The Stargazer’s Embassy: Another take on aliens

The Stargazer's Embassy

The Stargazeer’s Emabssy

By

Eleanor Lerman

I got this book from NetGalley, and this was the pleasant surprise. My selection of this book was based on the quirky name it has and the description given on the book cover. I mean The Stargazer’s Embassy sounds like an odd concept! I  actually did not even know what to expect, but in the end, it was good that I did not have any preconceived notion. The book is of-course about the aliens, but more than aliens, it felt like a peek in the brains of the different stories that float around the aliens. The book’s heroine, Julia, is an oddball who can see the aliens everywhere. They are the part of her life, but they have always been on sidelines. Julia meets a professor cum the practioner of psychology named John, and that is how she gets sucked further into the aliens.

The books is a different take on aliens. I have read quite a few alien books, but most of these books have been in the field of the romance or intergalactic war. I do carry my towel with me as well for hitchhiking. 😉

But all this paints a picture in the mind where we are able to communicate with the aliens, some establish relationships too(friends, family, romance etc.) But this book is making me think differently. The book talks about a situation in which a few people are abducted, and they carry with themselves the trauma of that experience. The book treats the abduction by the other race in such an other worldly manner. There is a psychiatric treatment for these people, support groups, books, theories etc.

I have always thought about the aliens as a race–either in their romanticized form or probably in their enemy-who-are-going-to destroy the earth form. This book doesn’t take any midway. It is so realistic in its description of the confusion about what the aliens want that I am also with the characters in the story, confused as to where all this is leading to.  I don’t know how the book is going to end, but it has made a home in my mind for now. We all talk about aliens, but we rarely talk about the victims who have to go through the experience of trying to decipher what these aliens are actually looking for and want.

There are so many frightening aspects this novel brought to forefront.

Here is the official summary of the book.

The Stargazer’s Embassy explores the frightening phenomenon of alien abduction from a different point of view: in this story, it is the aliens who seem fearful of Julia Glazer, the woman they are desperately trying to make contact with. Violent and despairing after the murder of the one person she loved, a psychiatrist who was studying abductees, Julia continues to rebuff the aliens until her relationships with others who have met “the things,” as she calls them, including a tattoo artist, a strange man who can take photographs with the power of his mind, and an abductee locked up in a mental hospital, force Julia deeper into direct alien contact and a confrontation about what death means to humans and aliens alike.

What I liked about the book

  1. Characters and idea: The book is filledd with quite interestng characters. I mean, apart from the title, there is a character which can actually click actual pictures of vision in someone’s mind. There are aliens who are so out-of-place in the dimension that they don’t know how to behave like humans.
  2. Details and writing: I generally do not know much about alien abductions, fictional or non-fictional, but the way this book gave a perspective, it was a way which I found quite realistic. I  mean, of course, I don’t know the people who believe in that, but the details were so beautifully woven in the story that it never felt unreal. There was the direct connection in the story.
  3. The plot: If it is not clear till now, I enjoyed the plot a lot. Although I was not much into the ending that the book had, I still was won over by the plot. It is a mix of intrigue, psychology, sci-fi, and language. It just had me there. There were times when I felt that the book was going too slow, but I just could not keep it down because I wanted to know what is going to happen next.

What I disliked

  1. The ending: The ending of the book just did not resonate with me. I have no idea how the book could have been ended in any other way, but that ending just felt a bit forced to me.
  2. The uneven pacing: There were few sections when there was nothing happening. I knew while I was readig the book that things were happening, but it felt a bit dragged because I could not understand why they were happening. There were moments, small ones, when I thought about keeping the book down because I just could not understand what was happening. But I’m glad I did read the end. And if I try to recall those moments when I wanted to stop reading, I cannot recall them.


Final Verdict


The book is definitely worth reading. If yoou start the book, do preverse till the end. You won’t be disappointed. The book is novel in its plot, characters, and writing.

Four Stars

 

 

 

 

Lessons learned from the April A to Z challenge in 2017

survivor-atoz [2017] v1

There should always be a post about lessons learned after finishing a challenge, an introspective view of whether I achieved what I wanted to achieve or not. That’s my motto for almost everything. That’s how one grows!

  1. Life will always be difficult. During the month of April, I thought that the month was tough. I actually wondered if what I was facing was depression—such was my mood. But then now when the 10 days of May have passed and I feel a bit better, I think I can conclude that life is going to be difficult. It is up to me only to pick myself up and move on.
  2. I failed badly at writing daily in the challenge. In fact my posts were written in the spurts of inspiration. I don’t think I lacked the will to write; it was more of the time and mood thing. Lessons learned here is perhaps I should stop wishing to write daily. This might be 50th time that I have failed at it.
  3. I need to schedule things in advance rather than writing them at the last minute. Most of my posts were written after 11:30 at night. I was in so much of rush to post them that I did not even revise them properly. I need to learn to end this last minute rush. It is too taxing for my mind.
  4. There is no alphabet which won’t inspire me. When I started the challenge, I was afraid that I might not find sufficient things to write about. But despite all this, I did find sufficient things to write about. In fact, I had to even select from the many themes I wanted to talk about. So, only thing that I need to write is the will to write and the writing instrument.

