Fresh from watching In The Heights so you don’t have to, long-time Outposter Creativityishard/kk tried to review the latest book from Andy Weir (The Martian) and, in the process, discovers something truly bizarre lurking at the top of the sci-fi bestseller list – Ice Planet Barbarians.
Once again she fearlessly goes where other Outposters would fear to tread. Brace yourselves!
We Got Ourselves A Reader Here!
I spent a lot of time debating if this is something even article-worthy. Would this be something the people here would be interested in, or even laugh at? I think there’s some humor in this, especially in how impressive titles can change things.
I read… A LOT! I grew up in a reading family. I have a book tattoo on my shoulder. I’ve read 40 books since 3-11-21 (while working full time and having a life). I love the escapism of reading and getting caught up in a plot. I listen to audiobooks when driving and cooking/baking. I read physical hard copy books, and I just bought a kindle.
Andy Weir’s third book came out recently and I had preordered it on Audible. I love this man’s writing style, and his personal history. Weir was a computer programmer who wrote fiction on the side. His first published book, The Martian, is one of my favorite books.
The use of real science mixed with humor and survival instincts shows his skills in prose. I love this book. In 2015 it was made into a Matt Damon movie. I hate to be that person, but the book was better. There is a lot of humor in the book that the movie lacked, which was surprising given the cast. I mean they had Michael Pena and there was a joke in the book about cannibalism by Rick Martinez (Pena’s character) that would’ve been gold.
Back on topic, Weir’s third book Project Hail Mary came out on May 4th. The audiobook was narrated by Ray Porter, who played Darkseid in Zack Snyder’s Justice League. This book is typical of the super smart and witty protagonist Weir is known for. The audiobook is good. It’s like 16+hours long.
But then I decided to look at this week’s sci-fi bestseller list on Amazon. I was surprised to see Project Hail Mary only at #2. This book was expected to be one of the biggest sellers of the year. It’s not even winning the number one bestseller spot in its genre. So what was number one?
Ice Planet Barbarians
The what now? Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon. Even the author’s pen name tells you what this book is gonna be about. It sounds like a stripper’s name, not an author.
So my (dumb) ass decided to download this thing and read it because surely the book that took Weir out of the top spot in the sci-fi book category has to be good and worthy of the bestseller in sci-fi. What a mistake to make!
Ice Planet Barbarians was published on April 3rd, 2015 by CreateSpace publishing. This is an independent publishing/self-publishing platform. Compare this to Project Hail Mary. That was published by Ballantine Books which is a part of Random House and Bertelsmann publishing houses. Ice Planet Barbarians is 188 pages. That includes quite a few pages of “If you like this book, here are other books in the series…” cross promotion.
Project Hail Mary is 496 pages. There is no audio version of Ice Planet Barbarians, but again Project Hail Mary is 16+ hours when read at normal speed.
So we have a giant, well-known sci-fi writer, who had one of his books adapted into a movie starring Matt Damon, with a big fancy publishing house behind, him only to come in number 2 on Amazon’s sci-fi bestsellers. The book he came behind was a self-published, self-promoted book containing clear grammatical mistakes, called Ice Planet Barbarians.
Now here’s where it gets comical and why I wanted to write this article. Over on the book side of TikTok, this book has a ton of videos about it which finally made me say “Sure let’s read it!”
So it starts out normal enough, abducted by aliens. We’ve all experienced that, right? That’s a normal cliched trope of a sci-fi book. It doesn’t get better. The start was the good bit of the book. The first two pages. A group of “little green men” and another species of alien that the narrator/protagonist calls “basketball heads” proceed to essentially human traffic Earth women they pick-up, and then rape them.
So within the first 5 pages, you have 6 human women crying because they’ve been abducted by aliens and forced to travel livestock in their spaceship, they get muzzled and brutally gang-raped by aliens, and are experimented on.
Oh, and by the way, the women they abducted are all gorgeous 22-year-old women! Skinny tiny little pretty women from all around the world just happened to be abducted and then raped by aliens. The protagonist is from Florida, which somehow makes it better and makes more sense.
I probably should’ve stopped reading then. But momma didn’t raise no quitter!
