on 5 June 2013
I'm going through a zombie apocalypse mood right now, so when I saw this book, I thought I'd check it out. It didn't really deliver.
The book starts off pretty well, its very quick paced, but it just doesn't have that fist in the air kind of feeling to it.
The book is written at such a frantic pace in places, that you don't actually know what is going on. It can be quite hard to follow.
okay, the characters aren't great, but you still care for them & want them to succeed in their plight to find humanity. The main character is very weakly written. She goes from an overweight priest, who has no confidence & is on the brink of suicide. To this athletic ass kicking hero, in what seems like a matter of days. It isn't very believable.
The main villain is not very good either, you just feel let down by this persons actions and reasons for doing what they do.
The character of Ghost was pretty cool and the character Nail, was pretty good, but other than that, there is no-one else worth mentioning.
The zombie's or infected are very different here. They turn metallic, imagine a more fleshy version of the T1000 from Terminator 2, if he had a bad cold. Although this is different, I prefer my Romero/Snyder/Danny Boyle kinda zombies. These zombies weren't scary.
In fact, the isolation/setting of the book, is the scariest thing about this story. And at times, the characters isolation from mankind proves to be a bigger threat than the infected are.
This book is not awful, but if you are looking for depth, then read Stephen King. If your looking for a powerful story, then read Dean Koontz. If you want sick & twisted, read Tricky Laymon.
I know my views so far have been pretty negative, so I'll put it this way.
This book isn't scary at all, but if you want a bit of fast paced action, with the odd bit of gore & the odd set piece. Then this is for you. It's definitely a book to read by the pool while on holiday (Unless your holiday is in the arctic circle)
Not bad, not great, just kinda good.
Its something to read to help pass the boring hours of life.
If you want more excitement, then watch Aliens, or go listen to Slayer and imagine a crazy brush fighting a shoe with a beard.
The book tells the tale of a skeleton crew marooned on a drilling rig in the Arctic Circle as the rest of the world succumbs to a mysterious plague. As the Arctic winter draws in their hopes of escape are raised and dashed (and raised and dashed...).
The evocation of the bleak environment, both within the rig and out on the ice, is handled pretty well, and the central idea of whether you want to be the first to go or the last to survive when your world ends is a recurrent theme of the dialogue between the characters. My main problem is that virtually all of the characters are so sparsely sketched that it is hard to care about any of them.
The writing style is spartan with lots of short sentences. By way of example: "Bitter. She grimaced. She scooped more painkillers. She didn't want to fall asleep before she ate enough pills to kill herself outright. She didn't want to wake.". Depending on your tastes, this is either invigorating or irritating. For me, it was irritating and interrupted the flow of the story.
There are a number of big set-pieces which help to keep the story moving along, and the survivors' reactions to the approaching plague are reasonably well framed, if not exactly novel. Personally, I think bringing in the sci-fi aspect was a mistake - a case of trying to tick too many genre boxes? Overall, this comes across as a plot treatment for a disaster movie, with some of the set pieces seemingly chosen for how they will look on-screen, rather than as a coherent development of the storyline. If you're not looking for anything deep or meaningful, it's an OK way to pass an evening or two, but overall I'd rate it as average.
When a strange infection takes hold of most of the world's population, a small group of refinery workers in the Arctic are initially protected from the pandemic. But they soon tire of waiting for a rescue that never comes, and eventually decide to make their own way south to establish contact with whatever might be left of civilisation.
The disparate bunch - a suicidal female vicar, a sikh handyman who seems to be maintaining the rig single-handedly, a body-building thug, a failed medic, a bank cashier looking for a bit of excitement, and various 'Star Trek'-like bit-part extras (i.e doomed to meet a bitter end!), always manage to take the least sensible or safe option (wouldn't you be more likely to stay put in your heated refuge with 6 months of food and no sign of the undead?!). However their foolhardiness admittedly does keep the action and excitement ticking along nicely. And this is probably the book's greatest strength - the incredibly fast pace and constant changes of scene. On the flipside, most of the characters are not fleshed out properly, and potentially tense and exciting situations often resolved without explanation (such as the crew member who exits the plot in the first half of the book, yet inexplicably reappears toward the end with no detail of how or why they engineered their own return).
The number of high octane explosions, crashes, fights, and treks through the frozen wastes convince me that the author had a screenplay in mind from the outset with this book. And it probably would translate quite well into a sort of polar '28 Days Later'. But it's a shame that someone who I think probably is capable of writing a slightly more highbrow novel (as evidenced by the convincing descriptions of the inhospitable frozen environment) has opted for action over substance or suspense.
In summary, tersely written and a very easy read, but probably more public transport fare than Pulitzer prize.
I love "end of the world" senarios. They are always fun, especially after a very congested drive home when I start actively wishing the population down. The apocalypse described in this book is a perennial favourite of journalists that is often featured in horror stories of this sort; that of the global pandemic. The one in this book is just slightly more nasty that swine flu was supposed to be and much much nastier than it actually was.
