Book reviews / Science Fiction

Book review: Spaceman of Bohemia

I’m sitting here grimacing at this stupid book. For the last 20 or thirty pages I was pretty much sitting with an expression of “what the fuck” and shaking my head at paragraphs of awful prose.

It reminds me why I have basically just retreated to reading books written by women as they have plots and interesting characters and generally aren’t self-indulgent wank (exception for Book of Joan, which I did find truly terrible).

So the ‘plot’ if you’d like to grace it with such a name is about Jakub, an astrophysics professor who gets sent to space to investigate a weird cloud near Venus. That sounds like it could be an interesting book, except it immediately digresses into his wife leaving him and a giant fucking space spider who likes Nutella showing up and talking endless drivel.

But then half of it is about his father being complicit with Soviet oppression and torture, about his grandfather, and about his relationship with his wife. It’s a bit odd? It also makes the whole scenario incredibly improbable in the first place (giant space spider aside), you just wouldn’t send someone like that up to space. He was already a bit fucked up and just got more fucked up in space.  And then there is even the more improbable twist at the end. Which at that point wasn’t so much of a twist as OH MY GOD JUST LET THIS END, THIS IS RIDICULOUS.

I suppose it’s trying to be deep and profound but to me, it just comes across as incoherent and to be frank, quite unnecessarily crude? There’s just so many references to body parts or bodily fluids, for no reason that I can really discern, which just distract you from what story there is. Why the fuck does he have to have a random abscessed tooth? I feel like it was to add to the pointless suffering of the whole god damn book. I mean, I feel like I’ve just pointlessly suffered through reading it.

Basically, if I hadn’t known it was written by a man, I would have guessed it pretty early on, if only on the basis of Jakub obsessing over his wife’s body parts.  The character is so utterly selfish and a bit of a prick? Like, why I am I reading a book about a selfish prick in space who talks to a giant space spider? Ugh.

And there’s no real resolution, everything just kind of fizzles out. It’s so unsatisfying.  The main action in space kind of ends about two thirds of the way through and then it’s this terrible slog through Jakub’s bullshit. Sooooooo many words with soooooo little point. All trying to sound immensely profound but just so fucking terrible.

What was the random detour to talk about Jan Hus all about? Like what? I love Reformation history but even I was a bit annoyed by that pointless digression.

So fine, maybe other people might like it because they like being confused, grossed out or identify with self-obsessed assholes, but not me.

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