Over at the Bug Blog, I occasionally review books. Thought I would share this one as an AI about willing suspension of disbelief in fiction.
Book Title: Bug, Naked (Author: Jackson Williams)
Basic plot: Mad scientist wants to alter humans to insect size to save the planet. He trolls singles bars to find the right experimental subject. They have sex and then he shrinks her to 4 inches tall via “genetic engineering”. Mini-bimbo falls out a window, so mad scientist sends a dragonfly to “sting” her and give her the next sequence of gene alterations so she can grow wings and develop some very strange groin issues. Bug-girl meets 17yr old boy. They have a lot of really improbable sex.
Because most of the rest of this is NSFW, I will hide my review of the book below the fold. But you know you want to look.
The book has this cover blurb:
“Paula Sterlington has an average life and an average job that she enjoys until one night in a bar she meets a handsome, dark-haired mystery man who sweeps her off her feet and takes her back to his place. The next thing…….she is buck-naked, only four inches tall, homeless, and begins sprouting bug parts, like dragonfly wings, spider-web shooters and an appendage that spits acid out her ass. All this is enough to freak a girl seriously out.
Then she meets her savior in the person of Michael Henderson, a tall science geek who is only seventeen years old, but who understands her better than any man her own age.”
I am a curious person. And I had to know–what the heck is this all about? So…I plonked down my $2.99 in the Kindle shop. And oh my, what a massive collection of WTFery this book is.
Interestingly, every review of this book has given it 5 stars, on Amazon and elsewhere. I found it to be not very titillating. Or Sexy. And the reason for this was two-fold. First, one of the main characters is not an adult, and the book reads like the fantasy of a boy that is wayyyy too into sexual imaginings about Tinkerbell for his own mental health. The purpose of erotica is to be fantasy, though, so while it’s not my thing, I’m sure it works for other folks, and that’s ok.
The second problem I had with the book was that I could not muster up any willing suspension of disbelief, because I was too often pulled out of the story by bad science and bad physics. And yeah, the acid-spewing butt, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
I get distracted from enjoying fiction when there is a glaring biological error. If this story took place whilst jetting about in robocars in a sci-fi future setting, I could maybe buy it. But a contemporary story of clandestine genetic engineering out of your downtown condo is just not gonna work.
Here’s how the “science” of the change in size is described:
“There was a divergence in the red-shift spectrum, exactly the one he had found was necessary for his continued experimentation; the experimentation that included altering her DNA sequencing so it was able to merge into different genetic chains besides human, more specifically for her, insect genetics….
Manipulating the human metabolism along with skeletal refractory so it was able to compact upon itself and cause a person to effectively shrink in size. Genius!”
Ok. So, let’s assume that this collection of completely random science gibberish describes a way you could, theoretically, induce a change in size and genetics like this. (Hint: It doesn’t. If it was that easy to change your genes, I would look like Xena, Warrior Princess.) Where did all the mass that previously made up our heroine go? There should be about 100lbs of girly goop on the mad scientist’s floor after this transformation–matter is conserved.
There are also lots of differences between the exoskeletons of arthropod physiology and human internal endoskeletons. What were those wings made out of? Chitin? Which….humans don’t have enzymes to produce? And how did the wings interact with her mini-skeleton and musculature?
You can see here why I tend to harsh everyone’s mellow when discussing science fiction. But I’m fun at parties! Really!
Another issue is that the main female character is… Well. Here:
“She recalled while in her Organic Chemistry class that there had been things about DNA and genetics and molecules and so many strange and exotic things”
Yeah. Brainbox a bit rattly, there.
It also turns out that she can glow like a firefly, when she’s angry she grows an appendage out her butt crack that sprays acid, and can shoot out spider webbing (!?) from her vagina. Granted, a spiderweb-shooting vulva would have made the Spiderman franchise FAR more interesting, but it seems more of a bug than a feature to me.
In fact, poor Paula’s hooha seems to be some sort of multi-talented inter-dimensional portal, since even though she is 4 inches tall, she can still accomodate a 17 yr-old boy’s penis. And she describes that to us in great detail, which I found alternately LOL- and squick-worthy. I mean, deciding to let someone come inside you when the physics and size difference should pretty much pop you like a balloon. Yuck.
Fortunately, Paula’s interdimensional pussy portal again saves the day, and there is a happy ending to the “happy ending”, rather than a horrible anticlimax.
So, for me, it was very much NOT a sexy story.
YMMV: Your mileage may vary.
How about you? Do you get sidetracked by errors of biology or physics in your fiction? Why or why not?