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The Return of the Incredible Exploding Man

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  52 ratings  ·  37 reviews
A thrilling science fiction masterwork of experimental disaster from the bestselling author of the Fractured Europe series The Guardian labelled ‘Magnificent’. 

When Alex Dolan is hired by multibillionaire Stanislaw Clayton to write a book about the Sioux Crossing Supercollider, it seems like a dream job.

Then something goes wrong at the site. Very wrong.

After the incident
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Solaris
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3.87  · 
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 ·  52 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, 2019-shelf
Welcome to Pulp-Land! In more ways than one!

1. 3/4 of the novel is about a slow-simmering failed science-writer landing a cush job to write a book for a tech millionaire who bought a town. Add a bit of espionage and some funny interpersonal experiences with his new home and neighbors, and I still had a fun time wondering HOW THE HELL THE TITLE FIT IN. This is old-school SF technique, btw. Total pulp. :)

2. The last part is TOTAL freaky quantum superhero stuff with time travel, teleportation, and
Lauren Stoolfire
Aug 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sci-fi, thriller
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

DNF'd @ 40%

The Return of the Incredible Exploding Man by Dave Hutchinson sounded like it had a lot of potential, but unfortunately didn't work for me. I kept thinking this would take off, but I never took interest in the story, the world, or the characters. Thanks anyway, NetGalley.
Jul 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Here's what I'd tell this author if I was his editor. Obviously, I'm not.

Your prose is well above average. That's what kept me reading through the very slow first quarter; I don't know that it would do as much for most readers. Your structure, on the other hand, needs a lot of work.

The first quarter consists entirely of a sad loser (one of my least favourite kinds of character, speaking for myself) resisting a decision that it's clear he will end up making. What's not clear is why he's resisti
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
Rating: 2.1/5

Review: What draws you into this novel is Dolan’s- sometimes rhetorical- but often acerbic perspective on his current circumstances and interactions. This drives the novel, along with the eccentric writer and his farting dog.

I can’t say why (spoilers and all that) but the story line descends into a disappointing melange of time scripted events that leaves the once bold characters behind. What could have been a somewhat whimsical and endearing story that brings a bit of fullness to t
Jul 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Thanks to NetGalley for the advanced copy.

It pains me to give three stars to this, as I am such a big fan of Hutchinson's Fractured Europe Sequence, and have thoroughly enjoyed his other works as well.

I had two major problems with this:

Problem one: The pacing. It's called The Return of the Incredible Exploding Man. There's a picture of an incredible exploding man on the cover. You would think the book would largely be about an incredible exploding man, right? No. The first 80% of the book is kin
Sid Nuncius
Aug 13, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed quite a lot of The Return Of The Incredible Exploding Man, but I had some pretty severe reservations about it.

The first thing to say is that Dave Hutchinson writes very well. I’m not normally much of a sci-fi fan, but he developed such a good sense of slow menace and a lot of very good, complex characters that I was very drawn in to the quite slow-paced first two-thirds of the book in which the protagonist, a struggling science writer, is brought in to write about a huge, privately fun
Shihab Azhar
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I grew up in a city and in a time without bookstores. There were plenty of booksellers, though, selling the stuff people most wanted to read - the Stephen Kings, the Danielle Steele's. There were only a few who stocked less popular books, wrapped in clear plastic to ward off fingerprints and dust. When I had finally exhausted the local inventory, I went to these shops to discover new authors and new stories, and I had no way to judge the books other than by their covers, since the sellers would ...more
Alex Sarll
Hutchinson follows on from his painfully prescient Fractured Europe series with another, possibly even nearer future story; aside from the references to 7G, and the MAGA caps being faded, it could pretty much be today. Stan Clayton, a Musk/Bezos-style zillionaire, has bought up an Iowa county pretty much wholesale, and is installing a larger than Large Hadron Collider there. Protagonist Alex, a broke Scottish tech journalist, is Stan's choice to spread the good word about the project, and evoke ...more
Anna Szabó
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It felt like this was 2 different books in 1. The first 75% was a simple fiction novel with character building and some science. And then came the last 25% of the story which was insane, incredible greatly insane.

Alex Dolan is a science journalist who has seen better days. Now he is in serious need of money so after some careful thinking he accepts the job offer of Stanoslaw Clayton who is the CEO of Clayton Dynamics. The job is to write a book about Sioux Crossing Supercollider. Clayton want t
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Return of the Incredible Exploding Man
By Dave Hutchinson

I gobbled this book up in just a couple of days!

Dave Hutchinson is the king of rising dread!

