Red Claw by Philip Palmer

Professor Richard Helms heads up a tight-knit band of scientists and soldiers sent to explore New Amazon, a lush but savage planet seemingly determined to attack them at every turn. When they are done cataloguing every detail of this vast, unfamiliar ecosystem, they will burn it to the ground and make it fit for human habitation. But when the team falls under attack, Helms and his followers are forced to flee into the depths of the jungle. Here, old enemies and petty rivalries surface as they struggle to survive. They soon end up fighting for their lives – against the planet they are exploring, the robots designed to protect them and, most of all, against each other. For the countdown into madness is ticking. Palmer burns a new path for science fiction in this gripping, dark tale of man’s place in the universe.

Totally awesome. It manages to capture that pulpy Science Fiction feel and also bring me back to the days when I was a kid, playing in my backyard. Couldn’t help but smile when I saw it. Like The Sad Tales of the Brothers Grossbart, it’s nice to see a publisher like Orbit Books going out on a limb like this.

Thanks to Gav at NextRead for pointing it out.

  • Liviu September 25, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    I got an arc on Tuesday and being in the mood for a fast read I finished it by Wednesday (review on FBC tbp in early October).

    I liked it but I would qualify a bit the expectations:

    – lots of cool monsters, but nothing essentially new for veteran readers of books with such (eg Neal Asher’s work but not only)

    – the mil/civilian group with mission decimated by the fauna and other hostiles – here the novel is unfocused somewhat and alternates between literary-like musings and action without a clear goal and I felt it inferior from this point of view to David Drake Redliners – to which this novel resembles a lot as theme though of course it has an opposite philospohy – or J. Ringo/D. Weber March Upcountry which are militaristic (as opposed to the anti-militaristic tone of this) but focused in what they do; when monsters snap at your heels, philosophical musings and deep introspection are a bit out of place imho…

    – the same style (and universe) from Debatable Spaces which i loved quite a lot, but Red Claw lacks the panache, sense of wonder and great characters (imho) of that, though it’s better technically

    All in all quite good, but a bit short of the wonderful author’s debut Debatable Spaces mainly due to lack of ambition

  • Jacob Topp-Mugglestone September 26, 2009 at 5:46 am

    I can’t comment on the book, but I love the cover! Slightly “gunky”, as you say, pulpy… It’s great. Block colour, big text…!

  • […] solid cover for Philip Palmer from the folks at Orbit. Like its predecessor, I’m sure this will be a love-it-or-hate-it cover. While I don’t like it quite as much […]