Official Review: Escape from Earth by Duane L Herrmann

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joshfee77
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Official Review: Escape from Earth by Duane L Herrmann

Post by joshfee77 » 30 Aug 2018, 00:28

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Escape from Earth" by Duane L Herrmann.]
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2 out of 4 stars
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Escape from Earth: The Journal of a Planetary Pioneer is a science fiction novel by Duane L. Herrmann. Due to future "climate disasters" here on Earth, Haleem Elger, his wife Helki and children Nestor (9), Leta (7) and Berget (5) travel to the planet of Makana using a matter transporter that bends space and time. The Elger family are of the Bahá'í faith. Their youngest son, Timmon, is missing at the end of their journey. He might still be home on Earth, being taken to stay with friends of the Elgers. Or he might be dead. Haleem tries to play down his fears in his journal and to his children, but secretly he is worried. Some of the items that came through "transit" are not complete, such as chairs with missing legs and books with missing pages. Makana has three moons, christened Alpha, Beta, and Gamma by the colonists, and an environment similar to Earth: oceans, hills, and breathable air. Haleem's journal details many aspects of forming a society on Makana during their first year on the new planet.

I liked the journal format of the narrative, as I got to follow along with Haleem as he mused about the nature of his new environment, how the seasons on Makana worked, and other things. Haleem fed in plot information as he became aware of it, which I thought was a good approach. Those forming the new colonies displayed an impressive sense of humanity, with no money being used, but a true sense of community with everyone working together for the welfare of all. There were a lot of Bahá'í prayers and verses, plus some from other faiths, so this book had many religious elements, focussed mainly on peace and acceptance.

Also, Haleem was against imposing standards of the Bahá'í faith on anyone else on Makana. He said, "these draconian measures are what have given religions in the past a bad name", preferring people arrived at a point in their lives where they accepted these standards on their own. I found this enlightened view refreshing against many current religious groups who aim to "recruit" followers into their faith using various sales techniques. There was a real sense of peace and harmony among the colonists who embraced the Bahá'í faith, which fostered a spirit of cooperation on the new world.

Escape from Earth had many errors, including occasional incorrect words (such as "where" instead of "were") and unnecessary commas (such as: "The joint memorial service, was well received.") I found ten errors in the first twenty pages. Unfortunately, I also found this book a little dull and uninteresting. For example: "The other arm of the Bahá'í administrative order consists of individuals who function in an educational, supportive, and encouraging role, as individuals, not as corporate bodies," and: "Guidance and assistance flow from both sides of this administrative system." Haleem seemed fascinated by the administrative aspects of the new colony, but less so in action-oriented story elements. The book was about solving problems in day-to-day life on a new world, but for me, it came at the cost of an engaging plot. There were a few notable events but they didn't really lead anywhere, and there was no traditional story arc leading to a climactic conclusion.

Overall, I rate Escape from Earth 2 out of 4 stars. If properly edited, I would give it 3 stars. Despite its positive message of faith, which I applaud, I found it more a procedural guide for seeding a new world than an entertaining page-turner. If that was the author's intention, he has succeeded, but it seemed very dry to me and I felt the story lacked any real engagement or excitement. I would recommend this book mainly to anthropology, history or religion enthusiasts, anyone interested in the logistics of settling human life on a strange new world. If you like thrills and chills, however, you won't find them here.

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Escape from Earth
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teacherjh
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Post by teacherjh » 04 Sep 2018, 11:46

I thought the story was going to be about the missing boy, but it sounds more like a slow description of the planet. I don't think this one is for me. Thanks for the review.

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Post by kandscreeley » 04 Sep 2018, 13:53

Interesting. It sounds like a beam-me-up-Scotty type device. :D I would say I would enjoy something like that, but it sounds too focused on the administration. I need more action in my stories. Thanks, though!
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Post by joshfee77 » 05 Sep 2018, 00:19

teacherjh wrote:
04 Sep 2018, 11:46
I thought the story was going to be about the missing boy, but it sounds more like a slow description of the planet. I don't think this one is for me. Thanks for the review.
I did find it a little slow. There were plot events but they sort of occurred in isolation without much follow-up. Hardly any real tension or conflict that built to anything.

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joshfee77
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Post by joshfee77 » 05 Sep 2018, 00:22

kandscreeley wrote:
04 Sep 2018, 13:53
Interesting. It sounds like a beam-me-up-Scotty type device. :D I would say I would enjoy something like that, but it sounds too focused on the administration. I need more action in my stories. Thanks, though!
I did find it pretty dry, and there wasn't really much tension. Very low-key. I prefer a bit more action in stories myself! Thanks for your comments.

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Post by Sahar Majid » 08 Sep 2018, 06:59

This book seems like it has a lot of potential! I may just look into it when I have the time. I'm all for the message of peace in religion even though I think that if we were ever to move to another planet that the issues would be more complex or even more gory than was portrayed in this review (or even the in book). Overall, thank you for the honest review!

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Post by topdan30 » 20 Sep 2018, 13:24

I dont think this book is for me. I prefer an entertaining page turner,

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Post by JHuschle519 » 23 Oct 2018, 07:20

Sounded interesting at first, but if it's mostly logistics and not a lot of entertainment, then it's really not for me. I appreciate that your review clearly outlined what the book is, and what it isn't. It really helped making the decision whether to read it or not. Thanks!

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