S. Alan Schweitzer
Reviewed by Marty Shaw for Reader Views (4/13)
Article first published as Book Review: Questor by S. Alan Schweitzer on Blogcritics.
I dove into “Questor” by S. Alan Schweitzer with enthusiasm because the plot seemed to be exactly the type of sci-fi story I enjoy sinking my teeth into, but my excitement wore down because of the dry, almost emotionless, way the story is handled.
On the surface, everything needed for a rousing adventure-mystery was included, with a man searching for answers to his past discovering that he’s a clone created from technology left on Earth by extra-terrestrials. Don’t worry about any spoilers being revealed there because it’s all provided in the synopsis on the back of the book, which was a let-down because there isn’t much of a mystery when the answers are provided before you even flip open the front cover.
One piece of advice that is always given to writers is to show, don’t tell, which basically means that an author shouldn’t just tell the reader that the main character is scared to go down a dark flight of stairs, but should instead describe the character’s racing pulse, sweat dripping down their forehead, and the sense of foreboding that makes their skin break out in goosebumps. It’s those kinds of details that allow the reader to feel like he or she is actually in the story.
Unfortunately, with “Questor,” the entire story is merely told to us, with no attempt at delving deeper with any type of descriptive narrative. For example, Questor appears to have just been kidnapped in the following scene:
“After ten minutes of silence including Howard’s own reticence, the four men introduced themselves by name only.”
That’s all we’re given; a brief comment about Howard feeling reticent, and that’s just one of the spots in the book where the opportunity for creating tension was wasted.
Aside from the lack of excitement within the pages, there are also paragraphs scattered throughout the book that seem to make no sense at all, such as the following:
“His initial thoughts nurtured as well as they both condemned each other in the combative litany of why Jesse lay inert and bloody in the car they both had driven.”
I don’t even know what that means, and that’s only one example that frequently had me stopping to try and decipher what the author was trying to say.
Because of the very dry, superficial way “Questor” by S. Alan Schweitzer is delivered, I’m having trouble pointing out a target market for this type of read.