Aliens: Bishop by T R Napper
Horror , Sci-Fi , T R Napper , Titan Books / December 11, 2023

Please note, Aliens: Bishop is a direct sequel to the events in Aliens and Alien3. If you’ve not seen both of these cinematic gems then the book-related waffle that follows will contain some mild spoilers. Consider yourself duly warned! Massively damaged in Aliens and Alien3, the synthetic Bishop asked to be shut down forever. His creator, Michael Bishop, has other plans. He seeks the Xenomorph knowledge stored in the android’s mind, and brings Bishop back to life―but for what reason? No longer an employee of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, Michael tells his creation that he seeks to advance medical research for the benefit of humanity. Yet where does he get the resources needed to advance his work. With whom do his new allegiances lie? Bishop is pursued by Colonial Marines Captain Marcel Apone, commander of the Il Conde and younger brother of Master Sergeant Alexander Apone, one of the casualties of the doomed mission to LV-426. Also on his trail are the “Dog Catchers,” commandos employed by Weyland-Yutani. Who else might benefit from Bishop’s intimate knowledge of the deadliest creatures in the galaxy? This week I’ve been reading Aliens: Bishop by T R Napper. Based on the book blurb it ticks…

Talonsister by Jen Williams
Fantasy , Jen Williams , Titan Books / September 8, 2023

Leven has no memory of her life before she was a soldier. The process of turning her into a Herald – a magical killing machine – was traumatic enough that it wiped her mind clean. Now, with the war won and the Imperium satisfied, she finds herself unemployed and facing a bleak future. Her fellow Heralds are disappearing, and her own mind seems to be coming apart at the seams. Strange visions, memories she shouldn’t have, are resurfacing, and none of them make any sense. They show her Brittletain, the ancient and mysterious island that the Imperium was never able to tame. Leven resolves to go to this place of magic and warring queens, with the hope of finding who she really is. Envoy Kaeto has done a number of important little jobs for the Imperium, most of them nasty, all of them in the shadows. His newest assignment is to escort the bone-crafter Gynid Tyleigh as she travels across the Imperium – as the woman responsible for creating the Heralds, his employers owe her a great deal. But Tyleigh’s ambition alarms even Kaeto, and her conviction that she has found a new source of Titan bones, buried deep in…

Ricky’s Hand by David Quantick
David Quantick , Sci-Fi , Titan Books / August 15, 2022

Ricky Smart is a nobody, a Miami Beach paparazzo who lives in a cheap apartment and scrapes a living snapping celebs. One day Ricky wakes up, and realises there’s something wrong with his hand. It’s not his hand. In fact, it’s someone else’s hand. How does he know it’s not his? Because it looks different, it feels different and – perhaps the biggest clue– it has a four-letter word tattooed across the knuckles. Then a week later, his other hand changes. A few days after that, Ricky gets a new arm… Ricky is losing his mind as well as his body parts, but he has to eat and pay rent so he manages to get things together enough to pursue his seedy paparazzi career. He’s after candid shots of pop sensation and local girl Scala Jaq, who’s staying in town. He trails Scala, who has a secret of her own, and to his surprise and shock comes across her at a support group for people with an unusual condition, led by an overly enthusiastic guy called Don. Scala and Ricky team up when they begin to suspect Don, who tells them he’s a time-travelling policeman with an interest in Ricky’s…

The Shadow Glass by Josh Winning
Fantasy , Josh Winning , Titan Books / April 2, 2022

Jack Corman is failing at life. Jobless, jaded and facing the threat of eviction, he’s also reeling from the death of his father, one-time film director Bob Corman. Back in the eighties, Bob poured his heart and soul into the creation of his 1986 puppet fantasy The Shadow Glass, but the film flopped on release and Bob was never the same again. In the wake of Bob’s death, Jack returns to his decaying childhood home, where he is confronted with the impossible — the puppet heroes from The Shadow Glass are alive, and they need his help. Tipped into a desperate quest to save the world from the more nefarious of his father’s creations, Jack teams up with an excitable fanboy and a spiky studio exec to navigate the labyrinth of his father’s legacy and ignite a Shadow Glass resurgence that could, finally, do Bob proud.  I still remember it vividly; when I was eight years old The Dark Crystal was released. I remember being enthralled and terrified in equal measure. This wasn’t like anything I had ever seen before. There was a darkness in the story that I had never encountered. The good guys were undoubtedly good, but the…

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix
Grady Hendrix , Horror , Titan Books / August 7, 2021

In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her? Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she’s not alone. For more than a decade she’s been meeting with five other actual final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette’s worst fears are realized–someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece. But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up. How many times have you seen this at the end of a slasher movie? Survivor turns to face the future with…

Witherward by Hannah Mathewson
Fantasy , Hannah Mathewson , News , Titan Books / February 11, 2021

Welcome to the Witherward, and to a London that is not quite like our own. Here, it’s summertime in February, the Underground is a cavern of wonders and magic fills the streets. But this London is a city divided, split between six rival magical factions, each with their own extraordinary talents – and the alpha of the Changelings, Gedeon Ravenswood, has gone rogue, threatening the fragile accords that have held London together for decades. Ilsa is a shapeshifting Changeling who has spent the first 17 years of her life marooned in the wrong London, where real magic is reviled as the devil’s work. Abandoned at birth, she has scratched out a living first as a pickpocket and then as a stage magician’s assistant, dazzling audiences by secretly using her Changeling talents to perform impossible illusions. When she’s dragged through a portal into the Witherward, Ilsa finally feels like she belongs. But her new home is on the brink of civil war, and Ilsa is pulled into the fray. The only way to save London is to track down Gedeon, and he just so happens to be Ilsa’s long-lost brother, one of the last surviving members of the family who stranded…

