Engines Of Extinction: Episode 1 – The End & The Means by Chris Martin

May 17, 2015 | By | Reply More

Jared Baxter is a former Delta force sniper. His unique skills make him very attractive to the forces positioning themselves to fight the officially unofficial war on terror, fought in the digital shadows by giga-battalions of hi-tech warriors. Information has always been the fuel of warfare but a steady finger on the trigger will always be needed to light the fire.


‘Engines Of Extinction: Episode 1 – The End & The Means’ is the first in a potentially interesting and clever series of stories. There are few fundamental issues with techno-thrillers which Chris Martin seems to have addressed quite brilliantly.

A techno-thriller traditionally occupies a unique in literature sense of here and now. Usually, it relies on descriptions of geopolitical realities and descriptions of the state of modern weapons tech. This leaves it vulnerable to changes in the world around us and outdated tech makes it rapidly slip into anachronism.

Think of the master of the genre Tom Clancy. His books, when they were released, were hugely popular and lucrative. Reading them now shows just how badly they have aged. My personal favourite of his ‘The Cardinal Of The Kremlin’ has touches of 80s ‘Star Wars’ tech and evil Soviets.

The way Martin gets around this is by making the story episodic. This would give him the ability to adapt and survive. Couple this with the eBook format and you have a potentially future proofed concept. Clever indeed.

Episodic stories also have a history in fantasy fiction. Think of Dickens and his stories released over many weeks or months. He pioneered this format which enabled him to change the course of the stories to suit the tastes of his readers.

The story begins with the kind of email that we are all too familiar with. Hooking us into the layers of his narrative with a familiar daily email nuisance is very nicely done. I guess It shouldn’t be a surprise that a techno-thriller writer knows his technology.

There is much here for the traditional genre fan, too. Lots of descriptions of weapons and ammo rounds. Not my usual fare but a character at the peak of their game would almost certainly know the tools of their trade. There is a rich current culture about shadowy organisations working behind the scenes controlling politicians and information. It is interesting that usually these organisations are immune to everyone except people at home sat in front of computers. Martin seems to tie this up into a nice Gordian knot.

This is the first instalment in a series. In one sense it is like looking at a brick and imagining how a wall will look. In another sense to make a good wall starting with a high quality, a well made brick is a pretty good place to start.

Comparing Chris Martin to Tom Clancy and Charles Dickens is high praise indeed, but for making something new and exciting makes it justified.

Andy Bollan

May 2015

(pub: Amazon. 160 pages kindle ebook. Price: £ 2.30 (UK). File Size: 2048kb. ASIN B00QW2SPXY)

check out website: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Engines-Extinction-Episode-End-Means-ebook/dp/B00QW2SPXY/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1430938789&sr=1-2&keywords=Engines+Of+Extinction

Category: Books, Scifi

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