Out now from Fresh Pulp Press, The Terminal is Amber Fallon’s first book — or rather, at 105 pages — her first novella. It’s about the unlikely protagonist Dirk Bradley, whose name, I must admit, reminds me of the name Dirk Diggler, if only for the weird name “Dirk.”
Anyway, Dirk is an unlikely hero not because he’s a gay man traveling home to introduce his partner Dylan to his likely intolerable family, but because he’s not a military man, cop, or rugged tough guy. And yet, he’s thrown into the impossible situation when a meteorite crashes into the airport terminal he’s in while waiting to board his plane. At first, it seems probable that a terrorist event has occurred, until enormous, barbarian aliens appear — who then go on to kill and eat everyone they see. Several more meteorites and aliens land, and the carnage breaks loose.
The book reads like an adaptation of an ‘80s Canon action film, straight down to the stereotypes of the immigrant bad guy and descriptions such as “Hercules-era Schwarzenegger” and “the vengeful John Rambo plotting his first strike.” There’s also a heavy dose of Die Hard at work in The Terminal; a regular guy has to become a hero. Again, Dirk isn’t a cop, so he’s got a lot to deal with, on top of his partner dying in the initial meteorite crash.
What follows is a swift read that one can easily finish in a sitting or two, or perhaps, on a plane ride. One complaint is that there is only one break in the entire novella, which doesn’t exactly provide a rest for the eyes. Maybe this was done on purpose to create an even more kinetic pace to match the action on the page. As a matter of fact, quite a bit of the prose is stream of consciousness — or comes close.
As Dirk finds other harried airport security workers and fellow airline passengers, the assaults continue and the gore ramps up. People die quickly, some simply disappear, and there are lots of loose ends, just like in real life — not a neatly wrapped up, Hollywood film. Some might enjoy that, and others may not; it’s really where your comfort zone lies on the spectrum of reality. Although, if you’re reading The Terminal — a story about muscular alien invaders that crash into an airport and feed on people — reality isn’t what you’re looking for in the first place.
After some obligatory carnage, Dirk teams up with a military man and together, they concoct a plan to bring down the baddies and to save the day. What they come up with is insane, but again, if you’re reading this book, “insane” is the preferred tone you’re going for. You’ll also find dread, laughs, and a lot of fun in The Terminal. I’m looking forward to seeing how Fallon develops as an author, and what kind of gonzo stories she has up her sleeves next.
The Terminal is available on Amazon here.