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Titan Books: 40 at 40!

Published on 24 June, 2021

This year, Titan Books turns 40! Yes, you read that correctly. 40 years of industry leading film, TV, and gaming fiction and non-fiction, alongside one of the most exciting and dynamic original fiction lists in the business. Not that we're biased or anything. Ahem. To celebrate we asked our colleagues, past and present, to pick a book from our list and tell us what it means to them. 

Read on for some thrilling novels, beautiful art books and a whole lot of birthday love! 

Ellie, Publicity & Marketing: I love V.E. Schwab's Vicious because it is delightfully morally grey (like my soul, I feel), and because it subverts the superhero trope to show that not everyone turns to heroism when given the responsibility of power. Plus, it has one of my favourite unconventional found families. 

Joanna, Fiction Editiorial: I absolutely adore Joan He's debut novel, Descendant of the Crane. With a richly detailed Chinese-inspired setting, a compelling protagonist and a twist I never saw coming, this wonderful YA fantasy has stuck with me for years!

Polly, Publicity & Marketing: Like all my great love affairs, All The Birds In The Sky has the perfect balance of heartfelt optimism, magic and just a touch of apocalypse. I first read it in 2016 before I started working at Titan and it's broken and mended my heart several times since.

Julia, Design: The fiction list at Titan Books is my joy to work on. I couldn’t possibly chose a favourite out of the hundreds of titles I’ve designed. Some can be Vicious, some have PoisonCharm and Beauty, but they are all The Book(s) of Hidden Things. One could say, "Our fiction is purely Shades of Magic".

Sophie, Fiction Editorial: My first Titan book-love was If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio, a bloody, beautifully plotted literary thriller about rivalry and friendship. I push it into the hands of anyone and everyone who will stand still long enough! 

Lydia, Publicity: There are some authors that have a voice that only comes along in a generation, for me Sarah Maria Griffin is one of these. Sarah blends the domestic and the cosmic with surrealism and poetry, creating stories that live in the exact moment she is telling you about, but also somehow always and forever before and after it. I still struggle to sum up Other Words for Smoke without giving the game away (not a great quality in a publicist). So all I will say is it is a story about two siblings, a terrible fire that occurs one summer, an owl and a cat. Except of course, it’s not.

Rosa, Sales: The Seep is just my kind of read, give me an Alien invasion with no violence that screams trans rights and can be read in an all nighter any day of the week.

Julia, former Publicity & Marketing: Utterly perfect when you need some escapism, the A Natural History of Dragons series takes you to a beautifully realised world that you won’t want to leave. It’s a real delight to experience the daring adventures of Lady Trent, and to discover alongside her the many varied species of dragons that populate the land.

Chris, Marketing: I really enjoyed working the booth at San Diego Comicon in 2019 and selling copies of The Making of Alien by J.W. Rinzler. The book was phenomenally popular and fans gushed over it. I barely had to explain it to people and they snapped it up. It's a joy to meet fans at conventions - they are enthusiastic, lack cynicism and remind you why we work in this area of the business. Their passion for our books is a shot in the arm. Often we look at books as problems to solve. But seeing people light up when you present them with one of our works is wonderful. The book is amazing, but the fans are what make me love the work.

Hannah, Marketing: One of my favourite titles to work on was Alien: Out Of the Shadows by Tim Lebbon. It was Titan's first originated fiction set in the Alien universe and being a HUGE Alien fan it felt like all my Christmases had come at once. Writing the ads for the books and getting to see them in print would have made my 15-year-old-self faint, it was awesome, I feel so lucky to work on franchises I love.

Andy, Non-Fiction Editorial: Alien: The Blueprints has definitely been one of my favourite projects so far. I've never done anything quite like it before or since – the incredible detail Graham Langridge put into the drawings, combined with the large format, allowed us to do really cool gatefolds and resulted in a book that's really quite unique and which will hopefully be a valued resource for Alien fans for years to come.

Hugo, Sales: Although it is not out yet (and I haven't seen the final cover) I have to choose The Art and Soul of Dune. After spending half my childhood adoring Dune this title brought it home to me how wonderful it is to work at Titan and to sometimes even get a glimpse of some secret upcoming content.

Sophie, Non-Fiction Editorial: I was first made aware of Titan Books after coming across (and really loving) Over the Moon: Illuminating the Journey by Leonard Maltin. I was drawn to the Netflix movie because the legend of Chang'e was one I grew up with and loved, and I was overjoyed to find that there was a fantastic companion book for the movie! 

Nat, Design: Trying to pick just one Titan Book title that I've had the pleasure of working on, is like trying to choose just one TV show to watch, or one type of cake to eat forever... it just can't be done! While the list of favourites is so very long, The Flash: Cisco Ramon's Journal will always hold a unique place in my heart - the book of my favourite superhero, and the book that started it all. 

