I really liked Relic by the same author, so I thought it was worth giving another one of his books a punt. A random stab on Amazon brings up a Call To Arms, a story (number one in a trilogy, I think) about a galactic war between two cultures.
One alliance (the Amplitur) seeks to unite every being in the universe in the undertaking of one great Purpose.
The other alliance (the Weave) would rather not.
And so, the battle rages on for centuries, with both sides recruiting civilisations, but neither side really gaining advantage. The problem is deceptively simple: each side believes heart and soul in their cause, but each side has evolved beyond the savagery, the desire for violence, the selfishness, the innate sense of superiority they need to win the war.
Then on a routine scouting mission, the Weave encounter a creature from a race who may have the destructive qualities that can turn the tide of the war.
The creature’s name is Will, a frustrated music composer from New Orleans.
I read this one because Bernadine Evaristo raved about it in a tweet a few weeks back, and I think she knows a good book when she’s it. Aside from that, I bloody loved the idea.
The Red Children is set in a future Britain where a pandemic (another one) has put a significant dent in the male population, and racism is seeing a resurgence (so when I say ‘future’, I probably mean ‘Monday week’).
The coastal town of Ramsgate struggles about its business in the slightly dystopian future; most of the people are decent and grieving, others are dipping a tentative toe into far-right wing nationalism.
And into this once-idyllic village come the Red People: refugees from an ecological disaster who just happen to be Neanderthals. …
Well, I’ve seen it, and to be honest, I’m not really sure what all the bad-mouthing was about. I thought it was great! Okay, so it’s not the Avengers: Endgame, but it was still entertaining, surprisingly deep, and the plot managed to hold itself together.
And of course, it had that secret sauce that Marvel Studios likes to stir into everything it does: the movie didn’t take itself as seriously as some of the people who reviewed it.