The Stone Man
A Science Fiction Horror Novel; a book review
The Stone Man (© 2012; ISBN-13 978-1482643473) is a release authored by Luke Smitherd. The format of the tale is that of a looking-back memoir and the plot is kept moving along nicely with a lot of but-Ill-get-to-that-in-a-bit promises; in other words, teasers!
The stone man (code-named Caementum by the military) is clearly an invader but he doesnt parachute in or make a beach landing. No, he suddenly appears in the middle of Millennium Place in Coventry, UK. Needless to say, this kind of thing can be a bit unnerving and the citizens react appropriately.
The Stone Man Begins His Journey
No sane person would ever think a man (creature?) composed of stone could animate himself but that is exactly what happens. He begins to walk and our narrator, Andy, is there to witness it. But heres the rub—the stone man seems to be able to only walk in a straight line.
But what about obstacles? Not a problem; he plows through and destroys everything in his path, moving at a steady pace. The military is impotent to stop the invincible monster.
Meanwhile Andy, being a journalist, realizes he is sitting on the scoop of his career and begins his pursuit. He cant do otherwise—his burning ambition is to gain the admiration of his peers and rise to the top of his profession.
The Connection is Strong with These Two
As you may have surmised, Andy was somehow meant to be here at the beginning. He soon meets Paul and together they can tune into the stone mans destination but they are at a loss as to what its purpose is. They will soon find out.
Obviously, with these talents, it is inevitable that the military will recruit (actually, a no-choice conscription) them for use as government tools for lack of a better term.
Once Caementum finishes his grisly mission (I wont give it away here of course) he vanishes as abruptly as he arrived. Brigadier Straub, the military lead on this mission, realizes that chances are good that Caementum will return so she keeps Andy and Paul on a short leash.
He does return. With two of his compatriots. Obviously, things are going to get very ugly, very quickly. And how it ends up? Ill leave it up to you to discover that.
Comparative Character Studies
Although this is a fine science fiction yarn, it also presents interesting character studies of the two central characters, if you care for that sort of thing. I do.
Andy and Paul start off as very different personality types but they dont converge as a result of their cooperative adventure. Rather, they both unravel in different ways as a result of the atrocities they witness and the feelings of responsibility for the parts they were obliged to play.
Its interesting to observe how Brigadier Straub handles her assignment. As a military officer she is business-like, fast-thinking, and willing to make the human sacrifices that she must to complete the mission, but every now and then we detect a trace of humanity lurking beneath the surface.
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