Cover Image: The Return of the Incredible Exploding Man

The Return of the Incredible Exploding Man

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Member Reviews

This book was both an entertaining thriller and an amusing tale. I look forwrad to more work from Dave Hutchinson.
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Really struggle with what to make of this book - the first 75% sets up an interesting premise that slowly goes nowhere, then there's an inciting incident that could have been the start of the book but instead also goes nowhere. A missed opportunity. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.
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Have not had a chance to read this yet, but will keep it on my list for a rainy day! Appreciate being offered the reading copy!
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Starts off as a standard "mysterious billionaire techno-thriller", then takes some unexpected turns,, from mystery to science fiction.
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The blurb of The Return of the Incredible Exploding Man made the book sound like a typical superhero novel; a man goes to investigate a super collider and then there’s an accident which leaves him changed forever. To a certain extent this is true however the timeline of the book really surprised me. It’s at least 75% before the accident happens and a lot up to that point is just very slow build up. We learn a lot about the characters of Sioux Crossing, most of whom are never mentioned again after the accident happens. There’s also a weird ‘whodunnit’ kind of aspect to the story with a death, arson and a hacking a laptop to be investigated. When the perpetrator is finally climatically revealed though I just didn’t understand the reason behind their motivation and then it all became obsolete by the accident anyway.

The latter half of the book is a superhero story in a loose kind of sense. It’s very hard to understand what Alex can do now he’s been changed. There’s not a scene where he looks in the mirror or an explanation of his abilities. Occasionally people see him and scream, sometimes people have full on conversations with him and haven’t worked out he’s any different from the man he was before. He seems to be able to teleport places but then just stays put in the same city he lives in for years which makes little sense. The nemesis isn’t explored fully and the ending is just a massive damp squib.

I did enjoy the writing style though and Dave Hutchinson is certainly a very engaging and humorous write. I just spent the first ¾ of the book hoping it would hurry up and get to the superhero aspects and then the last ¼ just being disappointed and feeling like the earlier part of the book had been rendered obsolete. Also why is it ‘The Return of’ and at no point in the novel did he particularly ‘Explode’….

Overall, The Return of The Incredible Exploding Man was written well but ultimately massively confusing and disappointing. Thank you to NetGalley and Rebellion Publishing – Solaris for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank You Netgalley for the book in exchange for an Honest Review

Book started out great. There were Punches, Promise and Plot. The End fell flat a little bit and faded, but it was an enjoyable read throughout. Great Book

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What a title, am I right? This book promises some crazy sci-fi shit. And it lays the groundwork for it – we’ve got a faded science writer, we’ve got a supercollider, we’ve got some shady billionaire business (whom I hope to see get his comeuppance but I’m also a dirty commie so that’s just me) – everything that makes you ready for some crazy good times.

And yet at 45% of the way through the book, I found myself fading. I was ready for the sci-fi and while the book was entertaining, it wasn’t delivering in the way that I desperately wanted. I’m super intrigued, and at some point I’m super down to finish it, but it’s not the cathartic escapism that I desperately require when a supermassive black hole is acting fucky at the center of the Milky Way.

The prose is absolutely stunning, and the nods to Midwestern culture are apt enough to keep me nodding - I live in Omaha, just across the river from Iowa, and we really do know how to pack a plate.  (Them farming kids don't go hungry, I'll tell you what.)  But so much of the book is in the. setup, and I feel like I'm waiting for the inciting incident to drop while I keep getting held off with the dramatic tension.  I would've loved for the initial setup to be just a tad shorter, but that's just me.  

I really did like what I read, but I just could muster the attention to keep going.  So a good 4/5 stars for keeping me rolling, even if the momentum wasn't enough to get me to the end.
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I love stories like this. Characters were great and it made me laugh out loud on a few occasions. The end wasn't as good as the rest of the book, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I'll be looking out for more from this author in the future.
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Unfortunately I chose this book not realising it was a sci fi novel, not my typical read and although interesting with a strong story line I didn't make it to the end - apologies!
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David Hutchinson’s new book ,”The Return of the Incredible Exploding Man”, falls into the Stephen King syndrome, which is too wordy in some areas and not wordy enough for others. The book’s title relates to Hutchinson’s 2011 short story called “The Incredible Exploding Man". I’m not sure if this is a sequel or just the short story filled out with more words, but, this novel would have worked better as a novella. The first three quarters of the book is just soap opera writing with no point in the eventual plot. But let me say, that when the story finally gets going, and that is with the chapter called “The Racoon”, it feels like Martin Caidin’s science fiction novel, “Cyborg”, the basis of the television series “The Six Million Dollar Man”.  

Alex Dolan, a Scottish, in-between-jobs journalist, gets a job in Sioux Crossing, Iowa, to write a book on an underground, scientific project called Super Collider. When the collider is turned on for the first time, a dimensional rift is opened and with that Alex Dolan becomes a “godlike, transdimensional superhero”. He finds that he has complete control of his powers, but there is another that doesn’t. And so it is Dolan’s job-in-life to stop that person.

