“Orphaned as a boy, raised in the Czech countryside by his doting grandparents, Jakub Procházka has risen from small-time scientist to become the country’s first astronaut. When a dangerous solo mission to Venus offers him both the chance at heroism he’s dreamt of, and a way to atone for his father’s sins as a Communist informer, he ventures boldly into the vast unknown. But in so doing, he leaves behind his devoted wife, Lenka, whose love, he realizes too late, he has sacrificed on the altar of his ambitions.
Alone in Deep Space, Jakub discovers a possibly imaginary giant alien spider, who becomes his unlikely companion. Over philosophical conversations about the nature of love, life and death, and the deliciousness of bacon, the pair form an intense and emotional bond. Will it be enough to see Jakub through a clash with secret Russian rivals and return him safely to Earth for a second chance with Lenka?”
It’s time for another installment of DNF Diaries, and I’m really disappointed that this one didn’t work out. Spaceman of Bohemia has an epic premise, as evident above, and I was really looking forward to a fantastic space opera read. Unfortunately, I had to DNF this book at 34%.
As I said, the premise is intriguing enough, but I felt that the executed just fell flat. Everything about this was a bit too simple for my enjoyment, from the writing style to the barebones narration to the actual characters. Spaceman of Bohemia has two alternating timelines, which I usually enjoy, but both (Jakub’s present in space and his childhood) were quite frankly boring. Bored is probably the best word to describe my reading experience, since I had to force myself through that 34% with little to no enjoyment.
It didn’t dawn on me until after I chose to DNF this book, but Spaceman of Bohemia actually reminds me of another lone wolf in space story – The Martian by Andy Weird. Why did I love The Martian, yet couldn’t finish Spaceman of Bohemia? Because Jakub severely lacked what Mark had in spades – personality. Jakub as a protagonist was dull and unexciting, something that I’m apparently shallow enough to need when I’m reading about a man alone in space for months.
We also need to talk about the elephant in the room, or rather, the alien spider. Reading about an alien arachnid with a Nutella addiction was too weird. And not even weird in an engaging way. I was expecting something profound from this story, and perhaps that occurs by the end, but I couldn’t stick around for it. A deathly combination of boring and strange meant that I couldn’t force myself to see if Jakub even completes his mission, much less figure out what the deal was with the space spider.