Read Exogene by T.C. McCarthy Online


Exogene (n.): factor or agent (as a disease-producing organism) from outside the organism or system. Also: classified Russian program to merge proto-humanoids with powered armor systems (slang).Catherine is a soldier. Fast, strong, lethal, she is the ultimate in military technology. She's a monster in the body of an eighteen year old girl. Bred by scientists, grown in vatsExogene (n.): factor or agent (as a disease-producing organism) from outside the organism or system. Also: classified Russian program to merge proto-humanoids with powered armor systems (slang).Catherine is a soldier. Fast, strong, lethal, she is the ultimate in military technology. She's a monster in the body of an eighteen year old girl. Bred by scientists, grown in vats, indoctrinated by the government, she and her sisters will win this war, no matter the cost.And the costs are high. Their life span is short; as they age they become unstable and they undergo a process called the spoiling. On their eighteenth birthday they are discharged. Lined up and shot like cattle.But the truth is, Catherine and her sisters may not be strictly human, but they're not animals. They can twist their genomes and indoctrinate them to follow the principles of Faith and Death, but they can't shut off the part of them that wants more than war. Catherine may have only known death, but she dreams of life and she will get it at any cost....

Title : Exogene
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 11418025
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 385 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Exogene Reviews

  • Jason Pettus
    2019-04-04 08:50

    (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)This is volume two of a new trilogy by T.C. McCarthy, detailing a day-after-tomorrow war in central Asia from the viewpoint of three very different types of combatants; but unfortunately, while the first book Germline made CCLaP's best-of lists last year and in general just really blew me away, I found myself much less captivated by this newest chapter. And that's because, I've come to realize, what I really loved the most about part one was the unique kind of narrative that came with dropping a drug-addicted gonzo journalist into the middle of a Vietnam-like bloody quagmire within the former Soviet states over the world's diminishing supplies of "trace metals" (almost useless except in the manufacture of cellphones and other mobile tech, and thus suddenly one of the most important resources on the planet in a world just around the corner from us); but with part two narrated by one of the genetically engineered teenage-girl super-soldiers bred specifically for wars like these, I found the missing element of flawed, decaying humanity to result in simply a less compelling manuscript, and now no longer offset by McCarthy's pleasingly shocking vision of near-future warfare (including micro-bullets that need no gunpowder, spacesuit armor with its own atmosphere, all troop movement conducted via thousands of miles of underground tunnels, and more), thought-provoking surprises in part one but old-hat by now. Granted, this is perhaps an unfair assessment, because Germline was just so freaking badass that its sequel was maybe fated to be disappointing no matter what -- and I'll absolutely be reading volume three of the trilogy as well when it comes out, Chimera in 2013 -- but unfortunately Exogene is a step down into mere "good" level from a debut that was almost perfect, and so will simply suffer in direct comparison. It should be kept in mind when reading it yourself.Out of 10: 8.2

