A VVivacious Review: Spare Parts by T.J.Land

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Rating: 2 Stars out of 5

Meteor, Gloss and Spike are slaves to a technologically superior species but they manage to escape from their owners, masters and creators. In a bid to win freedom for all tools, Meteor hatches a plan, an ingenious but extremely foolhardy one. Along with his companions, Meteor is going to find out just how difficult and distracting Earth and its inhabitants can be.

This book is a science fiction space odyssey with a group of sentient beings fighting for freedom from their oppressors. It mostly details the struggles of the tools (or scavengers as they later decide to call themselves) as they attempt to escape the control of the Gentle Folk, the technologically advanced species. Though it does feature a tentative romance between a human and a tool and a maybe developing one between two tools (the human identifies as male and all other tools involved in said relationships refer to themselves as he), this book’s primary focus is not the romance and it gets little development in the grand scheme of things. If you haven’t thought it already, think Westworld and you will have a general idea where this story is going. The rest of this review has my views on the book and it’s definitely me, not the book.

This book started out amazing, with three robots on a mission to free their fellow beings from service under the “Gentle Folk” by hatching a plan so far-fetched it might just be brilliant. I loved how the book tried to incorporate how bizarre humans would appear to any intelligent being not familiar with us and it was amazing that the author was able to depict just how difficult it will be to do anything in a world you know very little about, like just finding a place to start would have you tearing your hair out and I loved that part of this story. Meteor, Gloss and Spike’s struggles to make head or tails of humans led to some interesting developments which I enjoyed thoroughly. The story has really organic developments that help make it more than just the narration.

But then the Gentle Folk themselves made it down to Earth and things just changed perspective in my mind. All of a sudden that fight for freedom that Meteor, Gloss and Spike were pursuing that seemed mostly benign became dangerous enough to destroy humankind. I could imagine being in the place of the humans in this story and I could imagine being in place of the Gentle Folk but all of a sudden, the slave-master analogy that I was applying to explain away the tools feelings blew up in my face because they aren’t master and slave, they are creator and created. This blew up this story to the realm of metaphysical debate in my brain and it literally became Westworld for me which I didn’t like for similar reasons. Do we need to have such debates when we are nowhere near creating a true AI and secondarily do we really have to think about what species that as of yet remain undiscovered might be doing on their home-worlds? Maybe but we would be having those debates in a safe cocoon where either thing though not impossible is still pretty distant. I feel like when these debates are anywhere near affecting our reality we will hopefully have better tools to deal with them, or we won’t and we will screw it up like science fiction has me believing because truly what is the right way? I found myself exceedingly worried about the fate of the Earth. Here were these super-robots inhabiting Earth who were quick to pull the trigger and capable of vaporizing any evidence thereafter, free to terrorize humans for all eternity. If they decided to wipe us out a millennium from now we would all be dead and they would still be here and that made me vulnerable. The third point of view that I couldn’t find myself taking to was the point of view of the tools because that would bring up some serious questions about God and well do we really want Gods like the Gentle Folk? Will there come a time when the tools, who rebelled and killed their creators, will worship those very same Creators and what about our creator if there indeed is a being that created us?

This book was really interesting. Initially, while I found it intriguing, I was a bit reserved about if I would like it but I was surprised by just how well written it was and how it was able to truly get me to sympathize and appreciate it’s characters. I didn’t like the violence in this book and not because I am squeamish because frankly it isn’t like graphic violence where you can feel the blood dripping but I just resented that it was there because it had me acutely aware of exactly how defenseless we, humans, are. In fact, towards the end of the book, I was glad that the story was going to end on a debate with the fate of the tools/scavengers somewhat settled as their journey for freedom continues when Bam! Violence. I mean how stupid are these Gentle Folk that they have absolutely no idea what their creations have become but I guess, that is the whole idea that they have no idea.

