Because Sometimes You Just Need A Book About A Man Who Kills A Lot Of Aliens
It's True. Sometimes you do.
So I read one.
Earth Unknown is about a man. Well, not just a man but a clone. A bad-ass clone who gets chased by soldiers, police, alien hordes... really anything. He's a very chasable person. He also gets shot a lot. And stabbed. And burned, and... listen, he's having a really bad week.
So it's like this, Nathan Stacker is the aforementioned chasable clone. Aside from having to make a living working for a shady futuristic mafia called The Trust, he's living the perfect life on Alpha Centauri until, of course, his wife turns up dead. And, you guessed it, he's the prime suspect given the fact that surveillance video shows that he was the only one to go in or out of her apartment around the time of the murder.
Now, I'd like to take a quick moment and point out that it is established early that he is a clone which means there are literally hundreds of guys running around with his genes on. (Presumably underneath their jeans) And nobody, including the main character, realizes that this is an easy frame job. All he knows is that he didn't do it!
How did the Trust possibly set him up with LITERALLY HUNDREDS OF CLONES OF HIMSELF RUNNING AROUND!
The chase begins. Police chase him through the domed cities of Proxima Centauri. Then soldiers chase him to a space hanger. Then fighters chase him off the planet and all the way back to Earth.
Which has seen better days.
The Earth we all know and love has been overrun with some kind of alien that is at least fifty-percent claws and fifty-two percent teeth. They come in great, black waves biting and clawing and... well you get the image of a wave of oil that will claw your eyes out.
Enter Sherrif. A six-gun toating, equally bad-ass man who's been on Earth since everything went to hell. And it's up to him and a group of Space Centurians who might as well be dropping onto Earth wearing red shirts to catch Nathan Stacker.
Meanwhile, Nathan has to find the dark secret that killed his wife while being chased by aliens, strange incestuous survivor cults, Sherrif and our redshirt soldiers.
I wanted to like it. And I did. Just not as much as I probably should have. Or could have. For me, the problem was in the characters.
Take the chasable clone, Nathan Stacker. As a man who very recently walked in on his wife's grizzly murder, he's in an emotionally fragile place. You can tell because in the brief free moments when he's not shooting something or being shot at, he takes the time to cry. And it feels.... mostly awkward. It's as if the author said to himself, "Okay, I've written me a bad-ass clone who don't take no shit from nobody knowhow. A lot of people chase him. That's cool. But I want to show that he's got an emotional side too. Throw in a tender moment that shows that he's really more than... OKAY ENOUGH WITH THAT SHIZNITT! MORE ASPLODE!!"
The Sherrif as well rubbed me the wrong way. His most distinguishable characteristic is his desire to carry around a six-shooter when there are clearly better weapons available. That and his metal arms which he uses to beat aliens with. And his folksy attitude toward alien domination (which is probably what rubbed me wrong, to be honest) But, besides that, there was nothing much there.
But maybe I'm looking at this wrong. Like the title of the post says, sometimes you just need a book about a man who kills a lot of aliens.
This is the first book of a series, although I don't see myself diving into the rest of them anytime soon. It has potential. There are a couple loose ends flopping around that are kind of interesting. Not the least of which is... you know... Earth overrun by a swarm of angry oil aliens. And maybe find out who killed Nathan's Wife (It was totally the Trust who, for some reason, nobody believes exists and they got another clone to do it. But that's just my prediction.) And there is, of course, the random soldiers on Earth that pretend that they are soldiers from Proxima. And the random maniac who might be firing missiles into the sky over Earth...
Yeah, part of the problem is also that nothing was resolved. This wasn't so much the first book as the first chapter. You have to keep reading in order to learn more. And maybe I will. Because sometimes you just need a book about a man who kills a lot of aliens. Not five of them in a row.