  • Grete
    2019-04-19 11:37

    Review originally published at BookThing!Once I finished Exogene, and then had time to think about it, I spent an hour ranting at my husband about the unjust and detestable treatment of the Germline warriors. I wanted to know how the military or government could treat human beings like machines, even ones that have been genetically engineered. I wanted him to tell me what possible justification there could be for the abuse, the deplorable behaviour, and how they couldn’t see what I could see; that the Germline warriors were real human beings, with real emotions. But this wasn’t on the news. This wasn’t in the tabloids or broadsheets. It’s fiction presented with such brilliant character insight, such incredible realism that I felt truly angry at the injustice it represented.It’s rare a book that causes such a visceral response in me, but with Exogene, T.C. McCarthy gets it just right. The story is stark, harrowing and grim but brilliant in its execution. He doesn’t waste words or go into lengthy descriptions, but still says everything he needs to with compact, emotional sentences. He gets the pace spot on, both time and huge distances being covered in a few pages, and yet you feel as if you have lived every one of those steps yourself.The story is told through the eyes of Catherine, a first generation Germline soldier and being in her head was both tragic and fascinating. There are so many elements to her character, experiencing her indoctrination, watching her sisters embrace their faith or go insane, the decisions she makes rather than just following orders, her only understanding of the world is the one that her creator’s have given to her. As she travels and discovers her own truths, my heart ached for her more and more. Every loss, her constant weariness and even her madness resonated with me. McCarthy has written an utterly believable and realistic female character. Her determination to keep going, to overcome each obstacle and to choose her own path make her a character to be remembered.Like Germline, I read Exogene in a single day, unable to stop until I had turned the very last page. Then I had to think about it for a while, let the experience wash over me and sort out how I actually felt and how much I had been affected. The story is told in a mixture of present tense, flashbacks and hallucinations and while that might sound confusing, it does work well.There weren’t as many background characters in this book but we get numerous glimpses of Catherine’s ‘sisters’, both first and second generation. Megan was especially interesting and it was a shock how, almost casually, things changed for her. Margaret was a more tragic figure, different, but just as engaging, I hope we will see her again. As with the first book, the ending of Exogene did surprise me, but for different reasons. The letter at the end caused a huge emotional response in me and I was left a bit speechless.Exogene is a heartbreaking, brutal look at near-future warfare that is so far outside my comfort zone it may as well be another dimension. Thankfully, McCarthy manages to ground the story with realistic characters, and delivers a book which challenges and entertains in equal measure.I truly cannot wait for the third book in this series, to see where T.C. McCarthy will be taking us next.

  • Dale
    2019-04-14 06:36

    I approach this review with some trepidation. This is a hell of a science fiction novel but to call it a sci-fi novel is to undersell it. It is a hell of a war novel, but to call it a war novel is also underselling it. It really is the story of a woman finding out what it is to love, to be loved and to know where one stands with God - in short, to be human, but that seriously undersells this book and makes a violent tale of war, genetic mutation and out-of-controls science sound like some piece of warm and fuzzy chick lit. Exogene is certainly not that.So, what is Exogene?First things first - Exogene is the second book in a series by T.C. McCarthy. Read the first book, Germline, for the background necessary for this book. Germline explores a future war for trace metals in Kazakhstan between the Russians and the Americans. In Germline a group of cloned teenaged female warriors are introduced to the front line (males are not used because they lost control and became too violent). Exogene is the story of one of those warriors.The clones are supposed to fight for two years and then they begin to break down mentally and physically and are rounded up to be killed. While they are maturing, they are indoctrinated into a culture of violence and death. Their universe is ruled by a god that rewards killing, rewards dying in battle and despises fear and mercy. In short, these teenaged girls are bred and trained to be pitiless fighting machines.Except, they are not machines...Read more at:

  • Mia
    2019-04-20 09:39

    Perhaps not the OMFG 5-star rating of Germline, but 5 stars nonetheless.Exogene is primarily the story of Catherine, a soldier created by American scientists to tip the scales of the subterrene war in its favor. Catherine was bred a killing machine in an eighteen year old girl's body. An integral part of the design of these soldiers is their indoctrination with religion. They were activated with faith consisting of the belief that killing the enemy is the essence and purpose of their existence, at the end of which they shall be with god. Religion, when used as a means to an end, can be a dangerous, double-edged sword.Catherine was a technological success, killing with impunity and efficiency. But she is a dynamic and constantly evolving thing. When artificial sentient beings are fashioned after humans, is it not bound to mimic its model and even develop its faults, commit the same mistakes? As a machine, logic dictates much of Catherine's actions. Logic often has naught to do with right or wrong, only efficacy, efficiency and rationality. Man can be an optimal machine when need be albeit not indefinitely. But man also notoriously needs to know the how and the why and the what for. Both man and machine however, when pushed far enough, eventually hit a threshold -- the point where it becomes incapable or unwilling to proceed. Catherine will face the threshold and struggle with her views on her existence, humans, the enemy and an honorable end.Exogene is slower paced than Germline, more introspective, clinical even. While many skirmishes are described, much of it is a stream of consciousness or window-into-the-mind-of-Catherine approach. I wouldn't be surprised if this was by design though. It certainly fits the nature of the protagonist in this tale -- an artificial being imbued with human attributes. It explains Catherine's halting vacillation. I can imagine the difficulty of being brought into consciousness in an almost-adult body without the concomittant life experiences that come with age. The dispassionate calculation required by her programming stands is stark conflict with the human thoughts and feelings that increasingly crept in with every incursion. Throw in religion with all the doubt and uncertainty inherent in it and it's certainly a powder keg in a single being largely unprepared and ill-equipped for it.I found Exogene well-entrenched in the story of The Subterrene War. I understand the criticisms about it being slower or Catherine being less sympathetic. I thought it was an appropriate fork to take in the telling of the tale. I don't require breathtaking action all the time nor do I need to relate to a character to appreciate her depth. But what Exogene does best is plant an even more indellible imprint of that world in your head, your heart and all your senses. You can almost smell and feel and hear the war zone. T.C. McCarthy gives China Mieville a run for his money in this department (Perdido Street Station has the most palpable setting I've read). It also gives a better map of the geopolitical terrain. It paints an even bleaker picture and has a more fatalistic feel.Germline was a gut-wrenching opener to the trilogy. It wreaks havoc with a reader's emotions. Exogene is a more thoughtful treatise, presented in the voice of a germline unit and providing an extensive look into the war landscape. I am definitely eager to read the conclusion. I need to read something in between though for a bit of a break in the melancholy. I suspect I will need to brace myself for what lies in the pages of Chimera.

