Fragment - Warren Fahy
Warren Fahy’s Fragment follows a group of scientists filming a reality show aboard a boat in the Pacific Ocean. A distress call leads the crew to unexplored Henders Island, where they encounter a host of terrifying new organisms.

As a biologist (well, biology grad student) , I was intrigued by the description of this book, and requested a review copy through LibraryThing. I was curious as to the advertised scientific aspects of the story; many books and movies, while entertaining, fail when it comes to scientific research. I was ready to nitpick at the science, but found myself pleasantly surprised.

Fahy has certainly done his research, and the acknowledgments reveal that he has consulted actual scientists in writing his book. While most of the research presented is accurate, there were some minor things that irked me. Most of the imaginary creatures are based on arthropods, and are stated to posses a system of tracheal tubes for gas exchange in addition to an open circulatory system. The scientists in the book theorize that the blood of some of these organisms must be hyper-efficient at transporting oxygen; however, an organism with tracheal tubes would not rely on the blood for oxygen transport. Another scientist is surprised that a plant-like organism has a vascular system; I understand Fahy was implying the presence of heart-like organs, but most plants do possess vascular tissue. Also, as a plant biologist, I know very few in my field who describe themselves as “botanists,” most preferring “plant biologist.” Despite these nitpicks, the scientific errors are actually rather few and the book is quite informative.

The characters in the book, as in many stories of this type, are rather two dimensional, and serve largely as a means to introduce and/or be mangled by Fahy’s invented creatures. The major male protagonist exists almost entirely for infodumps and the presentation of some of Fahy’s theories.

Naturally, the book requires a large suspension of disbelief. The odds that such an explored island would exist, let alone one with such drastically different life forms, is extremely small in real life. Fahy’s organisms are certainly interesting and fun, and are largely believable in the world of the story. However, the book does get somewhat silly in its later chapters, following the discovery of a particular creature. Some of the deaths also become absurd, including that of the antagonist character.

Despite its short comings, Fragment is a very fun and addictive book, and certainly a page turner. If you’re looking for a fun summer beach read, pick up Fragment. You might even learn something.