Tor, 0ut in paperback May 7, 2015
A post-apocalyptic survival tale with a difference.
Extinction Game is the first in a new series from science fiction author Gary Gibson; best known for his Shoal novels (Stealing Light, Nova War and Empire of Light), as well as stand-alones such as Angel Stations and Against Gravity. Extinction Game takes up the story of Jerry Beche, sole survivor of an extinction level event on Earth, in this case a virus.
Half-mad after the death of his wife some years earlier, which left him completely alone, Jerry is convinced the people who released the virus that effectively killed the world are after him. And when people suddenly appear at his home he attacks them – only to wake up on another planet and be told that he has in fact been saved. His Earth was only one of many alternates, all of which have either faced their own extinction, or soon will. His saviours are survivors of their own extinctions, and they and Jerry are tasked with saving tech that might help them from worlds nearing their own extinction event (the idea of alternate worlds is reminiscent of the ’90s series Sliders, but the treatment here is very different). As things start to go wrong and accidents occur on their trips, Jerry starts to wonder if there’s a covert attempt to undermine their work going on, an attempt that could kill them all.
Gibson creates a vivid picture of life after an apocalypse; the struggle to survive and remain sane when alone. As Beche is introduced to his new world(s), the pace is relentless, and the story twists several times before reaching a conclusion that sets up this new series.
A fast-paced post-apocalyptic thriller that builds to an exciting conclusion. 8/10
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