Bengal Station: an exotic spaceport that dominates the ocean between India and Burma.
Jaded telepath, Jeff Vaughan, is employed by the spaceport authorities to monitor incoming craft for refugees from other worlds.
When he discovers a sinister cult that worships an mysterious alien god, he's drawn into an deadly investigation.
Not only must he attempt to solve the murders, but he has to save himself from the psychopath out to kill him.
Necropath is Eric Brown's triumphant return to hard SF.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 496 pages
- Publisher: Rebellion
- Publication Date: 06/10/2008
- Category: Science fiction
- ISBN: 9781844166497
Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.
Review by RoboSchro
"He had the strange feeling, now, that today was yet another beginning -- the beginning of the end, when the events of the past week would be resolved for good, one way or the other. He felt the weight of responsibility settle heavily upon him. If he acted with care and vigilance, he could eradicate the threat that hung over the Station. ... For the first time in years, Vaughan felt that his existence had purpose and meaning."This is the second of Eric Brown's novels I've read, and I had a similar response to both: he's got some fine, interesting science fiction ideas -- but his writing just isn't good enough to make a quality book out of them.The setting is a promising one -- in the near future, aboard a city-sized space station constructed in the Bay of Bengal. The station, populated mainly by Indians and Thais, makes for a pleasant change from the more common Western setting. It's crowded, noisy, socially stratified, and an unusual mix of the high-tech and third-world.The main protagonist is a less successful creation. Jeff Vaughan is a telepath, employed by the spaceport to screen new arrivals. He's a miserable sod with a traumatic past, who dislikes humanity and hates what he sees in peoples' minds. This misanthropy rather clunkily alternates with a compassionate side that drives him to help poor children. There's a revelation late in the book that attempts to explain his nature, but it doesn't make him a convincing character.Another major character is even worse -- Sukara, a teenage Bangkok prostitute. She's unattractive, dim-witted, and easily manipulated by those around her. There's little to like about her, and less to like about what a character like her is doing in the book in the first place. A middle-aged Englishman is always going to struggle to give an authentic voice to a poor Asian girl, and Brown doesn't do very well at it. Sukara, despite a string of awful experiences, seems to spend all her time either being naïve or whining, or (and this feels rather creepy) being desperately grateful to anyone who treats her decently.The plot has some more good ideas in it. Vaughan follows a hunch about an incoming ship, and turns up evidence of smuggling living things. This leads him to investigate a cult, and trace it to a colony world. The aliens that he discovers there are an imaginative and threatening creation. At times the book seems to be developing rather nicely. But there are too many let-downs. Vaughan's motivations are unconvincing throughout. Brown so often tells, instead of showing, that the sense-of-wonder that his ideas should generate never blossoms. And there's no explanation at all for the way Sukara is drawn into the subplot involving Vaughan's past.An okay read for science fiction fans, in the end, but not good enough to appeal to anybody else.
Review by irapearson
I am not familiar with Eric Brown's work. In fact I'd never heard of him before this. As a consequence, I had no expectations while reading Necropath. What I found was a fast, fun sci-fi thriller with interesting, if not entirely three dimensional, characters.A very brief over-simplified synopsis: Jeff Vaughan, a cynical telepath with a hidden past, investigates some murders and a dangerous new drug on board the Bengal Station spaceport somewhere above the Indian Ocean, and stumbles upon a cult that worships sinister alien "gods". Meanwhile, Sukara, a young Thai prostitute, searches for her long-lost younger sister.Each one of the main characters suffers from a single-minded obsession which propels them throughout the plot of the novel. That's not really a criticism and it works for this story. I'm not really a fan of the broken English used by the main female character, Sukara, when speaking aloud. It makes her sound extremely unintelligent even though the reader knows, being privy to her thoughts through the narration, that she isn't at all unintelligent. It also makes me wonder why she'd even be using English to communicate in the first place when she exists in such a multi-cultural non-English location. I believe the wisest course for any author is just to ignore language altogether unless it's relevant to the plot. It isn't relevant in this particular case.Although this novel does deal with religion and belief in deity, the author does an admirable job of keeping his personal beliefs hidden. I can take a guess as to what they are, but it shouldn't really matter at all.Overall, I enjoyed this novel, and will probably, eventually, seek out the other two novels in this proposed trilogy.
Review by eyloni
After the wonderfully original surprise that was Kéthani, reading this book was a disappointment. Let's begin with the setting and a little rant by yours truly. The novel is set in Bengal Station, which the back cover describes as “an exotic spaceport that dominates the ocean between India and Burma”. Now, is it just me, or is this trend of ethnic sci-fi starting to seem a little bit over the top? Don't get me wrong, having a non-western culture at the center of a futuristic novel can be the basis of a great book, as Ian McDonald's Evolution's Shore (UK: Chaga) clearly demonstrated. But even McDonalnd's latest Brasyl relies way too much on the amalgamation of cultural clichés (favela, futebul, ayahuasca...) without delivering any really original imaginative ideas. Thankfully, Brown refrains from throwing in too much Hindi and Thai jargon, and somehow even manages to avoid Burmese culture wholesale. The fact that the only cultural references are stereotypes is quite telling and you don't really get any new insight into an unknown culture. All of the Thai scenes happen in a Bangkok brothel and all South Indian cultural scenes involve either the burning ghat or mutilated kid baggers. Again, not much insight there. Compared to Kéthani, where he managed to skillfully portray regular people's lives as they are affected by momentous world events, it is almost as if he did not even try to turn on his sensitivity.And don't get me started about the plot. The book starts in a real promising way, with the characters developed very well, but somewhere around page 150 it becomes rushed and full of regular detective sci-fi shticks.I am going to read his previous Helix, and I may even give the next one in the Bengal series a shot. But I really hope that he gets his act together and delivers on the level of Kéthani and more.
Review by godbyk
The book opens with Vaughan, a telepath, aboard Bengal Station. Vaughan spends his days at work inspecting ships for stowaways and evidence of criminal mischief and his nights brooding over his dark past while avoiding a social life, preferring to drown his sorrows with alcohol and numbing drugs. Unfortunately, Vaughan finds himself wrapped up in a conspiracy investigation which takes him to the dark corners of Bengal Station, India, and even another planet.On to the criticism...Judging by the cover, one would presume that Bengal Station orbits Earth. I can't fault the artist for that, however, because the book lacks a good description of the station. About three quarters of the way through the book you find out that the station sits in the Indian Ocean and is cubical in shape. I haven't resolved the description of the interior spaces on the station with the external description, yet.The characters are all quite simple and lack depth. The main protagonist Vaughan's mood rarely changes and is barely justified by his back-story. The other characters seem to exist merely to guide Vaughan through the plot and are otherwise disposable. Even the aliens, who seemed more interesting than most of the humans, were devoid of personality—only their physical attributes were described.(An aside: I'm not sure how "Vaughan" is supposed to be pronounced. I would've guessed that it's a monosyllabic word that rhymes with "fawn", except that it's hyphenated so often at the end of lines as "Vaugh-/an".)