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Extinction Game by Gary Gibson
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Extinction Game (2014)

by Gary Gibson

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Series: Apocalypse (1)

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Gary Gibson’s the Extinction Game starts with a wonderfully imagined frozen world where one man fights for survival. Dogs have become feral. Ice has covered the land. And it’s the winter of mankind’s existence. Then everything, including the story, changes.

Extinction, it seems, could come from multiple directions, perhaps even simultaneously, and the brave lone survivor becomes one of many in a team of extinction explorers. Characters, mystery and plot take on a computer game-like feel, as the team is compelled to collect ancient artifacts without ever knowing quite way. Politics lurks behind the scenes with hints of terror and questions that shouldn’t be asked. And then the story begins to take shape again as threats become real.

Questions of identity, selfhood and self-determination; issues of terrorism and plot; the value or negation of freedom or free will -- there are serious undercurrents in this tale, bound together with nicely different survivalists, complex situations, well-drawn worlds, and a pleasing sense of personal solutions mattering more than the global. It’s an intriguing, thought-provoking tale that would convert beautifully into a computer game.

Disclosure: I read the first few pages in the store and I was hooked. ( )
  SheilaDeeth | Oct 1, 2015 |
Science Fiction is an area I dip into occasionally, and Gary Gibson was a new author to me, but when I was offered a copy of Extinction Game to review, something caught my attention, and so I agreed. I wasn’t sure how quickly I’d get to it, but I took a quick peek, and was soon hooked.

The story begins with Jerry Beche, who has managed to survive a deadly world-wide viral attack, and as far as he knows, he’s the only survivor on Earth. Until one day when he’s ‘rescued’, and taken to an island where there are others who have also survived the end of their own alternative Earth. He learns that there an infinite number of alternative Earths, and many of them have had their own apocalyptic event. A small group of survivors have been brought together and trained, and their role is to enter these Earths and rescue data, records, technology etc.

There’s a lot going on from this point – each world the teams visit has it’s own ending or strange future, and Gibson describes each one vividly, including the events leading up to the end of Jerry’s Earth. This was fascinating enough in itself, but we also explore the relationships within the team members, during their visits and in between. They’re an interesting group, with some handling events far better than others.

As well as this, they have to deal with the Authority, the organisation who brought them all together. Who exactly are they, and why do they need the data and technology? Also, where exactly did the ability to enter these other timelines come from?

The mix within this book was just right for me, and I read it within a couple of days. I wanted to find out as much as I could about the alternative worlds, and how it was possible to visit them, but I also found myself invested in the individuals involved, including Jerry. The balance is good, the SF aspect is there, but never weighs down the overall story, and it’s good to see characters being just as important as plot.

I’m going to recommend this one, but maybe especially to those, like me, may be a little wary of Science Fiction. I’m definitely putting some of his other books on my wishlist, and will wait rather impatiently for the sequel.
  michelle_bcf | Sep 22, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gary Gibsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Stone, SteveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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There's an old story I once read that starts like this: The last man on earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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When your life is based on lies, how do you hunt down the truth? Jerry Beche should be dead. Instead, he's rescued from a desolate Earth where he was the last man alive. He's then trained for the toughest conditions imaginable and placed with a crack team of specialists on an isolated island. Every one of them is a survivor, as each withstood the violent ending of their own alternate Earth. And their new specialism? To retrieve weapons and data in missions to other apocalyptic versions of our world. But what is 'the Authority', the shadowy organization that rescued Beche and his fellow survivors? How does it access timelines to find other Earths? And why does it need these instruments of death? As Jerry struggles to obey his new masters, he begins to distrust his new companions. A strange bunch, their motivations are less than clear, and accidents start plaguing their missions. Jerry suspects the Authority is feeding them lies, and team members are spying on him. As a dangerous situation spirals into catastrophe, is there anybody he can trust?… (more)

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