Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Alien: Out of the Shadows by Tim Lebbon

So I came across this article online the other day and it got me thinking. At first I thought there really wasn't anything that I read that I feel guilty or ashamed about. And yet, it turns out that's not entirely true. There is one thing. When I was younger, I had a penchant for buying books based on screenplays. Ugh. I know! They're not even books movies are based on - they're books written based on the screenplay for a movie. And I had some awful ones - anyone recall the Christian Slater/John Travolta movie Broken Arrow? Yeah, I bought a book based on that movie! There were LOTS of others, too. My mom recently sent me all of my boxed up books from before my move and they were all in there. We had a good laugh about them as well.

And while I do feel guilty about those, I don't feel guilty about reading books based on movie or series worlds. Sometimes a movie or a series is just that good and you want to continue - Buffy novelizations, anyone?

So when I came across a new trilogy of Alien books, set in the Alien universe between Alien and Aliens and written by some of my favorite horror authors, I kind of had to have them. I did wait just a bit - I haven't had a chance to mention it here before now but hubs and I went on a little vacation to San Diego in January and my only (ONLY) request was that we make a trip to Mysterious Galaxy, where I bought the first two Alien titles AND (thanks to the pilot) Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle. (I later hit up an indie in Coronado for the second Veronica Mars book as well - when in Rome and all.

Mysterious Galaxy is a great store so if you ever have a chance to check them out I highly suggest that you do.

I spent the rest of my downtime in San Diego diving into the world of Alien: Out of the Shadows.

A Kelland Mining Company team working planet LV178 makes a startling discovery. Before the Marion crew can be alerted to the find, though, both teams of miners make and emergency return to the ship - carrying dangerous cargo. 

Meanwhile, Ellen Ripley's escape pod has picked up a signal and takes her straight to the Marion. Straight back to the enemy she only very narrowly escaped on Nostromo

Soooo. I love Alien. I love it! And I was super excited about this book - but I wasn't so jazzed about the inclusion of Ripley. It just doesn't fit - yes, they do find a way of explaining how she's encountered the Xenomorphs and The Company yet again with no memory of it by the time Aliens begins (this story is set 37 years after Alien and you may recall Ripley's been floating in space for 57 years by the time she's rescued in Aliens) - but I didn't think she was necessary to this story. 

Out of the Shadows does follow a bit of the same format as the rest of the Alien franchise films. How can you not, right? Hoop and his team are great and Lebbon does a good job fleshing him out in particular. There's lots of gore and lots of action (YES!). And lots of insight into Ripley's own mental struggles.

As for how well Lebbon does with the sci-fi heroine, I thought he did a good job. She's still the Ripley we know and love. Much of her story revolves around fears pertaining to the daughter she left behind before Nostromo and it worked just fine. Even the oh, so convenient way of squeezing this tale in between the first two movies made sense. I just thought it would have worked fine without her. And I probably would have liked it more if it hadn't.

In spite of that, I did have a good time with this book. There are two additional installments in this "official" new Alien trilogy: James A. Moore's Alien: Sea of Sorrows and Christopher Golden's Alien: River of Pain - all of them have been shamelessly included on my bookshelves. I'm hanging onto my Alan Dead Foster novelization of Alien as well :)

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