So, we have the end of the world, everyone dead and our cities experiencing better traffic flow but no people. Luckily all is not lost, one small group of 15 people survive in a semi-abandoned rig in the arctic ocean. These people (all somewhat disfunctional) need to get through the arctic winter then make their way back to civilisation (not being aware that civisation has been wiped out by the flu). As we find out they are all in for a less than fun suprise.
The adventure is very fast paced and this book is quite a page turner (370 odd pages in one afternoon and evening as I recover from a case of Swine flu). The plot is (like this genre) fairly convincing as long as you dont think too deeply; but then it is supposed to be fun (in a horrific kind of way).
I am not sure that I like the writing style however for this book as i find it overly morose and morbid. When the first line begins "Jane woke, stretched, and decided to kill herself" you know that you are not going to meet bunnies and puppies on this trip. Seriously though this is the sort of thing where each reader needs to decide for themselves. I enjoyed the story and found it fast paced and exciting; I just didnt like the characterisation very much, although once the story got going (which was quick) this ceased to be a concern of mine.
This is a solid enjoyable read which I am sure many people will really enjoy. It would make an excellent film so I hope the book gets optioned by a film studio.
A small caretaker crew, stranded on an enormous refinery rig in the Arctic Circle, can only watch as the world succumbs to a strange zombie plague. With only a few months of supplies and with the long Arctic winter approaching, who will survive?
I read Adam Baker's prequel (Juggernaut) to this novel and, despite some faults, flaws and foibles really rather enjoyed it, so I thought it would be well worth giving his first novel a go. While much the same could be said for Outpost - flawed but enjoyable - I'm afraid that it has to be stressed that its flaws are considerable. The concept is a good one and the location has enormous potential; indeed Baker has tried hard to capitalise on the idea's natural resources, producing something along the lines of a 30 Days of Night, Alien, 28 Days Later mash-up.
Unfortunately his inexperience as an author lets him down in his debut - the plot is long and rambling, mixing in too many story lines, some of which turn out to be dead ends or simply irrelevant. It is very much a novel in need of an editor and the not-so-tender ministrations of a literary axeman would probably improve the whole thing many times over. Some of the concepts that are followed are almost ludicrous in their oversimplicity and in one extended scene the chaplain and the rig's handyman locate a drifting "superliner" which they board with the help of a jury-rigged grappling hook (despite the ship being "10 storeys high"). They manage to start the ship's engines up (with a conveniently discovered ignition key - is it really that simple?) and then accidentally crash it into the rig. The purpose of the scene is not, as advertised, to provide the rig's crew with a means of escape but in fact to introduce the ship's zombified passengers and crew as a new source of jepoardy into the so far zombieless story. That they were running a grave risk of doing precisely this clearly didn't concern the protagonists overmuch.
I think it's been mentioned in another review that the fact no-one in the novel seems particularly upset that Armageddon has been and gone, their friends and family are almost certainly undead and they seem very keen to return to the remnants of civilisation to do battle with the zombie legions.
Hats off to anyone brave enough to open a novel by introducing an obese, suicidal, female chaplain (who is, apparently so fat that she "struggles to wipe after going to the toilet" - thanks for that image Adam). Sadly, after this rather promising start, she looses her quirky appeal and becomes a rather bland, featureless character (and then, magically, a rather bland, featureless survivalist heroine). Imagine the capital that Baker /could/ have made with a character like that! The rest of the cast are either ridiculously stereotyped (one way or another) or are under-visualised ciphers. Characterisation is poor; almost all of the cast are clearly English but all of them - male, female, chaplains, cooks and doctors - talk in a strange, hyper-macho Americanized slang lingo (for instance, referring to other human beings as "f ks" or "f kers"). There is an extract from the diary of one of the protags who has been infected and is charting her descent into zombiedom. This is a great idea but, oddly, she writes her diary in exactly the same macho voice as she, and all the other characters (and the author) speaks.
Those are the bad points. On the positive side, the writing is pretty good - it's hampered somewhat by Baker's addiction to staccato sentences, but perfectly readable nevertheless. Whilst unable to paint vivid character portraits, he does great landscapes; the scenery and atmospher really come to life and I felt the Arctic cold, smelt the oily stink of a mothballed oil rig and could hear the howl of the wind outside.
In the final analysis, this is very much a so-so novel, fairly well written and with interesting (nay intriguing) but poorly executed ideas. Quite readable, but requiring a prodigious suspension of disbelief and I'm afraid that I can only give this a generous three stars. However, and despite my extensive moaning, I must stress that I really did enjoy reading it and never once considered putting it to one side (a fate that has befallen better books than this). I think it's heartening that his second novel (Juggernaut) represents such an improvement over this one and it bodes well for future writings.
