Alien Taste

Posted by : atcampbell | On : September 17, 2002

Alien Taste by Wen Spencer

Fifteen people attended this meeting at Jeff and Judy’s home. Our topic was Alien Taste, the first novel by Wen Spencer. The book’s story involves Ukiah Oregon, a private investigator raised by wolves, in an unusual case involving with extraterrestrial elements. Twelve of us started reading the book, and eleven finished it.

Alien Taste was full of fun ideas: a private eye who investigates primarily with his nose, lots of action scenes, pod people, invaders from Mars, intelligent hedgehog creatures, motorcycles, and aliens who seem like a cross between vampires and werewolves. The author imbued the plot with a lot of energy, and most of us had a fun, fast-paced reading experience. One person felt the story was perfect for a “made-for-the-Scifi-Channel” movie.

While we liked the book as we were reading it, further reflection revealed some problems. There is a lot of sloppiness in the writing (plot threads with no payoff, background characters who serve no purpose, etc.) and we though the book needed more editing. The science in the story was just bad. The characters were not well-developed. At times the author got sloppy and just told us how to feel rather than letting us experience feelings directly.

Overall we liked this book and think Wen Spencer has a lot of talent. Many of us plan to read the next book in this series. After the meeting, several of us went to dinner at La Morada.

— A. T. Campbell, III