DEPARTURE Lost in the apocalypse
released OUT NOW! 322 pages | Hardback
Author aG riddle
Publisher Harper Voyager
A mix of big ideas and epic thrills is often what people expect from their science fiction, and taken on those terms, Departure – previously a self-published success story – certainly delivers. It’s packed full of mind-expanding concepts and relentless action – but unfortunately, it’s so packed that it ends up an odd, credulity-straining novel that ultimately bursts at the seams.
The story opens as if it’s going to be a post-apocalyptic spin on Lost, as the survivors of a plane crash find themselves cut off from civilisation and struggling to survive in a world that’s been strangely transformed. From there, things get progressively nuttier, pulling in everything from deadly plagues and quantum mechanics to orbital space colonies and time travel.
Author AG Riddle gets away with some of this by keeping the pace lightning-fast (barring a selection of clunky infodumps and an unexpectedly low-key finale). He also pulls off some exciting action setpieces, but his dialogue creaks and his characters are twodimensional. There’s a certain amount of pulpy fun to be found in this admirably bonkers mainstream-aimed thriller, but for dedicated SF fans, this kind of thing has been done better many times before. Saxon Bullock
The movie rights for Departure have already been snapped up by Twentieth Century Fox.