Posts Tagged ‘Terminator Salvation’

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Unable to help myself, I jumped straight into another novel set in the shared world of Terminator Salvation. Splitting the action between ‘Judgement Day’ in 2003 and the future timeline setting of the fourth movie in 2018, Cold War shows what the war against the machines entails away from the central figure of John Connor. Divided between the perspectives of Russian nuclear sub captain Dmitri Losenko and Alaskan park ranger Molly Kookesh, the story gradually intertwines the two narratives into an all-out conclusion.

For those familiar with the films, Losenko is one of the Resistance’s top generals that Conner meets on a sub during Terminator Salvation. In Cold War we see the captain forced to commit nuclear Armageddon on Alaska as Moscow orders a retaliation for what is first thought to be an American attack (but which is later understood as Skynet’s opening salvo). As Judgement Day falls, Losenko and his crew are isolated and alone in their sub. Yet soon enough they discover the true damage and horror that has befallen the world.

Meanwhile, in Alaska, 2018, Molly is leading a rag-tag bunch against the machines in an effort to both survive the war but also bring down the enemy in any way she can. Losenko and Molly are tied by the events of Judgement Day and, in the end, the Russian comes through to help the Alaskans as they attack a vital Skynet supply line.

Greg Cox does well to fill in the bigger picture of the wider world struggling against the machines. Fleshing out the events of 2003 and the horror the submarine captain feels at following his orders, as well as the guilt of being implicated in Judgement Day, Losenko is an interesting character. Molly is equally a great foil to describe the damage wrought against nature and humanity as she struggles against all odds to make a difference.

Whilst the story pumps along at a great pace and the action is balls-to-the-wall, there is little feeling to the narrative. Characters are built up and cut down without a second glance and some of the motives and actions of the side players are a little one dimensional. That is until the epilogue when we are actually shown a very touching and poignant moment. Perhaps the author meant to leave out any emotional connection to illustrate the relentless and unforgiving war in which humanity is engaged with Skynet.

All in all, Cold War is an entertaining read. It reminded me of books I read as a youngster (that with some parental guidance I probably wouldn’t have got hands on), but that’s a post for another time.

Review copy
Published by Titan Books

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I’m a big fan of the Terminator films, especially the first (original Arnie is awesome) and last (a brilliant way to re-energise a franchise). Luckily, the good people at Titan Books were kind enough to send me some tie-in novels for the Terminator Salvation movie. I’ve always been interested in shared world novels to see what different authors can do but not had much chance to read such fare.

Timothy Zahn is a prolific writer and has written a number of franchise novels. It’s clear why; he’s a competent and engaging storyteller. Terminator Salvation: From the Ashes, is a fun, action packed read that drums along at a great pace. Touching on the ever present relationship between John Connor and Kyle Reese, this prequel does a brilliant job at setting the scene, and tone, for the movie’s premise. It introduces some other great characters as well, namely Sergeant Justo Orozco, a US Marine, as well as Connor’s right hand man, Barnes.

The novel focuses on Connor’s band of fighters who are trying to prove their worth to the military brass running the Resistance. Tied to that is the story of Orozco and the community he helps to protect, including Kyle and Star. As Skynet closes in on the survivors in LA, Connor sees an opportunity to take the fight to the machines. However, he needs to use his fellow humans as bait, including Orozco’s group.

What Zahn does exceptionally well is to sew a line through all the ideas of fate between Connor, Kyle, Skynet and the past/present/future conundrum the franchise presents. We get to see a lot more of what makes the man that is John Connor but also the history of Kyle Reese. It’s fascinating to consider the strange möbius loop relationship that the two men have with each other as mentor/son and soldier/father. Whilst they never meet in this novel, both inadvertently help the other to survive.

Terminator Salvation: From the Ashes is also just damn fun. There’s plenty of action amongst the ruins of LA and some of the descriptions really set a fantastic scene as the T-600s try to destroy the human race. If you like the films, check out the book – I’m definitely ready to read some more in the Terminator world.

Review copy
Published by Titan Books