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on 23 March 2017
Some clever concepts and good characters but didn't quite work and was a bit predictable. Would recommend as a holiday by the pool read. Gibson's other books have been better
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on 10 June 2016
Gripping SF work from a relatively new author. Captivating at first, but unfortunately looses some of its hold toward the end, partially due to preparing for the sequels.
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Hmmm...tricky one, this. I tried to like it, honest, but the alleged intricate plot, compelling characters and superbly imagined alien civilisation were nowhere to be seen. What I saw was a plot predicated on a very esoteric bit of physics (time travel via FTL wormholes), sloppy grammar, an over abundance of shallow, disposable characters and a disappointing linear and unfulfilling plot. Think Tom Clancy does the script for a Stargate game and you won't be too far from the truth. I had hoped, all the way through, that there would be some overarching conspiracy to add some meat to the paltry plot but it never happened. You are left with loose ends flapping about all over the place and an overall impression of `why?'; what was the point of the story but mostly why have I just spent several weeks of bed-time reads struggling to enjoy this?
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on 21 September 2012
This book seems throughout to be written more as a screen play for a Hollywood disaster movie rather than a key work of science fiction. The writing is designed for a quick page turner and the "science" bits are quickly skimmed over. When a key character gets into a difficult spot he always "somehow" gets out of it. The regular use of "somehow" to skip to the next point in the plot I found particularly irritating. However, if you want an action page turner and you are not too bothered with the science fiction part it is fine. However, Peter F Hamilton, Neil Asher, Hannu Rajaniemi among others are all putting out new novels and I would recommend these ahead of Final Days.
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on 10 August 2011
Gary's latest, his fifth novel, is a novel of future apocalypse and wormholes. Written in a fast paced style from a number of different people's viewpoints, it is a cracking holiday read.

The story is set in 2235. The key premise of the tale is that wormholes, if one end is accelerated to relativistic speeds, can allow people to travel hundreds of light years quickly. People who travel outside the gate can eventually catch up with the people who have travelled through the gate but only by travelling at standard speeds. Thus we appear to travel in time, with those going through the wormholes able to travel into the future, so to speak.

We start the novel with an expedition. One of the things that wormhole travel has allowed humans to do is explore places far from Earth. There are relics out in the universe of other races, though seemingly long gone, which are being carefully explored. When an expedition is sent to Vault 17 in Gate Delta, a now-deserted Gateway of wormholes, Jeff Cairns sees two of their members seemingly killed, but then, moments later, one of them, Mitchell Stone, re-appears.

This is one of many mysteries the wormholes seem to have. On Earth, the loss of a wormhole connection to the Galileo colony a few years back, for reasons unknown, is another that has become a concern. The two places have yet to be re-connected (and as time goes on may or may not be due to what is happening on Earth.) Saul Dumont knows this better than anyone. He's still trying to cope with the loss of the wormhole link to the Galileo system, which has stranded him on Earth far from his wife and child for the past several years.

Only weeks away from the link with Galileo finally being re-established, he stumbles across a conspiracy to suppress the discovery of a second, alien network of wormholes.

Things are complicated further when we discover the reason for the second expedition's secrecy. They have travelled to the near future of 2245 and discovered a devastated, lifeless solar system - all except for the original Mitchell Stone, found preserved in a cryogenics chamber on Luna. Not only that but it seems that Earth has little time left. From video footage taken in the future, Copernicus City on the Moon is seen in ruins. Strange plant-like growths are seen mushrooming out of the Earth's oceans, causing the Earth to be swathed in cloud and apparently killing all life beneath them. The Earth seems doomed, with most of its population unlikely to survive.

Saul realises that to stop further destruction, he has to shut down all the gateways, before the damage reaches the colonies. Fighting to get to the Moon to do this, he finds himself in a battle against one of the Mitchell Stones who seems equally keen to stop him.

This is a big Niven-esque type disaster novel, or perhaps a Greg Bear (Forge of God springs to mind), so much so that it really needs one of those dramatis personae lists at the front. Though there are the main characters, a number of others are there to help develop the plot, which are a little more less developed and can take careful following.

It's also a book that you have to just accept at the beginning, even when things don't always make immediate sense travelling forward and backward in time. It's a tale that needs a while to set the scene and develop. Of course, as we have `seen' video from 2245, we know what is going to happen: if the title of the book doesn't give it away, it does seem that the future is set and unchangeable, though this is never as clear-cut as it sounds.

