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Robinson Crusoe 1,000,000 A.D.
Terry Sunbord
Clocktower Books, 243 pages

Robinson Crusoe 1,000,000 A.D.
Terry Sunbord
Terry Sunbord was a prisoner of corporate America until the recent downsizings, when he (and his wife and kids) had to make a fresh start. Now poorer but liberated, he works from a dockside home overlooking a lake. It rains a lot, making the brick buildings of an old industrial town look all the more sodden, mysterious, and conducive to writing speculative fiction.

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A review by David Maddox

A man with memories of the present day finds himself marooned one million years in the future with no hope of rescue. The human race has been extinct for eons. His trials are horrendous as the world in which he wakes up is filled with lethal creatures murderous traps and unending loneliness for the last surviving human.

Robinson Crusoe 1,000,000 A.D. is not a retelling of Daniel Defoe's classic tale in a futuristic setting. Instead new author Terry Sunbold use it as a springboard for a completely new adventure. Instead of a lone man trapped on a desert island, Alex Kirk, the hero of the novel, has the entire, empty earth to deal with. But he not a human transported into the future, but rather a clone created a million years from now, due to a bizarre genetic experiment. How he came into being is as much a mystery to him as the reader.

Through the course of his discovery of this new world he learns how humanity was wiped out by a plague, the revolutionary cloning techniques created to rebuild the human race and the terrible tragedies that resulted in the world being unmanned for countless decades. The reader gets to experience these discoveries with Kirk which gives the novel a fresh, exploratory feel.

The prose itself is rather choppy at points and the dialogue has a dated feel. The original Alex Kirk was supposed to be from the mid-2000s, but his future clone talks like the 80s. But the discovery section of the book, where Kirk is exploring the world, are engrossing enough to keep the pages turning.

Unfortunately the book suffers from an "everything-happens-at-once" ending. After slowly unraveling the mysteries of this strange world, how it operates, what happened to humanity, how familiar creatures have evolved and the finding last remnants of our society, everything gets wrapped up in the last 20 or so pages. There are explosions, a space ship, a holographic villain who admires Hitler and the old fashion "might makes right" attitude that saves the day.

Robinson Crusoe 1,000,000 A.D. is by no means a bad book. Again, the overall premise is more than enough to engage any reader of speculative fiction. But it's more of a good beginning, a promise that Terry Sunbold, should he keep writing, will be able to match his writing style to the obviously remarkable ideas he already has.

Copyright © 2004 David Maddox

David Maddox
Science fiction enthusiast David Maddox has been many things, including Star Trek characters and the Riddler in a Batman stunt show. He holds a degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University, and has written several articles for various SF sites as well as the Star Wars Insider and the Star Trek Communicator. He spends his time working on screenplays and stories, acting on stage and screen and giving tours at Universal Studios Hollywood.

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