Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Review: Offworld by Robin Parrish

I'm going to make this review really easy now: This story would make a great Doctor Who episode. That should be all you need to know in order to decide whether to read it or not.

The Earth is mysteriously deserted, apart from a handful of good guys, a handful of bad guys, and the mysterious Mae, who has somehow survived whatever cataclysm occurred and may therefore in some way hold the key to all the madness. The good guys and bad guys play cat and mouse across the deserted landscape heading towards a mysterious beacon which, through a heady mix of technobabble and handwavium, has caused every living creature on the planet to take lunch in a parallel universe, or something. Along the way there are comic-book style battle sequences, mind-boggling car crashes, all the suspense you could wish for on a Saturday teatime, and an utterly implausible Big Bad hidden under a sports stadium. See, it's just like Doctor Who, but without the bow tie.

OK, if we're honest, the whole concept is never going to wash with hard sf fans, definitely leaning towards the science-fantasy end of the genre, not too far from Parrish's Dominion Trilogy of superhero novels.

It must also be said that, having plot-holed my way through Fearless and been left bemused by some of the editorial bloopers in Merciless, I was sort of on the lookout for more of the same here. And there were one or two odd sentences that just didn't seem quite right, the odd mixed metaphor here and there, but it didn't bother me as much this time round. It's even possible that if I hadn't been looking for them I would have missed them, but I was. And I didn't.

The other thing I was looking for was the low-key approach to any kind of Christian theme, which was all but non-existent in the Dominion Trilogy. And a similarly low-key approach was taken here too, with, by my reckoning, precisely zero Christians appearing in the entire book. Having said that, there was a message, and when, towards the end, I finally saw it, I have to say I liked it - both the message and the subtle delivery.

So, don't look for the bloopers, just sit down and get ready for a wild and crazy ride. This story would make a great Doctor Who episode.

Linky goodness:
CSFF Blog Tour for Offworld
My review of Relentless by Robin Parrish
My review of Fearless
My review of Merciless

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