Friday, September 2, 2011

Pulp of the Week - Embedded by Dan Abnett


Dan Abnett is most famous for his novels set in Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000 universe, but here he sets forth with a science fiction original, and a good one at that. This is the first novel by Abnett that I have read, but I am looking forward to reading more.

Embedded follows reporter Lex Falk on frontier world Eighty-Six, a world rich in minerals and natural resources and devoid of an intelligent species. There are some thematic ties to Fuzzy Nation, but not an intelligent native species one. Corporate greed, political machinations, and the plundering of natural resources are the common ground.

There is conflict on Eighty-Six and things escalate while Falk is on a drive along with some ground troops that turns out to be far more eventful than the military had planned.

Falk does some digging and feels that he is on the cusp of a story, a big story. In order to get closer to that story he agrees to be part of an experimental program where his consciousness is embedded into the mind of a volunteer grunt. Falk can see and hear everything the soldier can.

The soldier is shipped out to the frontier and all hell breaks loose. At this point there are a few nice twists and Falk finds himself in deep shit and the scientists can't extract him. He is along for the battle and totally out of his element.

I liked many things in Abnett's book. Falk is a great character. The world is interesting and believable. He writes the combat extremely well and his scenes and characters are compelling. However, in the end I was a bit underwhelmed by the resolution of Falk's dilemma and of the BIG REVEAL. I would have liked another 30 pages following that reveal, but no. Book over. I'm not sure if Abnett is saving it for a sequel, or if he just chose to not say more.

I give Embedded a 7.5 out of 10.  The cover is by Larry Rostant.


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