Aliens 5: Alien Harvest
Robert Sheckley

Cover This book is BAD!! Do not read this book. I donít know why I persevered to the end.

When I saw the name on the front I thought, ĎThisíll be good. Sheckleyís meant to be a top author.í I was wrong. This is the first book I read by Robert Sheckley and if itís any indication of the quality of his writing its going to be the last. The principle idea behind the story is quite good, but the story itself is woeful.

Now a bit about the plot. The royal jelly from queen Aliens as become a highly sort after narcotic drug, which of course canít be synthesised, everything else can, but not this. The main character Stan Myakovsky is a bit of a mad scientist. Heís dying of cancer, is being screwed over by the Company and has built a robitic alien. Why? Who knows. But because he has this robotic alien a master criminal, Julie, persuades him to join her on a mission to steal lots of royal jelly and become immensely rich. They steal a ship and put her plan into action.

Now what is wrong with this book, why did I give it one star? Well for a start this series is about Aliens and what theyíve been doing since the movies, yet we donít see hide nor hear of one of the beasties until about two thirds of the way through the book. Sheckley spends most of the book giving huge dull histories to all the characters and raves for pages about all the machinations the two principle characters go through in order to put their plan into action.

Whilst this isnít necessarily bad, Iíve nothing against detailed characters and convoluted plots, the writing is atrocious. The dialogue is hackneyed and cliched. The actions of the characters are ludicrous and unbeleivable. And the characters themselves are sterotypical. Stan is the eccentric genius, Julie the beautiful master criminal and Hoban the alcoholic given a second chance to redeem himself. The rest of the cast is just as bad.

As an example of how bad the writing is when one shipís captain has a torpedo fired at his ship his comment to the firing ships captain is ĎHow dare you sir!í Is it just me or is this the corniest and most cliched thing you have ever read.

All I can say having read this book is, donít read it. It is complete and unmitigated garbage. I will be unlikely to ever read something by Sheckley again.