Thursday, 8 May 2014


The Giger factor! The Xenomorphs are unleashed in ALIENS. Image: TITAN BOOKS.

She thought the nightmare was over, but warrant officer Ellen Ripley, last survivor of the destroyed commercial tow Nostromo, awakens from a malfunctioning cryosleep to discover a changed universe and the unwelcome return of the Xenomorph threat-this time in legion form- on the planet LV-426, home to the immense "derelict" craft she and her once crew previously encountered in deep space, now inhabited by a terraforming colony run by the insidious and all-corrupting Weyland Yutani- "The Company"- who will stop at nothing to procure the Alien species for their own twisted ambitions and growing power base. Alongside a squad of hard-bitten, top colonial marines believing themselves experienced and powerful enough to neutralise the threat, Ripley, in order to conquer her own personal demons and help rescue the colonists, has no choice but to return to the world that has spawned such organic terrors- but can even she prepare herself for the horrors and ordeals that lay ahead?

In the lair of evil: Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and Newt (Carrie Henn).

ALIEN had been such an incredible smash-hit back in 1979 that there was no way that 20th CENTURY FOX weren't going to do a sequel at some point. Fortunately, despite the departure of Ridley Scott, who had put such an incredible and unique stamp on the first film, writer/producers Gordon Carroll, Walter Hill and David Giler were able to hire a new talent and inspiring film-maker in his own right to tackle part two- a person just starting out in his career as Scott had done eight years before, and with a low budget sci-fi epic that had just hit the big-time on the cult circuit: THE TERMINATOR- yes, the now iconic James Cameron, bringing his love of technology, weapons and warfare to the saga with this brilliantly made, tense and genuinely exciting horror/action/ sci-fi confectionery which would also be a genuinely worthy successor and vital continuance to the ALIEN franchise, featuring an Academy Award nominated performance for Sigourney Weaver as Ripley, who gets to show her maternal side in between operating flamethrowers and bazookas!

A new threat appears with the Alien Queen.

In book form, Alan Dean Foster returns to adapt the saga, and manages to build on the great work he did transforming the original film. That time, he likely had only the original script and no reference photos of the Alien to work with, which, turned into a positive, allowed him to build up the claustrophobia and sweat-inducing tensions on the Nostromo. Now, with the original's passing, he knows the creatures and the character of the fascinating heroine opposing them, giving us a richer, deeper and even more exciting book than the first one, of which he build on certain plot elements and smoothes over any possible potential plot/continuity inconsistencies. There's also several new facets added to the Xenomorphs themselves: we find out out that they have a "stinger" ability that can paralyse their victims, and, alongside the impressive and scary new evolution that is the Alien Queen, Dean Foster introduces smaller versions of the original aliens- Drones- to assist her vile pod laying. Additionally rewarding to readers during this ones original release is the fact that, with no such thing as the ALIENS: SPECIAL EDITION version at that point, this sprightly adaptation keeps all of the original deleted scenes intact within its pages-not forced out like they were in the 1986 theatrical cut (requested of Cameron by FOX in order to keep a two hour running time at cinemas and keep the box office profits flowing), giving us our first taster of the superb sequences that would eventually resurface (more on Ripley's late daughter, the colonists discovery of the decayed alien derelict and the final demise of the loathsome Company man Carter Burke being notable standouts).

TITAN BOOKS 2014 reprinting of the Alan Dean Foster ALIEN novels, alongside up and coming new materials linking it all into one disturbing, evolving gestalt, has proved a welcome move, especially in the run up to the eventual continuation of the series in prequel form with PROMETHEUS 2, likely due around 2016.

Get hold of the book here: Aliens: The Official Movie Novelization: Alan Dean Foster: Books

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