REVIEW: Emergence by John Birmingham

Posted on January 16, 2015



Dave Hooper 1

John Birmingham

Macmillan Australia



 This was first published at A Writer Goes On A Journey.

Ordinary man unexpectedly clashes with the fantastic. Ordinary man mysteriously acquires fantastic abilities. Ordinary man has become a super hero. It all sounds a bit like an old DC Comics tired theme. But John Birmingham has managed to avoid the entire comic book trope.

Birmingham has already well established himself as a good writing of action and he is true to that in this start of a new series about his latest character, Dave Hooper. I found his characterisation of Hooper as the badly flawed ‘hero’ a strong piece of character development.

What I did not like so much was the extent to which Hooper’s abilities seem to grow to absurdist levels. However even that is tempered by attention to practicalities such as the simple basic of how to fuel what has become a hyper-metabolic system. Energy requirements for a body to keep doing the physically fantastic would have to be very high. Yet is not something usually considered in the super-human conversion scenario.

With Emergence, Birmingham almost seems to be trying his hand at a degree of melding urban fantasy with sword & sorcery heroic fiction. I am still not sure if he has achieved it and suspect only time shall tell as the rest of the series progresses.

As always for me, the acid test is whether I want to read more or not. And the answer is yes. I want to see where this story is going, the ultimate role of some of the characters on both sides of events and answers to some of the questions appearing in the narrative. Fortunately we shall not have to wait long to see just where this is going with the next instalment in this Dave Hooper series due for release in March, 2015.

Worth reading.

Posted in: Review