ALIEN: OUT OF THE SHADOWS
Reviewed by RK
ALIEN: OUT OF THE SHADOWS is an original novel based on the ALIEN universe film franchise. Written by SF/Fantasy writer Tim Lebbon. I won’t spoil it with a detailed summary, assuming that most people reading this know the familiar story of scary aliens bursting out of your chest cavity and Sigourney Weaver’s incomparable performance as hero Ripley. There is plenty of action, plenty of Ripley, and much blood and mayhem.
However, in the hands of a lesser writer it would be no more than body count, but Lebbon goes deeper than that making for an interesting tale. There are two POV’s, Ripley and Hobbs, an engineer on a spaceship 37 years after the events of the first alien movie. (This novel is between the first and second movie) Ripley has been in cryo sleep until events awaken her. Hobbs works on a crew that mines a distant planet for a sturdy material exploited by the infamous Weyland-Yutani Corporation. Lebbon does a great job is showing incremental technological changes within the decades Ripley slept and rich descriptions of the hazards of space travel and the mining operation.
The aliens are just as menacing and brutal as always, but the real horror of the novel lies in the suspense elements. There are more secrets about the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, hints about origins of some of the aliens, and the presence of a familiar villain. It is the technology and dangers of space travel that really make the creepy factor work in this novel and that is why I liked it. It kept the aliens from being overused, and gave it the kind of depth and suspense needed for a horror novel to work. It takes the mythos in new directions without relying on vague rehashes of the same thing.
The novel assumes you are familiar with the movies. There were parts of the books in which I realized how much I had forgotten of the first movie or scenes that had started to blend together-in the strange way the mind never remembers things quite the way they happened. But, I enjoyed it. It does have lots of blood and a fair amount of profanity. There are no sex scenes. It is a part of the Aliens franchise, so it is what you expect. If you like the franchise, this will be a fun read.
This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher & Imprint: Titan Books
Blush Quotient: profanity and violence; no sexual situations
Rating: 4 stars