Ants of Flanders: It was Fantastic until the Tale Jumped the Shark.
The Ants of Flanders by Robert Reed
In between book I’ve been reading short stories. And I have been making some real progress in the 29th edition of the Year’s Best Science Fiction. This time around the review is called The Ants of Flanders by Robert Reed.
So what is it about? It follows Bloch. Bloch is a big strong teenager who is a little slow, but has a heat of gold. He is going about his business one day when something very strange happens. On one side of the earth a giant shield appears blocking out the sun light for half of the earth. Then on the non shielded side, Bloch’s side, something falls from the sky. In Bloch’s neighborhood in fact. Bloch is the first to investigate along with a bunch of neighbors. It turns out to be an egg with a large baby alien inside. Instead of beings scared they take pity on it. It appears to be aquatic and they try to save it by putting in the penguin lake exhibit at the zoo. But the creature immediately absorbs all the water like a sponge growing into something much bigger before burrowing underground. From there on out the military moves in setting up camp. Bloch and a local scientist try to help and be in the know as things go from bad to worse in this alien invasion.
The good? I like the first half. Bloch and all the people in town are fantastic and charming. The setup is unique and imaginative giving everything this Spielberg feel. I was actually loving the first half and had troubled trouble putting the story down.
The bad? The second half of the story just derails and makes a lot of questionable choices. For instance Bloch starts fusing with metal and turns into a monster and then becomes human later. There is no reason why this should happen in the story plot wise and the reasoning as to why is its happening contextually is some of the weakest stuff I ever read. Then there is an alien invasion but we never see it. The book jumps to the aliens and their master plan but it’s told so cryptically, that what is happening is never clear. So much is never explained and the strange twists and turns are just too random. Also that ending frustrating because it’s is not clear what happened.
Overall, this starts out great and the jumps the shark into something is not enjoyable at all. I have to say this is a skip because this is not a good story.
Overall Rating: It was Fantastic until the Tale Jumped the Shark.
1/2/ smoothie out of four.