Friday, May 03, 2013

REVIEW: The Rebel Within

Title: The Rebel Within
Author: Lance Erlick
Genre: science fiction
Price: $5.99 (ebook) / $9.86 (paperback)
Publisher: Finlee Augare Books
ISBN: 978-0-9889968-0-9
Point of Sale: Amazon
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib

The noted SF author John Scalzi has talked about the “flying snowman” on his blog.  This is based on his wife’s viewing of the classic cartoon “Frosty The Snowman.”  When our titular snowman suddenly discovers he can fly, well, that kicked the good Mrs. Scalzi right out of the story.  Unfortunately for Lance Erlick, author of The Rebel Within, my flying snowman came very early in his book.

The book is the story of Annabelle Scott, the adopted daughter of a state senator in Tenn-Tucky, a state formed after the new Federal Union decides to do away with all males.  Annabelle or Belle for short is slated for the Security Services, the various units that enforce the no-boys-allowed policy.  All of this is fine, as far as it goes.  Then Belle goes off to boot camp to become a mech-cop, the most elite police / military unit in Federal service.  And, after the first day of training, Belle goes home for the weekend! 

I’m sorry, but you simply do not, cannot, run a boot camp by letting your trainees go home every night!  It is critical to shaping the mind of the recruit that they not go home.  They need to eat, drink, sleep and breathe whatever training you’re attempting to indoctrinate them with.  They most especially do not have side jobs as police interns, nor do they have time to appear before the local zoning board and apply for a permit to open a restaurant.  (Yes, all of the above actually happens in The Rebel Within.)

So, my snowman got up, flew around, and had a wild fling with a butterfly.  Then, boot camp consisted almost entirely of having these sixteen-year-olds engage in gladiatorial combat with each other.  What’s entirely missing from Erlick’s boot camp is any training in basic combat techniques.  The “training” seems to consist entirely of throwing kids in a ring and letting them figure it out.  No, that didn’t work for me.  I encourage anybody interested in why boot camp is hard to visit this post, and most especially watch the linked video “hidden values of hard.”

So, I’m afraid I was unimpressed with The Rebel Within.  We’ve had a string of less-than-favorable reviews here at POD People.  Hopefully that string will be broken soon.


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