Rarity From The Hollow by Robert Eggleton (book review).

November 29, 2015 | By | 2 Replies More

‘Rarity From The Hollow’ by Robert Eggleton describes itself as a children’s story for adults. It tells the story of Lacy Dawn and her unique version of a first contact situation. Her erstwhile suitor, DotCom, seems to be setting her up for a huge intergalactic destiny which will have huge effects on the human way of life. All this and dealing with her abusive father and her new talents for communicating with all manner of creatures around her.

RarityFromTheHollow

There is a strange dichotomy with this book. There are quite brilliant ideas which, in some respects, are unlike anything I have read before. The style in which it is written, however, and especially the dialogue is a little impenetrable at times. It is very American in its setting and use of language. Possibly a US native would connect with it more. There were many assumptions made by the author in their descriptions of Rarity’s day-to-day life and her family’s dealings with authorities which were a little insular.

Eventually, we learn that DotCom represents a technologically highly advanced capitalist concern. This mercantile group of asset stripping capitalists are the big sticking point with the plot. I just don’t get how advanced space-faring aliens would be so grasping. They are shown to have the ability to change living creatures at will and have rapid interstellar travel so their haggling and grasping lifestyle feels unreal. That this is a clumsy metaphor for the United States seems likely.

Mr. Prump, the leader of the aliens, has a picture of Jesus Christ in his office. Once more, this feels forced and fake. Why would a consummate capitalist have a picture of the ultimate socialist?

If the above issues are viewed as components of a children’s book, they are fine. This is somewhat at odds with some of the fairly graphic sexual content in the story. This is not a huge part of it but it is clearly in the story to shock. Paedophilia, incest, rape and child murder all crop up or are implied. This serves to show us how terrible Lacy Dawn’s current life is but renders the book unsuitable for younger readers.

The story builds to an interesting but flawed climax. Lacy Dawn and her family must fix an underlying problem that Mr. Prump’s business has. The means by which she does this is a little confused and disappointing. Without giving away too much it boils down to talking to the other side. Later, we learn of an even closer connection between Mr. Prump and his enemy, this just makes the failure to communicate even stranger.

Mr. Prump and his DotComs (there are many we learn) have developed inter-species communication to the highest level. Why they would sub-contract it out to a young member of a relatively primitive species is a little strange. That Lacy Dawn further sub-contracts it down to one of her companions is even stranger. Perhaps it is another small nod to another characteristic of capitalism: delegation.

Another strange element is the constant references to the sexual attractiveness of the female humans to the various alien races. This is another very strange and slightly unsophisticated idea. It seems unlikely that aliens would be particularly sexually attracted to humans. It presents a very anthropocentric view of the universe.

Biologically, we are closer to dolphins than any aliens we are likely to contact. There is very little interspecies sexual attraction on earth, although such internet searches should probably be discouraged.

There is much here worthy of high praise. The relationship between Lacy Dawn and DotCom is brilliant. The sense of each learning from the other and them growing up and together is a delight to read. The descriptions of DotCom’s technology and the process of elevating the humans around him again is nicely done. We have many examples of alien tech teaching us lowly humans but it is exceptionally well presented here. All the main humans undergo growth and improvement.

Eggleton reminds me very much of Robert Heinlein at his peak. There is the same right-wing flag-waving and morally ambiguous characters. There is the same sense of reading the story but not absolutely agreeing with or particularly liking some of the characters. Like Heinlein, there is the beautifully imagined and crafted worlds mostly populated by people you would happily board a rocket to avoid.

Andy Bollan

November 2015

(pub: Dog Horn Publishing. 284 page large paperback. Price: £12.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-90713-306-0)

check out website: www.doghornpublishing.com/

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  1. Thanks again for the great book review of Rarity from the Hollow, an adult literary science fiction novel. A lot has happened since the review and I decided to update you and your readers.

    The novel is currently in the process of being republished by Dog Horn Publishing, a traditional small press in Leeds. The 2016 Amazon link is: http://www.amazon.com/Rarity-Hollow-Robert-Eggleton-ebook/dp/B017REIA44 The second edition has been toned down a little to meet mainstream expectations.

