T’has been a while since I last posted, a long 17 days, but things needed doing and now the work continues. Carcosa posting will continue of course, and the read-through of DCC continues also. Fear not friends. In the meantime I feel like blathering on about
dumb super-awesome sci-fi by the british Fred Durst of Science Fiction, Andy fucking Remic.
Biohell is the second installment in the Combat-K series, an sf/action hybrid seemingly created by surfing Tvtropes for hours on end and copy pasting paragraphs at random into a single coherent manuscript while drinking too much Red-bull and watching all of Jean-Claud van Damme, Stephen Segal and Chuck Norris’s movies simultaneously and at 360 frames per second at maximum volume. It is also slightly better then the first one, suffering from less plot holes or jarring thematic shifts (the switch from the Jungle planet of Ket to the dante’s inferno-esque descent into Teller’s World was kind of weird and off-putting).
The premise of Biohell is deceptively simple, the opening motor bike chase and uzi duel with alien assasins serving mainly to incentivize the main character (reinstated commando and ex-private eye Z. Keenan, with a murdered wife and kids) to travel to the ecumenopolis of the City, where the actual story takes place, though the evil agency behind the assassins turns out to be connected to the goings on. Naturally. Whereas the first novel took several pages if not the entirety of its script from
bad super-awesome 80s action movies the sequel splurges on zombie movies and anime instead (whilst leaving room for the occasional action movie cliché). Someone has hacked the nano-technological implantations of the inhabitants of the city, turning them into murderous zombies, and Keenan needs to travel down (the military has cordoned off the area but does not approach after the zombies take control of the city’s SAM-sites) to find a scientist to decode a cybernetic implant on the alien assasins, finding the reason behind their invasion of Keenan’s homeworld. He is implanted with a spinal bomb that forces him to co-operate with his erstwhile team-mates, skirting yet narrowly avoiding an Escape from New York plot device. In this quest he is accompanied by his old buddy Franco, who has finally found love and now seeks to unzombify his girlfriend Melanie, the C3PO-esque Cam, a loveable steet urchin named Knucles, a scientist with a crush on a 50 foot biological combat robot, a fat eastern-european woman (Olga) with a crush on Franco, and the shadowy presence of Keenan’s old flame Pippa, who turned out to be the killer of Keenan’s wife and kids at the end of book 1. In a staggering twist that should suprise absolutely no one, the corporation that made the nano-bots (biomods) is behind the zombies. And also a lot of people explode.
If we may get a little bit more pretentious and lit-faggy then last time, if Biohell can be said to have a theme it is undoubtedly love, albeit it of the perverted kind. War Machine was centred around revenge (Keenan wants revenge for the death of his kids and wife, Pippa ends up having killed them out of revenge for his betrayal of her heart, Franco wants revenge on Betezh for torturing him in an asylum, Betezh wants revenge on Franco for stapling his face and making him look like a mutilated frankenstein reject, some kid they find on the jungle planet of Ket wants revenge on the Ketti chieftain for killing his parents and so on and so forth). In this one there is none of that shit. The team actually teams up with Betezh who seems to think he and Franco are and have always been buddies. Franco has to fight off the lavascious affections of his now 9-foot tall monstrous girlfriend and the fat woman Olga. The ex-NanoTek corporate scientist whose name escapes me at the moment who is in love with the 50 foot combat-cyborg he built in his shed. A syndicate chief with a taste for banging zombie chicks (who turns out to be a Seed Hunter, like one of the many unstoppable badguys in the first book, though we are still not sure what that is). And of course the team is chased by three state of the art combat robots that look like sexy robot ladies. Aw yeah. The book ends entirely in style, with someone fucking a 9 foot combat zombie monster.
The book is a bit less serious then the last one (which was not altogether a serious one to start with), veering from irreverent story to downright farce at times, and the characters are still neurotic cardboard cut-outs whose dialogue consists solely of swearing, atrocious catch-phrases, sardonic passive-aggressive sneering or brooding, albeit this time we learn less about their dark and troubled histories and simply see them goofing off and acting irresponsibly. We get a bit more worldbuilding, which is always nice, and no book that ends with an ex-commando team turned goverment black ops once more dropping a space elevator onto a sentient biological computer can be said to be a waste. There are less katana fights and single combats but far more vehicle combat sections, which is very welcome. It ends with an epic showdown with Dr. Oz, the CEO of Nanotek, who may as well be Albert Wesker at this point and three murderous sexy killer robots in an epic showdown. Well done fuckers.
Overall, Biohell makes for a worthy sequel to the satisfyingly testosterone drenched but at times incoherent and vague War Machine, setting things up for part 3. What it lacks in scope it makes up for in narrative coherency and Apache helicopter battles. Overall, a satisfying entry in this most gentlemanly of series. Very recommended if you read and enjoyed the first one.
Final Verdict: Just what the doctor ordered. 3.5 out of 5 zombie sex scenes (hinted at but mercifully left undescribed).