May 11, 12
Read from May 10 to 11, 2012
This book takes post-apocalyptic survival horror in a completely different direction. Fifteen people manning a off-shore oil refinery moored next to Franz Josef land which is about as far north as you can get. They see sporadic reports on various satellite news channels. Riots, martial law, cities burning, some kind of disease. One by the one the channels go off air until there is just static. The world has ended and no one has bothered to tell the crew of the Kasker Rampart oil rig.
The manner of this world’s demise is kind of up for debate. It is somewhere between the zombie apocalypse and an alien parasite infestation. You do eventually meet the creatures but they are such an amalgamation of different ideas they are kind of hard to categorize. Regardless, this book centers on the struggle for survival of the crew left aboard the oil rig. Supplies are running out, 6 months of darkness are settling in, and no one is coming to get them. This is psychological horror at its best. A slow grind as the characters descend into madness and wink out, one by one. For all of the psychological grind, there is a healthy amount of action as well. The story and pacing move quite well for what is essential a mood piece. Plans hatched and failed, stress rising, open conflict, factioning, madness, cannibalism, this book has it all.
I believe this is exactly the kind of book I have been missing. It’s not about the characters, it’s not part of a series, this was simply a well told story. The characters are there with enough information to form an opinion and not much else. This isn’t a character exploration. This is survival horror at its best. The apocalyptic concept is great and the writing is simply brilliant. I was so into the story that I finished it in about 8 total hours and it is by no means a short book. I was just so drawn in and obsessed I had to finish it as quickly as possible. This is due to Baker’s excellent writing and storytelling chops.
There are a lot of books out there about the end of the world but this is by far one of the most unique. The end of the world came and went and it forgot this small crew in the Arctic Ocean. That’s okay though; they are more than capable of ending themselves. This is just an excellent book and I am going to look for more from Baker right now.