As our SPSFC team finishes reading our ten quarterfinalists out of our first round allotment, I will be posting review roundups and official scores. As you read our thoughts on these ten books, keep in mind that we have a variety of tastes on this team, and a low score does not necessarily indicate a bad book. One or two (or even all four!) judges bouncing hard off a book can tank a score and keep it from advancing in this competition, but that doesn’t mean the same book might not be perfect for another reader.
Today, we’re looking at a murder mystery on an interplanetary colonization mission: Jeanette Bedard’s Day 115 on an Alien World.
Jay’s Review and Rating
Overall, this is a quality sci-fi mystery, with excellent pacing, a solid lead, and a well-constructed series of clues. The flat side characters come with the territory to some extent, but the awkward dialogue poses more of a problem and holds Day 115 on an Alien World back from a higher rating. But still, if you have the hankering for an investigation into sabotage on an outer space colonizing mission, Bedard provides an excellent offering.
Jay has rated Day 115 on an Alien World 7.5/10. For more detail, check out his full review.
Esme’s Review and Rating
I found that I liked the prose/writing style immediately and it stood out to me as being in the top tier of our batch. I think it’s an understated talent to make something “easy to read” but not feel like it’s overly simple or written for a young audience. There were many descriptive phrases that painted a picture quickly without spending too much time on mundane details which would bloat the story. The dialogue felt natural without overusing futuristic slang that can drive me absolutely bananas.
I would recommend this to people who like early space exploration, colonization, interpersonal tensions, and murder mysteries.
Esme has rated Day 115 on an Alien World 8/10. For more detail, check out her full review.
Lilyn’s Review and Rating
Day 115 on an Alien World delivers death and mayhem in spades. The majority of the middle portion of the novel is death after death, with the mystery quickly building as Margo and her companion race to figure out what’s going on. There is even a small bit of an illicit love-story plot that adds emotional depth. The pacing is fantastic and the deaths are mostly believable and entertaining.
The issue with this story lies primarily in the heavy-handedness of the characters.
Most of the roles in this book are filled by characters who lack subtlety and could have their entire personality expressed in a few simple words. There are no shades of gray, and the red herring is so obvious it’s practically glowing neon. When the saboteur is unveiled at the end of the book, it is done in such a fashion that one could easily picture the villain twirling a waxed mustache and dramatically throwing a cape over one shoulder.
Ultimately, Day 115 on an Alien World has a lot going for it and will doubtlessly please a good portion of readers. It was an entertaining read that–with some polish–could be made into a great one.
Lilyn has rated Day 115 on an Alien World 5/10. For more detail, check out their full review.
Bill’s Review and Rating
The science was terrible, there was an Angry Black Woman as a key character, the backstory was not believable, and though I suspected the ultimate culprit, I didn’t think they were credible as the saboteur.
Bill has rated Day 115 on an Alien World 3/10.
* indicates judge’s highest rating of the first round (including ties)
Status: ELIMINATED IN THE QUARTERFINALS.