REVIEW: Earth Fathers are Weird by Lyn Gala
Dear Lyn Gala,
I enjoy your work, I like so many of your books a great deal and I consider “Claimings” series one of the gems in the SFF m/m romance. I am saying this just so the readers would understand that *the only* reason I picked up this book was because it had your name on the cover. Male pregnancy was not my thing before reading this book and it is still not my thing after I finished it. I also thought before reading this book that tentacles are not my thing but I see now that I can enjoy tentacles if well written :)
As blurb tells you through no fault of his own Max ends up in the alien space port looking for a job and trying to get back to Earth. Aliens who grabbed Max (not for the reason he thinks they did but the result ended up being the same) for some reason decided that the spaceport was the best place to drop him off. Now Max is stuck and with the help of alien guide he finds the job that he hopes will let him save for the ticket back to Earth in a little less than four years.
Max thinks he will be a “nanny” for the alien being kids. The problem is that the computer in the space port and the computer at the ship Max ends up living on have limited capacities to translate from the language being used in this world to English and back.
Note that the expression “Translation matrix failure” comes up very often when Max and Rick ( the alien with whom Max ends up staying and working for) are trying to communicate and yes it was very amusing and yes, I loved that Lyn Gala once again spent a lot of time showing how the people from two very different worlds are trying to communicate and understand each other.
““Translation matrix failure.” Max closed his eyes and counted to ten. Heroes in movies never had language problems. Alien abduction was not living up to the hype, but hey, at least he had avoided the alien probes. That was a small blessing. “In return for compensation, what action will I need to take? Will I help improve translation matrix?” Max knew he wouldn’t be, but hopefully that would help clarify the question. Heetayu raised his head again. “Raise young.” “A nanny? Someone wants to hire me as a nanny? Or, someone put out a job that anyone could answer. I could get there and they wouldn’t want me.”
If Max was honest with himself, he wasn’t any better with kids than he was with English grammar. Every time he was around his little brother, Max managed to disappoint him or piss him off. Heetayu touched Max’s shoulder. “Jobs only for individual touches…” He pointed to the glass square. “Mass have compensation.” Max frowned. That sounded weird for more reasons than the questionable grammar. “Why would someone hire me to take care of their children?””
So of course computer misinterpreted the job description and before helping with the kids, Max actually supposed to carry them to term after Rick implants them and no Rick does not realize that Max does not really understand right away what he is signing up for.
As I stated above, no I did not enjoy reading about Max being pregnant and appreciated that the author skipped quite a bit from when Max realizes what was going on to the delivery. But what was there was quite enough to gross me out thank you very much. If I could forget I ever read something like this and few more paragraphs I would have been a happy camper.
““I shall.” Rick had a strangely formal cadence to his voice, even in his weird belchy voice. “Try and relax.” Rick devoted a couple of tentacles to rubbing Max’s lower back. “That’s try to relax, and that’s not easy when baby octopuses are doing gymnastics routines in my large intestine.”
As one of my book buddies Relly said in her excellent review, I also thought that the second part of the book was much better. This author was already successful in “Claimings” series by making me love not quite human looking alien, but of course Ondry, tale and height not withstanding is much closer to humans in appearance in comparison to Rick. Basically see the cover and that is Rick – adult octopus. I really liked him, the author made me love his sweet personality. I loved how all three kids had different personalities too and their interactions with Max were great. I also thought the suspense plot worked more or less.
“But he was still Max’s boy. Max had been a weird, gawky kid himself. Xander stretched his tentacles toward the computer, and Max held him close enough that he could push buttons. He repeated the startup sequence Max used for a new session, although Max wasn’t sure if that was intentional or if Xander was simply repeating what he’d seen Max do. “Will you grow up to be a translator?” Max asked. “Translator,” Xander replied. In English no less.
The other two spoke Rick’s language and Max had instructed the computer’s translator voice to use different pitches so Max could tell who was speaking, but Xander was learning his own language and Max’s. “You should learn a more useful language,” Max said. “Max useful.” Xander tightened his tentacles around Max’s wrist. Max opened his mouth and then closed it again. He would call Xander a manipulative little shit, but the kid was learning English too quickly for Max to take the risk. “Max is a pilot. I’m a fighter pilot. I fly jets and shoot down any enemy.” Max brought Xander up to eye level, and Xander reached for Max’s neck.”
The world building overall had potential, but something felt off to me , somewhat forced I guess. I cannot really put my finger on why I feel that way – we certainly have another world, very different from the ours and completely different species.
There are only two sex scenes in this book which made sense, what was surprising is how hot I found both. I am not going to go out and look for tentacles porn, I am not that enamored by it, but I certainly won’t stay clear from the book if I see the word tentacles on the cover. Male pregnancy however is the whole different ball game.
The grading was not just difficult, but even torturous process. At Goodreads I left the review unrated. Here I am going to give it C for the pregnancy/ and B for the rest of the story. I know that without the pregnancy this story would not exist, but I just find this plot twist almost repulsive. Believe me, I did not pick this book up with the intent to hate ( and I didn’t, I enjoyed so much of it). I hoped a favorite author can convince me. Unfortunately it did not work.