Book Review: "Fringe: The Zodiac Paradox" by Christa Faust
- by Ninja Ross, 17 July 2013
"Fringe" follows the Fringe Division, set up by the F.B.I as they investigate Fringe events. Fringe events being the weird happenings caused by Fringe science, which is science that is difficult to explain or isn’t “mainstream.” So, the Fringe of science. Get it? It’s hipster science or something. But you get the idea and I’ve already said Fringe a billion times in the first paragraph.
So the novel’s already off to a good start from the description, right? Besides that, it features fan favourite character Walter Bishop as the lead. Unfortunately it’s before he had chunks of his brain cut out and was put in a mental institution, which means it’s not the adorable Walter, but it’s also before the Cortexiphan trials so it’s a care free, fun Walter. No forcing minors to take life threatening drugs and traumatising them for life. This is the kind of Walter who pops some hallucinogenic drugs with his good buddy William Bell immediately after being introduced. He does it for science, of course. I’m not even joking about the science thing. We get to see some of the origins of Cortexiphan in this book.
Walter Bishop is one of the most tragic characters in the series so it’s interesting to see him as a young, care-free student, getting his first taste of how dangerous fringe science can be.
So we’ve got Walter pre tragedy and a story about the Zodiac Killer being from a different dimension. Is the book as awesome as it sounds?
Well, yeah. Christa Faust is a good writer and she knows what’s what in the Fringe universe, for the most part.
In this book she’s created a villain perfectly suited to the Fringe universe; he’s as mean as you can get and the science that puts him there in that universe just about sounds believable. In fact, all of the science mentioned in the book sounds almost plausible, which is perfect for Fringe.
But the important thing is it’s a great introduction to the world of Fringe. Yes I’ve thrown a lot of things at you regarding Walter Bishop but that’s just background. You can easily pick up this book and enjoy it before watching the T.V show for the first time. In fact, if you haven’t seen it already, I advise that you do. Unlike SOME prequels, this book has a lot to offer the established series. It sets up the characters nicely and gets you used to what to expect.
Of course, there are negatives. Every story has negatives.
The three main characters, Bishop, Bell and Sharp, can come off as a little clumsy. Some of their actions can be a bit off or out of place for mad geniuses. But if you remember that these characters are still students and trying to get used to these situations, it’s easy to explain these criticisms.
The character of William Bell is a bit problematic, though. In the series he’s a strong, mysterious character while in the book we see a little too much of his real characteristics. It would normally be a good thing to see this, but with a character like Bell, who’s best when we know nothing about him, it’s definitely off-putting. Think about someone like Wolverine; how awesome was he before we knew pretty much everything?
One of the biggest criticisms of this book regards a couple of elements from the series that people feel shouldn’t have been there. I’m not going to tell you what they are, since one would spoil the series and the other would spoil the book. See? I’m nice! The criticisms say that these elements are out of place and take away from key events in the show. I disagree. These two elements add a foreboding that makes re-watching the series even more exciting.
The book is nicely paced with characters who are mostly true to the source material. For newcomers it’s a fantastic starting point and for long time fans like me, it’s an essential addition to Walter Bishop’s history, written by a talented writer.
And this is just one of three prequels! Are you excited? I am excited! It’s about darn time we got more Fringe! Still waiting on a Fox Executive to cross over from an alternate universe and give us the next season of the show...
You can get Christa Faust's "Fringe: The Zodiac Paradox" right here!
Are you a fan of "Fringe"? New to the series and looking to get into it? Let us know below!