The Stars Are Falling by Michelle Birbeck (book review).

January 27, 2015 | By | Reply More

This time of year, I do read a couple books from the self-published to see how any of the writers are coming on. ‘The Stars Are Falling’ by Michelle Birbeck ended up feeling like fantasy masquerading as Science Fiction. Even though its supposed to be Young Adult, this is not the way to mix opposing genres. It is also very idealised and you can almost feel that Birbeck used her university experiences or rather what it should be like for the story. If the lead character, Jenny, apart from being interested in astronomy and studying nuclear physics, been a frump, there might have been a bit more likely that roommate and engineer student, Dale, might have been less interested in a relationship with her than her talking her hobby.


Anyway, the plot revolves around stars falling from the sky and turning into humans and their main target is student Jenny Lorran who they see is one of their own. Coming with menace, she and her three roommates, Dale Roberts, Alexis Mortimer and Mark Houston flee and have adventures while they sort things out. None of this is helped by unseen British authorities arranging for a military curfew and trying to take on these fallen stars who are planning the annihilation of mankind. It’s up to Jenny to sort things out and so much of it is spoiler even in a predictable way.

Written in first person, we don’t really see much of what else is going on. When you consider that this alien invasion is world-wide and communications take a battering, you don’t get much idea of just how dangerous things are when everything stops for a lunch break in detail. Birbeck seems more focused on the details of Jenny’s adventures but it’s written at such length in detail that there is no change of pace that you sort of get hypnotised with going on rather than wonder what happens next. Jenny rescues someone from drowning and yet this girl vanishes and no more thought is given to her. Birbeck certainly needs to work on a bit more on pace and emotional content and, as I said in the opening, that people as stars is more fantasy than SF. Even the overall solution is something anyone could come up which does tend to reduce Jenny’s stature as being particularly important to the story .

This doesn’t mean that this book isn’t readable, just not particularly challenging. As to any future direction, I think Birbeck needs to stay within one genre if for no other reason than to show she can do it.

GF Willmetts

January 2015

(pub: The Writers Coffee Shop. 187 page small enlarged papeback. Price: $16.99 (US). ISBN: 978-1-61213-250-1)

check out website: www.thewriterscoffeeshop.com

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Category: Books, Fantasy, Scifi

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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