Alive by Scott Sigler

Alive by Scott Sigler

I read Alive by Scott Sigler while on my honeymoon in April. I’ve enjoyed his previous work, especially the Infected series, so I’m always willing to read whatever he has written. The premise of the novel is fascinating:

A young woman awakes trapped in an enclosed space. She has no idea who she is or how she got there. With only her instincts to guide her, she escapes her own confinement—and finds she’s not alone. She frees the others in the room and leads them into a corridor filled with the remains of a war long past. The farther these survivors travel, the worse are the horrors they confront. And as they slowly come to understand what this prison is, they realize that the worst and strangest possibilities they could have imagined don’t even come close to the truth.

I started Alive and didn’t stop reading until I finished. Exciting, thrilling, and eminently readable Alive is not a novel without its issues. In previous works Sigler doesn’t shy away from violence and while that is still true here it is certainly less graphic than in previous works (but can anything really top Perry’s sections in Infected?). Alive is a novel that is targeted a bit towards the teen crowd and I can’t help but think the audience limited the places that Sigler could go with his story.

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Review: Pandemic by Scott Sigler

Pandemic by Scott Sigler | Crown, 2014

It has taken Scott Sigler quite a bit of time to finish out his Infected series.  The first two novel in the series, Infected and Contagious, were released in 2008 and I reviewed the audiobook version of both around the same time (here and here). The final volume in Sigler’s series, Pandemic, was released almost 5 years since I reviewed Contagious. I didn’t go back and take a look at the previous two volumes before jumping into Pandemic; a fact which made someone leery going into this novel. Thankfully, Pandemic is an extraordinarily approachable novel; not so approachable that it could be easily enjoyed in you missed Infected and Contagious but enough that the distance between the novels isn’t quite that noticeable. Needless to say spoilers for the first novel are ahead so consider yourselves warned.

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Review: The Rookie by Scott Sigler

The Rookie by Scott Sigler
The Rookie by Scott Sigler

The Rookie
Scott Sigler
Dark Overlord Press, 2009
First Line: Micovi’s three tiny moons hung in the evening sky like pitted purple grapes.  (Technically, that’s the second line).

Having listened to both Infected and Contagious on audio you’d think I’d have noticed Sigler’s football fandom in the person of Perry Dawsey.  Obviously that wasn’t the case and the appearance of The Rookie, if you’ll pardon the mixed sports reference, came out of left field.  A Blood Bowl type D&D Encounter designed by ChattyDM and the appearance of new Blood Bowl video game this last year certainly had my attention primed for sci-fi/football mashups.  Indeed, despite having never played a game it was Blood Bowl I first thought of when reading the synopsis of The Rookie with some vague memories of Mutant League Football worked in for good measure.

The Rookie takes place in a universe where the dominant alien species has “pacified” the various other races of the galaxy by letting them take out their aggressive tendencies through playing football.  The Galactic Football League is divided into 3 “tiers” Tier 3 being the small time bush league, Tier 2 being the minors, and Tier 1 being the big show.  The book follows the rising star of the titular rookie, quarterback Quentin Barnes.  Barnes, in the opening act is recruited by the Ionith Krakens a tier 2 team.  There are some serious hitches to this seeming turn of good fortune as Barnes suffers from a vicious brew of arrogance and racism ingrained by his hardscrabble upbringing in the mines of a close-minded human supremest world.

Fantastic alien creatures.  Personal human drama.  Football heroics.  If any of these sound interesting to you then you should head out and pick up a copy of The Rookie.  Everyone else?  Read on…

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Review: Contagious by Scott Sigler (Audio)

Contagious

Scott Sigler

Random House Audio, 2008

Read by Scott Sigler

Infected was one of my surprise favorites when it came out in April of 2008; its cringe inducing scenes of self-mutilation caused several near misses on my daily commute.  Contagious picks up not long after Infected’s ending and continues the battle of Margaret Montoya, Dew Phillips, Clarence Otto, and “Scary” Perry Dawsey against the mysterious blue triangles.  While Contagious lacks some of the more horrific elements that made Infected such a fun read the B-move action sci-fi vibe more than makes up for things.  More impressions after the jump…

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Review: Infected by Scott Sigler (Audiobook)

Infected
Scott Sigler
Random House Audio/Books On Tape, 2008.