However by the mid-point of the book, this tale's up and running and it's a fast, exciting read with a dramatic twist towards the end and some very interesting developments which will no doubt be explored further in the next book.
I liked this a lot, in that it's a plot-driven old-school type of tale with some great new ideas to make it work. I think this is Gary's best to date, and look forward to the next in the series.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 October 2012
Final Days is one of those novels that has a hook in its opening pages that you will seize on to. Far in the distant future, during a time of few stars, when most galaxies have died, a team of scientists are exploring Site 17, the enigmatic remains of an alien civilisation. These enormous and dangerous ruins form the final destination of a network of wormholes through which mankind has begun to populate the universe. Two members of this secret expedition are consumed by a liquid in a pit that is so destructive a sample cannot be collected. Nevertheless, one of the men - Mitchell Stone - emerges, naked and unharmed but in shock. They return through the wormholes to 2235, the present day of the novel.

The wormholes, then, cross great swathes of space but they can also travel through time. Much of mankind, though, is being kept from the full knowledge of the networks and the alien Founders. Another secret expedition into the near future of Luna (the moon) reveals a devastated solar system, with only one human being surviving - Mitchell Stone preserved in a cryogenics lab. He is returned to earth, as is video revealing the final days of Earth, in the process of destruction by enormous growths towering from the oceans.

Saul Dumont knows all too well the power of the wormholes. His wife and daughter are stranded on the distant planet of Galileo, the wormhole having malfunctioned. While he waits for another wormhole to be connected, ten years on and in just a matter of weeks, he uncovers the truth that the government does not want him or anyone else to know - the truth of the imminent final days of Earth.

Through the novel we follow Saul and a number of other individuals who all know more than they should. Jeff Cairns, a colleague of Mitchell Stone from that calamitous trip to Site 17, has uncovered a conspiracy of his own, realising that he and Mitchell may well be the only survivors of that expedition. Others in power who know exactly what is in store have to deal with it in their own way. And then there are the two Mitchells, both of whom have undergone something incomprehensible at Site 17 - something that has made them different. Saul's mission is to prevent the forces destroying Earth and Luna from reaching the distant colonies. This will take drastic measures and great courage.

Final Days is my first experience of Gary Gibson's novels but it most certainly won't be the last. The story is utterly gripping. There are multiple characters, a few red herrings, and elements that only make sense as the novel continues, and these knot together to create a fascinating, exciting and poignant depiction of Earth's final days.

As well as seeing Earth during these weeks, we also travel offworld into the colonies with Saul - all are vividly portrayed and different from Earth. This is a universe ruled by personal enterprise and the control of government seems tenuous at best. In fact, one feels that rebellion may not be far off.

There may be lots of characters in Final Days but many of them are memorable and not only those who feature throughout the novel. Some are only in the novel for a few pages but their stories matter. While the individual stories cross at various stages of the novel, in the end they are all on their own.

Final Days contains some scenes that completely twisted my mind - most especially in Site 17. There is one idea in particular that I still can't get out of my brain and you need to read the book to discover it!

Final Days combines science fiction, thriller and apocalyptic vision with an accessible mix of lightness and depth that made my jaw drop while bending my mind into all sorts of shapes at the idea of time travel, alien wormholes, stranded colonies, and humanity and free will on the brink of extinction. Quite apart from the mindblowing ideas and the thrilling pace but utter poignancy of the excellent plot, the characters are compelling. And there are so many of them! Final Days may have challenged my memory skills but I thoroughly enjoyed every page.

I suspect that if you know little about science fiction but want to find a way in, Final Days is just the book.
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on 22 August 2011
After I read Angel Stations way back in 2008 I knew Gary Gibson was an author I would be reading more of. I followed that up by reading Stealing Light and that didn't change my opinion at all, rather it reinforced it. Nova War, the sequel to Stealing Light, was also a great read, but for reasons that still escape me I never got around to the final book in that series, Empire of Light. Final Days is his new book in a brand new setting and, as expected, reaffirms Gary's position as one of the top SF writers active today.

In the distant future a team from Earth has, through a network of alien wormholes, discovered the ruins left behind by another civilisation, codenamed Site 17. This is a future where the stars have died and the galaxies spread out so far that nothing is visible in the night sky. But there is much here that is of interest to those in power, and they want to find out the secrets of this place. During one of the excursions Mitchell Stone is trapped in a pit and swallowed by liquid that fills it from nowhere with great speed. But when the rest of the team find him minutes later out of his suit and in apparent disorientation the question is raised: what has happened to him? This is not the end of Mitchell Stone, for a human made wormhole has been into Earth's future and found a devastated and lifeless planet, all except for Mitchell Stone who is found in stasis on the lunar facilities that hold all wormholes to humanity's interstellar colonies.

Saul Dumont is a government operative, working in the upper echelons on undercover and secretive missions, his one goal to find out who was responsible for the termination of the Galileo wormhole that left him stranded light years from his family. But his investigations lead him to some interesting facts, facts that those in power would rather he not know. And then the alien growths start across the planet, growths that will signal the end of the Earth and all who live there...

