Exogene by TC McCarthy – review

By Keith Brooke

Germline soldiers are supposed to welcome death, for they will be rewarded in Heaven. When their term of service has expired they are discharged, lined up and shot, to be replaced by a new batch. But as McCarthy's second Subterrene War novel opens, the genetically engineered soldiers, not human but not strictly speaking anything else, are starting to rebel. Some of them want to live. This future is a brutal one, with a war being fought by clones, machines and humans, and any mix of the three. Catherine, known to her fellow soldiers as Little Murderer, lives to kill, but as the day of her discharge approaches something shifts inside her, a corruption known as "the spoil", and while her body deteriorates her mind starts to question. She's a fascinating creation, an inhuman killing machine finding her own humanity. Her perspective is at once childlike and brutal, combining indoctrinated religious fervour with a cold violence, without moral qualms. Exogene is both disorienting and an effective portrayal of a protagonist with a broken mind.


Keith Brooke

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Babylon Steel by Gaie Sebold – review

By Keith Brooke

Keith Brooke

06, Mar, 2012 @9:05 AM

The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi - review
Keith Brooke heads to Mars for a remarkable science fiction debut

25, Oct, 2011 @8:00 AM

Article image
Rosewater by Tade Thompson review – a stellar SF debut
This expertly judged cyberpunk-biopunk-Afropunk thriller is set in Nigeria in the aftermath of an alien invasion

Adam Roberts

04, Oct, 2018 @8:00 AM

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest - review
By Keith Brooke

Keith Brooke

13, Nov, 2012 @4:53 PM

Alien Contact by Marty Halpern - review

by Keith Brooke

22, Nov, 2011 @9:00 AM

Final Days by Gary Gibson – review
By Keith Brooke

Keith Brooke

26, Jun, 2012 @10:45 AM

Article image
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Eight – review
Strahan has produce a stand out collection that should be of interest to any admirer of short fiction, regardless of genre, writes Keith Brooke

Keith Brooke

27, Jun, 2014 @3:21 PM

Philosophy and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy edited by Nicholas Joll – review
By PD Smith

PD Smith

04, Sep, 2012 @11:40 AM

Article image
The Last Children of Tokyo by Yoko Tawada review – an eco-terror mini epic
The old live longer while the young die off in this sprightly Japanese satire

John Self

28, Jun, 2018 @10:59 AM

The Company She Keeps by Mary McCarthy - review

By Jane Housham

08, Nov, 2011 @9:00 AM