The story is building towards a big event, which happens 75% of the way into the novel, but Dave Hutchinson keeps his cards very close to his chest! He gives you just enough to hint at what's going on - but I wouldn't put any money on it if I were you!

The Protagonist: Alex Dolan the Scot, in Boston (Bawston), USA

Alex, a science journalist, has my
Richard Bryant
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dave Hutchinson has written the critically acclaimed Europe sequence of books. Whilst this story may have a title that makes it sound like a reboot of a lesser known Marvel super-hero, it is an intriguing slow-burning mystery that has a spectacular ending, which I won't ruin for potential readers.
Alex Dolan is a Scottish born tech-journalist living in Boston. The slow death of traditional journalism in the free Information Age has hit him hard and he is struggling to make a living. Financial sal
Maya Panika
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Return of the Incredible Exploding Man is a book of two halves, both of which are enormously readable and enjoyable. The first two thirds of the tale moves at an easy pace and tells the tale of Alex Dolan, a more-or-less failed science-journalist, unemployed and facing deportation, who suddenly and unexpectedly finds himself head-hunted by Stanislaw ‘Stan’ Clayton, the world’s richest man. Stan has built a supercollider to rival CERN in the middle-of-nowhere, middle-American town of Sioux Cr ...more
Gareth Egerton
I received a copy of this book as an ARC via #Netgalley. Thank you.

Alex Dolan is a Scottish ex-pat living in Boston. An unemployed science journalist, he spends his days floating article ideas to magazines and avoiding his landlord on the stairs. So, when he receives a job offer from Sebastian Clayton, 5th richest man in the world, he's not really in a position to refuse.

Having accepted the job, to write a book chronicling work to bring the Sioux Crossing Supercollider online, Alex finds himself
Gareth Egerton
Aug 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Alex Dolan is a Scottish ex-pat living in Boston. An unemployed science journalist, he spends his days floating article ideas to magazines and avoiding his landlord on the stairs. So, when he receives a job offer from Sebastian Clayton, 5th richest man in the world, he's not really in a position to refuse.

Having accepted the job, to write a book chronicling work to bring the Sioux Crossing Supercollider online, Alex finds himself transported to to Sioux Crossing itself, a county almost entirely
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Back in 2007, Heroes was a popular TV show, the finale was called How to Stop An Exploding Man. Throughout the series, comic art showed the "exploding man", it was imagery that stayed with me ever since. It's an image that I held in my mind as I was reading this novel.

Following his successful Fractured Europe series, Dave Hutchinson brings us the tale of Alex Dolan. Leith-native, relocated to Boston, trying to earn a living as a freelance science journalist.

He's offered the job of a lifetime,
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Return of the Incredible Exploding Man by Dave Hutchinson is a highly recommended science fiction thriller.

Multibillionaire Stanislaw Clayton has bought a town and county in Iowa to build his dream supercollider, but now he needs someone to write about the evolution of Sioux Crossing and his project. Clayton recruits and hires Alex Dolan to write some articles and a book about the Sioux Crossing, Iowa, Supercollider. Alex is a Scottish science/tech journalist living in Boston who has been st
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
There is a randomness to this tale that might not be everyone's cup of tea but if you expect something of that sort to occur, you might just like the story. 

For some strange and inexplicable reason, I had fun reading this book. I say strange because I am not sure I could convey to you why that might be the case but I am going to give it a try. This has sci-fi as the backbone of the narrative but it all about Alex. Alex Dolan is stuck in a hard place, he has no job prospects until something stran
Shaun Nightshade
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
he Return of the Incredible Exploding Man. I thought was a sequel but it appears to be the first one, although the author has a short story about the Incredible Exploding Man. I only mention this as it may be off putting to a reader. I was excited to read this book however, it’s blurb and cover being very appealing.

The story starts with a failing scientific journalist being poached by a multi-billionaire to write a book about a supercollider he is funding. It’s a slow burner of a book that suite
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is mostly brilliant, and is very much a book of two parts.
For the majority of the book, we have a slow burning but very brilliantly described path from an out-of-work writer to him being employed by a hugely rich person to write about a new supercollider. This part is excellent, as it builds up the background without us noticing unduly, and Alex meets various people working in or near his new town. Some of this is fascinating, and some is creepy, as you notice how a billionaire can man
David Harris
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm grateful to the publisher for providing me with a free advance e-copy of this book via NetGalley to consider for review.

This is a slightly deceptive book (which to me is a Good Thing: see below for why) as despite the pulpy title (and image) Hutchinson delivers what seems at first to be quite a restrained story. Alex Dolan is a washed up journalist, cast overboard as media transforms and traditional titles founder, who is rescued from debt by billionaire Stanislaw Clayton ('Stan').

