Genocide (Aliens, Book 4)
by David Bischoff
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Aliens Novels: Book 4, Genocide / 0-553-56371-8
"Genocide", the fourth book in the Aliens series (after "Earth Hive", "Nightmare Asylum", and "The Female War"), marks a switch from the Perry authors of the first three books (Steve and S.D.) to author David Bischoff and to a whole new set of characters. The switch is not beneficial to the series, and I will say up front that this is one of the worst, most poorly written novels I have ever read. With that out of the way, let's begin.
One thing needs to be clear up front: if you are hoping to read a book involving the aliens, this is NOT the book for you. This novel is 281 pages long and outside of a quick and dirty battle in the first 20 pages of the book, you will not see an alien until page 200. Not a single alien battle, not a single drop of adrenaline until page two-oh-oh.
Also, it needs to be pointed out: if you enjoy the aliens series for the fan details and the world building, this is not the book for you. Almost every possible detail fleshed out in the previous three books is completely contradicted here, from the major (babies now need 'royal jelly' to become queens) to the minor (Hiveworld's gravity is now 0.9 times that of Earth's, instead of 1.5, for no reason whatsoever). Most of the changes are unnecessary and repetitive (the term "royal jelly" is used almost once per page), and a lot of little details, like scientists calling the aliens "bugs" instead of "drones" just makes this book feel like it was written by a teenage boy.
Speaking of, it's time to cover what the 200 non-alien filled pages talk about. If you ever hoped to hear painfully corny references to "Ghostbusters" and "Superman" in a futuristic novel set after an apocalypse has wiped all of Earth's culture and most of its inhabitants away, this is the novel for you! If you look for terms like "hunky", "hump", and "horny bunnies" in your alien novels, then look no further. Note that there is not *actual* sex in this novel, because sex is for grown-ups and this novel was not written, apparently, by a grown-up. There is, instead, a lot of juvenile 'locker room' talk of sex, a lot of juvenile sexual angst, and a totally realistic angry feminist who secretly likes it when men inappropriately feel her up, because then she has the dual pleasure of decking them AND knowing that she's fulfilled her purpose as a woman by being hawt. Oh, yes, and every woman is described as having a smoking hot rack. As in - and this is a direct quote - "She was a hot, big-busted brunette with her spangled dress spray-painted on."
I really cannot stress enough how truly bad the writing in this novel is. I would regularly stop and read passages out loud so that everyone could groan and accuse me of making this stuff up. It's really that bad. I mean, the *only* description supplied for the alien queen's augmented guards is: "It was big and it was fast, and it was mean. The next one was even bigger, and even faster." Oh, yeah, I feel like I'm actually *there*, what with thrilling details like that.
We trudge on to the plot. Follow me here: The pharmaceutical companies on Earth are using alien royal jelly to create a new kind of steroid. There's a lot of profit in it, and even the military is interested in its applications, but the jelly is running out. So the plan is to gather up a bunch of marines and send them off to Hiveworld to collect a bunch of jelly. For a company who *literally* wants to sell drugs to kids. We've gone from an "Earth in danger of annihilation" plot in the first book, an "innocent people are being murdered by a madman" plot in the second book, and a "we must risk our lives on one last long shot to save Earth" plot in the third book, to this. Drugs for kids and athletes, and the marines might die in the process.
I'm not sure why we're supposed to care that the marines might die, seeing as how they seem to deserve it. The ship captain plays crossword puzzles rather than steering the ship, the commanding officer fails to point out the obvious that if the scientists on board wanted to experiment with creating an alien queen, they could have waited until they were back on Earth rather than dragging it along (note: absolutely nothing exciting or interesting comes from this side-plot), and the grunt marines include such characters as the "Jilted Girl Who Pretends Aliens Look Like Her Ex-Boyfriend" and the "Fun Loving Guy Who Brings His Saxophone For The Trip". Not only does he bring his saxophone on the trip, he takes in on the drop ship down to Hiveworld, although that might be a spoiler, since it's his clever "throwing the saxophone at an alien" that saves the day at the end of the novel. I really wish I was joking about that.
Did I mention that, while the marines are surrounded by thousands of hostile aliens, with only an extremely new and experimental force field protecting them, they spread their food out on the ground to have a fun picnic? Did I mention they set up a game of horseshoes? They also stroll leisurely through the hive of the Queen Mother, discussing such things as their personal life, their sex life, and the various moral issues arising from this drug collecting scheme. When one of them *does* die from the inevitable alien ambush, I was just relieved that maybe they'd shut up now.
This book is one of the worst books I've ever read. The writing is terrible, the alien fan material is flat-out wrong (based on the other books in the same series, books that this novel is supposed to be a direct sequel to), and the action genuinely does not exist. You will never feel any suspense while reading this novel, simply because it isn't here. Pass on this book, and go back to the last three novels and to Wilks and Billie.
~ Ana Mardoll
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