Final Days is one of those novels that has a major hook in the first chapter, raising all sorts of questions and possibilities, but then seemingly goes off on a tangent. I must admit that this pulled me up a little to start with, but as the book progressed the pieces started falling into place. The puzzle that is thrown up at the start involves Mitchell Stone and the incident at Site 17, and then the discovery of a dead Earth mere years into the future - but with Mitchell Stone found in stasis in the lunar city. As the only person that knows what happened he's a tool the government use to glean these details. His colleague from Site 17, Jeff Cairns, has his suspicions too and he starts to make his own enquiries into the situation. Saul Dumont is the other part of the puzzle, seemingly unrelated at the start but becoming an increasingly bigger factor in the story as more and more information comes to light.

Admittedly, it took me a while to get my head around the time-travel aspect of Final Days, but to be honest I simply took what I was being told as fact and let the story carry me along. And that it did! Final Days is a little hard to pigeonhole - it's part time travel, part apocalyptic, part mystery, part action - but one thing that I found was how easy it was to get into and read. Gibson has managed to mix all of these aspects without relying too heavily on any one of them, but equally bringing them all into play to great effect.

One of the big things when writing a novel that involves time travel into the future is the fact that the ending is revealed pretty much straight away. What made Final Days stand out from the crowd was the way in which Gibson was able to give this information freely, but then keep the details hidden, dropping them here and there throughout the novel to allow the bigger picture time to fully reveal itself. It's quite an achievement and, by the end, very successful.

Final Days is a great novel, full of ideas and events that shows once again why science fiction is such a great genre. In the right hands SF can be wonderful, inventive, and hugely enjoyable - and Gary Gibson is just that sort of author. Highly recommended.
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on 29 January 2013
Gary Gibson is starting to get into the habit of creating awe inspiring futuristic settings and vast star-spanning societies... Only to restrict you to the least interesting corner of them!

In Final Days earth is at the centre of a vast wormhole network that stretches across time and space.... And where is a good chunk of the book set? The rural, semi-deserted mid-west of the USA. Like in Empire of Light, the backdrop is so tantalising... But Gary Gibson seems unsure of how to integrate this amazing future vista into his actual story - which has been mundane and border-line boring on both recent novels.

Early novels were very good - and Mr Gibson can certainly write. But please, drop the stodge and let us out into these worlds you've created!
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on 1 March 2013
This novel has a straightforward style and the story moves along quite briskly. There's a lot of action, and although not brilliantly described, this novel was better than many I've read lately. Also, the big mystery had me interested, wanting to see what would happen.

However there is very little insight given into the characters and it took me quite a while to be able to distinguish one from another. They all have the same basic template: mostly divorced, had an affair, nothing inspiring or particularly likeable about them - and that was about it. The result was that as the story moved along from one person to the next, I really didn't care much what any of them were doing or what happened to them.

(SPOILERS AHEAD!) The wormhole idea as a form of time travel was an interesting one, although I'm a bit dubious about the physics of it all. The paradoxical loop involving Mitchell was just a bit stupid. I know these often feature in Sci-fi, but Gibson didn't need to include it here.

The plot wasn't very original: alien civilisation left wormholes behind; people see a future catastrophe and try to stop it. It reminded me a lot of Flashforward: people see themselves at a point in the future, and either try to stop it from happening or accept their place in it; and their actions all lead unavoidably to that event happening. But it's a fascinating idea so I don't mind it getting reimagined.

However, there were many parts of the story that weren't very credible: Saul manages to escape from improbable situations too often - often depending on the bad guys' ineptitude. When they are transporting the alien artifacts, the most precious things humanity has ever discovered, there's basically a truck, a jeep and a couple of security personnel. Of course in reality there would be a small army and every kind of surveillance, especially since they know something will happen which will end the world. Likewise, when they break Mitchell from the lab it's ridiculously easy. He's an alien, and something alien is about to destroy the world, so there would be an army ensuring he didn't escape. And I also found it a bit unbelievable that Saul didn't ask more questions of Mitchell, but instead just sat in a rocket with him and flew to the moon - when he knew the guy was possibly alien. There were too many plot points that depended on stupidity in order to take place.

So, overall, I found this novel to lack originality, have problems with its story, and have poor characterisation. But, the mystery did keep me interested, and I read it to the end, which is more than I can say for many novels I've bought recently.
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on 4 October 2012
I enjoyed the shoal series so eagerly looked forward to this new series. Unfortunately I was very disappointed, the books premise was a great idea, but the plot was extremely clumsy and poorly executed and the characters were stereotypical without any depth and the whole story just faded out at the end with no real conclusion.
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