  • Jeffrey
    2019-04-06 08:42

    This combination of the ideas in Bladerunner, military fiction and genetic engineering science fiction book is a fast paced look at a future war in which many of the combatants are genetically created humans. McCarthy's main characters are Catherine, Megan and Margaret.Catherine and Megan are genetics decanted from the Atelier at 15 as soldiers in a global war. As part of the training, the genetics receive a constant indoctrination about God, Faith and killing. They are trained to not be squeamish at all and its part of this indoctrination that they believe that if they die they just meet God. So the young girls all believe that killing is good because they just meet God that much faster, and they have an amoral attitude about killing and life in general. They are armed with a perfect killing gun, a carbine that shoots small flechettes, hundreds in a clip.Mostly they fight in Russia against Russian soldiers and genetics to find energy in Russia. Megan is a Lily, the leader of a group of genetics. There is a small computer embedded in her brain that helps her with her mission. Catherine is her right hand killer. A lethal killer. Like Bladerunner, the genetics have a kind of programmed shelf life. If they are not killed in combat, their bodies and minds go through a spoiling process -- their minds go through hallucinations while their bodies start to rot and get affected by gangrene, and they are hunted by humans who seek to kill them.The novel is told in a series of flashbacks to the early days in combat and then jump aheads to the present. Catherine and Megan are primo genetics. They have survived everything the horrendous war has thrown at them. Catherine especially is a ferocious killer, who has earned the sobriquet -- the Little Murderer.Also Catherine has had some genetic modified chemicals used on her to see if the scientists can learn why she is so lethal at her job.Catherine has started to lose her mind to hallucinations and takes massive amounts of trank pills just to hold it together.Neither Megan nor Catherine want to die from the spoiling or the Americans so they choose to run and try to escape to Thailand where supposedly other escapees are living.At some point Cahterine gets help from Russian scientists who help her stop the gangrene, attach prosthetics to her limbs and make her work in a factory with second generation female genetics. But it appears that Catherine is still wanted by others or that the Russians may want to turn her into a machine man mold, so she and a fellow prisoner, Margaret, try to escape from Russia and begin a run across Russia, through China and Korea. Betrayed constantly, Catherine must battle through her deteriorating mind and all of the humans who want to sell her or Margaret or both, until she can figure out how to live on her own. Still a lethal warrior, but more and more reluctant to kill unless she has too or because the hallucinations inhibit her.The book is fast paced and furious. The treatment of the genetics and the warfare in the future is brutally imagined and perfectly told.Not for the faint, Catherine's story is interesting and fresh take on war in the future.

