Friday, July 23, 2010

Fragment by Warren Fahy

Sometimes what you are looking for is a story rich with literary girth, exploding with allusions and metaphors. And that is exactly what I will be looking at next, with The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny, Volume One: Threshold. However, other times what you need is a thriller that gives you monsters and explosions. Novels like Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, Meg by Steve Alten, or Arena by Matthew Reilly give you a mix of science (occasionally a very small amount, sometimes a lot), excitement, and a plot that keeps you from putting it down. Looking for something in that vein, I stumbled upon Fragment, which is new to mass market paperback.

The reality show SeaLife wants to blend science, exploration, and interpersonal conflict into a show that will capture viewers across the nation. So when the SeaLife ship Trident detects an emergency signal going off at a small and extremely isolated island, the producers think it is a dream come true. However, Henders Island is no normal island. Due to geography that keeps the entire island ecosystem contained, and its location 1400 miles from any other piece of land, Henders Island has had nearly half a billion years to explore a divergent evolutionary path, creating beasts that will test humanity’s strength, adaptability, and intelligence, if they hope to survive.

Warren Fahy’s novel was a blast. He drew in a lot of science, making the plot feel that much more possible, and explored some neat avenues and fields. Most people will likely come out of this one with a few new pieces of science trivia to wow their friends with. However, Fahy’s plot never seemed to struggle with the introduction of the science, except at the occasional lecture that was a little too convenient and long-winded to entrap realism.

The characters in the novel aren’t complex, by any means, but in this type of book, that isn’t always a terrible thing, as you can full-heartedly root for the good guys and relish the bloody deaths of the bad guys (although a very sudden romance that forms near the end seemed a little too forced and unnecessary). The plot clips along nicely, tying things together satisfyingly at the end.

This is a great pick for a summer read, and you will blow through it once you start. A very enjoyable science thriller.


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