Review: Colony

By Benjamin Cross

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Reviewed by De Gevallene, March 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.


This is a retelling of a story you’ve read before or watched as a movie – pretty much the same plot as Alien, from the 1970s, or for that matter The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle, from 1912 (ah yes, I’m very old, I remember when it first came out…..) As always, a motley crew of military and scientists, stranded out in some remote spot where nobody hears you scream, a treacherous crew member with his own agenda, a mysterious discovery of long-ago foul play, a rising body count and ancient monsters accidentally disturbed. But hey, why not? The old stories are always the best, and a good storyteller can always revive them for another generation.

And Benjamin Cross is a good storyteller. He writes well. He’s slow enough that you are reassured that this is “serious” – with some science thrown in and the usual trope about how humans are spoiling everything (bad humans!) so you feel it’s pretty worthy. And in case you start to suspect that it’s really a bit trashy, you can remind yourself that the author went to Oxford, so it’s intellectual stuff, and to cap it all he’s an archeologist, so he’s actually qualified to throw in an ancient mummy! Read on, read on, nothing to be ashamed of…. But he’s also pacey enough and canny enough that you get carried along on the story and it all gets very thrilling in a gruesome, action packed sort of way.

This is a strictly commercial book, writing to a formula, ticking the boxes – but for ‘commercial’ read ‘yeah, people are actually going to enjoy reading this’, and for ‘ticking all the boxes’ read ‘be honest here, wouldn’t you rather have a cake made to a trusted recipe with eggs and butter and sugar and flour, rather than some hi-falutin bit of poncy experimentalism, blended with interesting seaweed and goat’s urine?

Go on, let yourself go, these are difficult times, you don’t have to prove anything. This is a good read that won’t tax you much or linger in the mind to irritate you later. We all need some of those.

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This review was conducted as part of a Blackthorn’s Book Tour. I purchased my own copy. This is my honest review.