Friday, July 3, 2015

Tin Men by Christopher Golden

Rating 3 out of 5
Publisher: Ballantine Books (June 23, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 034554885X
ISBN-13: 978-0345548856
After political upheaval, economic collapse, and environmental disaster, the world has become a hotspot, boiling over into chaos of near apocalyptic proportions. In this perpetual state of emergency, all that separates order from anarchy is the military might of a United States determined to keep peace among nations waging a free-for-all battle for survival and supremacy. But a conflict unlike any before demands an equally unprecedented fighting force on its front lines. Enter the Remote Infantry Corps: robot soldiers deployed in war zones around the world, controlled by human operators thousands of miles from the action. PFC Danny Kelso is one of these “Tin Men,” stationed with his fellow platoon members at a subterranean base in Germany, steering their cybernetic avatars through combat in the civil-war-ravaged streets of Syria. Immune to injury and death, this brave new breed of American warrior has a battlefield edge that’s all but unstoppable—until a flesh-and-blood enemy targets the Tin Men’s high-tech advantage in a dangerously game-changing counter strike. When anarchists unleash a massive electromagnetic pulse, short-circuiting the world’s technology, Kelso and his comrades-in-arms find themselves trapped—their minds tethered within their robot bodies and, for the first time, their lives at risk. Now, with rocket-wielding “Bot Killers” gunning for them, and desperate members of the unit threatening to go rogue, it’s the worst possible time for the Tin Men to face their most crucial mission. But an economic summit is under terrorist attack, the U.S. president is running for his life, and the men and women of the 1st Remote Infantry Division must take the fight to the next level—if they want to be the last combatants standing, not the first of their kind to fall forever.

A sci fi action drama set in the distant future when things are not so rosey and a mecha force are enforcing peace.

I could't really connect with the two main characters. I just didn't particularly like them. They felt a little shallow. I don't know how a military trained person would react in a situation where the world effectively ends, but they just seemed a little too calm and accepting of their situation. Strangely I thought the supporting characters had a lot more dimension too them. Particularly the 16 year old girl (whose name escapes me now) who probably experienced the most in the short time frame of the book.

The best part about this book was the story. I think the robot enforcing law aspect aside, the concept of the electronic world we live in being taken offline at once, was a fascinating idea to explore. The characters themselves raise some interesting points that even if they could get the power back on it would be days, weeks even years to recover fully. The author clearly thought out the knock on effects and issues that surround this sort of event happening.It was an intriguing concept of having the worlds technology completely wiped out and our civilisation being sent back to the dark ages.

Following on from the above point the general world building the author did was really good and was felt this future could easily be ours. A lot of research clearly went into this book and it showed through. I didn't feel like I was being bombarded with information yet I got enough information to know about the events prior to the world being taken off line. However some of the information delivery points were a little awkward, but not overly distracting.

The action scenes are really good and are almost non stop as the Tin Men battle there way across the Middle East and Europe to get home. I did think to myself a couple of times how it was they only really ran out of bullets once or twice considering how much shooting was going on.

An interesting book with a lot of possibilities. While I didn't love this book I would be interested to try this author again.

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