Origin (book, J.T. Brannan, 2012)
From SFX #229.
Author: J.T. Brannan
The Da Vinci Spaceship
The Bilderberg Group, Area 51, the Nazca Lines, Greys, world government, alternative archeology – name an element of alien-connected conspiracy silliness, and it’s in SF thriller Origin.
Evelyn Edwards is a scientist in Antarctica who discovers a human body frozen into 40,000 year-old ice. Not only should this corpse not be there, but he’s also possessed of advanced tech. After reporting the find, Evelyn’s team are wiped out by members of the US Army. She goes on the run, hooking up with her ex-husband – ace Native American tracker Matt – and discovers a conspiracy that threatens the human race.
Origin is the kind of book that spoon feeds its readers. Everything, from its characters’ motivations to geographical locations, is not so much artfully described as ladled into one’s mind. We suppose that’s fair enough; this is a simple thriller, not the ambiguous latest from Christopher Priest, but the common audience denominator being aimed at here is pretty darn low.
Matt’s Indian background and an okay-ish final twist aside, there’s not a great deal to recommend Origin. The main characters are uninspired ciphers designed to absorb exposition, and there are some draw-dropping bits of narrative fudgery that derail what is otherwise a pleasantly brainless ride. If this were a film, it would be directed by Paul Anderson. No doubt it has the potential to sell very well, but there are a lot of better books around – even in the unambitious technothriller subgenre of which Origin is firmly a part.
Did you know?
J.T. Brannan trained as an army officer at Sandhurst before deciding to be a writer. This is his first book. He’s also a karate expert. Ulp.