  • Timothy Ward
    2019-04-24 13:00

    Reading T.C.’s Subterrene War Trilogy has been an interesting and memorable experience. The first book, Germline, blew me out of the water (my five star review). I’ve never read a book like that, and loved the personal connection I had to the main character’s journey. I loved that story and T.C.’s in-your-face-war style so much that I couldn’t enjoy any other books because they weren’t the next book in his series.(By the way, I talked with T.C. over at the SF Signal podcast #140, about his journey to publication and development of this series, so please go have a listen.)All that said, rating a book after feeling so strongly about the first book makes it almost unfair. After all, this is a different main character, and really the only difference as far as quality between the two books is that I connected more personally with the main character in Germline. Regardless, T.C. picks up right where left off in terms of complicated characters thrown into high-stakes warfare to give me the fix I needed after the emotional thrill ride of Germline. It was a tough act to follow, but he did a tremendous job without making it feel like a repetition of old tricks.Exogene‘s hero, Catherine, is a complex character, and I believe T.C. did a masterful job of weaving multiple issues into a fast-paced story. You get the futuristic technology involved in her being a genetically created assassin (awesome), but you also get insight into her philosophical questions. Catherine, a.k.a. Little Murderer, has been bred and brainwashed to hate the enemy she is ordered to kill, but when her and her lover escape, she encounters so many new perspectives, that the real enemy becomes muddled–including whether she is the real enemy. This girl is constantly questioning why she hates, her purpose in being alive if her natural drive is to kill, whether God exists and if he does whether he cares or is sovereign over her path, and ultimately how she can find peace within herself.T.C. paints a beautiful story that can be read over and over. His weaving of hallucination memories in with the present day action not only makes you fear for her losing it, but also provides a way at discovering the depth of her character in pictures of her struggles that link past to present, dropping clues as to what she is learning as T.C. repeats the theme of warriors desperately trying to escape war. The climax is very well done and surprising, once again making it hard to go on to read anything else but Book Three, Chimera. I expect this series to go down as one of my favorites.

  • Justin
    2019-04-13 08:46

  • Michelle
    2019-04-24 13:52

    Rating: 4.5 Review forthcoming

  • Milo (BOK)
    2019-03-25 07:38

    Original Post: “Excellent military sci-fi. Dark, page-turning, this is one of the best science fiction novels that you’ll see in 2012. Enjoyable, and not to be missed.” ~The Founding FieldsLast year, I read and enjoyed Tc McCarthy’s début – the first in this trilogy, named Germline, so much that I knew I had to get my hands on Exogene as soon as I could. Germline was so good in fact, that I named it the best début novel of 2011, which included novels from both fantasy and sci-fi. So, naturally – I would have had high expectations for Exogene. And, were they met? Yes. Oh, hell yes. Exogene was amazing. No, I mean it. Really, really amazing.Exogene (n.): factor or agent (as a disease-producing organism) from outside the organism or system. Also: classified Russian program to merge proto-humanoids with powered armor systems (slang).Catherine is a soldier. Fast, strong, lethal, she is the ultimate in military technology. She’s a monster in the body of an eighteen year old girl. Bred by scientists, grown in vats, indoctrinated by the government, she and her sisters will win this war, no matter the cost.And the costs are high. Their life span is short; as they age they become unstable and they undergo a process called the spoiling. On their eighteenth birthday they are discharged. Lined up and shot like cattle.But the truth is, Catherine and her sisters may not be strictly human, but they’re not animals. They can twist their genomes and indoctrinate them to follow the principles of Faith and Death, but they can’t shut off the part of them that wants more than war. Catherine may have only known death, but she dreams of life and she will get it at any cost.Catherine is the main character in this story, and like in the previous novel, Germline, which focused entirely from the 1st Person POV of Oscar, who was the lead star in that novel, the set up is very much the same here, apart from the occasional bit third person. Catherine is a strong, memorable protagonist, and she has to be in order to survive. She’s a very different character to normal humans, in such a way that normal humans (that will, of course, be the readers) will find a difficult way to connect to. However, she’s likeable enough to root for rather than the Russians or other enemies that she faces, and she’s memorable enough to stay around in your head longer than Oscar did. However, just like Germline, the secondary characters aren’t anywhere near as memorable as Catherine, which is a bit of a let down, however – don’t be put off by that.Much like the Warhammer 40k novels published by Black Library, Exogene is a war story. The pace is fast, action-packed and relentless. There is no letting up as Catherine finds herself thrust from one adventure into the next, meaning that the pace is consistent, and there is no dull moment from page one right until the very end. McCarthy knows how to keep the reader hooked, and Exogene is another page turner.This is a bleak novel, with a grim-dark setting similar to the aforementioned Warhammer 40k novels. However, both Warhammer 40k and Exogene are very different beasts, but one of the things that they share in common is that there are no happy endings. If you’re looking for a book with deus ex machina where a hero comes to rescue the heroine, or vice versa, then Exogene is clearly not the book for you. However, if you’re looking for a book about war where all the bets on character safety is off (as they should be in novels with all out warfare), then Exogene is certainly the book for you.And that is why I really enjoyed it. Another added bonus is the fact that Science Fiction is a genre notorious for the fact that it rarely produces strong, female lead characters (I can only name one off the top of my head, and that is Nathan Long’s Jane Carver of Waar), so Tc McCarthy has created something somewhat unique here. Catherine is a strong, awesome protagonist and is not one that you will take a dislike to. The novel isn’t bogged down with introductions to the characters, nor with world building, and that’s where McCarthy has managed to do something awesome here. Catherine’s story is told through a variety of flashbacks, but these don’t slow down the novel’s pace at all, you won’t want to be skipping any of these.I’m finding it hard to pick a favourite between Exogene and Germline. Both have different aspects of the war, and both have different pros and cons. Both novels, can – as mentioned before, be read as a standalone, so if you don’t like the blurb of one of them you can read the other. Then, go back and read the one that you didn’t like the blurb of next. Both are awesome, and Exogene is easily on my Best novels of 2012 list. I really enjoyed it, and you should too.All that said and done, I’m wondering how McCarthy can tie everything together in the final novel in the Trilogy, Chimera, which is published in the summer, and one that I am highly anticipating a release for. I can’t wait to see what he does with the conclusion, and if the first two novels are anything to go by, then the third will hopefully be just as awesome.Verdict: 4.75/5

