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

4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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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.

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: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,034,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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 Verified Purchase
This is an ok story, but it is not Gamma World.
Gamma World is quirky and full of humor. The author tried to describe some of the things that make the characters what they are in GW, but this book is dry and filled with too much attempt to explain why the characters are what they are, at least some of them that is.
Red Sails in the Fallout better gives the feel of GW. Whereas Sooner Dead is just an adventure story that happens to have some mutants.
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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This review was originally posted on my blog.

After slogging through Stephen King's 11/22/63 (starts strong, ends weak), I was in the mood for something a little lighter. I wanted crazy mutants, radiated landscapes, and lots of action. Not as guns and ammo as Deathlands, but more like Gamma World in a book, and after some looking around, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are in fact a couple of Gamma World novels, both published just this year.

So I bought them both and just finished the first one, Sooner Dead by Mel Odom, and it turns out it was exactly what I was looking for.

Now it's been a long time since I cracked open a Gamma World rule book, so I forget what the mythology said about the cause of the apocalypse, but in these books it was a mishap with the Large Hadron Collider. It tore apart the world, and opened ripples, gateways to other worlds and dimensions, bringing all manner of strange creatures into ours.

Having the plot device of rampant inter-dimensional wormholes means that you can introduce basically anything you want into your story, and Mr Odom certainly took advantage of that. This book has human-animal hybrids, cyborgs, nanobot-enhanced humans, alien creatures, and more kinds of psionic abilities than I could count, all set in what 200 years before was known as Oklahoma.

The story follows Hella, a bio-engineered young woman with a mysterious past, and her bisonoid companion, Stampede, as they serve as guides for a group hunting for a lost object in the ruinous wastes of the American southwest. It's a fast-paced adventure chock full of gun fights, raiders, mutant creatures, mystery, loyalty, and betrayal.

I really enjoyed it, and if there's ever a sequel following the same characters, I'd be sure to pick it up.

Overall, I can definitely recommend it, at least if you're the right mood for it. My official rating for Sooner Dead is 7 Megatons.
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