Homefront: The Voice of Freedom
by John Milius and Raymond Benson
Cover Artist: THQ Inc.
Review by Steve Sawicki
Del Rey Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345527158
Date: 25 January 2011 List Price $9.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Homefront is a near future thriller set in the world of the video game of the same name. The basic premise is that North Korea has become a world power after merging with South Korea and then gobbling up all of its neighbors, including Japan. This has given them access to American technology, particularly military technology. At the same time the US has sunk, cutting its military and becoming insular and ineffective through economic failures.
North Korea invades the US primarily by sneaking in troops in cargo carriers and by setting off a nuclear bomb in the atmosphere which triggers a huge EMP blast. From this point, the game is, essentially, on. Homefront follows Walker, who flees Los Angeles, meets up with a woman in Vegas, who happens to be an electronic engineer and black jack dealer, and ends up becoming the voice of the resistance. Much turmoil ensues as he is pursued by the North Korean's head guy in the US who wants the radio broadcasts shut down.
Reading the book you can definitely see the influence of John Milius who, no doubt, put in scenes that would look good on a movie screen but fail to pass a basic logic test. And there are many of these. For example, early on, just after the EMP blast, Walker is driving his motorcycle, which he managed to repair, down the freeway, having to weave through the thousands of cars that are stuck there because they no longer run due to having the electronics burned out. So, what is Walker worried about? Finding gasoline. Huh, go figure. Later on, the head Korean guy sets up an ambush wanting to catch Walker who is planning to do a broadcast from a local university. Instead of waiting for the rebels to actually get to the building the North Koreans set off a search light while two of the rebels are still a distance away. Why? Because it would look good on screen. Every thirty or so pages there is a logic hole like this. Having said that I did finish the book so the writing is utilitarian at least.
Books like this make me wonder where publishing is going. Obviously, Del Rey is hoping for a boost in sales from the game and, I am guessing from Milius involvement, the ultimate movie. But, the book is nothing special. The characters are very cardboard, the plotting is juvenile and the whole thing is a bit contrived. Might make good reading on a plane or in some other situation where your attention is going to be elsewhere as well.