Mutationem: Decades after World War III, nuclear war is decimating the planet. Amidst the turmoil and destruction lies one last drop of hope: the most ambitious space mission ever planned, to be executed by the largest earthly spacecraft. The goal? For the crew aboard IWSA-24 to be the first to colonize Alpha-64, located 100 Earth years away. The clock is ticking, with the launch only a few weeks out. But when the war takes a calamitous turn only minutes before the shuttle’s first flight simulation, suddenly the crew on board realize they are the planet’s only survivors. With minimal provisions, equipment, and astronauts, a new set of questions arise for Captain Kriss and her all-female crew: will IWSA-24 have enough fuel to make it to Alpha-64? Will they devise a plan to secure male DNA in time to save humanity? What mysteries and unknowns lurk on this faraway planet? What starts as an unlikely community of lovers, enemies, scientists, and spies evolves rapidly as the crew approaches Alpha-64. – Goodreads
I DNF’ed this book at 57%.
I requested Mutationem because the synopsis sounded extremely interesting, and I loved the cover. However, mere pages into it, I found myself gaping with incredulity and breaking into fits of giggles at the ridiculousness. By the twenty-five percent point, I thought “Maybe I need to readjust how I’m viewing this book. Maybe the writer genuinely meant it to be a funny ‘bad syfy’ type book.” And if the author meant it that way, it was fine! I love that type of ridiculousness. There’s a place for serious and there’s a place for stupid-funny. Nothing is wrong with either of them.
However, by the fifty percent point, I had given up on finding a way to view this as a ‘good’ book. It is not a good read at all. I do think the basic idea is good; it’s just buried under a mess of unbelievable and/or unnecessary content. Portions of Mutationem reeked of overcharged hormones and the urge to cram in all the sexy scenes possible where little-to-none are needed at all. Other sections made me blink and re-read them, questioning (yet again) whether the author meant the line to be serious or tongue-in-cheek.
There were many things that bothered me about Mutationem. Too many to warrant going in depth for, so I’ll mention just a few. I just couldn’t buy the fact that I was supposed to believe that the Chief Science Officer on what was arguably one of humanity’s most important missions was a pot-smoking slob. I seriously doubted that the Captain would have already been (again, this is 30 days prior to launch, and under the assumption that crews have been rotating in and out regularly in training) forcing the CSO to be bathed by the crew as punishment.
Even trying to give credit that this is placed one thousand years into the future, and evolution is a real thing: I found it difficult to believe that a “learning visor” would accelerate an INFANT’s brain to the point that at 9 months old she could talk like a 4-year-old. Maybe this is an imagination deficit on my end, but this caused a serious amount of groaning and eye-rolling every time the baby appeared in Mutationem. Also, the over-sexed ‘siren’. I’m pretty sure the only reason she was in the book was for the lustful scenes she allowed for. (And those scenes were really, really detailed if you catch my drift.)
Also, little things like everyone going to bed at 2100. No crew overseeing operations for hours at a time? Lack of shift rotation? No one bothering to check the weapons log to make sure every logged back in? Then there’s the informality and the language. I have – and freely admit to it – a serious potty-mouth, and even I found myself rolling my eyes at the Captain’s constant cursing and crude language. I find it difficult to believe that even at 30 days away from scheduled launch date, the officers of the crew would behave that unprofessionally. I’m not saying I think things would be as strict as is displayed in typical novels, but Mutationem carries it to the opposite extreme.
The only thing I liked about Mutationem was the idea. Maybe, with some serious editing, a slight hormone reduction (or at least a warning that it contains some XXX adult scenes), and some beta-readers giving great feedback, this would turn into the novel it had the potential to be. As it is, it’s on my short list of worst science fiction novels I’ve ever read. I couldn’t force myself to read past the 57% mark. There’s just too many good books out there to spend time on a bad one. And this is definitely a bad one.