  • William Bentrim
    2019-04-20 11:31

    Exogene by T.C. McCarthyThis book is the life story of a military clone in a future war for natural resources. Cloning is here regardless of the ethics or morality surrounding its existence. A logical step forward is to assume that the military industrial complex is exploring how cloning can impact future wars and if cloned warriors are financially viable they will probably be produced. I realize that is somewhat cynical but cynicism is a root theme in the book. The use of religion to keep warrior clones focused is a re-visitation of the Manchurian Candidate. (The original version, I never saw the remake.) The genetics or clone warriors are supposed to be identity free, satisfied with numeric nomenclature and focused only on killing. Sadly the killing focus supported by religion seems congruent with the jihad motivation of the Islamic extremists or the 1950’s rallying cry of “kill a Commie for Christ”. The author clearly demonstrates the power of combining religion and warring into religious killing for the right to enter Nirvana. This is a war story based on the need for resources which is obviously motivated by the current debacles to maintain the flow of oil. As much as we would like to think that war is motivated by the desire to do the “right” thing, most often it is done to line the pockets of the perpetrators. The insights developed as the girls “spoiled” provides a somewhat depressing mental state as escape is pursued to ruined, radioactive terrain. This is a war story, fought with logical extensions of current technology and hopefully an illogical use of clone warriors (slaves). It was a thought provoking look at a possible future of war.

  • Amodini
    2019-03-30 05:39

    Originally posted at my blog here.I probably wouldn’t have picked this up had I realized that this was a war novel. But am I glad I did. Yes, it is brutal, and sometimes pedantic in its descriptions, but the descriptions are detailed. The futuristic landscape, much of it irradiated seems to come to life in T. C. McCarthy’s words. There are a lot of details on war maneuvers, “plasma” weapons, “tracer flechettes”, APCs and grenade launchers.We hear of the story in the first person; Catherine is the narrator. And through her voice, and it is a voice filled with doubt, we glimpse humanity. For all her killer instinct and cold reasoning, Catherine is a heroine we can empathize with. Not having any sense of normalcy besides the normalcy of war, she still begins to doubt the “rightness” of unceasing war, weighing the “good” and the “evil” in her heavily indoctrinated and medicinally dosed mind.I thought McCarthy’s idea novel, and the book itself (which is the second of “The Subterrene War” series, I find out now) an ode to humanity’s incessant greed and corruption. While on the face of it, this is a war novel, this also probes beneath the surface to raise questions about the relative nature of right and wrong. Well-written, this is an engrossing, thought-provoking read. Recommended.