Released several months ago by web phenom/author Scott Sigler, I felt that Infected was buried by the (somewhat) similarly themed The Host by Stephanie Meyer.  I won’t be drawing parallels between the two (I have not, and will not, read The Host) only to say that both involve microscopic organisms as the enemy.  Truth be told I didn’t actually “read” Infected either, but I did listen to the audiobook and it was a damned fun ride.

Rather than hire some smooth voiced professional narrator/voice actor Random House Audio (aka Books on Tape) allowed Sigler to the voicework here.  A good fact since it seems Sigler has been doing audio versions of his own work as weekly podcasts for some time now.  While he might lack the British finesse of Simon Vance, Sigler manages to inject his reading with (sorry) an infectious sense of fun, seeming to enjoy the reading almost as much as you (potentially) enjoy the listening.

The official synopses:

Perry Daswey is 6-foot-5, 265 pounds of angry ex-linebacker. He knows all too well that if he doesn’t control his quick temper, people get hurt. Through constant focus, he has locked his violent past away in the deep dungeons of his mind.

The infection changes everything.

Strange microscopic parasites tap into Perry’s bloodstream like tiny little vampires. They start as bright orange blisters, but soon take the shape of triangular growths just beneath his skin. The “Triangles,” as Perry calls them, try to control their host by manipulating hormone levels and flooding his body with neurotransmitters — imbalances of which cause paranoia, schizophrenia and excessive aggression. As Perry begins a desperate battle to cut the Triangles out of his body before it’s too late, his self-control dissolves into raging, murderous madness.
Infected, scottsigler.com

That summary is a bit misleading as it neglects to mention a number of other characters Dr. Margaret Montoya and CIA agent Dew Phillips, the two other major players in the novel. While both Dew and Montoya aren’t bad characters they do follow along familiar archetypes from a lot of other disaster/thriller/suspense fiction: the grizzled cynical veteran with a hidden heart, and the sassy, smart, and criminally underestimated doctor type.  But the Dawsey chapters are where the novel really shines.  So cringe inducing and viseral were these chapters that, were I not the attentive, skilled, drive that I am, I might have gotten into a car accident.  I would sit in my car with a white knuckled grip on my steering wheel and literally flinch and squirm as Dawsey fought the titular infection.  While it appears the novel was optioned by Rogue Pictures for a film adaptation I only hope that whoever helms that project doesn’t flinch from the rough and horrific scenes the dominate Dawsey’s story.

Sigler’s voice work is enthusiastic but weakest when dealing with his female characters.  I think I giggled a little with his high pitched attempt at a faint spanish accent for Montoya but it wasn’t enough to ruin the book for me.  Digital voice modulation during later sections of the book provided a good creepy feeling, especially the first time you hear it, and an occaisonal bit of music and other ambient sound makes for an atmospheric twist.  Complaints asside I couldn’t really imagine anyone else reading this.

A blend of sci-fi and horror Infected was an entertaining, cringe inducing listen that a highly recommend to anyone looked for a little distraction during their daily commute.  The book does end on a bit of a cliffhanger and the climax, much to its credit, has a bit a Lovecraftian twist to it that has me anticipating a sequel.  The book isn’t perfect, thanks to some weak supporting characters (that likely were supposed be more central), but makes up for it in visceral, intense action.  According to Sigler’s site the sequel Contagious is due out December 30.

Links:

Amazon page w/video of Sigler talking about the book.

Sigler’s homepage.

Trailer for Infected (book)