By Rhett Bruno
Titanborn follows the life of "collector" (part bounty hunter part detective) Malcom Graves. Graves is a seasoned veteran who has seen the worst of humanity and is often tasked with cleaning up such flotsam. He lives in a future where mankind has spread to other planets and have adapted, with the human race branching into sub-species, becoming quite different to each other.
After a serious bombing incident on Earth, Graves is teamed up with a new partner and sent to Saturns largest Moon Titan, a place that has been populated by humanity for Centuries. It's also a place where Graves expects to find the extremists who caused the destruction: Titanborn dissidents who will stop at nothing to free their home from the clutches of Earth.
The story is told from the viewpoint of Graves who's charsima and natural charm mixes perfectly with his world-weary and arrogant attitude. He makes the ideal imperfect anti-hero protagonist with a cavalier, sexist, selfish attitude and a private life that's totally messed up. Bruno does a superb job of making the reader care about this flawed, cantakerous soul, something that perfectly matches the overall tone of the book.
The story is involving, fast-paced and interlaced with action, with plenty of twists and turns keeping the reader glued to the plot. While the tone is gritty, the sardonic, dry humour from Graves prevents the atmosphere getting too dark.
One of the messages in Titanborn is about mega corporations and how our world could turn out should we continue down the line of letting large commercial entities rule our lives and effectively lead our countries. There is also the topical theme of terrorism, revolution and rebellion. These arguments and others are all packed into a book that doesn't let up, it hits the ground running and continues throughout with a blistering pace and more importantly a solid, entertaining story.
Some have compared the book to PKD's seminal novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and I can see what they mean, there is the same dark and dirty feeling of the dogged detective clinging to his imperfect existence while it all crumbles around him. The quality of the writing is superb, mixing in a hardboiled detective theme with that of future noir - wrapped around prose that is witty, gritty, compelling and perfectly entertaining.
Titanborn is modern hardboiled noir fiction that succeeds on every level, it will keep you awake at night reading when you should be tucked up asleep, it will entertain you while also getting the old grey matter to spark. Superb science fiction you shouldn't miss.
Written on 5th September 2016 by Ant .