Eden (Titan, £7.99), the latest from prolific horror author Tim Lebbon, is a compelling SF-horror-eco-thriller set in an all-too plausible near-future where global heating is running riot and world governments have resorted to drastic measures in an attempt to turn the tide. In a clever premise that sets up a seat-of-the pants adventure, the powers that be have established 13 “virgin zones” around the globe, deported the former inhabitants, and instituted a strict no-go policy enforced by paramilitary units. This has given rise to an extreme sport: teams of opportunistic adventurers attempt to cross the zones in a bid to “collect” all 13.
For yet another vision of homicidal nature, there’s Eden (Titan, RRP£7.99) by Tim Lebbon. Some half a century from now, a team of “adventure racers” — extreme sports enthusiasts with an apparent death wish — venture across one of 13 large regions of the world that have been cordoned off from humanity and left to grow wild. These Virgin Zones are an attempt to mitigate the effects of climate and environmental degradation, but evolution has taken a strange turn within them, as our group of characters discover to their cost. Even as they are picked off one after another by the creatures roaming the lush landscape, two of their number press on, searching for a lost family member.
Supermarathoner Jenn, her explorer father and five other unfeasibly driven team members have more immediate concerns, though: the zone they’re racing across (illegally — such races having become a popular extreme sport in Lebbon’s near-future) knows they’re there. Add weirdly well-organised predator species, magic orchids, and zombies. Stir. The plot is as thin as anything. These vacuous adrenaline junkies, hop-skipping across nature reserves, deserve everything Lebbon throws at them.