Andy Remic has managed to carve out his own particular niche within the science fiction genre, deliberately pushing the boundaries and not holding back in the slightest. Finding a new Remic book is very much like finding a new Tarrantino film - you just know it's going to be an irresistible action packed, no holes barred ride filled with off-the-wall characters and crazy situations.
Theme Planet is no exception.
An entire alien world dedicated to the pursuit of plethoric hedonism, perilous adventure and preposterous rides, if you haven't been sick yet you soon will be! It's the number one destination for fun-seeking humans across the galaxy.
Amba Miskalov is a beautiful, merciless and deadly Anarchy Android, a purpose built killing machine who blends in perfectly with her human superiors and is fitted with the latest Quantell Systems KillChip. When Amba is sent to Theme Planet on a highly dangerous assassination mission she stumbles across a plot to undermine and destroy Earthâ€™s all-powerful "Oblivion" Government and its "Ministers of Joy". This poses a real problem for Amba's rather twisted and mangled logic; if she is to remain loyal to her creators then she must either support the enemy or annihilate them all.
This book has been dedicated to one of my favourite authors, the late Philip Kindred Dick (PKD) and this dedication does feel relevant as the novel explores some of the same issues as PKD's so often did, most noted in his famous novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep - examining the issue of what it is to be human and defining the qualities that separate naturally born humans from artificially created androids. There are other messages at play here though, humanities greed being a big one, along with the dangers of a totalitarian political regime.
This being a Remic book there is a large amount of high-octane excitement, explosions and a fairly high body count but there is also a lot of attention paid to characterisation and the history of the major characters, the author doesn't spend much time on world building or back story but provides just enough information to allow the reader to really bond with the characters without effecting the pace. The book swaps between the two main protagonists Amba and Dexter and the switch is handled so well that I didn't become lost or confused once.
The plot itself has enough twists and turns to keep you firmly entranced and the pace is pretty much relentless throughout the whole novel, there are a few genuine surprises too and the author throws a few curve balls that I really didn't see coming at all. The story does feel a little more toned down than some Remic novel's I have read and there is a real maturity to the prose which does create an effective counterpoint to the over-the-top Theme Park backdrop.
I seriously loved this book, as with all of the author's novels there is a relentless vibrance, an unforgiving energy that you can't help but be swept along with and this is combined with a great plot, larger than life characters and some powerful messages, highly recommended.
Written on Friday 6th January 2012 by Antony Jones.
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