    Following are some of the highlights about the novel since we last communicated:

    As you know, the novel was found by the editor of Atomjack Science Fiction Magazine to be laugh-out-loud funny in some scenes. Long-time science fiction book critic, Barry Hunter, closed his review, “…good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” http://thebaryonreview.blogspo……

    A former Editor of Reader’s Digest found that, “Rarity from the Hollow is the most enjoyable science fiction that I’ve read in several years.” http://warriorpatient.com/blog

    Rarity from the Hollow was referred to as a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and awarded a Gold Medal by Awesome Indies: “…Tucked between the folds of humor are some profound observations on human nature and modern society that you have to read to appreciate…it’s a funny book that most fans of sci-fi will thoroughly enjoy.” http://awesomeindies.net/ai-ap……
    With respect to the story’s treatment of tough social issues, this reviewer said: “If I could, I would give it all the stars in the universe…I was hesitant to accept. I usually do not read or review books that discuss child abuse or domestic violence; however, I was intrigued by the excerpt and decided to give it a shot. I am glad that I took a risk; otherwise, I would have missed out on a fantastic story with a bright, resourceful, and strong protagonist that grabbed my heart and did not let go.” http://www.onmykindle.net/2015

    A prominent book reviewer from Bulgaria named Rarity from the Hollow as one of the best five books that he had read in 2015. http://codices.info/2015/12/to

    On January 20, 2016, Rarity from the Hollow was awarded a second Gold Medal by another popular book review site: https://readersfavorite.com/bo….

    An Affiliate of Fantasy Fan Federation, an international organization that has been around since the 1940s, posted on Amazon: “The author has created a new narrative format, something Ive never seen before, with a standard third-person narration, interspersed, lightly, with first-person asides. This makes me think of Eugene ONeill’s play Strange Interlude where internal and external dialogue are blended. Rarity from the Hollow begins with some rough stuff, hard to read, involving child neglect and child abuse. But it soon turns the corner to satire, parody, and farce, partaking a little of the whimsical and nonsensical humor of Roger Zelazny or even Ron Goulart….”

    “…The best thing about ‘Rarity’ is the writing. It feels timeless, classic and mature in a way that would ensure its longevity if more people knew about it. I would even say it could be read in a college setting both for the craft itself and its unique brand of storytelling. The premise was brilliant and brought a distinctive approach to the adult-fairytale/modern-retelling sub-genre…” — http://tabbyafae.com/rarity-hollow-robert-eggleton/

    Rarity from the Hollow has now appeared on over one-hundred and thirty blogs or magazines worldwide, in twenty-three different countries including all over the U.S. and the U.K., Finland, Mexico, Bulgaria, Belgium, South Africa, Croatia, Uruguay, India, Taiwan, Australia, Nigeria, Egypt, Malaysia, Canada, Vietnam, Portugal, The Netherlands, Sweden, The Philippines, and Israel. The project has grown into a world-wide movement to sensitize people about child maltreatment through a satiric and comical science fiction adventure.

    Thanks again for your great review!

    • avatar Robert Eggleton says:

      Hi Andy,

      Thanks again for the ARC review of Rarity from the Hollow. The final edition was released to Amazon on December 5, 2016. http://amzn.to/2lF5BPS

      Please note the Political Allegory section below. Rarity was the first, if not the only, science fiction adventure to specifically predict the rise of Donald Trump to political power. Of course, at the time that you reviewed the ARC, Donald Trump was not on the political radar. Also below is a reviews summary for the ARC of my novel and a couple of reviews so far of the final edition. The first of these two was published by Marcha Fox, a science fiction lover and Engineer with twenty-one years experience working for NASA, similar to David Brin who just requested a copy of the final edition.

