5 out of 5 stars A real page-turner, July 24, 2009
By Franklin R. Amthor “amthorfr” (Hoover, AL United States) – See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)This is an excellent, well-written book that is difficult to put down. The plot is vintage space adventure, but with unusual twists, and the variety of characters is wonderful, from heroes to villians to much in-between. In fact, it was sometimes difficult to keep the various alien species sorted out. It had a nice mix of predictability and surprise that was very engaging. I hope the next Hatfield work is out soon.
Watch who you call alien, buddy!,
April 23, 2005
With my lobster claw, I will smash you! I … oh, sorry, I was having a flashback there. Uh, review the book. Okay …
Very enjoyable. The first two-thirds really wowed me. Very impressive for a first novel. It would have been quite good even for an experienced novelist. The only reason I gave it four stars (well above average, in my book) versus five stars (perfect?) is that the end, while professionally written, had too much of a “wrap-up” feeling. I think the pacing changed a bit. On the other hand, it could have been that I didn’t want it to end.
Fantastic Fiction, Believable Characters,
February 2, 2005
“Captive Audience” has several things going for it; believable characters, each one with their own character strengths and weaknesses, a strong plot and sharp concise writing. The characters are not carbon copies of most of the typical genre heroes and villains. The heroes have all too human flaws, making them likable and villains flaws that make you want to root against them. The story builds slowly with excellent points of action and drama mixed in at the right proportions. The writing conveys its meaning and emotion with little wasted energy.
Truth in the title,
January 4, 2005
I read this book first when it was in an earlier draft, and Hatfield hooked me right away. His believable characters and taut, action-packed plot dragged me along for a wild, wild ride.
So, of course, when the book was published I had to read it again. I don’t know how it was possible, but Hatfield actually made the book better. From page one, he drew me in and kept me immersed in the wonderful world he created.
I was, truly, part of a captive audience and I wanted to stay. I look forward to the next book in the series.
Warning! Do Not Open Unless Prepared to Read!,
January 2, 2005
The book needs a warning label. I started it at restaraunt and ended up eating both lunch and dinner while I read the whole book. The author writes believable 4 dimensional characters of depth and history while painting a visual and aural setting for them to interact within. A very engrossing combination. Good work Bill…..
November 3, 2004
I love a “good read” and consider CAPTIVE AUDIENCE to be one of the most enjoyable books I’ve come across lately. I found the author’s characters to be believable, their personalities, actions and reactions just as interesting and varied as “real world” people. Mr. Hatfield’s use of subtle humor and puns is an appreciated pleasure also.
He gave me enough information to “see” the enviroment he has created without going overboard with techno jargon, something I do appreciate.
Any book that can keep my mind busy enough to ignore a hurricane raging outside has got to have something going for it! A good yarn overall and I look forward to his next efforts.
Reveiw by the 2nd person to finish the book,
October 14, 2004
Captive Audience is professionally written book that deserves to be published as much or more than many books I’ve read.
The plot is well concieved and harkens back to classic SF (ie 50s~60s). Will Hatfield knows his material. I don’t know if it is from research or personal experience, but there were almost no misplaced details. I was especially impressed with the descriptions of martial arts.
If it was just the plot and the action I would give the book 5 stars, but the characters are a drag factor. They are too realistic instead of melodramatic, for my taste in SF. No one has a life-dream, a burning loyality, belief in a cause greater than themselves, or unusual irrational fears or obsessions. Without any of these cliche motivations, the characters drift where the plot takes them, rather than driving it.
The character I was most sympathetic to was Yoshi Toshida. We quickly learn that his is irredemable corporate scum, but he has his self-serving, weezily-values and he sticks to them.
The book could have been helped by adding a collection of maps of the various ships at the the front of the book to help vizualize the action. (I don’t think the lack of maps hurt the book, but they could have helped.) From what I understand the author wanted to include such a section.
The book was written with sequels in mind, and Captive Audience is good enough that I will read the others if I can.
Review by Gary Roen, reviewer for Midwest Review of Books
I don’t read much of the new science fiction because many of the authors have lost sight of the fact good sf is about characters, conflicts, and stories that have a beginning, middle and an end. So many of them are too busy dealing with the science and not much else. I am glad to say this novel is a fast paced read with characters involved in numerous conflicts with a story that at first seems illogical but once you get into it is very plausible because he makes you believe aliens are real and that the passengers of the cruise ship Jade Viking have been taken prisoner. He also sets up many conflicts on how the earth people fight back. This novel should have had a mainstream publisher because so many readers will never find this excellent sci fi novel.