I can’t take it any more – I just have to complain. Bitterly. And at length.
With a name like Outpost, a tagline like “They took the job to ESCAPE THE WORLD. They didn’t expect the WORLD TO END” (and yes, the all-shouty capital letters are as presented), and a cover picture of a hazard-suited dude watching a burning city, it was always going to be either Trash or Treasure.
Sadly for Adam Baker, I’m placing this one firmly in the Trash category. Despite rave reviews from publishers on Amazon, lots of kudos from authors like Stephen Leather, and a general vibe that this is a great and gripping read, I’m not feeling the love.
The premise? Absolutely fab – what’s not to love here. A wintering-over skeleton crew marooned on an Arctic oil rig as civilisation falls to a global pandemic. The characters – hmmm, a little flat (conflicted chubby reverend Jane, dreadlocked dope-growing Sikh engineer Ghost, tattooed ex-con Nail, codeine-addicted doctor Rye: can you say walking cliche?). Tolerable, although there’s no real character development.
The storyline? Well, let’s just say, how many disaster scenario locations can you squeeze into one book? We’ve got the almost abandoned oil rig, the scientists marooned on the ice, the actually abandoned Russian research station full of biohazards, the crashing-in-front-of-their-eyes space station pod (with dying cosmonaut), the floating cruise liner (with infected ravening hordes), and I’m still only halfway through the book.
The thing that’s really tipping the balance, though (because despite all this, I can still see the potential), is the STYLE of the thing. Every page has strings of sentences like this: “Flash of lightning. She let her eyes adjust. A seething ocean. Surging, frothing waves.” Every single page. It’s like Dick and Jane Visit the Apocalypse. Can I make it to the end of the book? I don’t know. Do I even want to? I don’t know. Also, there’s a sequel …
Have you read it? Vote below – trash or treasure? Or suggest some similar books that I might enjoy …