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Review: Derelict – Mark Ali

Derelict - Mark Ali

Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi

Reviewer: HL

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About The Book

If you find alien technology … don’t turn it on.

Beyond the farthest reaches of explored space, survey ship Cerberus arrives at an unclaimed planet to find a deserted vessel already in orbit. When newly commissioned captain Janet Hollander leads a team to the derelict, they find an ancient alien artifact on board.

As her own crew members begin to disappear, Hollander learns that neither the ghost ship nor the planet are as lifeless as they appear. She must survive long enough to find out what happened to the derelict—before she and her crew suffer the same fate.

The Review

Space horror, gotta be one of my favourite genres! There’s something so seductive to me about the time-old sci-fi tale about a captain, their dysfunctional crew, and a haunted ship. 

Captain Janet Hollander and her crew of the survey ship Cerberus are on a mission to explore planets, hoping to find something of worth. What they find instead is an exploration vessel already in orbit of the planet they’d set their sights on, but the ship is – seemingly – a derelict. Hollander, of course, decides to go against protocol and the warnings of her crew to explore the derelict ship, hoping to find something of value for their superiors. 

Need I say more? We all know what’s going to happen to Hollander, her crew and her ship. The surprise is in the ‘how’, and it’s just glorious to experience. Captain Hollander is the Ripley of the book – tough, badass, no-nonsense. The supporting cast is full of highly intelligent but extremely emotionally volatile mercs and scientists, each with their own personal dramas that turn the claustrophobic setting into a pressure cooker about to explode as the horror creeps in. 

Mark All’s Derelict is the perfect tribute to a much-loved genre. I went into this book knowing that it would hit all of my favourite beats of space horror, and I was delighted that I got exactly what I wanted: mystery, dread, suspense, action, and of course, horror. If you love “Event Horizon” (1998) or the Dead Space video games, then you will have a blast with this book. 

The Reviewer

H. L. is a Jewish Australian writer of LGBT+ fiction. She holds a Master of Arts in International Relations (2015) and a Bachelor of Media in Communications and Journalism (2012), both from the University of New South Wales.

She has been writing stories since she was old enough to hold a pen. She is the author of M/M fantasy romance novels Heart Of Dust and Soul Of Ash, Books 1 & 2 of the Death’s Embrace series.

She has had two speculative short stories published: “The Collector” in the 2014 Future Times Award Collection A Tick Tock Heart, and “Entente” in the 2020 Twisted Stories Award Collection Just Alice.