The ship then experiences some mechanical trouble, so they have to leave the cargo carrying part of their ship behind on “Not-Hoth”, as the protagonist describes it. They will come back for the six women in the cargo part of the ship and the 6 other women left in their “sleeping tubes.”
The protagonist then goes to try to find help, believing maybe she’s in Antarctica. She gets caught in a hunting trap, where a local finds her. This local then proceeds to:
“…explore my folds with its tongue…”
I wish I was making this up. Again, this is still in the very early trappings of the book. I really need to make clear just how badly written this book is.
Basically, this woman then proceeds to have sex every single way she can with a 7-foot tall creature with gray-blue suede type of skin, 3 fingers, 4 toes, a tail, two horns on his forehead that are like ram’s horns, with long black hair on his head. He has bony ridges along his nose, brow, collarbone, hips, back, and tail. His eyes glow bright blue with no pupil.
Oh, and his dick is the length of a forearm, the girth of a baseball bat, bright blue and furry with the same bony ridges along the shaft and a barb on the tip.
They don’t speak the same language. The blue alien thinks the human is a simpleton and compares her to a “kit” which is this alien race’s version of a child. Also, this alien species doesn’t have assholes.
The Mind Boggles
While I’m reading this bestselling book, my brain is going:
“…at what point is this beastiality?”
Unbelievably, it continues to get worse. This alien race is stuck in essentially the stone age and is not native from there. The alien leader, a.k.a. her new fuck buddy, does not know this at all.
Apparently, there was a spaceship that malfunctioned and dropped these creatures there 300 years ago. Most of the population died because of the atmosphere. The way they survived was pulling a glowy silver tapeworm from the heart of what was poorly described as a bright pink wooly mammoth with thin ostrich legs, and putting it into their heart.
Yes, you read that right! This tapeworm thing controls everything and tells them who to mate with, humming when it finds its mate. So when I did the math on this it turns out all these aliens are inbred. Not from the family tree, but the family vine.
The weird tapeworm hums when it finds its mate and forces the host to impregnate the female. All these gorgeous 22-year-old girls are totally into this, getting the tapeworm put in them, getting pregnant by something out of Appalachia Avatar, and not trying to find a way home to Earth.
Again this is currently the bestselling sci-fi book on Amazon right now. Seriously.
The book is poorly written erotica and it feels like the writer maybe had the vocabulary of someone at maybe a fifth-grade reading level. Not a smart 5th grader either. Maybe the one in the back not paying attention, thinking school is for dummies. The use of cliched sci-fi tropes that aren’t even further explored, makes this a frustrating read.
Reading spicy erotica books can be a lot of fun if done well. Using a sci-fi base to explore the human condition? That’s a great use. Letting one’s imagination go into the final frontier to face some very human truths that we all experience? There is a reason why sci-fi is such a fun genre of books.
Heck, romance novels make the publishing industry a lot of money. Annually romance novel sales make $1billion, which is more than many other genres combined. Romance novels are about 1/3rd of the publishing industry. So combining sci-fi and erotica/romance genres together seems like a recipe for success. However, this book doesn’t do either erotica or science fiction well.
That’s what makes this so frustrating to see that this book series has taken over the sci-fi bestseller list, and toppled Andy Weir’s much better book. That’s right. Series. There are more of them. A whole series of Ice Planet Barbarians “novels”.
This whole thing is even more frustrating because the books are propped up by the book side of TikTok, and that makes more people read it.
It makes me scared for the genre because people will see Dixon’s work and try to mimic that, just what happened after the success of Twilight. That basically gave way to even worse versions of that book, and also brought us the Fifty Shades Of Grey books. They were originally a fanfiction take on the Twilight series, even keeping the same character names. They, in turn, brought us a whole lot of copycat erotica novels that weren’t fun to read.
Today the top 20 is filled with these horrible type of books.
Maybe the point of this long ramble is me telling you to go and buy Andy Weir’s new book. Don’t make the mistake I did and see this and go:
“Well… this has to be decent!”
For a couple of days over on Twitter, IPBarbarians was trending. So bad. So poorly written and the fact that this series is on the bestselling list makes me so mad. It even crossed over into the normal “All Genre” bestselling list.
Only read Ice Planet Barbarians if you want to have horrible imagery of a petite college co-ed taking it up the ass from an alien from the Avatar movies.
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