So you just finished watching Terminator Salvation on Bluray because, you know, everything awesome is awesome+1 on Bluray. So you’re sitting there thinking to yourself, “Man, I wonder what’s gonna happen next! And what’s the deal with these new human/terminator hybrids? I think I will call them huminators. Are there more of them or was Marcus Wright the only one? And is John Connor gonna make it? He’s gotta make it! He’s just gotta! ‘Cause the movie just left me hanging! ARGH!!”.
Well lets just calm down for a second there Hulk. No need to shred a perfectly good shirt. All your questions have already been answered! Just run down to your local book store and demand they sell you a copy of Terminator Salvation: Trial by Fire. And no, it’s not some schmucks version of what he thinks should happen post Salvation. Trial by Fire is an official novel written by author Timothy Zahn. It chronicles the events that occur just weeks after the destruction of Skynet Central in San Francisco.
The book is kind of a feel good, let’s put our past aside and be friends again book. Except not so much. I mean, it’s there, but just barely. It doesn’t get in the way of any of the action or anything. And no, I’m not talking about Skynet and the human race. I’m talking about the main characters, Blair Williams and Blake Nolastname. Resistance fighter Blake requests that John Connor allow him to return to the ruins of Skynet’s research facility to search for the body of his fallen brother. Connor agrees, as long as Blake takes along Blair, the woman who helped Marcus Wright save Kyle Reese. Blake and Blair have a bit of bad air between them and Connor hopes they can iron things out while they are gone. When the two arrive by chopper to the facility and bury Blake’s brother, they run into some trouble with the local terminator population. When the terminators have been destroyed, Blair notices an underground cable running from the facility out into the mountains. They decide it would be a good idea to follow the cable to see what Skynet is up to now, and adventure ensues.
The pair eventually stumble upon Bakers Hollow. Bakers Hollow is a small village in the mountains, far enough away from the rest of the world to have survived Judgment Day. Now the village is on the cusp of being leveled by terminators. Blair and Blake stick around to help the villagers and meet an interesting character introduced in the first chapter of the book by the name of Jik. While they are defending the town we learn about the history of the hybrid terminators from three scientists who worked on the project. Lots of holes from the movie are filled in here. Holes that you’re gong to have to read about for yourself, because I don’t believe in spoilers. Let’s just say Marcus was not the only hybrid, and there are going to be a few times where you’re going to go “Oh man! No way! I never saw that coming!”.
Anyway, while all this is going on Kyle Reese is on clean up duty, destroying the remains of any surviving terminators in San Francisco and collecting ammunition. I’m not gonna lie to you. I felt like this part of the story could have been left out. Or at least shortened. To put it in a nutshell, Reese and some resistance buddies fall into a hole and discover a tunnel that the terminators are digging. All of these morons get trapped in the tunnel and spend the rest of the book trying to get out alive. I guess there is a critical part of the plot that gets tied in by this spelunking team at the end. When all is said and done, you’re left wanting more, and the story is left wide open for a sequel. Be it book or film.
Overall, Terminator Salvation: Trial by Fire is an excellent book that will satisfy even the most devout Terminator fans. It fills a gap in the whole “what’s the deal with this Marcus Wright huminator” story left by Terminator Salvation. I highly recommend anyone who enjoys a good book and everyone who enjoys a good Terminator go buy it today. And for you cheap bastards, check the library.