I didn’t enjoy this book much so I am not going to give it a high rating but this one was definitely a case of it’s me not you because I am pretty sure people who don’t have my hang-ups are sure to enjoy this one and maybe even have answers to the various questions this book poses.

I would definitely like to mention some things I liked. The moment when they decide not to torture Bek because Gonzalo thought they were impressive was an amazing moment which kind of lost its shine in face of the casual speciesism that the tools/scavengers threw out but it remains a pretty splendid moment despite the dings. Also, I loved how these three had their personalities change organically throughout the story despite having nothing organic about themselves to boot.

One thing I definitely didn’t like was that all the tools became more human. It would have been nice if they could have introduced the gender concept of their owners instead of just their technology because I am sure that the Gentle Folk definitely will have some novel concepts that can help mankind.

I guess the reason I really didn’t like this book was that in the end no one in this book really cares about your fate, the fate of human beings and that was just unsettling because by the end of the book they are the only beings I could identify with.

Cover Art by Natasha Snow is beautiful as always but it gives kind of a horror-suspense feel which doesn’t gel well with the feel of the book.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published October 22nd 2018 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781949909012
Edition LanguageEnglish

In the Spotlight: The Captain’s Promise by T.J. Land (excerpt)

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The Captain’s Promise (Adrift #4) by T.J. Land
N
ineStar Press

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Release Date: October 17, 2016

Purchase Links

NineStar Press |  Amazon  |  All Romance Ebooks 

COUPON CODE: Get 20% off preorder on NineStar Press website with coupon code “preorder”

* (Good until release day)

Book Blurb

Now that the crew of The Prayer have settled down on an uninhabited alien world, their captain intends for them to forge a new life for themselves. But Khurshed’s plans are interrupted when the ship receives a distress call from a nearby planet. While most of his lovers are excited by the prospect of making contact with their new neighbors, First Officer Antoine argues that responding might endanger the crew. As it turns out, his fears are well placed…

Excerpt

T.J. Land © 2016

All Rights Reserved

Dirty, panting, and sweating like a pig, Rick stood back and surveyed his greatest achievement. Ten rows of newly sown green beans, ten rows of spinach, and ten rows of zucchini; the first crops he’d planted outside the rigorously controlled and monitored confines of The Prayer’s oxygen garden in four years. The first Earth crops that had ever been planted on this planet. In this galaxy, even.

“Bitchin’,” he said to himself.

“Don’t curse in front of the baby vegetables,” said Thomas, slinking up behind him and draping his lanky arms over Rick’s shoulders. “You don’t want ’em growing up as warped and perverted as you, do you?”

“Fuck off, Meléndez,” Rick drawled, tilting his head up to accept a kiss.

“How come our first crops are fucking greens? I haven’t had a donut in close on five years. Why can’t you plant some…bread seeds?”

“Wheat, you ignorant loser. We don’t have any grain.”

When they’d first set out from Earth, they’d been equipped with everything they needed for the duration of the one-and-a-half-year journey to Pluto, including a cargo hold full of supplies for the dwarf planet’s fledgling colony. They’d had nutrient shakes, chewable protein bars, enough canned food to feed one hundred people for four years, the reliable bounty of Rick’s vegetable garden, and flour. When they were set adrift by the enemy, they’d comforted themselves with the knowledge that they’d die of boredom and cabin fever long before they starved. Even so, Rick recalled vividly the bleak looks on everyone’s faces three years ago when Echo had informed them that the last of the flour was finished.

“Besides, donuts? That shit’s bad for you. Echo’s fruity desserts aren’t doing it for you anymore?”

Thomas made his meh face. “He’s been using that weird melon-shaped thing we found a lot lately. I can’t get used to the aftertaste. It always feels like someone coated the back of my tongue in cement.”

“Don’t let Echo hear you say that. He’ll be whatever his equivalent of upset is. And he might poison your dinner.”

