His father is from the future. He probably hasn’t even been born yet. How the hell does that work?
Not too well. At least as far as his dad was concerned.
Yeah. Imagine sending your father back through time to become your father, knowing he’s going to get killed.
Do it to my old man in a flash.
-Brad, Carl, and Yam, MIT students
Well, once again, the Connors have managed to blow up Cyberdyne (or at least the all-important research facility). When we last left our heroes, the I-950 Infiltrator was destroyed (or killed, depending on how you look at things), John Connor was on the run with Dieter von Rossbach, and Sarah Connor is headin’ back to the asylum. But the future looked…well, safer, anyway. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to our heroes, the Infiltrator left behind a backup plan….
Which brings us to Rising Storm. There are four plots moving along all at once in the early part of this book; firstly, John has accepted that in spite of previous events, there’s an excellent possibility that Judgment Day-the day when the machines will rise to power via Skynet-is going to happen (although not on any previously known schedules). So, he (with Dieter’s occasional aid) begins to set up a network of humans to “get out of the way” of the imminent apocalypse, one of whom is an attractive MIT student who is also an exceptionally skilled hacker.
Dieter spends some time away from the gang, because he’s being tracked-both by the CIA and by his old bosses in the Sector (and I still wanna know more about them, dammit!). He does his part as well, setting up a couple of contacts in preparation for Judgment Day. Of course, the fact that he looks identical to the original Terminator is a little bit of a stumbling block in establishing any bona fides….
Sarah, on the other hand, is back at the asylum. She deals with this in a more level-headed manner than her last visit (as moviegoers may recall), but she runs into a potential stumbling block when she is once again face to face with the doctor who “treated” her the last time around. Fortunately, she has a little bit of outside help to count upon when the time comes to get out. Too bad that there’s individuals who really don’t want her leaving.
But the backup plan of Serena Burns is already in action; Clea and Alicia, the two clones built from the Serena template, are working to a) finish off the Connors (surprise surprise), and b) ensure that Skynet comes into being. To this end, Clea (who has been force grown to adulthood) begins to get involved with Cyberdyne survivors, using the building blocks of the T-1000 technology as her ticket in.
There’s a slightly different tone in this book than in the last one. Infiltrator was a book about prevention; realizing that the threat was not over after all, and trying to stop it. This one contains the terrible realization that the future may be unstoppable, so the characters are more in “damage control” mode. And since most people generally don’t believe that machines from the future are out to insure their existence, it makes matters more difficult for John and company. Even so, some supporting characters from the last book continue to make their presence felt, such as the mysterious Tricker (whose failures in Infiltrator come back to haunt him early on) and Jordan Dyson, who has come around to the Connors’ point of view after the Serena incident.
We also get a bit more world travel in Rising Storm; we hop from South America, to North America, to-of all places-Antarctica. What we don’t get, unfortunately, is the sense of menace. While there are the traditional Terminator robots around, they don’t seem as unstoppable as the folks we’ve seen in the movies. To be fair, these robots were built with inferior materials from past technology (from their perspective, anyway), but I always considered the appeal of the Terminator movies to be the fact that a single robot just kept coming for you, no matter what you did. That feeling is only on a different scale here, concerning the inevitability of Skynet.
All the same, Rising Storm was a decent book, although it’s destined (probably) to be consigned to continuity hell when the T3 movie finally hits the theaters, and it’s got an ending which is sure to chill fans of the books and movies to the bone-and the process of getting there is pretty fun, too.