Too Much and Too LittleThe initial attraction of this book, of course, is the absurd premise A Coke advertisement appears on the moon A Campbell s Soup can shaped vehicle lands on the White House lawn A jokey alien named Ralph emerges and messes with the Earthmen s minds Ralph has secrets and certainly comes loaded with all sorts of ulterior motives, and it looks like the fun will be in figuring out what s really going on But then the fun time is over and the slog begins.No Earthling character is than a talking head, and no character has any depth or presence They all exist primarily to ask Ralph questions so that he can make profound observations These observations, none of which are particularly novel, address religion, violence, hate, envy, sex, religion, sex, and lots religion From time to time Ralph switches to lectures and extended exposition in order to move the story, such as it is, forward For me, it was all just too heavy handed, poorly paced, and, ultimately, neither entertaining nor enlightening Sorry Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book. The Book of Ralph is quite a ride I enjoyed it very much and found myself coming back to it until I ve finished it The story is a first contact one it deals with humanity making contact with an alien race for the first time The subject is one of my favorite subjects, and the pacing and humor of the book are right up my alley The book starts with a bang and honestly, albeit slowing down a bit, it kept me highly entertained through all the pages Christopher Steinsvold does a great job in crafting a story that s interesting, fascinating, dark and tender at the same time Of course, you can see he s a Philosophy professor one is lead to think that Ralph is indeed the author in disguise, and if that were the case, so be it, since Ralph is one of my favorite aliens right now.One critique I ve seen in other reviews of this work is that Ralph aside, the other characters feel quite flat And I think it s a valid critique and surely it has its base of truth, but this book is indeed called The Book of Ralph, and it is his story He is the main character and we all want to know about him he is the other to ourselves, the lens with which we could analyze our society and behaviors Much alike Sophie s World , the whole pantomime that is set up around Ralph, the whole other characters, the narrator as well all is just a device to set the stage for Ralph and his insights into the world It is philosophical in nature and I quite enjoyed the author s theories on ego, universe, social behaviors, cultural conditioning and such I do have a sweet spot for philosophy having studied it extensively All in all, I ve finished this book with joy and am left with some questions for the author, which is a great thing I recommend this book to everyone that has a soft spot for SciFi and is not afraid to use his brain. In one of the many Possible Worlds where my life fails me, and I it, I can imagine myself as a middle aged alcoholic suffering from delusions and generalized anxiety To the nosy, condescending interns who will visit me in the psychiatric ward, I will repeat tirelessly I still remember the first time I had whisky It was so strong I could barely stand the taste You kids know about goddamned peer pressure Pardon me, Hillary Haven t you been drinking whisky every day for the last thirty five years That is correct, although my name as you said it isn t Oddly enough, The Book of Ralph grew on me like an unforeseen addiction It was a journey of intrigue that started out harmlessly, not fascinating enough for it to bewitch me, not boring enough for me to interrupt it I struggled docilely through the first five percent of the book, hoping for a good after effect I could feel my interest growing, but still had the illusion that I was in control By thirty percent, tolerance had rocketed sky high, and I was reading from morning to morning The story slowly took hold of my mind, and now that I m done, I m left waiting for withdrawal symptoms to imprison my senses.I m most grateful that Christopher Steinsvold didn t take an anthropomorphic or speciesist approach to extraterrestrial beings He didn t feel the vexed need to compensate for Ralph s superior intelligence by making his character repugnant Ralph is not the huffing, puffing, humanoid barbarian unrealistically depicted in bad sci fi He is not superficially intimidating with a skin tough as an armor and a voice so coarse it makes joints creak In fact, Ralph oozes wonder and purity He loves pornography with childish innocence, and despises war in the same way He has a phenomenal capacity for feelings, is frivolous without being foolish, and loves hugs Also, Ralph is genuinely smart he has a sense of humor There s no doubt Ralph was made in his creator s image, and this is no reference to God Fiction written by philosophers is always the best kind.Of course, Ralph s aversion to violence is as convenient as it is bizarre Professor Stephen Hawking has warned humanity that an infinitely advanced alien species would almost certainly wipe out or enslave our inferior race upon encounter, just as humans enjoy doing to their primitive cultures and tribes There is no good reason for the powerful to be friendly So what is it that corrupts us so Is it instinct, evolution, technology Is it time Is it inevitable On the surface of it, you d read the back cover of this book and think it s quite wacky A Coca Cola advertisement on the moon, a giant tin of soup suspended over the White House, and a visiting eccentric silicon based alien Ralph all make for a bit of an eyebrow raiser, but The Book of Ralph has much under the surface than you might expect