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Warren Fahy
Delacorte Press, 353 pages

Warren Fahy
Warren Fahy has been a bookseller, a statistical analyst, and managing editor of a video database, where he wrote hundreds of movie reviews for a nationally syndicated column. He is currently the lead writer for Wowwee, generating creative content for their line of advanced robotic toys. He lives in San Diego, California.

Warren Fahy Website
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Past Feature Reviews
A review by Nathan Brazil

'Zero turned the camera away as Glyn yelled and the beast closed its hippo-sized vertical jaws over the biologist's head and chest. With a sharp crunch, the attacker sank translucent teeth into Glyn's ribs and bit off the top of the Englishman's body at the solar plexus.'
Fragment was the cause of a bidding war at last year's London Book Fair, and the novel has already been sold to more than a dozen countries. Parallels are being relentlessly drawn between Warren Fahy and the late Michael Crichton, reminding me of a time when every author within sniffing distance of an elf was routinely talked up as the "best since Tolkien." If the froth and bubble of publicity is to be believed, we are in the presence of greatness. Warren Fahy certainly looks pleased with himself on his website. But can the bloke actually write?

The premise is that an ocean-going reality TV expedition is drawn by an emergency beacon to an extremely remote location in the South Pacific. Henders Island was discovered by the British in the 1700s, while in search of mutineers from the Bounty. What they found led them to believe that Henders was the home of the Devil himself. Due to its position and small size, the island has remained unvisited ever since. In the present, what we find is not so much a lost world, as a nightmare version of evolution that our home could have become. Specifically, how life might have looked after evolving along an entirely different path for half a billion years. Without giving too much away, almost every life form on Henders Island is predatory, lethal from birth, and would literally eat its normal world counterpart alive. If only it could reach them. The story is ruthlessly tweaked for today's audience. No dinosaurs. No irritating kids. More creepy crawlie than touchy feelie. There is credible sounding science, and satisfying dollops of highly cinematic action. I would be astonished if Fragment is not optioned for a major movie in the not too distant future, as it's sure to be a winner on the big screen. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that Fragment will make a better movie than it does a book.

Leaving aside what the publisher's and author's hype machine says, there are several flaws which bring the novel back down to earth. Some are minor, such as the dreadful choice of character names; a leading scientist called Binswanger, a cameraman called Zero, and the ship's dog Copepod, among others. More serious is the plotting for dummies, telegraphing every move of the nearest thing this book has to a bad guy, and a by-the-pound approach to scientific exposition. The author topples into the trap of thinking that because he's had to research the subject well enough to know what he's writing about, the audience must also be forcibly educated. In the movie, we'll all just assume the boffins know their stuff. Fahy's characterization is also mostly lacklustre, with an off-the-peg cast always playing second fiddle to the extreme wildlife of Henders Island. As things race toward a frantic conclusion, the author saves himself, via an interesting twist. There, at last, we find the basis of a real character, and a hint of the depth that is absent in much of what has gone before.

These criticisms aside, Fragment is an entertaining read, filled with deliciously gruesome, fascinating critters, a few genuinely intriguing scientific questions, and more action than all of the Jurassic Park material put together. Warren Fahy is nowhere near as good a writer as Michael Crichton, or for that matter the other recent pretender to Crichton's literary crown, Daniel Suarez, author of Daemon. But he is more fun than either. Fragment contains echoes of so many other stories, sometimes cleverly intertwined, and on other occasions bodged together as if with a mallet. Somehow the same old tricks are given a fresh coat of paint, and come out gleaming. Fragment may be cliché ridden, trash fiction, but it's the kind of work that a lot of people will not be able to put down. Me included.

Copyright © 2009 Nathan Brazil

Nathan Brazil
If Nathan Brazil were dyslexic, he'd be the dog of the Well world. In reality, he's an English bloke who lives on an island, reading, writing and throwing chips to the seagulls. Drop by his web site at

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