Best of July 2011 in SFF: T.C. McCarthy's GERMLINE

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Best of July 2011 in SFF: T.C. McCarthy's GERMLINE

Posted on 2011-08-05 at 19:24 by Sam

Link: Best of July 2011 in SFF: T.C. McCarthy’s GERMLINE

In a month of blockbusters (A Dance with Dragons, Ghost Stories, Vortex, Flashback) it was a more under-the-radar release which most impressed me in July. So, a bit belatedly, my pick for the best of July 2011 in SFF is: Germline: The Subterrene War, Book 1 by T. C. McCarthy narrated by Donald Corren:

One of the reasons this “Best of July” post is coming almost a week into August is that Germline was released near the end of the month, and I knew fairly quickly it was one I needed to finish before making a call on the month’s releases. In her review for Bull Spec #6, C.D. Covington called Germline ”equal parts The Forever War and Hammer’s Slammers and that’s pretty high praise. The book doesn’t have the star-spanning scope of Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War, and it doesn’t have the attention to detail of Hammer’s Slammers. But neither of these is the point. The novel is a first person foray into a future war through the eyes of an increasingly strung-out failed journalist. There is no lengthy exposition of how the battle suits work, what the weapons or countryside look like, or, in fact, lengthy exposition at all. There are missteps (particularly in some of the major transitions) and the book doesn’t achieve perfection, but there’s just something to it: something which vaguely recalls Vonnegut, or even Kerouac, in its bouncing, drug-blurred narrative. Publishers Weekly name-checks “Remarque, Willi Heinrich, and especially Michael Herr” but these names don’t mean much to me (though a quick trip to Wikipedia was quite informative). At a brisk 9 hours, very well-cast with Corren’s narration, it was exactly the summer change-up I needed from the 40-50 hour epics of George R.R. Martin. (Which I enjoyed immensely in that mode, but there’s a certain discount factor when comparing books of 9 and 50 hours!)



Whew! Summer is definitely in full swing.

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