Friday, 17 May 2013
Terminus - Paul Melhuish
Author: Paul Melhuish
“Terminus” by Paul Melhuish is a rather interesting blend of Science Fiction and horror that I found thoroughly entertaining although there were a few minor issues. The plot itself is based around Sii Terminus, a man whose past with scarred by an encounter with a strange alien species. Now though, he is captain of a space craft that has been tasked with the simple sounding task of taking an important bureaucrat out to another planet named Thanatos One. However, upon arrival it becomes obvious that the task is not that simple and soon Sii and his crew encounter horrors and danger they could never have imagined in their darkest dreams.
The first thing I noted about the book is that it does start of quite slowly, which isn’t helped by the use of specialised slang which I will discuss later on. However, upon arrival at Thanatos One itself the pace really does pick up with various twists and turns keeping the reader on their toes. I really found myself desperate to turn each page and discover what was coming next. The overall feel of the novel is quite dark as the horror scenes themselves can be quite graphic and there is a pervasive level of corruption and decadence within the society that Melhuish has created. Yet, the novel does also have some rather amusing elements of dark humour which cleverly ensures that it doesn’t become subsumed by the more depressing and morose elements.
The writing was clever and descriptive which really helps the reader envision both the characters and the world they inhabit. Melhuish has also tried to show the evolution of his society by including a form of slang that has resulted from the slow corruption of English. Whilst I found this quite interesting and clever, I did think it could detract from the novel as the reader tried to understand what the words actually meant. Basically, I found myself getting bogged down early on in the novel as I tried to both understand the new slang and put up with the slow initial pacing.
In regards to the characters, the majority of them fit in with their rather decaying society very well with various flaws and issue visible for all to see. Despite this however, I couldn’t help but find myself liking most of them with Sii Terminus himself being the ultimate anti-hero. The fact that I found myself caring about the characters really helped to enhance the power of the horror elements. This was nice to see as I find that too many horror stories rely on gore alone to thrill the readers.
Overall, this was an exciting and interesting horror story that uses its futuristic setting incredibly well. I think I would recommend the book to lovers of several genres as fans of post-apocalyptic fiction, dystopian, horror and even space-opera should find something in the book that appeals.