Derin’s review — Homo Sapian by tomatopudding
Warnings: not used
Ax, while hanging out with the other Animorphs in human morph, gets hit by a car and knocked out for three hours, and thus trapped.
Okay, so. This is a cool idea. I’d love to see how Ax would handle getting trapped; it sounds like it’d be equal parts heart-wrenching and hilarious. But this fic? This fic doesn’t do those things.
I’m going to ignore the misspelled title because it’s entirely possible that it’s a pun I missed or something, and skip right to the story itself: this isn’t Ax’s voice. This isn’t any kind of approximation of Ax’s voice. Which is a problem, for a first-person fic. The story is littered with random background information that the readers should already know, like the fact that Ax came to Earth on a Dome ship, that doesn’t serve the plot in any way, and the descriptions… well, here’s an excerpt:
So after I concealed my scoop and did the morning ritual, I morphed an Earth-bird called a seagull and flew to an area near the Gardens where Prince Jake had hidden my artificial skin and hooves, or ‘clothes’ and ‘shoes’. I demorphed and immediately remorphed to human. When I was first rescued, I combined the DNA of Prince Jake, Cassie, Rachel, and Marco (Tobias was already a hawk by then) to create a human morph. My morph was of medium height with fair skin, bright green eyes, and curly dark-red hair.
After morphing and donning clothing, I began the sort walk to the Gardens. I arrived at the final street I would have to cross and spotted my friends: brown haired, grey eyed Prince Jake; black haired, brown eyed Cassie; blonde haired, blue eyed Rachel; black haired, dark purple-blue eyed Marco; Tobias’ dirty-blonde haired, light-brown eyed morph. I waved to them and began to cross the street. The last thing I remember is Cassie yelling “Watch out!”, and then everything went black.
The entire thing is written like this. The entire thing.
It’s perfectly readable. It could be a lot worse. If English is the author’s second language or something then this is a perfectly good use of it. But it’s not particularly engaging; just reading through those two paragraphs makes me lethargic.
A good story can save bad writing, but we don’t really get one of those either. The idea is great, but we don’t get to see Ax adapt to human life or even muse upon his identity at all. He gets hit by a car, the kids manage to avoid sending him to hospital somehow (??), and he wakes up three hours later. The Animorphs worry about what to do with him, he’s in shock, end of fic.
I guess I should also talk about the fact that he was unconscious for three hours and seems to be fine. There’s no obvious brain damage in the fic itself (it’s possible that they Animorphs haven’t noticed the brain damage yet I guess, but come on, three hours), and Ax manages to get up and run around without any signs of pain or trauma when he wakes up, despite the fact that he can’t morph to heal. All of the Animorphs seem pretty out of character when trying to decide what to do with him, particularly Marco, who says Ax can live at his house and then just shrugs when asked how he’s going to explain that to his father (Marco? Not obsessively thinking through plans and counter-plans before opening his mouth? Did he switch personalities with Rachel for the day?), and Ax himself, who, on the (really terrible) suggestion that they make place in the bran for him (… why?…) cries that he’s not going to live like “some sort of animal!”
Um. Okay, I-live-in-the-woods-with-a-bird, I-don’t-understand-why-humans-don’t-accord-their-domesticated-friends-proper-respect, I-feel-the-need-to-clarify-that-humans-say-ánimal’-to-mean-animals-that-aren’t-themselves Ax. From a species that shows no sign of having animal domestication and doesn’t seem to view humans as differnt to any other animal beyond making allowances for their intelligence and sentience. Okay.
This fic has potential, but it’s kind of a mess. I think perhaps tomatopudding was new to writing fiction, in which case we may see more stories from them as I trawl through this damn list and we can watch their writing style develop. That would be pretty interesting.