cover image Assault on Sunrise

Assault on Sunrise

Michael Shea. Tor, $25.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2436-8

Shea follows 2010’s The Extra with another lowbrow thriller set in a world where video studios can get away with anything. People trapped in the vast slums are willing to risk death to escape, and video directors can shoot live carnage in which hundreds of extras are really killed by mechanical monsters. Panoply Studio’s megalomaniac CEO, Val Margolian, unleashes his twisted imagination on the mountain town of Sunrise, home of former extras who escaped his earlier vid bloodbaths. The townspeople just want to be left alone, but Margolian plans to create a nihilistic masterpiece out of their destruction. He has scripted a two-day apocalypse in which the town is overwhelmed by giant wasps and mantids, all lovingly recorded from antigravity rafts. The resourceful Sunrisers have other plans, however. Shea keeps the action moving briskly, but there’s something disingenuous about using outrageous ultraviolence to criticize our fascination with outrageous ultraviolence. Agent: Eleanor Wood, Spectrum Literary Agency. (Aug.)