  • Paul Nelson
    2019-04-24 09:44

    Having really enjoyed the first novel of the trilogy - Germline, I have to say I was similarly impressed with Exogene. Germline for me was an excellent read and got 5 stars, Exogene told from the perspective of a germline soldier Catherine was again a book I rate very highly.Catherine's story goes from initial training, to war against the Russians, escape into the hands of the Russians and a momentous journey to Thailand.The surroundings are bleak & grim, the tech descriptions and violent battle scenes are excellent.Its not difficult to empathize with Catherine even though she is a genetic with a short live span and her story is disturbing, interesting and impossible to put down.She decides she does not want to die when her two year life span has expired and questions everything - her religion, the orders she receives and the expectations that she is to give up and die because her two years are up. She wants to escape the war and kills a lot of people in the process with little or no remorse.Looking forward to the third book in the series, Chimera, which is due out later this summer.

  • Marie
    2019-03-29 12:45

    I thought it was interesting, I thought it was interesting how it illuded to future wars, current conflicts, and the damage caused by mass nuclear strikes across Asia. Also referred to the beauty of nature if left to its own devices. I felt a little wanting at the end. That the main character allowed herself to be destroyed after 4 years, seemed quite pointless, and not as pious as the author tried to make out. Like that in accepting ones destiny we welcome our death. Really? Maybe its because she was a clone...I dont know. What the hell is a flechette anyway.Definitely had exciting action scenes in it. A different fiction altogether.

  • Sharon
    2019-04-13 11:53

    I received a copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads program.This was a really intense book. I loved the main character, Catherine. She was both very sympathetic and rather alien. The action is well paced, and exciting. I am looking forward to reading the final book in the series.(view spoiler)[I liked the last leg of her journey best, when it was just her and the other girl in the woods. Their excitement over seeing a bear was great. I'm not wild about how she met her end, at the hands of the Americans, but I do feel like she needed to die at the end of the book. It didn't feel totally out of place, just slightly underwhelming for her to go quietly. (hide spoiler)]

  • Jenny
    2019-04-18 13:47

    I don't know why I enjoyed this book so much. I read to get a happy ending and this book did not have that.I got to the end and it felt kind of pointless and left me feeling slightly depressed - yet I'm glad I read it

  • James Cox
    2019-04-24 08:31

    Really fantastic world building and characters. The lack of the final star has to do with the ending and a certain death I don't think should have played out. Just my thoughts. I look forward to the next book!

  • Natasha
    2019-04-14 12:53

    Exogene is a thoughtful and provoking story from the POV of a short lived cloned female soldier.

  • Bill Brinkley
    2019-03-25 12:53

    It was a great read. I could hardly put it down. It was the captivating study of the morality of creating clones to fight a war and using religion to motivate them. I highly recommend this book.

  • Ryan
    2019-03-28 08:44

    An interesting addition to the series. I enjoyed it :)

  • Matthew Murrah
    2019-04-18 08:54

    Awesome book, awesome author

  • Billie
    2019-03-28 06:37

    Full preview to follow. This book was received feee of charge from the publisher through the Goodreads First Reader program

  • Nathan
    2019-04-18 07:44

    This was a great read. If future war is your thing, then you will love this series. T.C. McCarthy is quickly becoming one of my favorite sci-fi authors.

