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Fragment: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – June 22, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Fahy's imaginative debut puts a fresh spin on the survival-of-prehistoric-beasts theme popularized by Jurassic Park.Â When members of the cable reality show SeaLife, aboard a ship in the South Pacific, respond to a distress beacon from Henders Island, several of the show's scientists wind up slaughtered by bizarre animals on the remote island. In response, the U.S. government blockades Henders Island to contain the serious biothreat its unique fauna could pose to humanity. The ship's botanist, Nell Duckworth, joins the investigative team, which quickly finds that arthropods on the island have evolved into sophisticated and ferocious life forms. Particularly memorable and frightening are the creatures Nell dubs spigers, which have eight legs and are twice the size of a Bengal tiger. Exciting debates on topics like the role of sexual reproduction in the development of life on Earth provide a sound scientific background. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
“Fahy’s imaginative debut puts a fresh spin on the survival-of-prehistoric-beasts theme popularized by Jurassic Park.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Fast-paced action adventure with a speculative scientific edge…this debut thriller effectively combines bone-chomping, blood-spurting action-adventure mayhem with intriguing (if improbable) scientific speculation.”—Library Journal
“A perfect read for poolside this summer…Fragment closely follows the patented Michael Crichton style.”—Booklist
“Showcases the talents of a new novelist with a flair for forward-charging narrative. The details seem brilliantly researched, and the observations could be those of a sharp-minded student of biology.”—Dallas Morning News
From the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
What with smaller presses and ebooks and all, it’d been a while since I sat down with a good ol’ traditional size mass market paperback. And a while further since I sat down and read the whole 500-pager in a day.
I mean, people, c’mon, to make you understand how momentous this is, I walked away from the INTERNET. No multi-tasking, no television in the background. I just sat and read with my whole undivided attention. It captivated, it demanded, it would brook no less.
“Okay, Christine” maybe you’re saying. “We get it; get on with it, what’s it about, this amazing riveting read?”
Well, basically, it takes every lost world / undiscovered species / final earthly frontier / extinction / evolution all that stuff and blows them away. Just blows them the [bleep] away. Blurb comparisons to Jurassic Park are practically laughable; this is the book Michael Crichton cries himself to sleep wishing he’d written.
There’s this island, see? Henders Island, it’s called, after the captain of the only known vessel ever to set a man aground there (over 200 years ago, and by ‘a’ man I mean exactly that, one hapless sailor who met a grim fate before the rest of the crew was full sail the hell outta there and never mind searching for fresh water).
It’s about as in the middle of nowhere as is possible on the planet, surrounded by over a thousand miles of open ocean on every side. Add in that it’s tiny, and that it consists of a ring of sheer cliffs around what appears to be a spent volcanic crater, and it’s no wonder hardly anyone’s heard of it.
To the producers of the reality show SeaLife, however, picking up an old distress call from the vicinity might be the perfect opportunity to boost their flagging ratings. The hoped-for drama among their team of scientists could use a little spice, and a change of scenery would do them all good.
Well, they’re right about the ratings and the drama, but the change in scenery does them anything but good. People thought the divergent evolution of Australia and the Galapagos was weird? Kiddie stuff compared to Henders Island. EVERYTHING we know about the natural world – invasive species, predator/prey relationships, plant and animal life, everything – is kiddie stuff compared to Henders Island.
It might as well be a whole alien world. Which would be fine, and fascinating in and of itself, but humanity has a pretty terrible track record when it comes to keeping anything isolated.
Warning: if you have a thing about bugs (as I do) or freaky crustacean bug-like critters (as I also do), or biohazard infestation contamination (guess what) … you could be made a smidge uncomfy. Where “smidge” = metric boatloads, and “uncomfy” = nightmares for a week at least.
Right when you think you know where the story’s headed, every time you think so, along come new twists, curveballs, surprises, and gobsmack moments of sheer WHOA. Best, or perhaps worst and certainly creepiest of all, is the all-around believability. Of the science, the characters, the works.
This may well be the best book I’ll read this year … except that I’ve also got the sequel standing by, and am just trying to make myself be disciplined enough to wait until I’ve made some progress on various deadlines.
