Alright, fans of Alien and/or Predator, you might like to know that author Tim Lebbon has returned to the universe of xenomorphs (“It’s a bug hunt…”), Weyland-Yutani, the Colonial Marines, and planets beginning with LV. Lebbon was the author of the first book, Alien: Out of the Shadows, in a recent Alien trilogy from Titan Books, so he’s no stranger to this extremely dangerous creature. But he’s also now returned with his own trilogy that features another well-known alien that likes to hide in plain sight and collect the worst kind of trophies. This new trilogy begins with Predator: Incursion, and, as you can tell from the title, it’s probably not going to be a warm-fuzzy novel with a happy ending.
This story takes place almost 600 years after the events of the Nostromo, but mega-corp Weyland-Yutani is still around, as are the Colonial Marines. FTL travel is now a reality, humans have spread out into the galaxy (yet only have explored about 2%) and have encountered numerous alien species including the Yautja, or as we know them… the predator race. Encounters with the xenomorphs and Yautja have provided researchers with plenty of data, and numerous tech breakthroughs have provided the Colonial Marines with their own stealth armor that’s also resistant to the acidic alien blood and weapons that give the soldiers a solid fighting chance. The predator race continues to antagonize humans with small attacks (usually with just one to three alien soldiers–they’re definitely loners), and encounters with xenomorphs are rare now that Y-T has realized that experimenting and tinkering with this species brings nothing but trouble. The humans keep their eyes on various predator ships and bases that sit on the very edge of the Human Sphere, and the Colonial Marines patrol this edge to try and keep the predator trips inward to a minimum.
But something else is out there, an enemy that the predators and soldiers and Y-T suits have no idea exists. This enemy not only knows the weaknesses of the humans but has also been testing its newest weapon on the predators… a modified version of the xenomorph. When a Colonial Marine defense team is forced to land on a predator space station, they find themselves hunted by both predator and xenomorph. While the rest of the Human Sphere believes terrorist attacks on various planets and military ships and stations are the work of the predators and that war is inevitable against the Yautja, a small group of marines and a very intelligent Yautja researcher are not so certain that the predator race is to blame.
I do love the Alien franchise, and the Predator franchise is a favorite as well. Tim Lebbon has nailed the suspense and dread that the movies provided, with plenty of encounters with both races separately before things REALLY get bad…
NOTE: I got dragged to the first movie back in 1987 not knowing a thing about the film… just that it had Schwarzennegar and appeared to be an action movie. Little did I know I would leave that movie with a grin on my face a mile wide–surprises like that just don’t happen today with our YouTube pre-pre-trailers and spoiler-heavy fan websites.
I know there have been plenty of Alien vs. Predator comics, movies, and games, but it doesn’t matter if you’ve read those or not–this is new stomping ground and a perfect place for fans of either franchise to step back in and have some fun with new characters, new weapons, new scares, and a new enemy. I’m looking forward to reading the next book, Alien: Invasion, that releases in April 2016 (but it’s SO FAR AWAY…) and then concludes in Book 3 of The Rage War, Alien Vs Predator: Armageddon. As I said earlier, if you’re a fan of either franchise or both, you’ll really enjoy seeing humans, predators, and xenomorphs tossed together in a fight for complete survival of their individual races. Good stuff!
Note: Predator: Incursion is out now from Titan Books. I was provided with a review copy.