Tash, Fiction Editorial

[peak rush hour, in a thunderstorm, on the central line.

beanie hat slaps and chews on gum beside my left ear.

backpacks and briefcases barge past me to exit the train.

the contents of one spilling his documents across the platform.

adidas kisses his teeth. i smile at a tube ad].

The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

Titan Books

[my interview is on wednesday].

Polly, Publicity & Marketing: Working with Gareth L. Powell has been a highlight during my time at Titan. Seeing the Embers of War series get the reception it absolutely deserves has been fantastic; a smart space opera with all the action you want from the genre, yet with a true emotional heart. My favourite kind of science fiction!

Katharine, Publicity: Reading fiction in the age of climate change has become a particular passion of mine and James Bradley's Clade is one of my favorite reads. Bradley's lyrical and sobering view of our suffering Earth is bleak yet still leaves us with an inkling of hope. 

Jenny, RightsThe Rig is an astounding novel, epic in scope and hugely imaginative, with a cast of characters driven by love, hate and jealousy in futuristic worlds which are detailed and vivid.  Unputdownable, melancholic, brilliant.

Laura, Editorial Director: As a life-long SF fan, my early days at Titan were simply heaven. A library of SF just outside my office door. But to choose just one? Oh, Captain "Black Jack" Geary, it has to be you. I followed you across the universe, fought the Syndics with you, jumped the fleet from star system to star system, and never questioned your orders. And then, just when I thought we'd won the war – bring on the aliens. Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet series still brings me unending hours of joy. 

Davi, Fiction Editorial: When The Only Good Indians came into the inbox, it was one of those dream moments when I couldn't believe how cool my job is. It was the end of the day and I went straight home and mainlined the book. Once I'd started, I couldn't stop. The voice, the characters, the Elk Head Woman, the basketball - I was in. Getting to read this early was a huge stand-out, and probably the biggest fanboy moment I've had at Titan.

Hannah, Marketing: One of the most terrifying and therefore memorable, of our books has to be Paul Temblay's A Head Full of Ghosts. Situated firmly in the real world, like all of my favourite horror stories, Tremblay ratchets up the tension with a deft hand and creates spine-tingling set pieces with imagery that will haunt you long after you finish reading, bringing to mind the best of M.R. James and cementing him as one of my favourite Titan authors. 

Kristina, ContractsWhat Big Teeth by Rose Szabo was the first manuscript that I read since joining Titan. It instantly gripped me and I could not put this book down. It is a creepy, riveting, utterly delicious gothic fantasy that has transformed me into a firm horror fan. I am already starving for a reread.

Cat, Fiction Editorial: Offering the perfect answer to a question I've wondered about since I saw my first slasher movie: whatever happens to all those final girls? A love letter and takedown of the slasher movie in equal measures, The Final Girl Support Group had me both laughing hysterically and crying my heart out as their story is finally told.

Tim, Design: Over the years I have had the privilege to work on so many fantastic Titan Books titles that choosing just one is very difficult. Pretty close to the top of my ever-changing list has to be the book accompanying the upcoming James Bond film: No Time To Die: The Making of the Film. As a life-long Ian Fleming and James Bond fan, the opportunity to get a glimpse behind the scenes and, in however small a way, be involved has been hugely satisfying.

Stephanie, Non-Fiction EditorialBlade Runner 2049: The Storyboards was the first book I managed for Titan and it was such a pleasure to work with Sam Hudecki and Darryl Henley, helping them gather their thoughts and experiences together in writing, so that we could shed a light on this special part of the filmmaking process. 

George, Fiction Editorial: 

Titan Books, day 1: Cat - "Hey George, we're a bit busy so can you have a look over this anthology? It's called Invisible Blood."

Me - "Sure, fire that bad boy my way. Who's in it? Ha, this guy has the same name as Lee Child. And Jeffrey Deaver, what a coincidence! Hey, Cat!"

Cat - Nods patiently.

Me - Melts.

Thanhmai, Sales: I loved Good Neighbours by Sarah Langan. Sharp, clever writing about people who are very far from good. It'll make you wonder what lies beneath the surface of your own neighbours.

Paul, Sales Director: Pit your wits against the master storyteller and let me whisk you off to a small island in Maine, one 25 year old murder, no positive ID, a myriad of clues, a plethora of dead ends... King at his very best, The Colorado Kid will simultaneously infuriate and leave you wanting more!

Andrew, Executive Vice President, Titan EntertainmentKilling Town is one of my favourite instalments in Titan's ongoing Mike Hammer legacy series. It's the long-lost first Mike Hammer manuscript, brought to glorious life by Max Allan Collins, presenting noir literature's toughest PI at his borderline psychotic best in a dialled-up-to-eleven, stamp-on-the-accelerator sex and violence fever dream that truly captures the volcanic essence of Spillane.

