Rating: 5/5 Rueful Regrets
Give me the short version: As the world falls to bits, the skeleton crew of the refinery Kasker Rampart are left despairing and marooned. But the icy worst is about to get a whole lot grimmer.
Know what I love? Adventure. And the arctic. Strong conflicted characters, pseudoscience, and doomsday scenarios. So really, Outpost brought all the juiciness to the table. The turkey with the trimmings is protagonist (you'd hesitate to say hero, then feel bad not to) Jane. Written with the sort of scathing, brutal self-regard that people deploy but rarely admit to, reading Jane is a sort of guilty pleasure. Human first, then female second and in no way what you'd expect, she's the sort of character I'd like to see a whole lot more of. It's incredibly easy to picture Outpost being made into a film. Action sequences are carried off with a grand cinematic flair; and there are plenty of them, with bold new elements springing at you from every direction. Under a lesser-skilled hand than Mr Baker's it might well have turned out a confusing mash, but he keeps the snowball rolling neatly and decisively toward the conclusion. I'd recommend Outpost for reading anytime, but especially holiday-reading. The relentless ride it takes you on is particularly suited to that hectic, excited mood that comes with stepping out of the everyday, and the sense that anything could happen.
"What's your name?" "Simon." "You've got to move, Simon. You have to put on your skis and move. You have to get your team to the main island. We can reach you from there. We can pick you up." "It's too much." "You've got to dig deep, dude. The weather will lift in a few hours, but there's more moving in. You're only getting weaker. It will be sunrise soon. You're the leader. Get your team ready to travel. Whatever you have to do."