Clayton is
Realms & Robots
Aug 28, 2019 rated it liked it
I have very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it’s a great character piece, examining the workings of a down-on-his-luck journalist as he tries to write a book about an impossible project in the middle of nowhere. He forms a couple of interesting relationships and gains a few months of every day experiences.

Hutchinson adds a lot of humor to the book and creates a compelling protagonist. That being said, it felt like there was something big missing from the story. The book promise
Daisy Dooley
Sep 07, 2019 rated it liked it
First off I should say that sci-fi has never been my preferred genre to read. Having said that I found this book thoroughly enjoyable. It was witty, and engaging and whilst I can't pretend to understand all the sciency parts, it was intriguing. Alex Dolan is in a state of lethargy. Jobless, penniless and aimless. One day a letter arrives offering him a job interview. He also finds that all his bills have been paid off in full. He flies to San Francisco to meet Stan Clayton, the fifth richest man ...more
Aug 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Dave Hutchinson's Fractured Europe books are one of the highlights of SF in the last decade, and so I had high hopes for this. It's told with his usual sardonic wit, and easy to read, but never facile, prose. Line by line, and chapter by chapter it's a great read, but somehow I found it a little unsatisfying. There seems to be something fundamentally wrong with the structure - difficult to elucidate without spoilers, but we spend 75% of the book getting to a thing which it's clear is going to ha ...more
Nicki Markus
The Return of the Incredible Exploding Man is a difficult book to classify and to review. The cover and blurb strongly indicate a superhero-type story, which is what attracted me to the work. However, the first 75% of the book is essentially a slow, tedious drama/mystery story. Then, without warning, the story does a complete flip and turns into something else entirely, dropping a number of characters and unresolved plot points and introducing others. The ending then also feels unresolved in the ...more
Stuart Cliffe
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As an avid Sci-Fi reader for many (many) years, I'm ashamed to say that while Dave Hutchinson is - according to his publisher - "the multi-award winning author of the critically acclaimed Fractured Europe series", and -more than that- he's also a fellow Brit, this book is my first introduction to his writing. It is totally a-maze-ing. I already ordered the first of his back catalogue to get better acquainted.

There's a struggling journo, hired in fairly surreal circumstances to write about a proj
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed The Return of the Incredible Exploding Man. The story over the first few sections really kept me interested and wanting to know what was going on. The story definitely didn’t end as I expected it to, though, and more could have been made of what was suggested in the stories past as to how and what the “Angel” or “static” was in relation to what was happening in the present - a missed opportunity, maybe?
The ending was certainly strange, and maybe a bit lost when referring to the
Dave C
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again the author hits it out of the ballpark. The writing is top-notch, the characters unforgettable and the story unique. I really enjoy his writing and I look forward to his next adventure.

A Scottish journalist, barely surviving as a free lancer in Boston, is “rescued” by a billionaire with a simple request - write a story about his supercollider project in the middle of Iowa. This little farm town has been spruced up by money and hordes of young smart scientists; but something is a bit o
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Reviewed by a YA fan of sci-fi and mystery genres:

"Overall, I did enjoy this book ( The Return of the Incredible Exploding Man) but there are some areas which are lacking or others where there is too much padding. For example, there was, in my opinion, too much build-up to the main event in this book. I understand that some things needed explaining but there was just too much of it. Another point is that the actual event happened very very quickly and after that, the story was very "jumpy" in th
Laura Young
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had absolutely no idea what to expect with this book. It’s beginning has real eerie feel to it, always something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. The writing is brilliant, painting the normal world and the complex scientific scenes perfectly. I laughed a lot, I guessed what was coming a lot and got it wrong every time 😂 it’s really hard to categorise this book, it’s definitely sci-fi with a hint of thriller, fantasy and comedy but what I can say is, it was a fantastic read. T
Aug 30, 2019 rated it did not like it
This had potential and is definitely not the blurbed "new sci-fi masterpiece" in my opinion.
The first 3/4 are incredibly dull and boring and I don't care about Alex at all, because he had absolutely no drive and is floating in the wind like a tiny flag.
The supporting characters are flat.
The writing itself isn't bad, but there are issues with pacing and plot lines.

I'm quite disappointed. I really wanted to like this one.

Thanks Netgalley for providing me with an eARC.
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UK writer who published four volumes of stories by the age of twenty-one – Thumbprints, which is mostly fantasy, Fools' Gold, Torn Air and The Paradise Equation, all as David Hutchinson – and then moved into journalism. The deftness and quiet humaneness of his work was better than precocious, though the deracinatedness of the worlds depicted in the later stories may have derived in part from the a ...more