Germline is the debut novel by T.C. McCarthy, about a near-future war between the U.S. and Russia, over raw minerals. The war takes place in Kazakhstan, or Kaz, in massive underground tunnels. There are genetically-enchanced super soldiers, lots of drugs, lots of self loathing, raw language, and uninteresting scene after scene.
I don't usually bother reviewing books I didn't like. Germline, however, has been talked about by some as if it deserves the Hugo. If the Hugo has sunk this low, I worry about the taste of modern sci-fi/fantasy readers. I don't mean to be insulting about this book... it takes a hell of a lot to write one, after all, and there were some aspects of it that I did like. However, the meandering story, and the unsympathetic pov make for a distasteful read.
The story that I wanted this book to be about ended after chapter two. Maybe this is why I didn't like the rest of it. I have been listening to a lot of long fantasy novels lately, and wanted something different to change up the pace. I figured Germline would be an exciting, near-future thriller (how could I not think this after seeing the book cover?) but it definitely wasn't any of these things.
Anyway, if you like your military sf to be disjointed, depressing, and bland, give Germline your time. If you're like me, and want your military sf to be exciting, fast-paced, and fun to read, ignore this one. And please, if it ends up on the Hugo ballet, don't vote for it.
Germline gets 2.5 out of 5 stars.