The on-going prequel series to writer and artist Leo’s futuristic Worlds Of Aldebaran, The Survivors, reaches Episode 3 after the previous book had turned around the survivors’ view of the desolate, dangerous world they had crash-landed on.
After encountering one of the quantum anomalies, Alex and Marie have unexpected travelled forward in time six years to find that most of the rest of their human survivor group are living with the feline Holoran leader Antac, his mate Selkert and their group who are technologically adept, wealthy and well-respected amongst the many groups of survivors of various spaceship crashes on the planet. Accepted unquestioningly due to Marie’s freeing of Antac from captivity in what was to Alex and Marie only a few days before, the Holorans are looking to investigate a distant archipelago that their instruments suggest may be a hot-spot for the anomalies. To get there they have built a small seaplane that can take five people to investigate the area – Antac and Selkert for the Holorans and Alex, Marie and Djamila for the humans. Having flown over a floating town populated by unknown amphibians, the plane arrives at the archipelago where they set up their equipment on the beach. However when they discover a strange phenomenon caused, they believe, by the anomalies, their closer investigation proves to be dangerously ill-conceived.
The time jump caused by the anomaly in the previous book is reminiscent of the prison sentence that Leo uses as a plot device to allow time to pass between the second and third books of the original Aldebaran series. Here it allows the set-up of the Holorans as the human’s friends and allies as well as aging Pam, the youngest of the humans, into adulthood. It also allows for what were sometimes awkward relationships between the human survivors in the previous books to blossom into not just trust and love but also, for some, barely concealed anger and resentment. This all helps to round out the characters in the human group as we see them afresh through the eyes of narrator Alex.
It has to be said that the sudden increase in population, technology and civilisation on the planet in this third book is somewhat jarring and that it does seem strange that an, albeit eclectic, civilisation with multiple powered vehicles and even a large drive-on ferry, is lacking in powered aircraft. However after all the character building at the beginning of the book, Leo gets back to what he is best at, placing a small cut-off group of people in harm’s way as new aliens, wonders, and a considerable amount of danger, are introducing during the seaplane expedition.
The Survivors: Quantum Anomalies – Episode 3 builds up its world, rounds out its characters, and then once again introduces both its characters and the reader to the unexpected – and the unexpected is, for me, always the strength of Leo’s books.
There are more details of The Survivors – Episode 3 on the Cinebook website. Episode 4 has been released in France but has yet to be scheduled by Cinebook.
The downthetubes review of The Survivors – Episode 1 is here.
The downthetubes review of The Survivors – Episode 2 is here.
There are more details of Leo’s books on The Worlds Of Aldebaran website (in French).