Titan by Michael Van Cleve is more than your usual post-apocalyptic novel. Though the blurb makes it seem like standard fare of surviving a nuclear holocaust and its after-effects, Titan veers more into science fiction than naturalistic post-apocalyptic wasteland, as the family at the heart of this novel has to fare a rise of a mutant population – the after-effects of radiation.
The core to any post-apocalyptic tale is not necessarily the environment, but the sympathetic resilience of its characters, and on this front Titan excels. There is also plenty of brutal imagery to spare, and thought-provoking exposition about man’s inhumanity to man.
Where the novel falls a bit is in the tenor of the prose, which is minimalistic and detached when it could use a bit more artistic flourish. It gives the book a sense of emptiness and subtle despair, which is appropriate, but it also has a repetitive cadence that doesn’t always flow quite naturally. One very minor critique is the cover designer’s credit on the cover, which is unnecessary, but shouldn’t scare a curious reader off.
Overall, Titan is a riveting and creative read. If you’ve had your fill of cookie-cutter zombie fiction and apocalyptic wastelands, Titan takes the post-apocalyptic survival genre in new directions, which is an impressive feat in itself. It’s a short read, but packed with action and innovative ideas.