Tin Men by Christopher Golden (Ballantine, June 23rd, 2015)–Tin Men opens with PFC Danny Kelso leaving a toxic relationship behind for the last time, and reporting to an underground bunker in Germany, where he is one of the Tin Men, the remote infantry that has been tasked with keeping the peace in a world in chaos after environmental and economic upheaval. Danny serves in Syria, and although the nature of being one of the Tin Men allows the soldiers to feel fear, there really is nothing to fear, right? After all, their bodies are safe and protected in the underground bunker that is utterly and completely secure. Danny and his squad soon realize that something is very wrong. The area they’re patrolling is eerily quiet, and they soon realize that they’re virtually surrounded by Bot Killers, men with weaponry able to bring the robots to their knees. Meanwhile, at the G20 Summit in Greece, rioting has broken out, and the US and Russian presidents must band together to survive, and hopefully find their way to safety. It’s soon evident that an EMP has been set off, rendering most tech useless and also disconnecting the Tin Men from their base, and their physical bodies. Anarchy reigns, and the Tin Men must band together like never before to get out with their minds, and bodies, intact.
If you’re looking at escapist fun that also gives you food for thought, look no further. It’s a great glimpse into what soldiers go through: the stress of battle, witnessing atrocious acts of violence, and of course fear; constant, grinding fear. The narrative focuses mostly on Danny and his fellow soldier Kate, who he’s always had a flirtation with, and whose father is with the US president. Back at the base in Germany, it becomes evident that they may have a traitor in their midst, and the anarchists are gathering outside the gates.
Tin Men combines the best of thrillers and sci-fi, and the action rarely lets up, although characterization isn’t sacrificed for the sake of excitement, and the author explores some timely themes, such as the US’s involvement in non-US conflicts, and the ire that it can cause, even as some look on it as necessary for peace and stability. This one’s a lot of fun-don’t miss it.