Thursday 14 July 2011

Tumbler - Brand Gamblin

Title: Tumbler
Author: Brand Gamblin
Genre: Sci-Fi
Published: 2010
Formats: Paperback/Ebook

Available at:
Amazon UK
Barnes & Nobel

Brand Gamblin's "Tumbler" is an enjoyable light Sci-Fi adventure that is fundamentally about a young character facing struggles as she attempts to find her place in the Universe. The book follows Libby Carter as she heads out to the Asteroid Belt in an attempt to make her fortune as a miner. Of course, she soon finds out that this is not going to be easy, especially after seeing the tiny spinning rock she has been provided to live and work on and quickly becomes disillusioned. The book then follows her attempts to survive in this harsh place and get back to Earth, before she realises that there are still opportunities available if she is willing to work for them.

The first thing that came to mind as I read this book was the Sci-Fi TV series called "Firefly". Not because of the space ships or anything like that, but because this book really grabbed that "western in space" and "life on the frontier" vibe that also was present in "Firefly". Some of the action scenes also utilised the space environment and physics to really enhance what it was trying portray which is something I also remember from "Firefly". Overall, I think it gave the story a different feel from some of the standard war, aliens & weapons type Sci-Fi that exists in bulk. This story was based around trying to survive on the frontier in a harsh and dangerous place

In regards to the science in the novel, it did come across as being believable, with some good development of the mining systems, habitats and transportation. The author actually uses the fact the Libby is an outsider to enable the reader to learn and understand some of the aspects of the environment and technology whilst she learns about it herself. It is still quite light on the technical front overall and therefore I don't see it causing an issue for any readers unless you really want the hard in-depth technical form of Sci-Fi.

The story itself is told in an entertaining and fast paced manner with various problems and issues thrown up in Libby's path as she tries to survive in a hostile environment. Whilst the plot isn't anything amazing, it did keep me engrossed from beginning to end and I actually completed the book over one weekend. The story did seem to deviate at times from what I deemed as the overall plot, but I think this was the author trying to expand and develop the environment and society that I was reading about so I was happy enough to accept it.

There are a few small issues I have with the novel, but I don't think any of them would stop me recommending it to someone. First of all, the main character Libby seemed somewhat undeveloped. For example, aside from the fact that she plays the odd poker game I have no idea about her history, what hobbies she has or if she has any real defining personality traits. Perhaps this was an attempt by the author to make the reader try and imprint themselves on the character instead, I really don't know. Personally though, I would have liked to know a little bit more about her beyond the fact she wanted to do some mining and make her fortune.

The other issue I have is the ending, the way that everything just falls into Libby's lap and she more or less ends up with enough power to do almost anything she wants was a little bit of a let down. Up until that point, I was rather happy with the overall story and direction, the ending just felt and out of sync with the rest of the novel and seemed to be tacked on just to give an almost fairy tale ending.

Overall, I think that "Tumbler" is an enjoyable light hearted read that could be picked up by most readers. It doesn't have the most in-depth character development or plot but it is fun and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick read, especially any young readers that are looking for a way to explore some Sci-Fi literature.