Still Need More Terminator?
Still haven’t had your fill of Terminator goodness? Still need more killer robot action to tide you over until the DVD comes out?
Well then you might want to check out Timothy Zahn’s prequel novel Terminator Salvation: From the Ashes.
As a stuffy English major, I usually have nothing but disdain for movie tie-in books, for the simple reason that they’re rarely any good.
But two things set From the Ashes apart from your standard movie novel. For starters, this is not the regular novelization of Terminator Salvation that just rehashes what you saw on screen. Rather, this is a legitimate prequel that details the events leading up to the opening minutes of the film, meaning that this is brand spanking new content that you will not see in theatres.
But the real reason I decided to check out From the Ashes was because it was written by none other than Timothy Zahn. Zahn’s name may be unfamiliar to the layman, but he’s nothing short of a hero to Star Wars fans. In the early 90s, Zahn penned a trilogy of much-loved novels that continued the Star Wars saga following the events of Return of the Jedi. Any Star Wars nerd worth his salt will tell you that Zahn’s trilogy is way better than anything George Lucas has produced in the last twenty years. These books (along with several other Star Wars novels) played a big part in my childhood and (unfortunately?) influenced my taste in literature for years to come.
So obviously I had to pick up Zahn’s Terminator novel.
Now, I should say right away that From the Ashes is a far cry from Zahn’s best work. If you’re expecting another Heir to the Empire, you’re in the wrong place. In fact, From the Ashes betrays many of the trademark weaknesses of movie novelizations. It’s fairly evident that Zahn was working on a deadline, and there are several awkward points in the novel that feel rushed.
But none of these weaknesses stop From the Ashes from being an incredibly fun ride. Not only do you get plenty of high-flying action sequences, but the novel also includes much of the character development missing from the film. John Connor and Kyle Reese take center stage, and both men get the chance to tell their own story. Furthermore, background characters like Bryce Dallas Howard’s Kate Connor and Common’s Barnes, who were largely ignored in the film, get their chance to shine in Zahn’s novel.
So pick up From the Ashes. It’s not about to win the Pulitzer, but it’s tailor made for Terminator fans who want to delve a little further into the war against the machines.