The Monster Librarian Presents:
Reviews of Science Fiction Horror
Cloneworld by Andy Remic*New Review
Cloneworld is clearly in the genre of military science fiction. . Most people think of Heinlein’s Starship Troopers or Handelman's Forever War as prime examples of this subgenre. I would like to recommend this book to fans of this genre, but I'm a huge fan myself and I was a little let down. It is book five in a series, and I might have been a little lost since I had never seen or heard for the first four books before getting this review copy in the mail.
That doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it. Remic is full of interesting ideas, and Cloneworld has a lot of good stuff going on in its pages. It's the story of Franco Haggis, member of a combat unit – Combat K, which has been dropped onto a planet of clones in the midst of a civil war. I know there was something happening related to a virus they were trying to find a cure for but honestly it started to blur together. The book is over five hundred pages, and could have been told effectively in two hundred. This is not the authors fault: a good editor could have helped.
One of the first pieces of advice writers get from editors is ”show, don't tell.” There is a lot of telling in this book. On page 492 the author spent a page and half saying something like “Clang, shunk, chunk.” Andy Remic is a very British author, and one of the problems I had with the book was that it felt like the universe of the far future was basically a giant England. Cloneworld is over-written, not with interesting details about the universe, but with dialogue, overwrought action and juvenile humor.
A lot of the reviews refer to Remic's writing as “masculine”, but I didn't get that at all. To me the better word is juvenile. Plenty of writers (think many of the bizarro authors) make a living out of writing juvenile humor, but I expect more from science fiction than a lead character who is obsessed with breasts, and that really turned me off. Many think science fiction takes itself too seriously, though, and the Combat K novels are an answer to that. With tongue firmly in cheek, Remic squeezes a lot of funny moments out of his characters.
This is a site for librarians, and I can't think of a single reason a library should have this in their collection. Hardcore fans of military science fiction might enjoy this series, but Scalzi's Old Man's War and the Orphanage novels are better choices. There is a lot of fun to be had in Cloneworld, and Andy Remic has a powerful imagination. He just needs to match that with a powerful editor.
Reviewed by: David Agranoff
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