DNF: The Zoo of Intelligent Animals (Holdsworth)

The Zoo of Intelligent Animals
by D.A. Holdsworth (2021)

(Not a review, just some notes to help me remember the things I've read. But written this way because it's the Internet, and some people will stumble across this page.)

This may be the first "Did Not Finish" book that I've listed. It's certainly the first that I labeled "DNF". Usually, I decide at about 10% if it's worth continuing, and sometimes I ask again at 20%. Other times, I know in the first few pages. Unless I promised to give feedback, I've learned to cut my losses rather than suffer through -- and likely avoid reading anything in the process. (Games, videos, whatever.)

I stuck with this book until I was almost halfway through. Things were finally starting to happen ... and I found myself totally uninterested. And if you're going to start with a trope like an alien zoo filled with humans, you need to make it a lot more interesting a lot sooner. And I might've stayed the course, but this was a 400+ page book. I had basically an entire 240-page book to go.

I knew I'd be cutting out of this book soon any way because I have a Book Club selection on hold. But while checking my place in line the NYPL suggested a collection of stories by Jane Yolen, who I've read before (although I didn't complete that collection -- perhaps it's time that I did). I started on that book, which, again, I'll drop out of when my other book arrives. And I'll get back to the collection. And maybe I'll get back to this.

Aside from dullness, it made an error in the science, something which could've been hand-waved, but not like this. All but one of the main characters are people out of time. That's because they've traveled through space and suffered the effects of time dilation. That much is fine. If the explanation had been that they'd past through a different dimension, again, that would've been okay. Had they traveled long distance and near light speeds, that would've been permissable. But instead the explanation was that they'd spent time on other planets in this universe where time passed differently. And the explanation for that was that the planets are traveling at higher speeds through space.

Gentle readers, if there are any of you out there, this is poppycock. The planet, and the star is was circling, would have to be moving at over .95c to achieve the time dilation effect described. Stars don't move like that and planets that somehow did wouldn't support life. And the fact that there's no suggestion of just how fast the planet (and star) must be moving tells me that the author didn't consider it and that he expected that the reader wouldn't either.

And the worst part of the offense is that the exact reason probably didn't matter but there needed to be on because the timelines on the two planets wouldn't match up otherwise. And these late 19th century folks would be very out of place in the early 21st century.

The book was a free download, not a library book, so there's a chance (slim as it is) I will pick it up again and try to continue because I was a little curious where he was going to go with his zoo, but by no means hooked.

And since I got this, I've been getting emails to buy his first book, which, oddly, isn't a free download. Usually, the first is free to get you to buy the second. Or so I thought.


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