The Creatures that you'll encounter on the island, as you go on this adventure of a lifetime, are amazingly fleshed out and horrifying in appearance. Once you set foot on the island, you might never leave. Henders Island is waiting for you. And, it's inhabitants are insatiably Hungry for Flesh and Blood.
This book is Jurassic Park on steroids. The CREATURES in this novel would eat the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park and be ready for more. Warren Fahy manages to bring forth a masterpiece of fast paced storytelling which will suck you in and won't let up until the last page. I couldn't put this book down and I believe that you won't be able to either. So, pick up FRAGMENT and read it...If You Dare.
Then Check out Warren Fahy's next horrifying adventure; PANDEMONIUM, which picks up after the events that took place in FRAGMENT.
Fragment: A Novel
The story basically features a boat from a reality TV show running across a small island in the South Pacific called Henders Island (named after a British captain who ran across it all the way back in 1791). As it turns out , Henders Island is the most unique place in the entire world. Isolated from the rest of the world for about 600 million years, life on the island has evolved to be so completely different from the rest of world that any who saw it could be forgiven for thinking it was not even from Earth. Incidentally, it is the most dangerous life in the whole world, and most of the film crew who land on the shore are killed and eaten, but not before some creature footage is broadcast throughout the world.
The US Navy places a blockade around the island and allows teams of American and British scientists to study the local wildlife from within the "safety" of a reinforced research base. The studies will not only learn about the Hendersian wildlife but also find out how much of a threat it would pose to the world if any of it was taken to the mainland.
Henders Island creatures have blue blood, are hermaphroditic, and many are born pregnant. Also, at least some of the creatures have two brains. And instead of the predator vs prey relationships found in all other ecosystems in the world, the Henders Island ecosystem is more a case of everything vs everything. Hordes of creatures are constantly killing and eating each other, and rapidly give birth at a massive rate to keep their entire populations from dying out.
A major group of lifeform on the island are terrestrial and freshwater relatives of mantis shrimps (a type of crustacean whose claws can strike with the force of a .22 calibre bullet. And considering "normal" mantis shrimps are quite small, imagine how hard the claw strikes of their far larger Hendersian relatives are). Some of these mantis shrimp relatives include the mongoose-sized Henders rats, the tiger-sized to tractor-sized Spigers (so named because they look a bit like a six legged tiger crossed with a jumping spider) and the crocodile-sized to T-rex-sized aquatic Mega-mantises. NOTE: It is implied in the story that "normal" mantis shrimps are the only creatures from Henders Island to ever make it off the island and into other parts of the world.
Other creatures include the radially symmetrical Disk-ants (who live in swarms and carry thousands of microscopic offspring on their bodies. The flesh seems to dissolve as the microscopic babies devour it) and Henders wasps (who have bladed arms and will lay their eggs inside other creatures. The eggs then instantly hatch and the babies instantly start devouring their victim's flesh), the flying Drill worms (who can drill through flesh and will attack the eyes first), and many, many other terrors.
The main vegetation of Henders Island are not plants but rather animals who resemble plants and can both photosynthesise and kill and eat other creatures.
Seeing as all known Hendersian lifeforms pose a definite threat to the world, the military makes a decision to nuke the island. But then another discovery is made. One so incredible and significant that it will change the world forever...
A number of themes are dealt with in the novel, including the question of whether or not sentient life is guaranteed to destroy its environment (one of the major characters is actually a zoologist who believes humaity is like a virus to the Earth).
Henders Island itself seems to be somewhat of a thought experiment of whether an island ecosystem could evolve contrary to expectations (standard island ecosystems are quite tame, but Henders Island is the exact opposite). Just how likely it is to have any ecosystem like that of Henders Island is questionable, but it makes for an interesting story.
Fragment was a truly fascinating novel. I found it hard to put down and was always eager to see what would happen next. The story was very intriguing and the lost island scenario was the most imaginative I had ever seen. I truly enjoyed reading Fragment and hope the sequel (which the author is calling Pandemonium) comes out in the not to distant future.