by Andy Remic
Review by Antony Wagman
Orbit Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 1841492043
Date: September 2004 List Price £6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK /
In the short time I've been reviewing, I've covered a number of recent Orbit releases (including Nylon Angel by Marianne de Pierre and Jane Jensen's Dante's Equation) and it's clear to me that this publisher is gathering together a stable of very talented fresh blood and so full marks to Orbit for really livening up the genre.
Andy Remic is a young British writer hailing from my own home town of Manchester. The biography notes in Quake, his second novel, reveal that this author is an expert in Pentjak Silat, a fierce Indonesian martial art and given that I might bump into Remic on my local high street, I'm relieved to be able to tell you that I rather liked his novel!
Quake is a direct sequel to Spiral (reviewed previously by John Berlyne) and not having had the pleasure of reading that first novel, I could have done with some background on diving into this new one. My beef here is the same point I made in my review of Brook's Tanequil last month -- with the first chapter devoted to telling the reader where the key characters are right now but not allowing new visitors to this world any clue as to how they might have got there. To be truthful, I hadn't got the foggiest clue what I was reading for at least twenty pages! But if it's good enough for Terry, then why not Andy! Moan over and let's on to the good stuff.
The result of almost exclusively reading only Asimov in my formative years has left me as an adult with a slight distaste for most science fiction. (Oy! Who threw that tomato?) I know that is not the way it is supposed to work, however I have no control over my synapses and unless there is immediate evidence of a lion, a witch or a wardrobe, I start to switch off. I'm first and foremost a fantasy fan and so in sciffy terms it takes something special to grab my interest. Well, Quake has that special something. Let me first qualify this statement - Quake is not earth moving, ground breaking, genre shattering or any other such clichés -- what it is though, is simply great fun and completely and joyously unbelievable.
Carter is a senior member of Spiral (think 007 without the smarmy, debonair attitude, without Moneypenny and without the suit!) a covert organization whose main aim seems to be to eradicate the Nex . Nex are humans that, Jeff Goldblum-like in The Fly, have been genetically modified using a prehistoric microwave oven and a mouthful of cockroaches ( I jest ye not!). By the by, Carter shares his consciousness with Kade -- (who I assume was introduced with full pomp and ceremony in Spiral), a megalomaniac, homicidal lunatic -- kind of Mr Hyde to Carter's Doctor Jekyll.
Carter has to save the lives of his girlfriend and unborn child by finding the microwave, destroying the Nex and yup -- saving the world! He is, in these tasks, assisted by several other Spiral operatives, seemingly loosely based on The Fantastic Four's Thing, The Incredible Hulk and Jaws from the James Bond films. When Carter runs out of steam, in steps Kade and off we go again. On and on it goes -- the action scenes are great, the killing scenes are on the repulsive side of graphic and the "toys" (airplanes, tanks, helicopters &etc) are straight from Q's laboratory!
Quake is a free-for-all punch-up, relentless and breathless and hugely enjoyable and for no extra cost, it's all held together by a clever storyline. A good read? Most definitely! And the threat of Pentjak Silat not influencing me in the slightest, I would read anything else our Mancunian friend produces. Nice one our Andy!