Outpost by Adam Baker

Outpost

by Adam Baker

Published by Hodder & Stoughton, 2011

 

Does the world need yet another post-apocalyptic zombie thriller? Adam Baker thinks so and has delivered one with Outpost, his first novel.

The crew of the Kasker Rampart refinery platform are stuck in the arctic ocean waiting for supplies when they fear that things may not be going well back home. It becomes apparent that there has been an event (a global pandemic) and although all they can hear is “panic and rumour” it’s also clear they are on their own.

The characters set about planning a possible escape by exploring the surrounding snowy wastes and contacting other ships and platforms in the area. Soon, however, they meet some survivors and it’s clear they have more to worry about than they initially thought as what started as a fight for survival becomes all out war.

Okay, this isn’t technically a zombie novel but the ‘creatures’ (who have been subject to some kind of infection with sees them sprouting metal), are effectively zombies in every other sense so lets not be pedantic. It is a post apocalyptic novel, but the true nature of the event is never revealed. The oil platform and ensuing sense of confusion was reminiscent of the start of Conrad William’s One.

It’s a pretty good stab at doing something new with a frankly tired sub-genre. While ramping up the tension and confusion, Adam Baker also ramps up the action and despite the limited canvas of the snowy Arctic waste, manages to devise an impressive variety of situations for the characters to be placed in. The characters themselves are perhaps the strongest feature of the book, from Jane the faithless, suicidal vicar, to Punch the laid back and heroic chef there’s a nice range of conflicting personalities.

There are also some interesting themes lurking in the background. Jane’s loss of faith, the contrast between the castle like oil refinery and the sweeping panorama of the Arctic landscape as well as an ever present ecological undercurrent. These are all kept fairly low key allowing the pace to be maintained and it is a pacy book, with plenty of short, snappy action scenes to keep things moving.

So the world probably doesn’t need another post apocalyptic zombie novel but if we are going to get one then at least Outpost manages to satisfy with it’s entertaining mix of well drawn characters and action.

 

Rating 3.5 out of 5

 

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5 Comments

Filed under fiction, horror, Review

5 responses to “Outpost by Adam Baker

  1. It’s not bad but the creatures are straight out of a little-known (but awesome) 2008 movie called Splinter.

    I don’t know when the book was written so I don’t know who really gets credit for it…

  2. Hi, Neuro. Glad you enjoyed the book. The infection described in ‘Outpost’ does indeed feature needle-like growths, but I would argue it is quite different from ‘Splinter’. (I bought ‘Splinter’ on DVD long after ‘Oupost’ was written and edited.) The weird disease in ‘Splinter’ is a fungus that hides in deep forest. My virus is a metallic parasite with hints of a collective intelligence. Biggest influences would be HP Lovecraft, Giger, and early Cronenberg. Mind you, I would certainly agree that ‘Splinter’ is darned good. The monster is very creepy (nicely shot and edited) and the cast were impressive, particularly the guy who played the ex-con.

    Anyway,

    All the best,

    Adam

  3. Richard Goodall

    Dear Mr Baker

    I loved the book , with its twists and turns.
    Having worked on cruise ships your Hyperion was super spot on. Gave me a wry smile anyway. Keep writing so I can keep reading.

    Yours Sincerely

  4. Paul O'Hanlon

    Hi Adam,

    I am a fan mainly of Dean Koontz, Stephen King, James Herbert and David Ambrose and if you continue to write books like this one then you will be firmly on my list of favourite authors. I loved the book and what really grabbed me was the impact and speed of the story. Unlike some of Dean Koontz and Stephen King books I didnt once feel like I was trudging through pages of uneventful characterization which sometimes makes me loose interest. Instead I found reading your book was like watching a fantastic action filled pop corn movie, and a damn good one at that!

    Can’t wait for your next book.

    Kind regards,

    Paul

  5. Daniel Elliss

    Hi Adam

    Your book was amazing, i absolutly loved its ‘no strings attached’ approtch to zombies. I was in a book shop with 1 minute to look for a book and as soon I saw the cover I was hooked. could I use your book to make an animation?

    Thanks for a fantastic book and I, and lots of others, cant wait untill your next book

    Sincily
    Daniel 🙂

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