1 June 2013

Review: The Age Atomic by Adam Christopher

I've changed my mind about this book a couple of times reading it, but for me, it came good in the end. It is worth pointing out, though, that it's a bit different from Christopher's Empire State to which it is a sequel.

Like the earlier book, Age Atomic is set in the Empire State, a "pocket universe" that is a twisted copy of 50s New York City, and in New York itself. The hero of Empire State, PI Rad Bradley, returns. He is still living in the back of his shabby office, still walking the mean streets. However, this book doesn't have the noirish bite of the previous volume - it is more straightforward SF, albeit at the softer end of SF: there are robots, there is an airship, there are, er, more robots, there is NUCLEAR FUSION... and did I mention the robots?

It is a rollercoaster of a story, and to begin with I was a little disappointed at the lack of noir, and perhaps at the (slightly) forced plot, as Rad goes into action, saving the heroine, Jennifer (I'm still not quite sure how that came about). But the story soon begins to rattle along as twin threats emerge on both side of the rift that connects the Empire State and New York. There are forces at work engaging in a kind of arms race that mirrors the one the 1950s US is part of. The plotting has many twists and turns, and although simpler than that of Empire State, it keeps the pages turning - and I think the ending is rather better. Don't, though, look for much logic in the mechanics of the interlinked worlds or of the mysterious Director - as I said, this isn't hard SF, not even firm SF. It is what is is, an enjoyable romp.

At the end, Christopher seems to be setting up for another sequel, and I look forward to that.

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