Given that the character, Dolan, is Scottish, I’m glad that Hutchinson doesn’t resort to writing the character’s words in a fake brogue. But what I find disconcerting with the writing, is that with a turn of a page, months and sometimes years pass in the story.  I thought that maybe that was a writing device because of the character being able to jump to different places in a blink of an eye, but eventually I thought, it was just poor writing.

Based on the ending, I smell a sequel to this novel in the works, and I hope that it may be better book than this.
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Dave Hutchinson's <I>The Return of the Incredible Exploding Man</i> is a rather strangely structured novel. Despite the pulp SF title, for the first three-quarters of the book it's a slow-build technothriller with shades of <i>Twin Peaks</i>. The hero, Alex Dolan, is a seriously underemployed freelance journalist whose life is turned upside down when he receives a letter from multibillionaire Stan Clayton, the fifth richest man in the world, offering him a job. Clayton has bought an entire county in northern Iowa and built a giant supercollider underneath the fields, and he wants Alex to write a book about it, something that will counteract the negative press the project has received to date. Despite some misgivings, Alex accepts the job and moves to Sioux Crossing, where he finds that however friendly and welcoming the locals are (with the exception of his deeply cantankerous next-door neighbour) he can't escape the sense that something strange is going on. And then, just as it starts to feel that Alex might finally be going to find some answers, Hutchinson flips everything on its head and the final 25% is a very different story, one that seems like a much better fit for the title. I found this a bit disconcerting, especially as the second part doesn't answer many of the questions posed in the first. (I gather that Hutchinson published a short story called 'The Incredible Exploding Man' a few years ago, and from the synoposis I think that may have been substantially similar to the final section of the novel, with the earlier part forming an origin story for the characters in the short story.)

Aside from the slightly odd structure, I really enjoyed this; it's generally lighter in tone than Hutchinson's Fractured Europe series, but shares its wryly humorous tone and is a similarly easy, plotty read with interesting and mostly likeable characters.

(Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free eARC for review.)
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Science fiction tale which would be good for fans of the Martian as issues and technology are dealt with with a similar light touch which stops the text from feeling too heavy
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This is an enjoyable thriller, well written, easy to read. Moves along at a good pace, interesting characters. I would certainly read more from this author. The only reason I didn’t give the 5 stars is the ending which I can only describe as too impersonal and somehow disconnected, but that’s just my feeling and may not feel that way to others. Overall it was well worth taking the time to read.
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In THE RISE OF THE INCREDIBLE EXPLODING MAN, by Dave Hutchinson, Alex Dolan is a struggling freelance journalist who is given the fortuitous opportunity to be handsomely sponsored to write a book about a new Supercollider is being built.  As Alex begins to settle into Sioux Crossing, the town where the Supercollider is located, mysteries seem to start bubbling to the surface, like what is the real purpose of the Supercollider, what is the truth about stories of static electricity and blue sparks around town, and great lengths been taken to make everything look as normal and uninteresting as possible to hide what?  Alex's search for all the truths that no one wants him to know is moving along when a horrible accident happens and Alex's survival becomes the key to figuring out what to do with the aftermath of such a cataclysmic event.
  While set close to (or maybe little past) the present, Hutchinson creates a world that feels pleasantly retro futuristic, with simple people with simple needs and where technology only seems to invade their lives at work or when it is essential to live.  While Alex Dolan is fascinating himself, Hutchinson creates a wonderful cast of characters that feel real and are easy for the reader to connect with.  The search for answers takes Alex on a rollercoaster of discoveries and dead ends and that unpredictable ride is what make the book so much fun.  You could call the ending a little abrupt and unfulfilling, but I think the journey to get there is so much fun it doesn't really matter.
   After reading THE RETURN OF THE INCREDIBLE EXPLODING MAN, I feel inspired to read other works by Dave Hutchinson in hopes that they are as fun and entertaining as this one.
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I ended up stopping about halfway through the book. Thus far, the main character had been sent to a Whispering Pines sort of suburban uptopia set up to support a tech mogul genius's new idea. The main character is a writer who's in a dry creative period and he's got a sort of dry Scottish humor that kept me engaged and reading longer than I might have otherwise. I was also interested to see the sort of Faustian bargain made- the writer (Alex Dolan) knows he's getting into a fishy situation, but he is just about out of money and even if the deal seems too good to be true, he can't help but take the bait.

Then the book sort of peters out for a while. A lot of time is spent describing travel back and forth between the town and Dolan's new place, there's a snowstorm, and Dolan is mostly stonewalled when he tries to really dig for information for the book he's been hired to write. There's a love interest too with a verrrrryyy slow burn.