  • David Ramage
    2019-04-24 05:45

    I wanted to like this book more but Germline the first in the series really is the better book. The sequel focuses more on the genetically engineered super soldiers and their forays in the subterranean wars. The genetic soldiers are psychotic and have a shelf life which causes them to spoil. This novel focuses more on them, their upbringing training etc. I could care less about the main character, the novel meanders from one locale to the next and honestly didn't bring anything together. The religion used to indoctrinate the genetics is expounded on more but the whole moral/religious dilemma of the main character doesn't really pan out. My favorite parts of the book were learning about the new armor units and theChinese developing their own genetic technology but this is only touched upon. I'm starting on the last book of the trilogy and I hope the series can be redeemed.

  • Max
    2019-03-25 13:00

    Religion, war and genetically engineered super-soldiers who are taught that killing is a divine wish make for a chilling, grim tale about war in a possible near future. The main character, Catherine, one of these super-soldiers, outlives her sell-by date, which is called "the spoiling". However, instead of rotting away, she lives through this period, which also involves a process of "mental cleansing", taking her through nightmares and hallucinations. She reflects regularly on her existence and its purpose and in the end she writes her own story, which is this novel. Worth a try.

  • Samuel
    2019-04-24 11:42

    Read by Bahni Turpin for Blackstone Audio and released concurrently with the mass market and e-book from Orbit, Exogene sets up as a much more traditional military sf novel than did the author’s debut, 2011’s Germline. Germline was read by Donald Corren, and was a drug-addled war journalism narrative, glossing a bit over technical details whether of weaponry, mech suits (other than detailing a bit of the waste system), or of the eponymous genetic engineering.Here, Exogene shares only the setting — a near future war over mineral resources in Kazakhstan and its surrounds — and a first person perspective. The voice has changed, as has the narrator’s attention to technical detail. Turpin shows us the Subterene War from the point of view of Catherine, one of the genetically-engineered soldiers used by the United States and its allies. We find out some technical details of her flechette rifle such as its capacity, speed, and firepower. We find out more about the science and psychology and training behind the Germline project, and the lives, loves, and losses of women who were more shallowly perceived by the aforementioned drug-addled male journalist in the first book. This is not to say that there aren’t a few missteps: in the first quarter of the audiobook, some post-production artifacts remain from re-recordings for corrected pronunciations, though they aren’t too distracting. And for my money, though this was admittedly a review copy, some of the emotional impact of these losses don’t appear fully realized or felt. (Though, again, there are drugs and psychological conditioning at work.) But overall Turpin does a quite capable job here of bringing the “girls” (16-18 year olds) to a richer life, amidst a wider and richer cast of characters than inhabited the close quarters of Germline. Turpin’s turn at Russian (and other accents) are mostly well done, easily besting recent attempts from other non-native narrators (Malcolm Hillgartner’s forgettable tries at Russian, Hungarian, and Chinese accents in Neal Stephenson’s Reamde for example) though at times the closing words of sentences lose their flavor. It’s a good thing Turpin can handle her Russians, because we see quite a few of them, and hear a fair bit of Russian along the way towards discovering what it is the Russians are up to, exogentically. (If you’re guessing “exoskeleton”, you’re on the right track.) While Germline spent quite a bit of the capital of sf ideas for the world of the Subterrene War and had a more unique voice, Exogene sees McCarthy come a bit more into his powers of plot, and already leaves me wondering on where he’ll go with the trilogy’s conclusion, Chimera, due out in August.

  • Daniel
    2019-04-05 06:51

    The Subterrene War continues in this novel. The first book, Germline focused on a civilian caught up in the war, a Stars and Stripes writer. I have a separate review for that book. The horrors of war are evident and the advent of the use of Germlines, female clones basically built to live, fight and die by age 18.Catherine is a Germline fighter, and she is spoiling. The term spoiling is the Germline death sentence, wherein the fighter has reached or is reaching age 18. Organs begin to shut down, circulation gets sporadic, mental and processing abilities start to fade. At this time the military lines the Spoiled up and shoot them. They are replaced by more Germlines, looking just like the others. An expendable and efficient workforce.The Germline females are taught as they grow to believe in God, and that he, or she is with them always, watching what they do, deciding their fate and using them as the tool of vengeance for the righteous arm of the military. They go first, go hard and protect and far outfight their fellow combatants. Supremely efficient, deadly and willing to die without emotion or argument to do their preordained job, the Germlines are the ultimate warrior.Catherine leaves the military, trying to avoid spoiling, leaving with the desired One that she desires to avoid death with. They have a long journey, into and through Russia and Siberia. They hunt, forage for food and shelter, fall into the hands of evil men and women. They become woodcutters and gatherers and make their way to the "safety" of the Korean people. The goal is to get to Bangkok, Thailand and use the options given there to avoid the spoiling. The only problem is that Catherine is not spoiling as engineered and the Americans must capture and study her. They must know why she is different than her peers. This book was an absolute joy to read. You cannot avoid rooting for Catherine. She is a strong and amazing female main character. She is broken and flawed and yet is as hard as nails and unbending as titanium. I liked this even better than Germline, and again Mr. McCarthy knocked this out of the park. Well done Sir, and I cannot wait to start the third book in the trilogy, Chimera.Danny