Overall, the challenge was semi-successful. I was able to regain my will to write again, but then I failed at developing the daily writing habit. The good part of it was that I managed to finish 26 alphabets in this blog at least.

For all the people who supported me and discussed my posts with me, thanks a lot.

Z=Zero to Hero

Last post of the season, with Z, I want to talk about zero t hero phenomenon. We are delving in romance novels again today. There is this guy who is nothing—a stable boy, a helping hand, a nobody—and then suddenly they are handed over a company and they are able to perform exceptionally well in these companies.

Forget the fact that they have no idea about how the companies are run. Forget that they have not acquired sufficient qualification yet, but they end up making just the right decision and be at the top. I feel so sorry for all those people who have spent midnight oil in studying and working to reach that position.

I am not against rich and successful heroes, but I am against characters who have to do totally no journeys. They just get a chance, and they become successful. I read about such characters and I am like murmuring, “Oh, do you know that being a successful person involves more than flying from one place to another, more than merely talking on phone.” I know novels are not supposed to show the strategic plans for companies, but something should at least be shown to showcase that the character has worked to reach that place. Mere zero to hero situation does not satisfy me as a reader.

With this, I have discussed 26 things that I relate to or do not relate to in the books. The consolidated post of my learnings will come up soonish. Thank you for traveling with me in this challenge.

Y=Young Love= Bookish Confession#25

My confession here is my guilty pleasure too. This is my favorite reading section in any book. The first blush of relationship, the time the love start blossoming—I adore those scenes. I could literally be heard squealing “Aww” while reading such scenes. I would smile unnecessarily recalling those scenes (People do know I am weird, ;;P)

And I am not talking about only the love that exists in YA novels. This is the love, the romance that is everywhere—the unsaid feelings, or the exploratory love(now, it sounds like the exploratory research.. :P) I have read some of those beautiful scenes in the “elderly” women too.

I rarely have any complaints against these scenes. Unless they are badly botched up, they are going to satisfy me as a reader. The only requirement that I have for these scenes to not be the scenes of instalove. Instattraction is okay, insta-hatred is okay too, insta-liking is good too, but no first sight love scenes.

Despite this, in my opinion, many of the Indian romance novels lack in the presentation of these scenes too well. I cannot put my finger on what is missing in those scenes, but there is something which disconnects the readers from these scenes. I wish our writers will grow in their skills to write such beautiful scenes.

X=Xerox me Up!

The third post of the day and we are almost nearing the end. For X, I want to talk again about the idea of everyone being casted in the same shell, especially in YA novels. Almost everyone want to conform to a kind of standard. If you actually list down the features of the characters of these YA novels, they will end up appearing Xerox copy of each other.

Individuality, if there, is actually looked down upon. I understand the need for the social acceptance, I so totally do. But I do feel it quite strange when people are ready to forego everything in such cases.

I guess that’s the true result of peer pressure. In fact I find it strange in the real life too, but books exaggerate it to a great extent. More likely, I feel it is the western culture which is probably reflected there. I think the relationships there are much harsher comparatively. Or probably it is the modern times which are like this. I don’t know what is it, but I just do not enjoy this Xerox culture.

W=witches=Bookish Confession#23

Like Gods of last post, I am going to present another word that I learned from the books and that is the witches. When I was growing up, I learned about witches in the fairy tales. They were the evil beings, old, disgruntled with their pointed hat and broom. Then came the era of TV where the Bewitched was being aired and being the witch meant just doing magic of any kind. That was the extent of my knowledge for the Witches. I remember one of the History classes when we were told about the burning of witches without trials. But then also, I did not learn much about the witches.

Come to the current era when I have read many books about witches, and I understand that some people practice witchcraft as religion. I know that there was a time when even the healers were labeled as witches. I know about Wiccans also somewhat. But honestly speaking, I still don’t know who exactly a witch is. I have tried to read about different stuff, but all I get is some historical information. One day, I would just like to talk to a witch to understand what exactly they do.

For me reading about witches is reading about a fantasy world. I do not question the rules that are made in books, but just read about them like I would read about any other fantasy.

V= Vague Gods=Bookish Confession#22

This post is not at all about religion. It is more about the ritual and inspirations about the book. I know about Greek mythology and Norse mythology because of books (in addition to the Hindu mythology). What interests me in these books is the representations of these vague gods.

I do not mean any disrespect for any of the followers, but all the lesser gods(I am making a word out here because I am not really sure what do we call the gods who are lower in the rung) are so “human”. They have their all falls and follies, and in all these mythological stories, the people we know as the heroes today are represented as higher “gods”.

It is interesting to note that even though their gods, they are not above the baser sins and desires. When the first time I read such a story(it was Aphrodyte), I was amazed when the book jacket quoted that it was a book based on mythology. Their behavior was so different from the values we were taught.  And there were just so many mistakes in the verdict of these gods. I ended up being fascinated by the “grey characters” more. Medusa had my greatest sympathy. I just could not associated with Zeus. These stories made me feel that I was cheated out of my gods. My Gods were supposed to be perfect and flawless beings, but these were the most flawed creatures. I did a whole course on Coursera on Greek myth to really understand how these creatures were developed. I read Odyssey end to end. I still am fascinated with the subject, and I still believe that reading about these Gods is a different experience.

 

 

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