Monday, May 9, 2016

Book Review: Predator Incursion by Tim Lebbon

Predator Incursion by Tim Lebbon

Paperback, 400 pages

Published October 2015 by Titan Books

Tim Lebbon has very distinguished reputation, from solid horror novels, fantasy novels and various tie-in novels in properties ranging from Star Wars to Hell Boy. Lebbon won me over big time last year with the publication of his amazing monster apocalypse novel The Silence. It was my number one novel of the year last year. If you missed my review of The Silence or best of 2015 list here is what I said:

"This novel is in the tradition of British dystopias ranging from Day of the Triffids to 28 Days Later. The Silence is a high concept monster novel that creates terror in the reader by milking every drop of the idea. There is a moment 2/3 of the way through the narrative that was the most brutal scene I have experienced since the ending of the Mist. I knew this scene was coming, it was obvious and Lebbon gave the reader plenty of warnings. Despite all the warnings reading it still hit me like a gut punch. Lebbon never misses beat, using the concept to ramp up the horror."

So yeah I was really wanting to read more by Lebbon, and was really interested in this trilogy when he talked about writing it on the Three Guys with Beards podcast. You see this trilogy known as the rage war is split between the Alien and Predator universes which we know tie together. This first book is supposed to be a Predator novel that pesky species known as the Yautja is at the center. That said this novel is almost more firmly set in the alien land scape, with it's setting and political intrigue as a back drop.

I have only read one other Predator novel and that was John Shirley's amazing "Forever Midnight" which created a feeling of pulpy Heinlein style Sci-fi action story. I loved that novel because it felt like the best kind of military Science Fiction. So the two best things that separate this tie-in novel are found in it's huge scope and that gives it a epic feel that transcends the franchise and just becomes a really neat sci-fi story that just happens in the AVP trilogy.

Happening 300 years after the events of Alien Resurrection, I mistakenly read the entire book thinking the main android character Liliya was actually the character played in the film by Winnoa Ryder. I was wrong but I don't think that hurt the novel. This excellently plotted novel that hops around the galaxy between inter weaving story lines that come together perfectly. This all sets up an intriguing twist for the second novel. Can't spoil it, but I was hooked enough to plan on reading book 2.

We have an android fresh off 300 years floating in a escape pod, a squad of Colonial Marines and Predator expert who are all full developed characters. With a interesting tie to Prometheus and a more forced clumsy nod to predator 2 fans Lebbon did fan service while building a very interesting cosmic horror back drop.

The story of a cult group of humans who traveled into deep space with intention of finding god. These "Founders" are coming back after hundreds of years and their intentions are not good. It is hilarious to see nerds upset with how easy the Yautja (Predators) are being killed in this novel, but it is important to the plot.

I tried to read this without the baggage of the existing franchise and just read it as a Tim Lebbon science Fiction war novel. As that it is a really fun book, as a Predator tie-in novel it is a home run. If you ever thought you might read a Predator novel this is a good one to read.

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