy, connection, and Romeo and Juliet romances, Alien Contact For Idiots is not a book you want to miss. 


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