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T.C. McCarthy's Exogene




T.C. McCarthy

T.C. McCarthy


Title: Gremline
Series: The Subterrene War
Science Fiction
Sub-genre: Military

Type: Novel
Page Count: 384
Size:  Paperback
Cover: Color, Digital
Illustrations: n/a

Publisher: Orbit
ISBN-10: 031612818X
ISBN-13: 978-0316128186
Other Books In Series:

T.C. McCarthy's Gremline reviewer: Eric Hardenbrook's Bio

Reviewed for by Eric Hardenbrook

Review Philosophy

 (Spoilers ahead) Germline is the story of a man named Oscar that believes he will become an award winning reporter by attaching himself to a front line military unit in a war for resources. As real a starting point as I could think of given the way the last decade of war has gone for this country. This book is his journey from “Rube Hack” to PTSD.

The action in this book is gritty and real. The troops all have believable reactions. The grinding pace seemed to match the feeling of a drawn out land war – and that affected the characters. I had a very difficult time relating to Oscar. He's an addict, and made an unsympathetic hero for me. He’s more of an anti-hero and those characters rarely work well for me. He was real, but not likeable. The rest of the characters seemed to fade. The intensity of his attraction to the clone soldiers seemed forced, I didn’t buy it. In the end he was a better character once he'd returned to home - unfortunately that's a very small piece of the book and only happens at the end.

I will freely admit I missed the biological connection of the title. I was expecting germ warfare along the lines of mustard gasses and plagues being unleashed in waves. Plasma weapons and kinetic bombing worked, but didn’t match the intensity I was expecting when the soldiers were described after staying in their armor for extended periods of time. The cover art is really excellent, but the picture I had in my mind of fully enclosed suits was something closer to Iron Man with a clear face plate.

In the end, the science fiction aspects of this story could have been removed. I'm not saying they're bad by any means. I agree there is a real potential for a ground war over resources in our future. I'm not sold on Russia as the adversary either, seems a bit like a cold war carry-over to me. If the armor, clones and resources are removed and replaced with any advanced weapon, natives and land grabs or political agendas you could still have the same story.

When I finished this story it reminded me of "Platoon" or "Apocalypse Now". If you enjoyed those films, you'll really enjoy this book.

Star Total: 3.5 out of 5 stars


FTC 16 CFR Part 255 Discloser:
Solicited by the publisher with no compensation
made to, beyond a review copy of the book.


Copyright ©2012 Mike McPhail, All Rights Reserved


The views contained in this review are those of the reviewer, and
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