Our first impressions of Escalation

Find out The Space Girls’ first impressions of SPSFC contestant, Escalation by Itzhak Begerano.

As part of the Self-Published Sci-Fi Competition, my team (The Space Girls) has been given 25 books to read. Of this initial allocation (or ‘slush pile’), we are reading the first 30% and then voting Yes or No on whether we’d like to continue reading further. You can see our full allocation in my previous blog.

Here are the team’s first impressions of Escalation by Itzhak Begerano. (You can find all of our first impressions posts here.)

Book blurb

Two conflicted presidents, each driven by delusion and greed, dream of ruling the globe. To meet their goals, they resort to fraud, bribery, and corruption. Alexander Monroe — the president of the Democratic Organisation, and Suleiman Assad — the president of the Free Islamic Forces, find themselves dragged into an inevitable war. Barney Chaplin the entertainer, the nerdy minister of education who opposes the idiotic war. He became Monroe’s deputy and was sent to the front lines in the Fata Morgana desert to entertain his troops while risking his own life. The performance of President Monroe and the members of his government are examined by the government psychiatrist Professor Cheers, and everyone understands that it is better that someone supervises her as well…

During the illusory war, well-known Hollywood actors who have passed their time are forced to function as deadly commandos and go beyond enemy lines.

Goodreads / Amazon

Our first impressions

Nancy: Ooh, a political satire comedy! I find it interesting a good chunk of the story takes place in the POV of a character named Barney who has untreated schizophrenia. He constantly talks to himself and believes the hallucinations he sees are real. The main conflict of the story surrounds an impending war between a country that resembles the US and an Arab caliphate ruled by a ruthless oligarch. I liked the premise, but the book is very difficult to read because of the endless run on sentences. Some sentences are almost 50 words long! The book also feels much longer than necessary. I think with efficient editing, the entire story could be enjoyed in less than 80 pages. There are also next to zero Sci-Fi elements in the plot. And the female characters are dismal! We meet a character who is supposed to be one of the “good guys” who spends half of the book groping women. Yikes! (N)

Kerry: Whilst I’m usually a fan of political satire, Escalation just wasn’t my “cup of tea” as they say. I did try my hardest to reach 30% but the sentence structure, grammar and prose had me bailing quite early. (Has this book been translated into English by any chance?) 

I also wasn’t impressed with the way women were portrayed in the part I did read. If they weren’t seen as sexual objects then any woman showing any sign of intelligence they seemingly appeared to be  the enemy. Red flags for me so this is a no. (N)

Katherine: Adjective soup, rather nonsensical. Could not read very far at all. (N)

Claire: This is definitely the weirdest book I’ve ever read. I found it really hard to follow, due to the long sentences and the grammar. It was confusing and I just couldn’t get into the story. (N)

Our verdict: Cut

Please note that these opinions are the judges’ initial impressions of only a part of each book. A book being cut doesn’t necessarily mean it is bad or not worth reading.