Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Resistance: The Gathering Storm by William C. Dietz



After a very busy time packing for a move, a very long bus ride was uncomfortable, but a good time to get some reading done and get back on track with this site. The third of three back-to-back media tie-ins, Resistance: The Gathering Storm by William C. Dietz is based on a video game for the Playstation 3, Resistance: Fall of Man. I don't own a Playstation 3, nor have I ever played the game, or even read a novelization of a video game before, so this was an all around new experience.

In Resistance: The Gathering Storm we follow the character of Nathan Hale, a soldier in the United States Army in an alternate 1951. He is a member of an elite group of soldiers known as Sentinels, who were tested on to become stronger, faster, and far more durable, among much else. The United States is fighting an invading alien threat, known as the Chimera, who use a virus to take over the populace, and transform them into more Chimeran troops. The world has begun to fall to these invaders, and the USA is one of the last countries standing, but it is falling before the onslaught as well, with northern states controlled by the aliens.

Nathan Hale is a veteran of the conflict with these invaders, and as such plays an active role in the fight against them. He leads multiple missions, while struggling with the loss of his family, and a government that isn't nearly as pristine as the cover it uses. The conflict is bloody, and many characters don't make it to the end of the book, which has twists galore.

This novel achieves multiple things. First, it creates a believable alternate world, one with a believable environment. Second, it is host to characters that are very intriguing and easy to relate to. Third, it tells a story that you just can't put down. I could not have asked for much more from a novel that I was reading over the long days of a Greyhound ride. This book was worth every penny paid, and more than worth the time. An excellent alternate history, military SF novel.

9/10

2 comments:

  1. Mark Louis BaumgartAugust 24, 2010 at 3:46 AM

    I've always said, and I said this twenty-five years ago to somebody, that media-tie books should be taken as seriously as any "original" book. They cost the same amount of money, and they usually take as much time to read as any other book. The true value of any novelization or tie-in is if you can read it as an independent work without reading or seeing the work(s) that it was originally based on. Can you read a "Star Trek" novel without ever having seen a Trek episode or movie?

    Short story: Spider Robinson once reviewed a Vonda McIntyre "Star Trek" novel for "Analog" and said it was one of the best novels he had read that year (or something like that), but he couldn't recommend it because it was a STAR TREK novel. This is sad, but this is the attitude that most reviewers and critics have towards these things. Look at how the trade magazine "Locus" treats pop fiction. It's always nice to see a REAL review of one.

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  2. It has always baffled me that a genre so pushed into the ghetto as science fiction/fantasy has been is so willing to cast off content that isn't "real" science fiction or fantasy. I have always wondered if it is backlash, an attempt to make the genre look more literary.

    My personal take: A book is good or bad based on the book, not what the book is based on, or whether it is "original" fiction or not. "Original" fiction of course being a misnomer, with a better distinction being creator owned vs. non-creator owned. Still, it is a shaky division to make. For my money, Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40,000 novels are frequently better than many "original" novels put out by the big publishers.

    I can only hope it is a changing trend. Graham McNeill just topped the British science fiction and fantasy bestseller list with a Warhammer 40,000 novel, and won the David Gemell Award with a Warhammer Fantasy novel, so hopefully that is a sign for change. Not that everyone should mindlessly laud media tie-in fiction, but that it should be viewed and regarded based on its own merits.

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