Dec 11, 2008

Blue Pencil #10: Dead World

Two posts in two days! You guys are so spoiled.

The cover of Dead World, by Benjamin W. Schenk, made me hope briefly for a World War Z rip-off or something. No such luck. Turns out to be a post-apocalyptic novel about bomb shelters and hot daughters written in an exciting, exclamation point-heavy style.

In Brief:

In the near future, a nuclear holocaust erupts, destroying 75% of the known world. Ward Sands thought it would happen and was prepared. He, his family, and friends get inside some bomb shelters built by him and a friend.

The story is about the life inside of the bomb shelters and what they awaken to. After weeks inside of the bomb shelter, they fall into a suspended state. What they awaken to, on the outside world, is a completely different world of both wonder and danger! The story follows this man, his family, and their friends as they fight for survival against innumerable odds!
About the Author:
My name is Benjamin Schenk and this is my fifth science-fiction/fantasy novel. My four previous novels are called Second World, Invasion of the Planet Gods, The Seven and the Seven: The Second Invasion.

I am a lover of science-fiction, fantasy and horror. My favorite authors are HG Wells, John Norman, JK Rowlings and numerous others in the field, both past and present.
Note #1: If someone is one of your favorite authors, you should be able to spell their name.

Note #2: If John Norman is one of your favorite authors, I do not want to know you. (If you don't know who John Norman is, do yourself a favor and don't look him up.

Note #3: If you're a fan of both J.K. Rowling and John Norman, I really shouldn't even be reading your work. That's just a little too creepy.
I also like comics, especially Superman, Batman, Green Arrow and the Justice League!
Wow, he likes those three superheroes and the team to which they all belong? Crazy!

Chapter 4

Deep underground, in a bomb shelter; Ward, Samantha and the five girls are in a larg room. The six females sit on two large king-sized beds and Ward sits on a leather desk chair. They are intently listening to a radio as it broadcasts reports of the bombs falling all over the world! The bomb shelter is brightly lit with both battery-powered and propane-powered lanterns. Overhead lights are working on a gasoline generator.
I am consistently surprised by the seeming lack of care these authors apply to their excerpts and bios. These are supposed to give people an impression of what your book will be like!

From this paragraph, my impression will be that it is a sloppily-edited, poorly-puncutated story written in script-like present tense. If you're not a good enough writer to notice glaring errors in your excerpts, then you are certainly not good enough to write an entire story in present tense and not sound like an idiot.
Explosions go off from outside of their bomb shelter! Fressy and Brandy hurry from their bed to their father's side.
"Fressy and Brandy?" Death's too good for em.
He sympathetically hugs the two beautiful girls as they stare at the concrete ceiling above their heads!
Why is this exciting enough to warrant an exclamation point? "My God, the ceiling ... it's concrete! And it's above our heads!"
Ward looks over at where the beautiful, 22-year-old Jazmine is staring at the ceiling, as well.

"Are you all right, princess?" Ward asks.
I am solidly on the side of the bombs, now.
Jazmine nods her head, never uttering a word. The sound of a huge explosion goes off, causing the petite blonde to spring to her feet.
There is a very creepy vibe here, no? His beautiful, petite, blonde daughter is getting an awful lot of porn-prep description. I'm surprised he hasn't mentioned her cup size yet. (The fact that they installed two king-sized beds in a bomb shelter also gives me pause.)
Sierra stands, putting her arms around her younger sister. The two sistes are staring at the ceiling.
Which two? Isn't everybody staring at he ceiling at this point?
"We're safe in here, Jazmine." Samantha says, taking hold of Jazmine's small right hand.
(Her left hand, I'm assuming, is normal.)
"But how do we know that for sure?" Jazmine asks, her voice filled with fear. "How do we know that Ward and the others made these things strong enough that a nuclear bomb won't destroy them?"

"Princess, I wish I could be more positive but we did the best we could." Ward replies. "Truth is, there is no way to really test these shelters unless something like this happens and by then, it could be too late."
Way to go with the pep talk, Ward. I think we all feel a lot better now.
Jazmine nods her head. Sierra picks up a portable CD player and hands it to Jazmine. She is about to put the head-phones on when another huge explosion goes off! The radio broadcast ends, becoming nothing more than static.
Mr. Schenk's powers of description are truly mesmerizing. "Explosions going off" is so vivid, I almost feel like I'm in the bomb shelter with them, in the dim light of the flickering, low-watt flourescents, feeling each vibration of the earth pass through my body like a shudder as the bombs destroy the world I knew outside.
Chapter 37

The preachers step back from the two females. Sierra tearfully looks back at the tied and gagged Jazmine, as well as where Brandy and Fressy are tied up and standing beside of her.

"We know what we lose." Sierra says. "What does she have to lose?"

"Her life!" The preacher says. "And in the process, the Amazons lose their second queen within a month!"
Which preacher? You're going to have to be more specific.
Sierra walks back to Jazmine and tightly hugs her!
Oh my god! I expected her to tenderly hug her, maybe tearfully, but tightly? No way!
She kisses her younger sister on her gagged mouth. She kisses her cousins, as well. She looks into Jazmine's tear-filled blue eyes.

"Remember, shrimp, no matter what happens, I will always love you!?" Sierra says.

"Me, too." Jazmine says, through her gag. "Now kick her butt!"
Apparently they have a futuristic type of gag in the future through which one can talk clearly. I'm not sure that's an advancement in gag science.
Sierra turns back to the Amazon. The Amazon now holds a knife. Sierra looks over at the preachers, confused.

"Wait a minute!" Sierra frightfully says. "I'm unarmed."

"You may take a weapon if you like." The preacher says. "This is your home ground. Use whatever you can!"

"Actually, this is the first time I've ever been here." Sierra nervously says. "Our home ground is a long ways away from here!"

"Either find a weapon or fight her like you are!" The preacher demands.

Sierra grabs a large rock!
A rock! Yes! Of course! This is thrill-a-minute stuff here. Totally out of left field.
She looks back at Jazmine and then at the Amazon.

"My friends know me as this soft-hearted, caring person! My sister and my cousins look up to me as their role-model and their caretaker!" Sierra says, taking deep breaths as she talks.
Try saying that to yourself, with the exclamation points. She's a caring person, you sick bastards! Now do it with the deep breaths.

Don't pass out or anything, I just think it's a funny.

No doubt what follows is a battle royale that, to try to squeeze it into an excerpt, would spoil the entire book for us. I'm betting there's some girl-on-girl in there someplace, too, but he wants $18.30 for the paperback, which is kinda outrageous.

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