  • Steven Brandt (Audiobook-Heaven)
    2019-04-09 13:56

    Have you ever wondered what it might be like to go to war? I mean as an actual soldier on the front lines. Here’s a perfectly ordinary human being, perhaps more courageous than most, who as a child was taught that it is wrong to hurt people and break things. Then they joined the army and were taught that it’s okay to hurt people and break things. Then they went to a war, where not only is it okay, it is expected. If that soldier survives the war they go home and suddenly killing and destroying are wrong again. What kind of mental stress must that put on a person. What kind of emotional damage?I’m not great at figuring out what authors are really trying to say in their books, if they’re trying to say anything at all. But sometimes a book speaks to me and I can take something away from it. In T C McCarthy’s Exogene this is what I got from it. You have a soldier who was literally created for no other purpose than to go to war and be the most efficient killing machine ever known. The Exogene are test tube babies; genetically enhanced and specially trained for warfare. They are designed to last for a couple of years and then “spoil”, or break down. At this point they are programmed to turn themselves in to be “decommissioned”, which is a nice way of saying they will be killed and recycled. The Exogene don’t mind this though, it’s in their programming and they accept it. But what if one of them, over a period of time, decides she doesn’t want to die?Read the full review at Audiobook-Heaven

  • Nicole Bates
    2019-03-28 11:48

    T.C. McCarthy’s gripping sequel to Germline tells the story of the futuristic subterrene war from the point of view of Catherine. Catherine is one of the genetically engineered American soldiers, a killing machine housed in the body of a teenage girl.The story is slightly less intense than the first (though there’s no shortage of action) but is, in my opinion, more thought-provoking.In the midst of the war, Catherine is forced to find her place in a world where she is no longer allowed to act in the capacity for which she was created. I found her perspective fascinating. Her reactions, as well as the evolution of her psychological development, remained true to both her original nature as well as the understanding she’d come to in that moment of the story, which is an impressive feat. Catherine’s struggle is applicable to past and current soldiers who believe they are fighting for a holy cause. It helps me see the actions of others from a different perspective, which is always a good thing.I would recommend this to fans of gritty (meaning seriously dystopian) science fiction.

  • Lisa
    2019-04-22 10:37

    I thought this was the best book out of the three in the series. Basically, you're following one of the psychotic genetically bred super soldiers as she approaches her own death. I liked how you got in her mind and saw her perspective and priorities. Her thoughts about the children she cannot have. Her sisters in war. And those who are not really her allies even though they made her to fight for them. It was also infuriating to see how they were treated by the non-super soldiers. I think that's what made this one grittier to me. Like seeing how she lived and was treated rubbed my nose quite thoroughly into the dirt that was going on.Still a three as the other books are, but this was a high three and the others a low three.

  • Joseph
    2019-04-03 08:51

    2.5 starsYou wouldn't think that an allegorical critique of America's foreign and military policy featuring a bisexual genetically engineered cloned super-soldier nicknamed "Little murderer" could be boring. Think again.For a combination of reasons, this doesn't flow nearly as well as *Germline*. The experiences of the protagonist were not very interesting. Her emotional and mental arc is either deliberately opaque or poorly written, which made it almost impossible for me to connect with her. The action is not engaging. When I read *Germline*, I couldn't put it down. With *Exogene*, I couldn't pick it up.