T J McLaughlin
ARRSE Rating
0.5 Mushroom Heads
Written by T J Maclaughlin, this book falls into the “techno-thriller” genre ,or is it Sci-Fi, or… to be honest, I don’t care. It’s set in “Present Day” (I discerned this by the first chapter being subtitled “Present Day”), although the characters’ actions would probably be more suited to either 35th Century Planet Zanussi or an alternate reality with no timeline. And pray God, no publishing link to this reality.

The story begins with a weather anomaly in the Atlantic which isn’t behaving like weather should, to which the US and British Governments independently decide to dispatch two maverick officers to investigate. I mean, why wouldn’t you? Off they toddle by RN destroyer and USAF C17, and spacey-timey shenanigans ensue.

Okay, so the story rivals the professionalism and creativity of a Channel 5 history programme, but at least the author doesn’t write in clichés… Oh no, that’s not right - he lives and breathes them. The two as-stated maverick officers both have the same anti-establishment tendencies, hating being saluted or being called sir, and actively making a point of telling their subordinates not to, and disparaging their seniors to NCOs (totally understandable behaviour in career military officers, even the USAF and RN). Of course there’s a supporting cast of hide-bound Colonel Blimps our heroes have to battle whilst getting to the bottom of the scary space-cloud.

All right, the story’s dog toffee, and the writing is clichéd. A saving grace is that the author has done some homework and understands military structures and correctly uses acronyms… erm, well…. Apparently NATO has authorised a new calibre: 5.5mm, and the SA80 is now rechambered for it. PJHQ is now redesignated as “Naval Command”. Royal Navy ships now have a CIC rather than an Operations Room. And on it goes, interminably, misteak after Mustique whilst the story continues degenerating into a game of hide and seek with alien zombies on a boat.

It’s awful. Unsurprisingly, it's been privately printed (in Poland, by "Amazon Fulfillment", a misnomer if ever I read one). It's available on Amazon Kindle for an overpriced £0.00, or in paperback for the frankly insane £7.99. I sincerely hope the author reads this review, in the vain hope he’ll take it to heart and stop himself from ever writing again (my recommendation would be double amputation of his hands followed by gargling with sulphuric acid in case he dictated this dross). If he can’t bring himself to do so (the coward), can he please start writing in a foreign language, as there’s only so much abuse the Mother tongue should have to take. Sadly as this tome is touted on Amazon as "Part 1 of the Exogenisis Series", my entreaties are in vain.

Avoid this literary diarrhoea like the plague.

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