Their new vegetable garden had been planted in the lee of the rocky hill next to which The Prayer currently squatted, her landing gear obscured by the long grass. Being situated in the planet’s temperate zone, they wouldn’t have to worry about the periodic decades-long draughts that assailed the southern regions. Because Antoine’s current fascination was the local marine life, they were within walking distance of the beach. There was another ancient abandoned town a few miles east, though Rick wasn’t all that eager to go exploring again just yet. Not after what had almost happened to Zachery and the captain.

Khurshed, Rick reminded himself. That’s what he asked you to call him.

Thomas was resting his chin on Rick’s head, a habit he’d picked up since Rick had started shaving his scalp. The explosion that had taken his eye had also burned off a good chunk of his hair, and Zachery had said it was as good a time as any to try a new haircut. Rick had agreed. Then, stupidly, he’d given Zachery free reign to experiment on him. The result was so arrestingly hideous that he’d had no choice but to go bald. Thankfully, it turned out that all three of his boyfriends thought his new look was sexy as hell. Rick wasn’t so sure, but he couldn’t deny that having his bare scalp stroked and fondled made it feel as though someone had pumped kerosene into his dick.

“Comfortable up there, asshole?” he inquired of Thomas.

“Sorry,” he said, not sounding the least bit sorry. “It’s the price you pay for being my shortest boyfriend.”

“Okay, I’m gonna bite your nipples off for that,” said Rick, peeling off his gloves and turning around so he could get at them.

When Rick had first met Thomas, he hadn’t thought much of him. He’d come off as a bland everyday nice guy, maybe a bit of a worrywart, with unassuming good looks. Nothing special. As they’d gotten to know one another better over the course of the four years they’d been lost in space, they’d become amicable acquaintances, though not quite friends. Rick had liked him while never being one hundred percent comfortable in his presence, his feelings towards the ship’s security officer muddled by what he now recognized as a huge, unacknowledged crush. Then the captain had come along and dragged them all into bed with him, and after that, everything had worked out.

Rick wasn’t the type to rate his boyfriends; he felt as drunkenly, giddily in love with the captain and Zachery as he was with Thomas. That said, they were all vastly different people, and they each had their own place in Rick’s life. Thomas was the one Rick went to when all he wanted was someone to make him smile. When he’d emerged from the medical pod, Thomas had been the first to be allowed to see his empty eye socket, and in the weeks that followed, Rick had turned to him whenever he started thinking dark thoughts. No matter what else was going on, Thomas always made him feel good.

“Oh yeah,” Thomas said, his breath hitching as Rick settled a hand over his dick.

Rick smirked. One of the reasons Thomas always made him feel good was that making Thomas feel good was so, so damn easy.

“You’re such a whore,” he told him, rubbing the spot behind his left ear like he was a cat. As Thomas sagged against him, mumbling incoherently, Rick kissed him hard, grinding their dicks together while he moved his hand from Thomas’s ear to massage the back of his neck. As soon as Rick had learned where Thomas’s soft spots were, he’d realized that he could do pretty much anything with him.

“You like that?” he asked. Not because he had any doubt that Thomas did. It was just nice to see Thomas try and fail to make his tongue work, because sweet gentleman Thomas never ignored a question.

“Y-yeah,” he husked. “’S nice.”

Rick smirked. I have so got your number, pretty boy.

“How about we go inside?” Rick said. “Wouldn’t want to traumatize the baby beans, would we?”

Pairing: MM, MMM

Orientation: Asexual, Bi, Gay

Identity: Cis, Trans

Length: Novelette

Words: 18300

Pages: 42

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Author Bio

T.J. Land is a South African writer of erotic romance and sometimes other things. Her main inspirations right now are her plants, Emily Carroll’s art, and her seething hatred for the final season of Downton Abbey. She hopes you’re hanging in there.

Check out NineStar Press’ events calendar for information on additional blog stops for The Captain’s Promise and other upcoming releases!