Abducticon by Alma Alexander

I wrote this review for the LibraryThing Early Review program.

ABDUCTICON was a fun romp sort of read. It was beautiful in its simplicity and lack of complication. It set out to be a fun tribute to science fiction and the surrounding con culture and I think it did just that. Of course, the lack of complexity did make for some convenient moments and the simplicity sometimes meant that the novel didn’t delve as deeply as I like in my science fiction and occasionally over-simplified, but these things didn’t significantly take away from my enjoyment of the book. I accepted it for what it was, and it was good fun.

I like to think the author kept a spreadsheet of every reference she made in the novel (how else would one keep track of which ones had already been made?) and I would LOVE to see that spread sheet. I KNOW I missed quite a few of these Easter eggs, but the ones I did find filled me with no small amount of delight. Sometimes those inside jokes and references feel like they’re slyly sneaked in by the author with undertones of smug self-satisfaction, but I felt none of that here. They were there for the pure enjoyment of the reader AND author. This was much of the charm of the novel. We were all here together to have a BLAST.

While much of the fan culture felt very familiar, this was the place the book suffered the grossest of over-simplifications and I think it would have benefited from just a touch more complexity in describing the types of people who staffed and went to conventions. I think the author did the book a disservice by painted too-broad strokes in that area and spending more time than necessary detailing things like some of the meetings behind the scenes of the con.

This problem lead to some unfortunately poor characterization and a confusion of who the main characters were. I would have told you the main characters were two ENTIRELY different people after the first few chapters than I would now. I was especially disappointed in Andie Mae’s end point and Angel Silverman as a whole (and her husband’s treatment of her). I feel like both those women could have used a little more attention in the novel. Also, some relationships weren’t particularly clear because of this broad-strokes characterization.

B (good, simple fun; charming fan-culture/scifi tribute; Easter eggs a joy | over-broad simplifications in character, too much unnecessary detail in plot; poor characterization in a couple key instances)

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