I don’t know about you, but I love cold, snowy weather! It’s the perfect excuse to wrap up in a warm blanket with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book. We’ve had quite a few snowy days since the weekend, so I’ve been doing a significant amount of reading.
One of the books I had the opportunity to read this week was Predator: If It Bleeds, which was edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt.
“If it bleeds, we can kill it.”Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer (Predator, 1987)
Predator: If It Bleeds is a collection of sixteen short stories inspired by the movies, comic books, and novels of the Predator franchise. The stories all take place in different locations and time periods, focusing on the interactions between Predators and human beings. While many of the stories pit the skills of the extraterrestrial hunters against the ingenuity of their human prey, there are also several that give Predators and humans the opportunity to team up against a common enemy.
Each story is unique, both in its content and its presentation, and it is clear that all of the authors who contributed to this book understand their subject matter very well.
The stories in this anthology include:
- “Devil Dogs,” by Tim Lebbon
- “Stonewall’s Last Stand,” by Jeremy Robinson
- “Rematch,” by Steve Perry
- “May Blood Pave My Way Home,” by Weston Ochse
- “Storm Blood,” by Peter J. Wacks and David Boop
- “Last Report from the KSS Psychopomp,” by Jennifer Brozek
- “Skeld’s Keep,” by S. D. Perry
- “Indigenous Species,” by Kevin J. Anderson
- “Blood and Sand,” by Mira Grant
- “Tin Warrior,” by John Shirley
- “Three Sparks,” by Larry Correia
- “The Pilot,” by Andrew Mayne
- “Buffalo Jump,” by Windy N. Wagner
- “Drug War,” by Bryan Thomas Schmidt and Holly Roberds
- “Recon,” by Dayton Ward
- “Gameworld,” by Jonathan Mayberry
Typically, when I read anthologies, I end up having a few favorite stories, several others that I enjoyed, and a couple that I just didn’t care for. That didn’t happen this time. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed all of the stories included in Predator: If It Bleeds, and I would actually find it very difficult to choose a favorite. Not only were the stories very exciting, but each author chose to approach the Predator franchise in a unique way, which made the stories more entertaining to read.
One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was the fact that the reader gets to see many different sides to the Predator/human conflict as it is woven throughout history. Several authors chose to tell their stories from the perspectives of both the Predators and humans, which gives the reader new insights into their hunt-focused culture. I also appreciated the fact that some of the authors chose to give the two species the opportunity to work together in order to survive, something which is only occasionally seen in the movie franchise.
It is worth noting that Predator: If It Bleeds does contain some strong, graphic violence, consistent with the level of violence included in the original series of movies (which are rated R for a very good reason).
Fans of the Predator franchise will definitely enjoy this anthology, but it may also appeal to non-fans as well, especially if you enjoy science fiction. If you have not seen the Predator movies, however, I don’t recommend using this book as your entry point to the franchise. While you don’t have to have seen the entire series of movies to appreciate Predator: If It Bleeds, it definitely helps to have some background knowledge…especially prior to reading “Drug War,” which takes place sometime after the events of the second movie.
If you have the opportunity to read this book, I hope you enjoy the stories as much as I did!