Escape Pod: The Science Fiction Anthology edited by S.B. Divya and Mur Lafferty
Anthology , Sci-Fi , Titan Books / November 12, 2020

Celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of cutting-edge science fiction from the hit podcast, Escape Pod. Featuring new and classic stories from Cory Doctorow, Ken Liu, Mary Robinette Kowal, Ursula Vernon and more.  From editors Mur Laffterty and S.B. Divya comes the science fiction collection of the year, bringing together bestselling authors in celebration of the publishing phenomenon that is, Escape Pod. It’s been quite a while since I’ve read any short fiction so when I discovered an anthology was due to be published celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of the magnificent podcast Escape Pod I decided it was high time to remedy that oversight. This collection features fifteen science fiction tinged visions of our world and beyond and it’s just a bit awesome. Some random thoughts about each story – Citizens of Elsewhen by Kameron Hurley – If you’re going to protect history and the progenitors of humanity, then you need to get it right. Even if that means re-doing a mission over and over again. Kameron Hurley doesn’t mess about when it comes to kicking this anthology off. The nature of life, existence and how we shape our future is dissected and laid bare in just a handful of pages. I’m…

Night Train by David Quantick
David Quantick , Horror , News , Sci-Fi , Titan Books / August 13, 2020

A woman wakes up, frightened and alone – with no idea where she is. She’s in a room but it’s shaking and jumping like it’s alive. Stumbling through a door, she realizes she is in a train carriage. A carriage full of the dead. This is the Night Train. A bizarre ride on a terrifying locomotive, heading somewhere into the endless night. How did the woman get here? Who is she? And who are the dead? As she struggles to reach the front of the train, through strange and horrifying creatures with stranger stories, each step takes her closer to finding out the train’s hideous secret. Next stop: unknown. This week’s read, Night Train by David Quantick, is a sci-fi thriller with just a dash of horror sprinkled in for good measure. Set on a mysterious train travelling through the dark night, full of danger and the unknown; adventure abounds. Sounds like a winner to me. All aboard, this review is now leaving the station. Please ensure you have your tickets ready for inspection. Garland is an enigma even to herself. She wakes up alone with no memory of who she is and how she came to be where she…

Eden by Tim Lebbon
Horror , Tim Lebbon , Titan Books / June 18, 2020

In a time of global warming and spiralling damage to the environment, the Virgin Zones were established to help combat the change.  Abandoned by humanity and given back to nature, these vast areas in a dozen remote locations across the planet were intended to become the lungs of the world.  But there are always those drawn to such places.  Extreme sports enthusiasts and adventure racing teams target the dangerous, sometimes deadly zones for illicit races.  Only the hardiest and most experienced dare undertake these expeditions. When one such team enters the oldest Zone, Eden, they aren’t prepared for what confronts them.  Nature has returned to Eden in an elemental, primeval way.  And here, nature is no longer humanity’s friend. A new Tim Lebbon novel is always cause for much celebration and rejoicing here at The Eloquent Page. Coldbrook and The Silence* are firm favourites of mine, and both retain a special place in my carefully curated horror novel collection. When I heard about Eden, and the premise behind it, I was beyond pleased. I was fortunate enough to receive a review copy and the good news is it’s another absolute blinder. The main protagonist, Jenn, lives for adventure. She has travelled…

Bone Harvest by James Brogden
Horror , James Brogden , Titan Books / May 14, 2020

YOU SHALL REAP WHAT YOU SOW  Struggling with the effects of early-onset Alzheimer’s, Dennie Keeling leads a quiet life. Her husband is dead, her children are grown, and her best friend, Sarah, was convicted of murdering her abusive husband. All Dennie wants now is to be left to work her allotment in peace. But when three strangers take the allotment next to hers, Dennie starts to notice strange things. Plants are flowering well before their time, shadowy figures prowl at night, and she hears strange noises coming from the newcomers’ shed. Dennie soon realises that she is face to face with an ancient evil – but with her Alzheimer’s steadily getting worse, who is going to believe her? When things feel a bit grim, which they often do at the moment, I seek out the soothing balm of my favourite genre, horror. Perhaps it’s because I take some small degree of comfort knowing that fictional characters are suffering far worse than I am. If you had told me a week ago that I would be writing a review about a horror novel that has a large chunk set on an allotment, I would have been dubious at best. Turns out…

Relics by Tim Lebbon
Fantasy , Tim Lebbon , Titan Books / March 23, 2017

There’s an underground black market for arcane things. Akin to the trade in rhino horns or tigers bones, this group trafficks in mummified satyrs, gryphons claws, and more. When Angela Gough’s lover Vince goes missing, she sets out to find him whatever the risk. She learns that he was employed by the infamous London crime lord Frederick Meloy, providing bizarre objects beyond imagining. Descending into the city’s underbelly, she uncovers a deadly side to the black market. It might have claimed Vince, and Angela may be next. Over the last few years, authors like Mark Morris, Mike Shevdon, Tom Pollock and Liz de Jager have produced work that consistently proves that there is plenty of life left in the urban fantasy genre. The latest to add their name to this esteemed list is Tim Lebbon. Relics is the first book in a new trilogy, and I tell you what, it is an absolute corker. Have you ever been in that situation where you catch a subtle movement in the periphery of your vision? Or perhaps there is an unexpected sound in the darkness of the night. Are there things that have happened to you that just can’t be explained away?…