Verdict: CROSSING XAVIER is an ambitious story weighed down by dialogue, character and story elements that make it on the whole less palatable.
The people living in the space colony on the planet Xavier seem to have a pretty good life. They love a sitcom called Six People, they are ruled over by a benevolent monarch also called Xavier, and every once in a while, a few lucky citizens win passage back to the human race’s ancestral home planet, Earth. But a biologist named Devon soon learns the planet’s dark secrets, as he and an outcast named Philippa go on a perilous journey to the planet’s other settlement, the one they had no idea existed.
Hugh Dudley’s CROSSING XAVIER has a number of interesting ideas that set it apart from other space operas of its ilk. The frame narrative, in which aliens with only a passing familiarity with human culture and physiology try to tell each other the story, is funny and clever. The novel’s emphasis on biology is interesting too. The attempts to realize truly alien biologies is often an interesting deep dive, satisfying the science nerd in all of this. Scientific realism comes into play at many points here in refreshing ways, such as how the Giant Impactor Hypothesis is invoked to explain the planet’s geology.
But where CROSSING XAVIER really fails to excite is the dialogue. Lines like “Her logic makes sense” and “Please step over this way and look at the product of my genius” just fall flat. The story tends to get lost in infodumps and endless exposition. The writing style in general is a strange affair: the prose probably could have used some editing and smoothing out.
If the dialogue isn’t doing CROSSING XAVIER any favors, the ending of the book, which far too predictably turns into a ridiculous monster movie, is also problematic. After vacillating between dystopian thriller and space opera, a base-under-siege monster story seems a huge step down.download full film iBoy
CROSSING XAVIER is an ambitious story weighed down by dialogue, character and story elements that make it on the whole less palatable.
~Chaz Baker for IndieReader