The theme of atompunk is mixed with a film noir feel in Adam Christopher’s The Age Atomic. The sequel to Empire State, the tale continues on in this new installment. Christopher’s take feels like an old film mixed with a comic book mentality, fusing adventure with atomic era sensibility
The Empire State is dying. The Fissure connecting the pocket universe to New
York has vanished, plunging the city into a deep freeze and the populace are demanding a return to Prohibition and rationing as energy supplies dwindle.
Meanwhile, in 1954 New York, the political dynamic has changed and Nimrod finds his department subsumed by a new group, Atoms For Peace, led by the mysterious Evelyn McHale.
As Rad uncovers a new threat to his city, Atoms For Peace prepare their army for a transdimensional invasion. Their goal: total conquest – or destruction – of the Empire State.
As a newcomer to Christopher’s work, I found his writing style to be fairly simplistic and often times dull. For some reason I had an incredibly hard time getting into the storyline. A large part of this is due to the fact that The Age Atomic is truly a continuation, and having not read the first book, I was left stumbling trying to understand what happened. While I can blame this partially on not having read Empire State, I couldn’t help but notice other details that left me feeling somewhat bored. For instance, Christopher isn’t a fan of the pronoun. As I read I found myself continuously distracted by this as each statement included the character name, often times in a plain stated manner. While this may simply be Christopher’s writing style, it is not one that I find useful to a narrative.
This review is an incredibly hard write as I genuinely found The Age Atomic to be a forgettable boring read. Christopher’s characters were one dimensional yet lacked any interesting attributes be it humor or intellect. The overall quest is entirely muddled and has no sense of urgency. Unfortunately, whether by intention or otherwise, Christopher’s world is quite vague and feels more like a white backdrop to the bland stick figures that are the characters. Though I am not a fan of the novella, I wonder if The Age Atomic would have been better suited had it been boldly noir in a camp fashion and didn’t take itself too seriously. As is, Christopher delivers on neither going far enough nor bringing any depth. I know several other reviewers who liked The Age Atomic but I’m simply left wondering why.