When an illness overtakes the inmates of Tian’s prisoner moon, convicted mercenary Sola must find her way through secrets and the mayhem of an alien pursuer. Meanwhile, on the settlement of Oasis-7, Jay refuses to accept his brother Kit’s escape as a stowaway in a spaceship, leading him into an all-consuming journey of his own.
- Published: Distant Shore Publishing (23 October, 2020)
- Noteworthy: Sibling relationships, gritty atmosphere, prisoner planets
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book via the publisher, which has in no way impacted my honest review. This is an ARC review, and some quotes and content may not make it to the final version of the book.
B. W. Cole’s Biosphere: Hazard is one of those novellas you can travel through in a day.
It’s also one of those stories you can read again and again, like a comfort zone you love to visit every so often, even when, by the third re-read, you already know by heart what’s going to happen.
When Distant Shore, the publisher, pitched it as a blend of Alien and Blade Runner they might as well have tattooed it on my forehead. I mean, pitching a novella as a mix between two of my favorite movies of all time? That’s a sure way to make me excited about it! And if you’re a fan of those franchises as well, then Biosphere: Hazard will be an auspicious breakthrough.
When the fun-loving crew of spaceship Kalhai bites off more than they can chew during a job, the consequences will lead them to a point of no return. I mean, you know shit’s about to go down when someone calling the shots in a spaceship fully stocked with bandits says “in and out, fifteen minutes max”. As it turns out, what you know can still surprise you.
It was a pitiful state, a band of mismatched outcasts, but it was family and the Kalhai was home.
After an unexpected turnaround, the group are forced to the prisoner moon of the gas giant Tian, where they expect to serve a life sentence. And though “life sentence” can seem like extended punishment, it can quickly become a relative term.
As a mysterious disease begins to course through the prisoners, Sola begins to realize there’s more to the place than forced labor. There are secrets hiding under the darkness of this strange moon and its hazardous atmosphere and Sola will be thrown right onto them…
Meanwhile, in the outpost of Oasis-7, Jay’s brother Kit stows away on a spaceship to escape his perfunctory life. With Kit’s disappearance tormenting him, Jay embarks on an all-consuming mission to get his brother back.
In the beginning we don’t quite know how these two storylines will intersect, and though that link is quickly revealed (this is a novella, after all, and I find the pacing tends to be faster than that of longer books) I really enjoyed the expectation of their connecting conclusion.
We have Jay’s story on one side, which is slightly more emotionally personal and intimate, and on the other we have Sola and her fight for survival, a rawer counterpart walking hand in hand with thrilling chases and hair-raising scenarios.
“We may be small, but we are mighty, we may be weak, but we are deadly.”
Interconnecting such distinct yet commensurate storylines made for an interesting read, one that will appeal to all enthusiasts of science-fiction horror and action media.
Although I’m one of those readers who needs to spend a long time with characters to become attached, I still met a likable cast of characters to enjoy this story with. The world absorbs you enough that I would’ve gladly read more of its workings.
Even as I ended up feeling there were one or two questions left unanswered, it was an enjoyable ride all the way through.
Combining the rush of a fast-paced journey with dark elements, creepy suspense, and even the emotional ties of family and friendship, this book would make a fantastic Love, Death & Robots episode.
Biosphere: Hazard is available at
About B. W.
B. W. Cole by name, secretive by nature. I’ve spent my time drifting from hobbit hole to cyberspace and all fantastical places in between.
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