Book: Tin Men

"Tin Men"

After political upheaval, economic collapse, and environmental disaster, the world has become a hotspot, boiling over into chaos of near apocalyptic proportions. In this perpetual state of emergency all that separates order from anarchy is the military might of the United States determined to keep peace among nations waging a free-for-all battle for survival and supremacy.

But a conflict unlike any before demands an equally unprecedented fighting force on its front lines. Enter the Remote Infantry Corps: robot soldiers deployed in war zone around the world, controlled by human operators thousands of miles from the action. PFC Danny Kelso is one of these “Tin Men,” stationed with his fellow platoon members at a subterranean base in Germany, steering their cybernetic avatars through combat in the civil-war-ravaged streets of Syria. Immune to injury and death, this brave new breed of American warrior has a battlefield edge that’s all but unstoppable–until a flesh-and-blood enemy targets the Tin Men’s high-tech advantage in a dangerously game-changing counter-strike.

When anarchists unleash a massive electromagnetic pulse, short-circuiting the world’s technology, Kelso and his comrades-in-arms find themselves trapped–their minds tethered within their robot bodies and, for the first time, their lives at risk.

Now, with rocket-wielding “Bot Killers” gunning for them, and desperate members of the unit threatening to go rogue, it’s the worst possible time for the Tin Men to face their most crucial mission. But an economic summit is under terrorist attack, the U.S. president is running for his life, and the men and women of the 1st Remote Infantry Division must take the fight to the next level–if they want to be the last combatants standing, not the first of their kind to fall forever.

One bad book doesn’t spoil an author for me. Especially in the case of Christoper Golden, whose books I’ve been hunting down ever since I was introduced to him by the Buffy, the Vampire Slayer novels. So although I wasn’t completely sold on Snowblind, I still immediately picked up Tin Men when Fully Booked informed me that they finally received a copy.

And boy, am I glad I don’t give up on authors easily.

Tin Men is one of Christopher Golden’s best works to date, in my humble opinion, because it presents a post-apocalyptic scenario that might actually happen in the very near future. And the best part? Although there are no zombies, or ghouls, or other monsters? Golden still manages to horrify his readers. In the best way possible.

One of the things I keep a look out for when reading thrillers is the character deaths. I tend to like books better when the author doesn’t discriminate which character to kill. And Golden definitely doesn’t discriminate when he kills his characters, preferring to pick them off when their deaths serve to move the story forward–and not just to shock his readers. This makes the deaths, when they do come, stick. And you feel for the characters.

And you fear for the characters.

Because when it comes to horror, you shouldn’t be able to pick out who is safe from death. You should always be worried about the characters you’re following… The ones you’re enjoying.

I find that, with authors becoming more accessible through social media, many of them are becoming afraid of the backlash from killing off characters who readers might enjoy. This waters down their writing, because you can see in the writing how certain events were maneuvered to make sure certain characters make it out alive. Which is why I have more respect for authors who, while they are approachable online, don’t let their readers dictate where a story goes. Or whether a character survives or not.

There’s a reason why there’s a distinction between readers and writers. And while there’s nothing to stop you from being both, you’re also not supposed to meddle with the writing of something you read. Because readers get emotionally invested. And we let emotions dictate what we want the characters to do, or what we want to happen to them.

And I feel like I lost this train of thought.

Anyway. Going back to Tin Men. I love Christopher Golden’s foray into non-supernatural horror, and I would recommend it to anyone who can find a copy. Really. Read it, guys.

Do you need more convincing? Then why don’t you check out these other blogs that wrote about the book?
Kirkus Reviews
John D. Harvey
So I Pondered