Book Review – The Fringe Worlds by T.R. Harris
This novel starts with an interesting concept that has a lot of potential for a good pulp Sci-Fi comic adventure — A human abducted from earth finds that his combination of intelligence, strength, and dexterity make him almost like a superhero among the aliens he encounters. Unfortunately, this potential remains largely unrealized in this book.
Adam Cain, U.S. Navy Seal, is abducted from Afghanistan by aliens and put into stasis aboard their ship. This ship is subsequently attacked by space pirates and his abductors kill all the other humans onboard except him, apparently so that the pirates will not get them. Why Adam was singled out, we never learn. Then, a couple of aliens in a tramp cargo carrier trick the pirates into abandoning their booty, and they ‘rescue’ Adam.
I found the ‘good guy’ aliens that find him rather fun. I did not much care for Adam Cain, the protagonist of the story, on the other hand. He is shallow, not especially bright, and not very likeable, and as the story progresses, he gets worse, devolving into a kind of videogame ‘hero’ who shoots or punches every alien he encounters. The villains are one-dimensional, the prose is simple, and the plot is predictable.
I like books that have a bit more personality to their major characters, something that makes them funny, charming, or admirable. I also prefer a story that requires the protagonist to think a little about how to resolve his or her dilemma. They need to make personal and sometimes difficult choices rather than just shoot their way out of one situation and into the next. An especially good book also motivates the reader to think and reflect because it is saying something about his world as well as the one that provides the setting for the story. This book does not do that.
This is, of course, a matter of personal taste. As a simple action adventure, this story succeeds, and it might appeal to teenage boys fond of ‘action’ video games. Although I noticed several copy editing errors, they were not overly distracting.
I enjoyed the story well enough to finish reading it, but I cannot recommend it.