After chugging along for about half the book waiting for something to happen, I got bored and skipped through to the end. Other reviewers have mentioned that the last third or so of the book is extremely different than the first part, and I wonder why the first part was tagged on in the first place if not as filler- this could have been a novella without sacrificing any plot. Short version- Dolan is essentially Dr. Manhattaned (Watchmen comics for your reference) and has to stop another person who didn't take to his transformation nearly as well. At this point, the book turns into more of an examination of the trope of powered-up characters and what their motivations might actually be. But most of the book is chucked aside, including most of the relationships that the author had taken so long to describe.

I've read a bit of Hutchinson's Fractured Europe series and enjoyed his concepts but had trouble getting into his writing. After this book, I wonder if he's just not for me.
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Something isn’t right here…nothing’s happening…that would do it

Alex Dolan is a failing journalist, let go from his job at the globe he is out of work, out of money and as the bills add up, out of luck. Until the worlds 5th wealthiest man offers Alex a job reporting on the worlds largest supercollider. Little does Alex know that this small town will change his life? Dave Hutchinson does a brilliant job of building the picture of a sleepy town in Iowa where nothing happens, but something is wrong with the place. The book follows Alex as he accepts the job and tries to settle into this sleepy town where everyone knows everyone, the book covers a period of time similar to a year but I personally found it strangely disorientating were jumped in time into barely marked by any major events. The characters are nicely written if very 2d dimensional along with the town however this cleverly seems to add to the tension as the story unfolds. When a series of unfortunate events begin to plague Alex’s life he suspects the collider to have some influence, however, the book only begins to pick up pace and become exciting and engaging close to the end (my kindle read 80%) this leaves the book finishing with the distinct feeling that the story is only half told and what was presented is a rushed and messy period of time with the last few pages spanning years between paragraphs! 

This story really feels like its been let down in its presentation. Either a prequel before the collider story was needed as a serrate book, or the end few pages needed moving to their own sequel. This would have done the story Dave has written proper justice, as it is I can’t recommend a book where nothing happens for most of it and where the focus of the book happens so late it is not even fully explored.


Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book to review
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I wanted to read this since i read the synopsis and i am glad that it didn't disappoint me. It was definitely an interesting story to read. I really enjoyed it. Thank you for the arc.
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This was a cool, part scifi part mystery part adventure.  I did find that the message/explanation got a little garbled near the end of the book, which was slightly frustrating for me because I like that stuff to be crystal-clear.  But it wasn't frustrating enough to ruin a good tale.
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I am a great Sci-fi fan but this book didn't do anything for me. Very slow moving and lots of negative feelings.
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Dave Hutchinson has written the critically acclaimed Europe sequence of books. Whilst this story may have a title that makes it sound like a reboot of a lesser known Marvel super-hero, it is an intriguing slow-burning mystery that has a spectacular ending, which I won't ruin for potential readers.
Alex Dolan is a Scottish born tech-journalist living in Boston. The slow death of traditional journalism in the free Information Age has hit him hard and he is struggling to make a living. Financial salvation is offered by Stan Clayton, the world's fifth richest person. Clayton has something of the 'Elon Musk' spirit about him; entrepreneurial, seeking to push the boundaries of technology and looking to inspire people with tales of wonder.
Clayton has purchased large parts of Iowa on which he has built a particle super-collider. He wants Dolan to write some articles and a book about the project. Dolan is offered the freedom to write what he wants but he is stubborn; Clayton's wealth and the promise of a large pay-packet don't impress him. Reluctantly, Dolan agrees to at least consider the offer and to look around the town of Sioux Falls, a town that had fallen on hard times before Clayton started investing heavily in the area. Dolan meets a number of locals, some tell him to get away while he can, others cannot see why he would turn down Clayton's offer, which involves salary, a line of credit to buy essentials and a house.
Whilst he is mulling the offer, Dolan is staying in a very plush hotel suite. Whilst there, he hears a strange scrabbling knock at the door, which leads to a visit from the police. Dolan wonders what has happened in the past to make the police interested in such a mundane occurrence. There are other sporadic reports of strange sightings in Sioux Falls but little in the way of detail. The previous occupants of Dolan's house left in a hurry, leaving lots of their possessions in the basement. Dolan tracks them down and they mention they had a visitation, although it's not clear whether this was real or imagined.
Dolan's research takes him on and around the site of the super-collider, where he spots Larry Day, a scientific genius but an unstable and dangerous personality. Day likes to push boundaries without thoughts about potential consequences.
During a barbecue he has arranged for friends and neighbours, Dolan's house catches fire. Whilst evacuating the house, Dolan sees a man made of static. A number of other unfortunate incidents add to the mystery of what is actually happening in Sioux Falls. Dolan believes that Larry Day may have the answer. He attempts to confront him at the super-collider just as an experiment is taking place. And then things become ......weird, and riveting.
After a measured and slow-paced meander that feels as though it will end with a whodunnit/whatdunnit explanation, the book goes somewhere I was not expecting it to. It's a fantastic turn and makes the book feel unusual. I was reminded of some Philip K Dick novels in which he took the floor from under you when your expectations may have been set.
This is a great science fiction book and well worth reading.
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