      I hope that you and your children are doing okay. Take care. — Robert

      Political Allegory: There is no political advocacy in this novel, one side or any other. With respect to allegory, this novel was the first if not the only science fiction adventure to predict the rise of Donald Trump to political power. You may be interested in this press release: http://www.pr4us.com/pr-2618-trump-presidency-predicted-in.html, but you would have to read the novel to find out how Lacy Dawn, the protagonist, convinced Mr. Rump (Bernie Sanders) to help talk Mr. Prump (Donald Trump) into saving the universe. The allegory includes pressing issues that are being debated today, including illegal immigration and the refuge crisis, an issue that several European commentators have compared to cockroach infestation; extreme capitalism / consumerism vs. domestic spending for social supports; sexual harassment…. Mr. Prump in my story was a projection of Donald Trump based on the TV show, The Apprentice. The counterpart, Mr. Rump, was based on my understanding of positions held by Bernie Sanders as I wrote the story. Part of the negotiations in the story occur in the only high rise on planet Shptiludrp (Shop Until You Drop), a giant shopping mall and the center of economic governance, now more easily identifiable as Trump Tower. The allegory was not addressed by ARC reviewers of the novel because so few worldwide considered Donald Trump to be a serious political contender until the primary elections in the U.S. The political allegory in the novel is much more obvious now that Donald Trump has become a household name. A similar press release: http://www.pr.com/press-release/695122.

      Reviews of Final Edition: Requests for reviews of the new edition of Rarity from the Hollow are now being considered. On 1-6-17, the first was published, five stars. To facilitate your consideration of reviewing this novel, the closing lines were: “…Brilliant satires such as this are genius works of literature in the same class as Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm.’ I can picture American Lit professors sometime in the distant future placing this masterpiece on their reading list.” https://marcha2014.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/5-stars-for-rarity-from-the-hollowby-robert-eggleton/ On 2-17-17, Dan’l Danehy-Oakes, a critic whose book reviews often appear in the New York Review of Science Fiction, published his review of the final edition, five stars: “…I know this all sounds pretty whack, and it is, but it’s also quite moving. Lacy Dawn and her supporting cast – even Brownie, the dog – are some of the most engaging characters I’ve run across in a novel in some time….” http://sturgeonslawyer.livejournal.com/

      Sample Positive Reviews of Advance Review Copy: The ARC of this novel had a formatting error that has been corrected. The final editon reads much smoother. This problem likely affected some reviewers of the ARC. A few book bloggers have upgraded their reviews based on a review of the final edition and others may do the same. Despite the formatting problem, the ARC was awarded two Gold Medals by major book review organizations, was named one of the best releases of 2015 by a Bulgaria book critic, and received twenty-six five star reviews and forty-three four star reviews by independent book review bloggers. An unsolicited Top 100 Amazon Reviewer found:

      “Rarity from the Hollow written by Robert Eggleton, to be fully honest, was much more than expected and a great read – semi-autobiographical literary work full of beautiful and ugly things, adventure, romance, pain and humor….”

      Another reviewer of the first edition found that the writing style was one-quarter turn beyond that of Kurt Vonnegut. http://electricrev.net/2014/08/12/a-universe-on-the-edge/ The ARC was found by the editor of Atomjack Science Fiction Magazine, to be “laugh-out-loud funny” in some scenes. Long-time book critic, Barry Hunter, closed his review, “…good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” http://thebaryonreview.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2012-01-01T00:00:00-05:00&updated-max=2013-01-01T00:00:00-05:00&max-results=50 Vonnegut, Douglas Adams (i.e., Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), or Tom Robbins (i.e., Another Roadside Attraction) are also close examples by subgenre. A former Editor of Reader’s Digest found that, “Rarity from the Hollow is the most enjoyable science fiction that I’ve read in several years….” http://warriorpatient.com/blog/?p=58 My novel was referred to as a Hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and awarded a gold medal by Awesome Indies: “…Tucked between the folds of humor are some profound observations on human nature and modern society that you have to read to appreciate….” http://awesomeindies.net/ai-approved-review-of-rarity-from-the-holly-by-robert-eggleton/ With respect to the story’s treatment of tough social issues, this reviewer said: “…I was hesitant to accept. I usually do not read or review books that discuss child abuse or domestic violence; however, I was intrigued by the excerpt and decided to give it a shot. I am glad that I took a risk; otherwise, I would have missed out on a fantastic story with a bright, resourceful, and strong protagonist that grabbed my heart and did not let go http://www.onmykindle.net/2015/11/rarity-from-hollow.html A book reviewer from Bulgaria named Rarity from the Hollow as one of the best five books that he had read in 2015, along with Revival by Stephen King and The Martian by Andy Weir. http://codices.info/2015/12/top-5-for-2015-ventsi/ On January 20, 2016, the ARC of Rarity from the Hollow was awarded a second Gold Medal by a popular book review site: https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/rarity-from-the-hollow. Additional praise of the first edition has been posted by book bloggers on Amazon.

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