Outpost is not a grand work of literary art. It’s a bloody, gory survival story that offers some kind of insight into the human soul, yet refrains from ramming its intellectual concepts down your throat. It might not be a classic, but it’s worth a read for the experience of reading an author who knows how to find meaning in a nihilistic situation. Outpost is Adam Baker’s first offering to the genre of thriller/horror and offers a present day world beset by a deadly plague with the few apparent survivors isolated in the cold Arctic Circle. Throughout the book it’s unsure which will kill them first; the freezing arctic temperatures or the infected humans heading their way.
The survivors are located on an off-shore oil rig, about to return home, when channels on their television show scenes of chaos and death before going out one by one, leaving them stranded with limited supplies and the long Arctic winter approaching. Baker’s fairly original protagonist is Jane, a morbidly obese decan that is forced into the role of hero when encounters with the infected threaten her livelihood and that of everyone else on the rig. As for the key antagonists within the tale, it’s a fairly new twist on an overdone movie monster, less Dawn of the Dead and more 28 Days Later, so expect less feeding and more maiming. The origins of the infection itself are a little vague, though an alien metallic substance seems to take over the host in strange new ways; some are even lucid which gives the reader an interesting new perspective on life after infection.
As the general plot goes it’s pretty standard end of the world fare with a couple of twists and a few murky plot points that nag the mind a bit, but don’t interfere too much with the immersion of the story. The writing is fluid and polished with no jarring sentences or awkward dialogue. In fact most, if not all of Baker’s characters are fleshed-out with real flaws and personalities which can be one of the things that make or break an apocalypse story. Sure the survivors might live, but do you really care which ones make it out alive? Overall Outpost is very enjoyable, not too pretentious and provides a fresh twist on an overdone genre.
Review by Rhiannon Emery