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Prey for the Hunters
on 4 October 2015
The thing about the Predator is that you can literally drop the monster into ANY genre, setting, year, or conflict (be they real or fictional) and half the novel is written already. This can be good or bad depending on the ability of the writer but Jeff VanderMeer, despite some crass moments, seems to really take a simple premise and launch it into the stratosphere.
Set on an unnamed island in, you guess it, the South China Sea, the place has been turned into a giant game reserve by a retired Khymer Rouge colonel who has packed in several types of trophy animals into fenced-off areas. Among his clients are two suspicious Russians, a Jonny Rotten-type rocker, a rich American who has had a gruesome encounter with the Predator before, a world-weary Romanian, seemingly hundreds of disposable Thai army men, as well as a female pirate out for revenge. Anyone and everyone is on the island and they all want a piece of the Pred. That's just the way he likes it.
If this book is anything it sure ain't boring. Predator: SCS never stops, it just keeps going and going and gets more ridiculous and insane as it builds to the end. By the final pages you'll wonder what on Earth you are reading. As David Lynch once said "an audience would rather be confused than bored".
The cast of characters is a bit too large, and it's easy to lose track of who is who in the early chapters, plus the final battle at the end among the ruins with all of the Thai soldiers is not very well written, not is it made clear where this large number of cannon fodder paper targets came from. But there were still enough twists to distract me from this.
One of the better Predator novels, and definitely worth a read for fans of the Rastafarian Alien. It would actually make for a very good video game, and would certainly have been a better movie than that drek from 2010.