Tracer

Space sta­tion sur­vival

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Rated / Books -

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

398 pages | Pa­per­back/ ebook Au­thor: Rob Bof­fard Pub­lisher: Or­bit

Genre and main­stream

fic­tion are march­ing ever closer, with suc­cesses like The Mar­tian prov­ing that gen­eral read­ers will hap­pily de­vour the right kind of ac­ces­si­ble sci- fi ad­ven­ture. Pub­lish­ers are nat­u­rally keen to cap­i­talise on this trend, but while de­but au­thor Rob Bof­fard’s new SF thriller has enough pure ac­tion to make it a con­tender, it also trips it­self up with some frus­trat­ing mis­takes.

The set­ting is Outer Earth, a mas­sive space sta­tion where the rem­nants of hu­man­ity live af­ter the planet it­self has be­come a pol­luted waste­land. With a mil­lion peo­ple crammed into its over­crowded cor­ri­dors, Outer Earth is al­ready a dan­ger­ous en­vi­ron­ment, but there’s a lethal con­spir­acy brew­ing. Young courier Ri­ley Hale is dragged into it by her latest de­liv­ery, and she’s soon the only per­son who can save the sta­tion from de­struc­tion…

Tracer’s story fea­tures plenty of in­trigue, and the re­lent­lessly fast pace gives the book strong mo­men­tum, but the vivid ac­tion scenes can’t fully dis­tract from the glar­ing flaws. De­spite Bof­fard’s smooth prose style, he falls prey to vague, shaky world- build­ing, while his prin­ci­pal vil­lains are painfully two- di­men­sional, so the book ul­ti­mately doesn’t stand out enough from other re­cent “sealed so­ci­ety” tales ( such as Hugh Howey’s Wool). While Tracer works as a sim­plis­tic, page- turn­ing ac­tion thriller, reg­u­lar SF read­ers may be left want­ing some­thing a lit­tle fresher and more de­mand­ing. Saxon Bul­lock Rob Bof­fard lost his sense of smell at the age of four af­ter fall­ing out of a tree in Zim­babwe. He also speaks Zulu.

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