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The Affinity Trap by Martin Sketchley

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Buy The Affinity Trap in the USA - or Buy The Affinity Trap in the UK

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pub: Simon and Schuster. 306 page softcover. Price: 10.99 (UK). ISBN: 0-7432-5734-0.

check out website: www.simonsays.co.uk

This story is set at the beginning of the 24th century, with the majority of the Earth's population living in giant habitat towers under a military dictatorship.

Due to rising tensions with the Seriatt, a race of three-sexed aliens, the leader of Earth's dictatorship, General Myson, has attempted to forge an alliance with them. He does this by mating with the Seriatt Royal Household's child bearer, Lycern, in order to produce a child and seal the alliance.

Unfortunately, once Myson returns to Earth, Lycern runs away to a rival planet. This is where our protagonist Alexander Delgado comes in. An old school Military Intelligence Officer who has fallen out of favour with the current regime, recovering Lycern is offered as his chance to come back into the fold.



From the outset, the mission does not go smoothly and quite soon Delgado ends up ignoring his mission briefing and having sex with the Seriatt. During sex, the female Seriatt secrete a highly individual, and highly addictive enzyme which has a quite severe destabilising effect on human males' mental, physical and emotional well being. All of which further complicates Delgado's mission.

My first problem with this book: General Myson's plan is to seal an alliance with the Seriatt by having a child by one of them. THEY'RE ALIENS!! This is supposed to be a SCIENCE fiction book. Horses and donkeys can mate and produce offspring, but horses and dogs can't. Two species evolved under different suns certainly can't and this is supposed to be a 'natural' conception and birth!!!

2nd Problem: Sketchley mentions terms like 'Military Intelligence' a lot and the whole thing is supposedly set in a militaristic society but it doesn't feel like one at all. Writers like David Webber, David Drake, Eric Flint or Elizabeth Moon all do military SF really well, this book didn't pull it off at all. The hierarchy doesn't feel true and the fight scenes were just flat.

3rd Problem: There's a lot of stating of sudden dramatic changes in mental and emotional outlook, but nothing to really back those statements up. For example, Delgado suddenly becoming disaffected with his career. Except there wasn't anything up to that point to imply that he'd previously been as happy and contented in his career as the author is now saying he was.

This kind of stating goes on all throughout the book. E.g.

'Delgado met Bucky's eyes. And in a moment of absolute clarity, he saw far beyond the young man's face. Messages passed and links formed between the two men instantaneously and immediate and mutual respect generated as they communicated in ways that transcended the conscious mind. If either had been asked to explain the sensation, neither would have been able to: it was the bond of kindred spirit, a meeting of like souls, the reunion of lost twins.'

If that was it then, so what? But the entire book is made up of this kind of twaddle.

Final Problem: It doesn't even end! 300 odd pages of that tosh and there isn't even a conclusion; it's going to be a trilogy or series or something. I don't know. I don't care. I certainly won't be reading them either way.

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