Fiction Reviews


(2013) Adam Baker, Hodder, £7.99, pbk, 405pp, ISBN 978-1-444-75587-9


The zombies are taking over and so what is left of the fast dwindling authorities decide to nuke the major cities. However in New York there is a clinical scientist who has been working on the plague and might just be close to a cure. The scientist and his small team is given a warning and so they hide out deep at one end of the city's metro underground rail network. Not knowing whether or not these researchers are alive, what is left of the nearby military send in a helicopter and a rescue team to find and extract the researchers together with any documentation they may have…

Adam Baker takes us into zombie apocalypse territory but when the event is more on the turn rather than the more familiar post-apocalyptic world more commonly explored in the sub-genre. Nonetheless, this is commonly trod ground especially given the early 21st century glut of zombie novels, films and television shows. (See also Zombies after Romero.) Indeed, these days (2014) every significant SF/F/H imprint has one or more writers specialising in zombie post-apocalypses and Adam Baker is one of Hodder's. This is his third novel and all of them are zombie stories. His first was Outpost set on an Arctic oil rig whose crew realise that something is happening when they see the rampaging plague on the news and then, worryingly, one-by-one the television channels go silent. Come the spring, with supplies near exhausted, they attempt to return to whatever civilisation they can only hope still exists in lower latitudes.

His second novel was Juggernaut.

Terminus, his third, is on one hand is stock fare, and there is little wrong with that: zombie aficionados will not be disappointed; Adam Baker delivers.

On the other, in a broader SFnal context, Terminus is decidedly stock fare and a reader looking for a new slant on the trope, or some sort of development, will find little new. True, Baker does give us some tantalisingly brief hints as to the zombie plague's origins which are truly science-fictional, but gives us little more than that. It would have been good if either the story or the publisher's ancillary blurbs suggested that the author's novels were somehow linked or at least set in the same world: for all we, the reader, can know, Baker re-sets everything to zero with each novel.

In short it depends on want you want from a zombie novel. If it is just the core trope then Terminus delivers just fine and can be considered a standard, if not above average, exemplar of its kind.

Jonathan Cowie

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