Steinsvold has the knack of giving a sense of credibility to the tale and deftly handles some quite provocative themes that, at times, caused me to suck air sharply through my teeth particularly with things called Sky Banners.The story is told from the perspective of Marcus West, a scientist working for the government, who finds himself in a tight spot with the media when the outcome of his investigation finds no evidence that the outrageous promotions are not huge publicity stunts created by the big corporations It s not long before we re introduced to Ralph and made to feel a little uncomfortable with his presence We ve all met them people that laugh just a bit too long over a casual joke or giving you the impression that there s something about them that s not quite right Ralph is like that, but there is also an endearing innocence about him that we feel through the protagonist.In the early chapters of the book there are hints of a story that might follow the same pattern as shows and movies like V and The Day the Earth Stood Still Childhood s End also came to mind, but although there are elements of these, the concept is unique both in terms of plot and the ideas around the aliens themselves Finding out why Ralph must never remove his helmet was a particularly surprising and interesting idea which I won t spoil here The same also for the real meaning behind the advert on the moon There is an interview with the US president that really snatches the rug from under your feet, and it s from that moment it becomes clear that sinister things are on the horizon, delivering a subtext of danger beneath the humour Steinsvold keeps you hooked from chapter to chapter either with cliff hangers or ominous hints in the narrative, ever promising new layers of revelation that, I m pleased to say, actually do deliver.It s a captivating story that raises some thought provoking issues about the type of world we live in and the consequences of our beliefs Highly recommended, especially if you re looking for some original science fiction. The book of Ralph is a dark science fiction story There is a message coming from the moon, and Markus West is investigating to see what it is and who it is from Drink Diet Coke is the message and it up rises mixed emotions Markus finds himself to be in a tricky situation The alien causing all this trouble has everyone in an uproar He has a plan, and that is to get Markus deliver a message to the white house.I found the story to be humorously exploring the concept of humility by having aliens invade Ralph, the alien is very loveable and in fact, has a big heart He isn t there to harm anyone The story was entertaining to read, and the connection between the two worlds was quite enjoyable.The literature stood out for me That was just because it carried the storyline to its peak of delightfulness The plot was simple but the way it was told, made all the difference I also thought that the main characters were drafted well and were individually developed creating a diverse cast of players.I recommend this book to people that enjoy reading humorous content. I love Ralph A humorous sci fi novel of an alien that comes to Earth It was definitely humorous and Ralph made some thought provoking observations However, I found it to be kind of dumb and a bit clunky I m afraid humorous sci fi just isn t for me any If it s your thing, you may well love this and I hear the narrator is awesome, so give the audiobook a try.Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a free e ARC of this book. I really did enjoy this book It was creative and fun It would have been a four star, but I have my rule about the evil villain spewing out his her entire dastardly plot in one scene It is an instant one star deduction However, if you don t mind that sort of thing, love humorous sci fi, then this book is a great read Or, if you get a chance, listen to the audiobook The narrator is awesome And the cover is perfect 4 solid stars Review to come Silver Medal Benjamin Franklin Award In Science Fiction And FantasyTop Ten Novels Of , Our Book Reviews OnlineA Message Appears On The Moon It Is Legible From Earth, And Almost No One Knows How It Was Created Markus West Leads The Government S Investigation To Find The CreatorThe Message Is Simple And Familiar But Those Three Words, Written In Blazing Crimson Letters On The Lunar Surface, Will Foster The Strangest Revolution Humankind Has Ever Endured And Make Markus West Wish He Was Never InvolvedThe Message Is Drink Diet Coke When Coca Cola Denies Responsibility, Global Annoyance Becomes Indignation And When His Investigation Confirms Coca Cola S Innocence, Markus West Becomes One Of The Most Hated Men On EarthLater, Five Miles Above The White House, A Cylinder Is Discovered Floating In The Night It Is Feet Tall, Feet In Diameter, And Exactly Resembles A Can Of Campbell S Chicken Noodle Soup Nearly Everyone Thinks The Cylinder Is A Promotional Stunt Gone Wrong, Just Like The Lunar Advertisement And This Is Exactly What The Alien In The Cylinder Wants People To ThinkRalph, An Eccentric Extraterrestrial Who S Been Hiding On The Moon, Needs Markus S Help To Personally Deliver A Dark Warning To The White House Ralph Has A Big Heart, A Fetish For Andy Warhol, And A Dangerous Plan To Save The World
Christopher Steinsvold received his Ph.D in philosophy from the City University of New York Graduate School and University Center He is currently an adjunct professor at Brooklyn College, City University of New York In his creative writing, he uses his background in philosophy to feed his imagination.
- 416 pages
- The Book of Ralph
- Christopher Steinsvold
- 05 September 2019 Christopher Steinsvold