Archive for May, 2019

It’s easy to use terms such as interesting or intriguing when discussing a book; sci-fi lends itself to these type of ideas that explore and consider the human condition. However, what M.T. Hill has done in Zero Bomb is produce a very thought-provoking work that deals in issues which are extremely relevant to the social situation prevelant in Britain today.

Of course, these concepts and concerns are extrapolated into a near future, though one built on the problems of today; Brexit, social mobility, economic welfare and the rapid expansion of technology. It is here that the author runs free, building a Britain divided and fractured, brimming with automation and mechanisation alongside an overarching obligation to be part of the social network. Told in three parts, each connected and explaining the wider plot, Zero Bomb takes all these issues to task and explores what happens when a minority of dissidents disrupts the status-quo.

In the opening part, we meet Remi, a man so confused and at odds with the world in which he lives that he tries to become a ghost, leaving his family and everything else behind. Yet, so lost is he that even his own memories are unreliable. His aversion to technology has left him adrift in a world ever automated, making him a perfect target for minds much more nefarious than his. As the book gathers pace so do the stakes. In the second stanza, a book within the book explores the idea of a robotic revolution; of the end of human worth under the weight of technological advances but also the strength to fight back and overcome, to destroy and rebuild. A mystic and magical fantasy that strikes at the heart of Remi’s delusion.

It’s an excellent vehicle that portrays the mind of a person willing to undo society, a person so obsessed and driven by an idea that they feel they have the authority to destroy a whole population’s way of life because they know better. It’s frighteningly close to reality; zealotry and elitist thinking balled up in an insane idea capable of collapsing society.

The final part deals with those it would affect and the effects a revolution of this kind, as unasked for as it is, would have. Zero Bomb asks so many questions and does it with wonderful prose and considerable acumen. It’s as unsettling as it is fascinating,the characters blindly groping their way through what is happening around them, striking, once more, at the heart of the human existence. The resonance of cause and effects, of being products of an environment, of being shaped by forces and being forced into situations echoes throughout the book.

Zero Bomb is a unique read both in terms of how it is written and what it deals with. It’s great science fiction, full of all the worldbuilding and ideas that make the genre great. But, it’s something else as well, something a little more special as it digs a bit deeper and pushes a little harder at the boundaries.

Review copy

Published by Titan Books

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I’m not happy about this. It’s just my anonymous opinion. But, I gave up on season two of The Punisher.

I really enjoyed the first season and was as spellbound as the rest by Jon Bernthal’s portrayal of Frank Castle aka ‘the Punisher’. From the ensemble cast, each checking and countering the other, to the morally ambiguous actions of both antagonist and protagonist, the first series kicked in the doors and laid bare its intentions from the outset. It was grim and gritty and bloody, and I loved it.

I couldn’t wait for the next season. I shared text messages with a friend when it hit Netflix. And then….

And, then. It wasn’t what I’d hoped for. It didn’t fulfill its potential. It could have done better.

Perhaps, the first season was so everything that it was hard to follow up. Perhaps, it had done so much with the source material in that opening stanza that what came next paled in comparison. To me – and just in my eyes – it felt forced. The way in which they dragged Castle back in to a fight seemed beyond contrived. The person he was helping earned no empathy from me as a viewer. Added to that, the clumsy dual plot line of Russo/ Jigsaw just made it all seem forced.

Everything about it from Russo’s overly acted yet non-consistent character to the new big baddy hunting Castle threw me off. It was all to strained and I just couldn’t invest. Perhaps I’ll revisit it because, believe me, I wanted to like it but, after four episodes, I bailed.