Update 2: The Worst Book I’ve Read in 2020

Cover Art for How I Saved a Planet by Stephen Quatro

If you’ve missed the original post, check this out first: https://victoriarmendes.wordpress.com/2020/08/30/the-worst-book-ive-read-in-2020/

Also here’s Update 1: https://victoriarmendes.wordpress.com/2020/08/31/update-1-the-worst-book-ive-read-in-2020/

The opening of Chapter D is the first time we see Editor’s Notes pop up because of the abrupt style change to something akin to Dr. Seuss (at least for the first few lines). I kinda wish the entire chapter had continued on in this manner because it was quite fun. Later on in this chapter we begin to get a bit more world building which may or may not count as social commentary after Qarl buys himself and MC a meal:

Qarl took another bite of burger. “The government taxes us by giving us coins. Shop owners set low prices so that they will receive the least amount of coins possible. We as consumers haggle up to get rid of as much as we can. That’s how it works around here.” He stuffed his face hungrily as we continued weaving through the crowds

It’s certainly an interesting way of doing things.

Later on as Qarl takes MC to the Queen they’re barred from entry to the castle because Qarl has left his security checkpoint credentials at home. It’s at this point where I started to call Qarl Karen in my mind:

The speaker crackled once more. “Speak the twister or go away.” Brenda sure was insistent. Qarl rolled his eyes and released a frustrated sigh. … but this hag …

I’m not sure if we’re supposed to start disliking Qarl here, because the way it’s written it makes me think we’re supposed to be taking Qarl’s side in all this, but Brenda just does her job and does it well and as a result is called a hag for it. Boooooo.

Ohhhhhhh boy and here comes Chapter DD; buckle up because this is where we get a massive exposition dump, boob jokes, and some “dysleqsia” jokes.

…qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmmnbvcxzlkjhgfdsapoiuytrewq… Sorry, but that’s about what was running through my mind as I gazed in shock at the Queen. I certainly hadn’t expected the utter lack of clothing. She was a beautiful woman, to be sure, with gentle eyes, flawless skin, and just about the most perfect breasts I had ever seen. She was humanlike in most aspects of her appearance, but from the place where her nipples would have been emanated two bright points of light, like stars shining from her breasts. The Queen cast a truly regal figure as she stood poised before us, her glittering cape draping off her bare shoulders and around her wide hips.

Later there is some actual social commentary on how sex need not be tied to the amount of clothing one does or doesn’t wear — and then shoots itself in the foot because, well, you’ll see when we get there. Anyways, we then get a massive exposition dump while the characters are in the throne room about why MC was chosen. At some point Qarl starts speaking oddly and we learn about “space dysleqsia” – I’m not an own-voices reviewer here, but I was uncomfortable with how this was explained. There isn’t any real reason to call it “dysleqsia”; it could easily just be called something entirely different and work as a joke.

Who are the syoB teertskcaB?” I wondered. “Oh, Qarl may have gotten a few items backward. He’s dysleqsic,” Bobby explained. “Dysleqsia is similar to the Earth disorder dyslexia but with a few differences: it’s a rare genetic disorder unique to specific regions and results in the sufferer reading, writing, and even speaking in reverse or out of order. Qarl is able to manage it quite well, but it occasionally slips through.” … This, Your Gracious Grace, is the Earth-namuH—I mean, Earth-Human—you requested. Sorry, it’s the dysleqsia again.”

Once they’re dismissed from the throne room, Bobby explains a few more things to our MC which is where the social commentary … happens:

Secondly, unlike on Earth, the female gender isn’t as sexualized as the male gender. Therefore, a female human can go practically nude if she wishes, while it is against the law for male humans to even go topless. So don’t go taking your shirt off in public if you know what’s good for you.” He chuckled as he said this last sentence. … I was at once struck with a profound giddiness at the potential amount of female flesh I could be exposed to, but also gripped with a tense nervousness at the unaccustomed modesty regulations imposed so suddenly upon me.

I would have expected outrage or something other than just nervousness. I’m also confused as to why we start to have social commentary about laws around clothing and then just accept the juxtaposition that happens. Also this passage doesn’t even make sense later in Chapter E when we meet Madame Stringent.

And to end Chapter DD we’re introduced to some space magic, but it’s just a quick, boring explanation of what happens in Star Trek Episode 66 Wink of an Eye:

So the speeding up is what fake-adds the time, and the alteration of the brain waves is what makes us feel that the time was added?” I asked tentatively.

I think I’ll leave off here for today since I have more Autumn Essentials Readathon stuff to get to. Check back tomorrow for more updates!

Published by Victoria Mendes

I'm just a house-wife trying to cook good meals on a budget.

4 thoughts on “Update 2: The Worst Book I’ve Read in 2020

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