REVIEW: The Wrong Reflection by Gillian Bradshaw
REVIEW SUMMARY: A predictable mediocre piece of fiction mis-marketed as sf
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: An amnesiac car crash victim does not believe he is who people say he is.
PROS: A quick read.
CONS: Mis-marketed as SF; predictable plot; silly love story sub-plot.
BOTTOM LINE: Look elsewhere for science fiction.
Burned again by the publisher. Well, sort of. Let me explain…
Two years ago I read a book called K-PAX by Gene Brewer. The book was labeled as science fiction but it is somewhat of a stretch categorize it as sf. K-PAX deals primarily with the relationship between a doctor and a patient who claims to be from another planet. Regardless of whether or not the patient is an alien, I find it misleading to label that book as science fiction. Even so, I thought K-PAX was an excellent fiction novel and rated it a 4 out of 5.
This week I picked up The Wrong Reflection by Gillian Bradshaw. It, too, was labeled as science fiction. The premise was interesting enough: A car crash victim suffers amnesia and has no recollection of his name (Paul Anderson) or what he does for a living (marketing director for Stellar Research, an energy company). The only thing he does know for sure is that, contrary to all the evidence that says so, he is definitely not Paul Anderson. His rescuer, Sandra Murray, helps him uncover the truth.
Much to my lament, science did not enter this story until the halfway point. It was a straight present-day mystery story. Is he Paul Anderson or isn?t he? Why does he become physically ill when he begins to remember his past? I found myself not particularly caring what the outcome was. It got a little better at the halfway point.
SPOILER WARNING AND EXPLANATION
Now, I have a rule about giving away major plot points in reviews. It ticks me off when others do it without warning so I try to avoid it myself entirely. But I am having a hard time classifying this book as sf, even with science introduced in the second half. I will continue by giving away the mystery that dominates the first half of the book. You have been warned.
The body of Paul Anderson, we learn in the second half, was inhabited by a creature made up of electro-magnetic energy. This being, who goes by the name Wavevector, has bestowed upon Stellar Research a groundbreaking formula for controlling and producing energy that is to be shared by all humanity. Wavevector?s motive is not altruistic; he merely wants to observe how biological life forms go about investigating such discoveries.
The reason I have trouble classifying this as science fiction is because that background is about all the science that can be found. The focus of the book is the mystery (first half) and then the protection of Wavevector from the stereotypical megalomaniacal corporate director (second half). The science is used mainly as story background and is not integral to the story. Wavevector could just as easily have been Good Guy Scientist out to share this groundbreaking discovery with humanity.
Now that I got that off my chest, let me continue the review of this general fiction book.
As fiction goes, this book was mediocre. The characters were likable (or enjoyably detestable) but sometimes annoying. The secondary love story between Sandra and Wavevector was just ridiculous. The story covered all logical aspects of the situation but the plot was predictable. On the plus side, the writing style was easily digestible and quick and I thought the book was worth finishing.
This is Bradshaw?s first foray away from historical fiction, but this is not science fiction as the book cover claims.
Filed under: Book Review
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