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Germline (Subterrene War Trilogy) Mass Market Paperback – 26 Jul 2011

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 373 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; 1 edition (26 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031612818X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316128186
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 3.2 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,011,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Impossible to put down . . . McCarthy's delirious narrative avoids cliché and raises intriguing questions about what it means to be human (PUBLISHERS WEEKLY) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

A smart, slick and utterly brutal debut novel - think Hunter S. Thomson, thrown into THE HURT LOCKER, fighting alongside the replicants from BLADE RUNNER . . . --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Stefan VINE VOICE on 5 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
I first heard about Germline quite a while ago, and I've been eagerly awaiting a chance to read it. As soon as it arrived in the post, I put aside the novel I was about to start, and dove right in. I'm glad I did - Germline is an intense, bizarre, and engrossing ride along with a man who is spiralling into his own private hell amidst what can only be described as a hell on earth (yes, he's pretty unlucky...). It's different to any other science-fiction I've read, and I will certainly be following the trilogy closely and eagerly.

Hyper-realism crashes with more surreal scenes of manic activity and Wendell's slipping mind, as he tries to find a balance between keeping on top of what's happening to him and his desire to numb everything away. McCarthy has mentioned Michael Herr's book on Vietnam (Dispatches) as a favourite read, and you quickly get the impression that the author has done a great job of evoking the chaos of warfare, and the emotional and psychological damage extended exposure to it can have on the soldiers and support staff. We're not meant to be comfortable. This is not a novel of whimsy. It's not pretty. It's grim, dark and brutal. And it's damned good.

Oscar "Scout" Wendell is a drug addict, who believes his path to journalistic redemption lies through reporting from the front lines of the war. He's the first civilian to be granted this opportunity, and he doesn't quite do the job that was expected. He embeds with a unit, grows close to its sergeant and quickly becomes addicted to "zip", a frontline drug that suits his tastes perfectly, disconnecting him from reality in a way that can only be described as dangerous in the extreme. His decline and ordeal is relentless, depressing and written in a brisk, choppy prose style which kept me reading into the night.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Louis "LEC Book Reviews" on 5 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
T.C. McCarthy's debut science fiction novel is one I paid very little attention to until the opportunity arose for me to get my digital paws on an electronic advance reading copy of the novel. I went in as close to without expectations as I'm ever likely to and the reading experience close to blew me away. Literally. The dark, oppressive and uncomfortably personal story of journalist Oscar Wendell, I'll admit, put me off a bit at first. Given the choice, I'll more often choose a novel that concentrates on levity than one distinctively dark. But once past an initial discomfort - something which, in retrospect, amounted to a sort of acclimatization to the very particular nature of the novel - McCarthy's stark prose and the brutal honesty of Wendell's tale drew me in and dragged me along for an intense, but very rewarding read.

In a future where wars are not at all fought like they are now, Wendell, journalist for the Stars & Stripes, is given the opportunity of a life time to experience the ongoing resource war between the United States and Russia from the frontline. McCarthy takes us deep into the trenches, tunnels, bunkers and command centers of that futuristic war-zone as well as deep into the character of Oscar Wendell. Life scarred even before putting on any battle suit, we watch Oscar battle through the actual fighting, but more interestingly through drug addiction, depression and all the other emotional torments brought on by war.

T.C. McCarthy calls on his own heart-wrenching life experiences to add life to Germline's characters and attach an undeniable authenticity to the events depicted within.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul Bowes TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 21 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
'Germline' is the first book in T. C. McCarthy's series 'The Subterrene War'. Set in the twenty-second century, the world of the novel is a plausible extrapolation from our own time. Resources have become increasingly scarce, and are ever more obviously the real causes and prizes of war. The United States is still fighting its wars abroad - in this case, across the Central Asian republics - and the immediate enemy is a Russia that is no longer so much an ideological opponent as a simple economic and military competitor.

Advances in weapons technology have made surface warfare increasingly unsurvivable for unarmoured humans and even for their cloned, physically augmented auxiliary troops. Much of the fighting has assumed an almost medieval character - fought in tunnels deep underground, away from the autonomous drones and the plasma bombardments. Into this cauldron of war ventures Oscar Wendell: a rich kid with a heavy drug addiction who has burned his boats at home, and sees a chance for redemption in war journalism.

McCarthy has the background in biological science and military analysis to give his vision of the future of geopolitical warfare the ring of credibility. As a writer, he's a cut above the generic authors of military SF. He gives the impression of having been strongly influenced by the journalists and writers of the Vietnam period, and not just by Joe Haldeman; certainly anyone familiar with Michael Herr's 'Dispatches', the writing of Philip Caputo and Tim O'Brien, and Stephen Wright's 'Meditations in Green' will find powerful similarities of tone. Like these writers, McCarthy is trying to render the whole experience of warfare - in particular, the way in which terrible personal experiences cannot prevent war from becoming a kind of home.
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