T2: Rising Storm
Written by: S.M. Sterling
Published By: EOS
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Ever since watching Terminator, I have been a fan of the franchise, so when I found a T2 book for sale in a discount book store, I just had to get my hands on it. Part of a trilogy of books that takes place a few years after Terminator 2: Judgment Day, these books by S.M. Sterling were the first to continue to the Terminator storyline. I hadn't found the first book, T2: Infiltrator, but I figured that I could swing reading from the second book on without losing much.
T2: Rising Storm features a new Skynet enemy - the I-950. Unlike their predecessors, the I series of Terminators do not start out as machines. They are actually humans with neural net processors in their brains and various cybernetic enhancements. They feel human emotions, but those are dampened by cybernetic implants and, if they die, their CPUs take care of whatever task they were to perform, but can only do so for a limited time.
In this second book in the T2 series, Sarah Connor and her son, John, have already found themselves up against this new incarnation of Terminators, leaving Sarah badly wounded and John hiding out in Paraguay with new ally Dieter von Rossbach. An Austrian former counter-terrorism agent, von Rossbach is the model Skynet used for creating the T-800 series (think Arnold Schwarzenegger). I imagine this must have been rather disconcerting for Sarah and John when they initially met the man, but in this part of the series, we learn that Sarah and Dieter feel a romantic connection and John looks to him as a sort of friend/father figure.
With the destruction of a second Cyberdyne Systems in Infiltrator, you would think the Connors could relax, but their nemesis, I-950 Serena Burns, has made certain that her mission of creating Skynet and destroying the Connors continues long after her death. Her clone, Clea Bennett, has been rushed into maturity, assigned to take over where Serena left off while another clone, Alissa, is allowed a little more time to mature, presumably to take over if Clea fails.
This time around, Cyberdyne is not the problem. In fact, the new developer of the technology that will eventually create Skynet is the government. Thus, Clea gets herself ensconced in a government think tank located in Antarctica as a scientist who has created a new technology - a liquid metal that can take the shape of just about anything (think T-1000) with possible military uses. While there, Clea hopes to meet up with another scientist who she believes is the father of Skynet.
It is up to the Connors and a group of new allies to stop Clea from bringing Skynet into fruition. But should they just destroy the government installation as they have incarnations of Cyberdyne or is there another way?
Okay, as I said, I'm a huge Terminator fan, but not so much of a fan of the new I-950. While I understand the reasoning behind the author's creation of the new model Terminator, I'm not so enamored with the not-so-machine itself. There's just something wrong to me about a Terminator that can feel pain, enjoy sex, entertain doubts about their own performances...it just doesn't seem right to me. That's not to say that S.M. Sterling didn't write a great book - he certainly captured the characters of Sarah and John Connor well and I loved how he explained the scars on the adult John Connor that we get a glimpse of in Judgment Day. I also enjoyed seeing the good doctor again - now a believer. The book was well written with enough action to whet any action fan's whistle and the main characters were spot-on. I just couldn't find myself getting behind the new villains is all.
That being said, it took me quite a while to finish this book - a surprisingly long amount of time given how fast of a reader I am - because I actually could put the book down in favor of other things. Thus, after reading this segment of the series, I have decided to give up on reading the rest of the books in the trilogy. Perhaps other Terminator fans will enjoy this series, but I was not thrilled and am walking away.