Wow, this was a perfect book to while away a rainy Sunday - from the first page I was totally hooked. I really enjoy reading good post-apocalyptic novels, and this, I think, definitely falls in the `well worth reading' category.
The action is fast-paced - the reader is right into the thick of it from the beginning, when the workers on a a refinery platform in the Arctic Ocean above Norway find that the rest of the world, as far as they know, is suffering from some unknown virus. The impact on the rest of the world is obviously devastating but the isolated few in the Arctic have no idea how bad. How can they get home, and what will they find when they get there?
That turns out to be the least of their worries as they attempt to rescue themselves and find there's much more to this virus than they had ever anticipated. The crew on the refinery platform turn inside themselves to find their core, and the best and worst character traits come to the fore in this small group of people as they fight against each other and themselves as well as the unknown in the rest of the world.
Some reviewers have criticised the terse, soundbite narrative - personally I think this is the perfect way to write this genre - in this type of book, there's no time for introspection, there's no need for the reader to delve into the emotives of the action; the action is the reason for the book, and demands the reader's attention - short, snappy, to the point.
I'm hoping that there's a sequel to this book on the way - I for one will be waiting anxiously to see if that's the case, and lining up to read it. Totally recommended.
If you enjoy this, I am sure you will also enjoy "Last Light" and "Afterlight" by Alex Scarrow.
"Outpost" is Adam Baker's first novel. The plot involves a lot of sci-fi standards - zombie virus, people trapped in isolated outpost - ideas we've seen dozens of times before on paper and screen, but it does manage to combine them in a fashion that is comparatively fresh, and the story is reasonably compelling as a result. The writing style is fast and punchy - lots of short sentences, and not much in the way of background explanation, and I found myself drawn in, finishing the book in a couple of sittings.
So far, so good. However, it's not without problems. There are a number of inconsistencies between various parts of the plot; the nature of the "plague" attacking mankind is just too far-fetched (and gets more so as the book progresses), and the story does seem to lose its way somewhat in the second half. The first part of the book is nicely psychological, showing the tensions that build up as the residents of the isolated station see the world back home starting to fall apart, but the second half loses this, and replaces it with an increasing number of scenes that simply don't make much sense, other than as reasons to add action sequences.
The book seems to be trying to be something of a hybrid of "28 Days Later" and "Aliens", but it ends up being nowhere near as good as either. It's better than a lot of pulp SF, and to be fair, it doesn't seem to be trying to be much more than that. A cautious recommendation - switch your brain off, and enjoy the ride.
on 20 October 2013
I don't know how Adam Baker gets his ideas for his books but I hope he keels it up, fantastic story, superbly crafted for fast paced , intelligent action this book is even better than the previous, just get it, you will not be disappointed!
on 1 April 2012
when i read a zombie novel, i expect action and blood and guts from the word go, but i didn,t get that from this novel. huge sections were devoted to the plans the survivors were making while the zombies were treated like a backdrop. i have also read juggernaut, the prequel to this, so i was rather amused when ANOTHER shuttle, like in the prevous novel, suddenly turned up, in the vicinty of the rig. how did the pandemic start? was there a legion of shuttles up in space just waiting to land!!!!
one thing that made no sense, was the character of nikki. she spends days at sea in a makeshift boat, presumably traveling miles, and the next thing we know, she is back near the rig. how did she get back there so quick? did she somehow manage to paddle back against the flow!!!! maybe she teleported lol
near the end of the novel, it started to make no sense whatsoever. how was nikki able to control the infected? how did the body of the cosmonaut get into the bunker, especially since he was blown up near the beginning of the book? none of this was explained.
i know that horror novels are supposed to be bleak, but the ending of this one left me depressed. it ends ubruptly, with no one knowing what happens to the survivors.
interesting spin on the zombie genre and intersting characters, but it was too slow for me, and the final confusing part spoilt it
on 31 August 2011
This is the first review I have ever written on Amazon despite being a customer for many years. The reason for doing so now is that I felt compelled to provide balance to the many dissenting reviews about this book. I have no particular love for end-of-the-world scenarios or the genre this book subscribes to, but I do have a love of good writing. And this book is extremely well written. I'm not sure if the author would appreciate the comparison, but it read a little like a Lee Child (Jack Reacher) book, in that it follows a short sentence and dialogue heavy narrative. This makes it (a) easy to follow, (b) intelligent, and (c) a joy to read.
What sets it apart from most novels, irrespective of genre, is that the author's writing style allows the reader to infer and understand the story without stating the obvious. The book's characters have discussions, just as real people do, which create an understanding. I really cannot bear books that are effectively a series of statements due to the author being insufficiently skilled as a writer to allow the narrative to tell the story on their behalf. The author of this book demonstrates a great deal of skill and I sincerely hope he writes many more novels. I will certainly read them.