Book Review of “Redux II: The Search for Floyd”

redux2

© James Pyles

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Last night (as I write this) I finished Gregg Cunningham’s SciFi time travel novel Redux II: The Search for Floyd published by Starry Eyed Press. It’s the sequel to the original novel Redux: The Lost Patrol which I reviewed on my blog last year.

The original novel is set in the future, primarily on the Moon. Redux and his battle robot Floyd are using a time travel device called a “War Pig” in an attempt to “fix” history. Redux wants to bring back all the people lost in war, to win every battle they lost, and to establish a future history with his lost love.

The original novel is a little hard to follow because, like many time travel books, it tends to bounce around all over the place. In the end, an old, burned out Redux is left stranded when his younger self steals the War Pig and his version of Floyd.

It’s not all bad. His lost love Dixie is alive, but she’s young and he’s an old man she doesn’t recognize.

Redux II picks up there with our hero (or anti-hero) one among a series of refugees destined for relocation on Mars. But then things get weird.

The ship he’s on picks up a message from an all but abandoned Earth. It’s from Floyd, Redux’s Floyd, and provides an ambiguous set of coordinates that Redux is meant to use to find the robot and the War Pig. Maybe Redux’s journey to set history “right” isn’t over yet.

Except the book promises “no more re-dos”.

If Cunningham is the master of any type of writing, it’s the “doom and gloom, boy is this depressing, doesn’t this guy ever get a break” kind of writing.

Oh, Spoiler Alert!

Redux and his companions including Helan, Blake, Sasha, the ever-horny cougar Calamity, and Floyd 2.0 make their way to Earth, first to a farming community made up of former freedom fighters and then a disintegrating oil rig in the South Atlantic where Redux finds his final answer. It’s one he doesn’t like.

There’s a brief Prologue, a main story, and the Epilogue, except the Epilogue is pretty long and describes life for Redux in the future he and Floyd have made for themselves. It isn’t pretty.

I kept waiting for Redux to die. He’s come close to it so often, I always wonder what holds him together. His companion in the Epilogue isn’t Floyd, but rather an augmented, intelligent War Dog (yes, a real dog) named Yella, trying to survive in a frozen wilderness after the fiery crash of their transport.

Back on the oil rig, Floyd the original, just about to go to that final offline, tells Redux that time travel doesn’t work. There is no perfect solution. In every possible reality, there are victories and losses. Floyd brought back photographic proof of that.

As far as the reader knows, in the Epilogue, where Redux and Yella are still barely alive, this is whatever it is going forward. It’s really gloomy. But there was some suggestion that they could still meet past Floyd as he’s moving up and down the timeline trying to fix things. So maybe, since this book is set up for another sequel, there’s one more “do-over” left in Floyd and the War Pig.

This book won’t make a lot of sense if you don’t read the first one, so read the first one first. It’s full of intense, gritty, war violence, with a protagonist who is a survivor but not necessarily a nice guy. Those seem to be his defining traits.

Oh, I can’t say the future made Redux particularly “progressive” as I read on page 88:

I feel like we have some new age East India trading Company rules being applied here but I’m sure as hell not going to start a petition to get me a seat in the frosty estrogen-laden cockpit.

Also on pages 88-89:

Shit, has it really been two hundred years since Equivalence settled scores to be able to fight shoulder to shoulder with the likes of these three Macbeth witches?

If you’ve read the first novel and want more, or you’re interested in a dystopian world with a time travel spin, give the original novel and Redux II: The Search for Floyd. Don’t forget to write a review.

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