Thursday, 5 April 2007

‘The Culled’ – Simon Spurrier.

Abaddon Books are on a mission to deliver a new generation of pulp fiction to a new generation of readers. Any publisher that starts the blurb with the line ‘He made a stand against the end of the world’ is making their intent pretty clear! Just in case you were still in any doubt, the book throws you into a world where plague has killed everyone bar those with a certain blood type. The world that remains is one of feudal savagery, ruled by those with the most guns and access to cannibalized technology (very much a’ la Mad Max). Our hero (an MI6 operative, add another cliché to the mix!) begins the book in a festering London and travels to an apocalyptic New York where he takes on an ‘end time’ religion which is stealing the world’s children. This isn’t the reason why he’s in New York though, this isn’t made clear until the very end of the book.
I think it was the fact that this book threw every pulp cliché into the pot (and stirred it up with a livid mixture of gunfire and car chases), with no regard for how it would compare against more ‘serious’ sci-fi/fantasy fiction that made me enjoy it so much. There was no pretense at a ‘message’, ‘world building’ or hard science; just superhero agents and hard women with soft centres which was exactly what Abaddon have said they’ll deliver (and they deliver it with a gutsy style of no compromising).
I found my copy in a charity shop which may say something about the long term readability of these books but for a short, intense and satisfying read you can’t go too far wrong with one of these books. I’m looking forward to reading about jet powered nazis and dinosaurs invading London very soon!

Seven out of Ten

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