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Sooner Dead: A D&D Gamma World Novel Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 2011

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Product Details

  • Series: Gamma World
  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786957360
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786957361
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,384,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mel Odom is a veteran author of fantasy, science fiction, and action-adventure novels. A native of Oklahoma, Mel brings his own backyard into a post-apocalyptic future.

Customer Reviews

To the author; I hope there is more to come!
David Leary
Unfortunately, the twists weren't very good and seemed like they were half-baked ideas that just never fully develop.
Travis Eisenbrandt
I really enjoyed it, and if there's ever a sequel following the same characters, I'd be sure to pick it up.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rolf M. Buchner on March 1, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sooner Dead is a well paced novel set in the post-apocalyptic Gamma World setting. The general concept is that there was an issue at CERN and multiple universes collided. When reality finally re-asserted itself, our world had been forever changed. Think "Mad Max" crossed with "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and you're on the right track.

The novel centers around a young scout named Hella and her partner and father-figure Stampede. Hella is able to transform her hands in guns. Stampede is a Human/Buffalo hybrid.

Together these two have been hired to escort an expedition of scientists through the rough-and-tumble wilds of Oklahoma. The guides (and the readers) are in the dark as to exactly what the scientists are trying to achieve, which lends a nice air of uncertainity to the plot. Who are these scientists, really, and what are they looking for?

The novel is well-paced, with plenty of gunfights and explosions to keep the action moving along even as the characters get some sideline time to explore their personalities. Attention is given to events that are not fully resolved by the end of the book, which I actually enjoyed as it leaves room for future development.

My biggest issue with this book, downgrading my rating from 5 to 4 stars, is the editing. Several obvious spelling and grammar mistakes detract from the reading experience and there were some obvious places where sentences could have been cleaned up. (example, pg 155: "The nanobots frantic voices turned even more insistent, maybe even frantic." Wait... Were they or were they not frantic?)

Overall I quite enjoyed the book and look forward to the continuing adventures of Hella and Stampede.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mel Odom immediately sets the tone for "Sooner Dead" in the first chapter of this novel about Wizard Of The Coast's reboot of their Gamma World franchise, a future Earth which has been altered and destroyed through a superconductor accident (see customer images). Hella, a young woman of indeterminate age, whose history is a blank, is being stalked, and attacked, by one of Gamma World's bizarre creatures in the hazardous Redlight Zone in what is left of Oklahoma. Hella, along with her trusty steed, a giant lizard named Daisy, and her partner and father figure, Stampede, a huge omnivorous bisonoid, makes her living as a dependable guide for travelers in the Redlight Zone. Now, this would be an awfully short novel if she were killed, so she isn't, and she and Stampede fight and triumph over the monster.

Hella is also infected with nanites, microscopic robots that enable her to heal extremely fast, and which allows her to turn her hands into guns that fire bullets in a way that is never really satisfactorily explained, it's these guns that help to get her out of this jam.

But, even so, this pair is already in trouble with their current expedition's leader, the eternally cranky Dr. Klein Pardot. Pardot, is also traveling with precog Dr. Colleen Trammell who seems to be able to forsee the coming of the ripples, and Captain Riley the head of security for the expedition. Klein is enhanced by a cyber suit to help him move, and he is upset that while Hella and Stampede were fighting for their lives another of these creatures had invaded the expedition's camp.
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Hella and her mentor/partner, a humanoid bison named Stampede, are hired to guide a professor and his heavily armed crew through the Redblight, a wasteland in what used to be Oklahoma. The dangers of the Redblight are many, including various raiders, mutated creatures and an armadillo biker gang. What the professor is searching for remains a mystery to Hella. The whole contract stinks and the guides are second guessing the wisdom of accepting it.

I'd always liked the idea of TSR's Gamma World, a post-nuclear role-playing game that managed to be silly enough not to be depressing. I was happy to see Wizards of the Coast was not only reviving the game, but releasing novels set in that world.

I wasn't so excited to find out that the first Gamma World novel was being written by Mel Odom. My previous experience with Mel (another book based on a game, Hellgate: London: Exodus) wasn't a good one. That was also a game world that could have supported some very interesting fiction, but I just could not get past Mel's writing. It lacked even the most basic description and he tended to be repetitive with his phrasing.

I have to say, Mel's writing was much better this time out. Maybe he was under less editorial pressure. Maybe he's just improved as a writer. It wasn't brilliant writing, but at least it got out of the way as I read. The description was lots better and the repetition that broke my suspension of disbelief was nowhere to be found.
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More About the Author

I write in a number of fields, but always with the hope of telling an interesting tale that will incite a reader to think for himself or herself, to examine his or her own place in the world, and offer a little nudge in the direction of dreams, faith, and personal growth in spite of whatever odds a person has to face. I also believe we were all put here for a purpose. Hopefully, several purposes. I'm a father, a little league coach, a teacher, a friend, and a writer. I struggle to keep that balance, as many of us do these days, but I hold tightly to the belief that I'm doing all I can be doing, and doing what I should be doing.