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One Hell of a Gap Year by ToWitToWhom


A tale of an abducted human who must learn to survive in an alien environment. Abducted at the beginning of what was meant to be her gap year, our protagonist is immediately thrust into an arena where she is forced to fight for her life.

Note: One Hell of a Gap Year contains some graphic violence and harsh language.

A serialized novel

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Listed: Feb 20, 2019


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Marcella Watney, Cavewoman Gladiatrix

By theredsheep, author of Pyrebound

Feb 24, 2019: A straightforward story about a girl abducted by aliens and put inside what appears to be a bizarre and unethical BF Skinner-style behavior experiment; she is given a few raw materials and minimal comfort facilities, and periodically pitted against monsters she has to fight with whatever stone-age weapons she has managed to craft. Yes, that can be straightforward. I just didn’t make it sound that way.

It comes across as vaguely similar to The Martian, if you replace the wonky science with survival techniques (building a fire, knapping flint, etc.) and brutal alien combat. The lonesome protagonist—if her name is given, I missed it—seems curiously well-educated in the relevant skills, but we aren’t given a lot to go by as to her origins, broader life goals, or who she is as a person. She’s college age, tough, tall, generally competent . . . I think the goal is perhaps to make her an everywoman, but it does have the unfortunate side effect of making her somewhat ill-defined as a character, and hard to root for except in the abstract sense of wondering how she’ll get past the next challenge.

That’s a shame, because it’s well-written and executed in every other way. Typos are quite rare—the author says "disorientating" for "disorienting," but a quick lookup says that’s a perfectly valid alternative form. The prose flows smoothly with nothing forced or clunky, the description is nice, and the character responds to her situation with intelligence and resilience. But she remains "the character," a sort of empty spot in the middle of an otherwise excellent adventure story. I wish I felt more inclined to cheer her on.

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