Adam, former Non-Fiction Editorial: Doug Bradley’s Sacred Monsters: Behind The Mask of the Horror Actor is far more than just the autobiography of the legendary Hellraiser star. An overview of the mask in culture, and throughout the history of horror cinema, it’s both witty and fascinatingly erudite, rather like Doug himself, whom I got to know back in 1996, when he used the Titan building as his office while he wrote the book!

Frankie, Non-Fiction Editorial: I recently joined Titan Books and for my first project I had the pleasure of working with director Mike Flanagan and his team, author Abbie Bernstein, and designer Nat MacKenzie on Midnight Mass: The Art of Horror. Despite remote working, we pulled together to make a beautiful book that captures the heart of the show in all its creepy glory, which Flanagan’s fans will hopefully enjoy. And from me, this is the first of many books to come!

Jo, Non-Fiction Editorial: As an editor, The Art And Making Of Penny Dreadful is as close as I’ve ever come to the perfect book-making experience. A darkly brilliant subject, and everyone involved, from the book’s writer and designer, to the show’s creator, John Logan, and production company, shared the same vision for the book and (in my humble opinion!) brought it to perfect fruition. 

Lydia, Publicity: Needless to say I don't have favourites at Titan, but if I had to select a favourite memory in honor of reflecting a particularly prestigious landmark in the company's history, I would pick a 2016 launch event in a pub just off Tin Pan Alley in Soho with the best playlist ever heard at a book event. We were there to celebrate the revised edition of The Complete David Bowie (a brilliant book that chronicles everything you could ever want to know about Bowie's music, peppered with sincere and warm anecdotes from some of the people who knew him best) and it was a joyous celebration of all things Bowie headed up by the book's wonderful author Nicholas Pegg (who signed so many copies that day, sorry Nick). I'm afraid I tapped out before 'The Laughing Gnome' came on (much to my shame), but I'm told the crowd in attendance danced well into the early hours. As they should. 

Laura, Editorial Director: My first gaming art book acquisition at Titan was Halo: The Great Journey - The Art of Building Worlds, celebrating 10 years of Halo. I was also extraordinarily lucky to be able to make the book as well as the deal. It was the start of many great things to come and now, 10 years on, I always think of my first with special fondness.

Audrey, RightsLife is Strange was my gateway drug into the wonderful world of video games – a cast of incredible characters, the ability to stop time, heart-wrenching emotion – I fell in love straight away. Life is Strange: Welcome to Blackwell Academy is a treasure trove of a scrapbook, full of jokes, doodles and secrets from my favourite characters. Helping to get this gorgeous book translated into other languages has been an absolute high point in my time at Titan.

William, Design: As a huge fan of the rebooted, survival-oriented version of the iconic Lara Croft, I’m drawn to Rise of the Tomb Raider: The Official Art Book; it’s a fantastic showcase for the beautiful art of Rise of the Tomb Raider, whether it be the stunning Siberian snowscapes, amazing architecture, or detailed character design. There is an inspiring sense of discovery to the game, and that is clear to see within the art book, too! 

Cath, Fiction EditorialAnno Dracula was one of the first books I acquired for the burgeoning Titan fiction list and, for me, it has everything you could want in a novel: much-loved characters from history and fiction reimagined, vampires both elegant and deadly, a gripping murder mystery, and the moving romance between the vampire Geneviève Dieudonné and the human Charles Beauregard at its heart. I adore and revere this book in equal measure and feel very fortunate to have been involved in bringing it back to the market.

Sarah, Publicity: One of the first books I read at Titan was Nod by Adrian Barnes; the embodiment of ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead’, this brilliantly sharp and intense apocalyptic tale is deeply unsettling and profoundly thought-provoking. The fresh take was astonishing, so vividly written it could almost be true… Being a bit of a dreamer myself, and mixing reality with the 'land of Nod', this intelligent horror held me captive. 

Sarah, Publicity: Alice by Christina Henry just screams ‘read me’. This inventive retelling envisions Lewis Carroll’s world as you’ve never imagined and portrays an Alice like you’ve never known. Each character is fully realised and unique, making for a fascinating spin on a classic tale, one that will gleefully drag you down into the bowels of its absurdity and madness. Do you dare to follow the white rabbit down the hole? Because I willingly went and the journey still lingers on the outskirts of my memory and in my dreams... Nuanced, captivating, hypnotic.

Craig, Fictional Editorial: For me, what's weird and wonderful about Titan can be summed up by one of the first novels I acquired after starting here. Dracula's Child is a novel that feels made for Titan in that it's both modern and classic. Not only does it respect and honour the original by Bram Stoker, but it builds and continues the story making it feel fresh, original and relevant, just like Titan.

Phew! We hope you've enjoyed reading this look back at our list as much as we enjoyed putting it together. Perhaps you've spotted an old favourite, or maybe discovered something new! Either way, this is just the tip of the iceberg; a small selection of what we've achieved over the last 40 years and we must say, we're certainly looking forward to the next 40!