Written by Adam Baker
Review written by LJ Hurst
Initially, L. J. Hurst worked in the backrooms of the media industry. He now divides his time between work for an international scientific publisher and a rather more British independent bookseller. In years past he was a regular attendee at the Shots on the Page Festivals from whence Shots Mag sprung
Hodder & Stoughton
Released: 14th April 2011
OUTPOST is not usual Shots material as it is, if anything, science fiction; specifically, a near-future techno-thriller with a plot that follows John Wyndham’s DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS. Set on an oil platform in the Arctic Circle with a minimal crew, while the vessel is being decommissioned, the story follows Jane Blanc, Anglican chaplain, as she tries to cope with boredom, doubt, regret and loneliness, and the fourteen crew left who are little happier than the priest.
Their sense of loneliness is going to grow – first, when no one starts to answer the radio; and a little later, when going to the rescue of a fallen space capsule, they get an idea of what might be befalling the rest of the world. In their consequent attempts at escape, they experience a closer proximity to heaven and hell as a cruise ship comes close enough that they could take control and escape on it. That is if they could keep the inhabitants of the lower decks in their places. They do not, no one could.
Told in short, direct pararaphs, OUTPOST will not be every one’s cup of tea but I found it an interesting treatment of an old idea.