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Terminus by Peter Clines #BookReview

Murdoch’s past has finally come crashing down on him. His former girlfriend. The Family. He’s been happily avoiding them for ages, trying to live something close to a normal life. But now he’s been drawn back into another one of their ludicrous attempts to bring about the end of all things.

Chase has spent the past year just trying to get away. Trying to escape the memories that won’t stop following him, the moment when his life collapsed. He’s traveled around the world trying to stay ahead of it all, but those final moments may be catching up with him at last.

Anne is tired of living in the past. She’s finally looking to the future and embracing her destiny. She’s going to lead the Family forward on their greatest and ultimate crusade: to destroy the hated Machine of their long-time adversary.

Their paths will intersect in the middle of nowhere, on an uncharted island where the walls of reality are thin…and an apocalyptic threat is tearing its way through.

Book cover for Terminus by Peter Clines.

Title: Terminus | Author: Peter Clines | Publisher: Kavach Press | Pub. Date: 1 September 2020 | Pages: 333 | ASIN: B08H9WNPRH| Genre: Cosmic Horror and Science Fiction | Language: English | Source: Purchased | Starred

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Terminus Review

Peter Clines’s latest work, “Terminus”, has recently become available in ebook format after originally being available exclusively on Audible. Terminus comes from the world of several of his earlier works including “14”, “The Fold”, and “Dead Moon.” None of these novels need to be read in order and work fine independently.  The natural order would be 14, The Fold, Terminus, and finally Dead Moon.  However, some are tied more closely to others while Dead Moon truly orbits off on its own more or less.

I recently reviewed a book by Jason Offutt and called it “pulpy” and compared his work to both Blake Crouch and Peter Clines.  I’ve had some questions about what that term means to me. I almost always read electronic books, so rest assured the reference is not to the paper stock.  To me, pulp means escapist fiction with an emphasis on action and many moving parts to a story. Pulp also evokes a certain hard to precisely define esthetic, with less emphasis on nailing down background details. I think of authors such as Edgar Rice Burroughs, Ray Bradbury, and Alfred Bester. It’s been suggested that all of science fiction is derived from the pulp heritage, and I’m not sure I would disagree, but I do believe that most modern science fiction has gone much beyond pulp. The term implies a certain esthetic and ill-defined set of rules for storytelling, neither good nor bad.  I’ve heard a recent discussion regarding what gothic means and I think I’ve got a similar answer. I know it when I see it. Some are good. Some are bad.

Terminus is a good example of pulp in my opinion. It moves quickly, as one would expect. It has crazy elements such as cosmic horror and multi-dimensional travel. I’ve categorized it as Horror but it is not fundamentally a horror story. It involves a machine that breaches dimensions but it is not fundamentally a science fiction story.  Clines limits the explanation of how the machine works or where the horror originates,  much like pulp stories from the past. Burroughs doesn’t worry too much about how John Carter got to Mars, and Clines doesn’t try to explain too much how to get to another dimension. Instead, each strives to get to the fun and games as fast as possible.

I did note several problems with the plot, mistakes that the author had made that were not really essential to the story at all but seemed a bit sloppy. Thankfully, by the end, it was clear that these were not mistakes at all but rather hints at the McGuffin lurking in the background. Well done.

My one complaint regarding the work is that by the end there were still a few elements that I’m not sure were correctly tied together or rather explained accurately when explanation was presented.  Without providing spoilers let me say that they are logically resolved by the end of the novel, but without going back and rereading I’m not sure they were consistently resolved within the body. One could also argue that the characters do not have deeply developed development arcs (with one exception), but there is enough and that characteristic is often part of classic pulp fiction.

If I were grading on a scale of 1-10 I would probably give Terminus a 7, though here we simply say starred or unstarred.  So this work is starred and recommended by me, particularly if you are a fan of Mr. Clines earlier works. He has suggested that he is going to step away from this world to visit others, and I anticipate taking that trip with him when published.

You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads; however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.


Description of child death that occurs prior to story, and death of some characters

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