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Solid
Shelley Workinger
Createspace, 228 pages

Solid
Shelley Workinger
Shelley Workinger grew up in Maine. She graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and currently resides in New Jersey.

Shelley Workinger Website
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A review by Dan Shade

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This was a silly book for a number of reasons (not in any particular order): First, a lot of the young adult speculative fiction I read has a strong romantic interest. For example, humans fall in love with angels but not without feeling a great deal of awkwardness. However, the most important elements of the story are the supernatural factors. In Solid, which I rejoiced at finding because I assumed I had found a solid (no pun intended) science fiction story in a genre overrun with fantasy, turned out to be more romance than anything else. Most of the story is about who likes whom, how they're going to get together, and when they might kiss. Even the science fiction in the novel was low grade.

We have nearly one hundred kids with unknown special, genetic designed abilities or attributes. The inoculations of the pregnant mothers were done by your stereotypical mad scientist and his work was carried on by your stereotypical niece who wanted to make his name good. And of course he took his secret to the grave and that makes everyone's job harder. The niece has to join the service and reach the required rank and the government has gathered these hundred seventeen-year-olds together to study them and try to discover what they can do. Imagine... the possibilities are endless. Dr. Mad Scientist could have created a host of superman in a world that needs them the most. I remember a bumper sticker when Nixon was president. It said, "Where is Lee Harvey Oswald When We Need Him the Most?" I've often wished I had a bumper sticker that said, "Where is Superman when we need him the most?" The world has gotten ugly and this author could have given us a peek at the good that could be done the world with an army of Supermen. However the results of experiment are as disappointing as the book.

All of the children are better looking than the average Barbie and Ken doll. In fact they are works of art. A handful of the kids are smarter than the average bear. Another handful are more athletic than the average chimp. Save for five others, the rest show nothing unusual about themselves other than their good looks. The five that do, which includes Clio, Jack, Garrett, Miranda, Bliss and Alexis can do little more than twinkle like a Christmas tree light. Actually they can either disappear or shield others from vision. It's not a remarkable gift, which is pointed out by the author. They don't even use their special gift to help in their investigation of the camp complex. Although they have some pretty good theories about what's going on.

Most of the time spent at this special summer camp is passed away wondering how to get alone with a particular teenager. We get some brief glances of what goes on in the various group meetings but not enough to give the impression that this is the tightly woven, scientific process we are let to believe it is. The sessions remind me more of loosely organized counseling sessions. What we called encounter groups in the 70s. Very warm and fuzzy! Very touchy feely! Hardly productive in my opinion and certainly not in our story. So, here we have a story with hardly a believable dilemma, little real action toward solving the problem, enhanced teenagers who mostly display no enhancement, a handful of government leaders who are for the most part ineffective, no real plan for how to ascertain the children's differences, and no real organized action taken towards finding a solution. We are not even told why the military wants to study these children. Are they looking for a super army or one or two kids who could be super secret agents? We'll never know. The entire situation is more like a summer camp for rich kids. Oh, and by the way, none of the phones work and the Internet is down all the time. I could not discover how being cut off from family and the world benefited the experiment.

Seriously, when you pass Solid on the bookshelves at your local bookstore or run across it on amazon as I did, I would leave it right there. Go back to my past review for a winner or just pick randomly pick a book. It can't possibility be any worse the Solid. I have rarely found a book that had no redeeming qualities. I believe this is the second in my history of reviewing.

Copyright © 2010 by Dan Shade

Dan Shade is a retired college professor who loves to read young adult science fiction, fantasy, and horror. But he doesn't draw the line there. He also enjoys writing science fiction and hopes to publish someday. In the meantime, you can find him at lostbooks.org (under construction).


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