Book Review: "Extinction Game" by Gary Gibson
- by Señor Editor, 25 September 2014
I’m a big fan of post-apocalyptic science-fiction, and the concept of the last man on Earth is probably something I get way too excited thinking about. That said, I have to admit that I haven’t seen an entirely new and interesting spin on the idea in a long, long while. Lucky for me, Gary Gibson’s new book “Extinction Game” was here to completely blow my mind. Because it’s not a “last man on Earth” book. It’s a “last men (and women) on Earths” book. And so much more.
As he undergoes quarantine, abandons his delusions and meets his “saviors”, Beche finds out that he is no longer on the Earth he knows. Hell, he learns that the Earth he knows is just one of an endless number of alternate realities – each of them having an Earth similar to the one he’s from. Thing is, in all these known alternates (that’s what they call the various realities), civilization has met its demise in one apocalyptic scenario or another. Jerry will join a team called the Pathfinders, comprised of men and women who were all the sole survivors of each of their alternates’ apocalypse.
The Pathfinders were picked up from their home realities because their high survival skills are of use to a group called the Authority. Who are the Authority and what alternate are they from? That’s not known. All we know is that they possess a technology called transfer stages, that lets them access the various Earths. And they need the Pathfinders to retrieve specific technology from worlds that are either already doomed, or close to an impending apocalypse. And all these worlds are quite crazy.
You may think this gives away a lot of the plot, but you’d be wrong. This is mostly all just the setting, and underneath all of these fantastic plot threads lie several intrigues that will keep you glued to the pages. It’s a thriller set in a completely incredible setting, filled with unique characters and unique worlds, and it’s all expertly written. Gibson really does an amazing job of creating unique circumstances for his plot to flourish.
Though Jerry, with his many problems, steals the show, the other characters of “Extinction Game” are an equally well-written and appealing bunch. When you take into consideration that each of them is hardened by being the sole survivor of an apocalypse, you have a set of characters unlike any other. The dialogues are realistic and feel natural, giving the story the perfect flow.
There’s also something to be said about how much Gibson squeezes out of the idea of multiple alternates that have met their own, unique ends. This is where a lot of the strictly sci-fi elements lie, and you will find that the author doesn’t waste any of the potential his ideas have.
And boy, does “Extinction Game” feature some fantastic ideas. Conceptually, this is one of the most creative science fiction works I’ve witnessed in the last decade. Brilliant writing plus NEW and fresh ideas are what makes Gibson’s book one of the best reads out this year. If you like good, original science-fiction, with a great plot to go with the far-out ideas, don’t miss out on “Extinction Game”.
Have you read Gary Gibson’s “Extinction Game”? How amazing was it?! Let us know in the comments. And if you have yet to pick it up, you can do so on the Pan Macmillan website.