Category Archives: Adam Christopher

Return to the Empire State in The Age Atomic

The Age Atomic
Adam Christopher
Angry Robot Books
UK Print
ISBN: 9780857663139
Format: Medium Paperback
R.R.P.: £8.99
US/CAN Print
ISBN: 9780857663146
Format: Large Paperback
R.R.P.: US$14.99 CAN$16.99
ISBN: 9780857663153
Format: Epub & Mobi
R.R.P.: £5.49 / US$6.99

The Age Atomic is the sequel to Adam Christopher’s debut novel, Empire State (reviewed here).  Since that book was published, he’s also produced a superhero novel, Seven Wonders, which has been in my TBR pile since last summer.  (The Great Move happened just after that and really threw my reading schedule off; I still haven’t caught up.)

The Age Atomic continues the story begun in the first installment of this series.  When the tale opens, private investigator Rad Bradley is in the process of stumbling on a plot involving an army of robots.  If that weren’t bad enough, the Skyguard has disappeared.  So has Captain Carson.  The Fissure has as well, cutting off the Empire State from New York.

And speaking of New York, a dead woman named Evelyn McHale runs a government sponsored agency called Atoms for Peace.  What she’s doing is building a robot army to invade the Empire State.

Evelyn McHale

Christopher pulls out all the stops in this one.  There are not one but two robot armies.  (I think I see one of the reasons this novel appealed to this particular publisher.)  The writing was smoother and the characters more defined than in Empire State.  That was one of the things that appealed to me.  Christopher carefully selects some of the minor characters and lets us in on things from their viewpoints.  It deepens the story and gives it more of an epic feel.  What’s happening isn’t a battle between a few superpowered mystery men.  It will have an impact on everyone, great and small.  By fleshing out the bit players, the walk-ons, and the redshirts, Christopher adds a layer of humanity to his story.

The action moved the story along at a fast clip.  There are plenty of chases, fights, and intrigue for fans of pulp fiction.  There isn’t as much superhero action as there was in the previous novel, but that’s more than made up for by the robot armies.

If you liked Empire State, this is one you will most certainly enjoy.  Pick it up.  Adam Christopher’s books are currently Featured Books at Adventures Fantastic Books.

Here’s a sample:

Big Apples in Peril

Empire State
Adam Christopher
Angry Robot

27 December 2011
416pp Trade Paperback
$12.99 US $14.99 CAN

27 December 2011

If you like pulp superheores, noir, action, mystery, and a fun read, then this is the book for you.  If you notice, the release date on this novel is two days after Christmas, so you will have something to buy with that Christmas money Grandma always sends.

I was fortunate to score an eARC through the Robot Army, and I’m glad I did.  The storyline wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but that’s good.  Angry Robot has a pretty solid track record of publishing stuff that isn’t the same old thing.

So what’s the story about, you say?  I’m glad you asked that.

Now I don’t want to give too much away, because a great deal of the fun is how Christopher plays with your perceptions of what’s really going on and who’s on whose side.

The novel opens like a burst from a Tommy gun, literally.  Rex, a small time Manhattan bootlegger, is on the run from a bigger bootlegger he’s offended.  While making his escape, he gets caught up in the crowd watching a battle between the Skyguard and the Science Pirate over the Empire State Building, under construction at the time the book opens.  These are New York’s two superheroes, once partners and now bitter enemies.

The Chairman

The battle creates a pocket universe, the Empire State, which isn’t a nice place.  It’s a darker version of New York, filled with perpetual rain and fog and governed by the Chairman of the City Commissioners.  That’s an actual photo of him to the right.  (Really.  It is.  Don’t believe me?  Read the book.  You’ll see.)

Over in the Empire State, a detective named Rad is hired to find a missing woman.  It’s at this point that the novel departs from the superhero genre into the PI genre, at least for a while.  You can rest assured the case will involve superheroes, since Rad had a run-in with one just before he gets this case.

Being a detective in the Empire State is even harder than it is in New York.  For one thing, the Empire State is in a perpetual state of Wartime, fighting the Enemy, an unseen foe somewhere out in the fog.  Every few months a new fleet of ironclads is launched, crewed by men who have been turned into robots.  In all the years of Wartime, no ironclad has ever returned.  Until now…

I’ll refrain from telling you further details of the plot.  I don’t want to spoil anymore surprises.  There are twists, turns, crosses, and double crosses in this one.  It has a delightfully pulpy feel to it.  Especially during the airship chase.

I know that at least one person who follows this blog has been waiting for this one.  It’s almost here, and I think you’ll find it will have been worth the wait.

Here’s a sample chapter: