*People fiddle with weird egg-looking things
Ripley: That’s not a good idea…
*People get mauled/impregnated/farmed/dismembered by aliens
Ripley: *weary sigh*
When I was a kid of unspecified age, I remember sitting in an unspecified library, reading Star Wars novels, expansions of the universe that numbered in the dozens. Shelves and shelves of Star Wars novels. I don’t remember anything specifically about them, other than they were the apotheosis of literary genius.
What I do know is that any of those books is worlds above any of the garbage in the “prequel trilogies.”
I was not a stupid kid.
What an interesting thing, this taking of a few movies and turning it into a universe, one where multiple authors and timelines and possibilities all co-exist in nonsensical and delightful ways.
Until the internet showed up, this was the original fan fiction.
I had the pleasure of experiencing two Audible productions adapated from the latest round of novels created for the Alien universe.
Alien, as you may know, was a 1979 film directed by Ridley Scott. If you don’t know at least that, get off my blog.
I love the idea of an idea that blooms in the minds of others and inspires them to expand it. As a creator, that must be the ultimate goal, for your creation to spark imagination and grow through others. I believe “crowdsourcing” would be the hip terminology these days. Except instead of the crowd, you had actual authors writing the stuff.
As I dove in deeper into the Alien mythology, I found it reached much further than I ever knew, like an underground web of fungus.
I made this for you.
There’s a rabbit’s hole of movie novelizations that no one wants to be ensnared in. It stretches and tangles and interweaves, with a small pool of authors casting their pens across a wide range of franchises.
I was especially entertained to see that the novelizations for the first three movies were authored by none other than Alan Dean Foster! Why is this exciting? I read a very different “alien” book by Foster last year, and though it wasn’t any good, I…I was just excited, okay?
I’m not going to pretend like it’s easy to take a film like Alien and wring an entire novel out of it:
“The ship is dark and steamy. Ripley hears a noise. It’s dark. Very dark. So dark. The crew runs around for forty-five minutes. Jonesy the cat frightens them. Did I mention it’s dark? Also kind of clangy. Pipes, you know. Finally, the alien. Arrgh! Everyone dies. Almost. Viva Jonesy.”
I’m not here to judge. That shit’s got to be hard to write. Even if the guy who wrote it also wrote, judging by the following cover, the equivalent of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats in space!
But even Foster didn’t have the heart to attempt the miserable, weird Alien: Resurrection.
Another round of novelizations commenced after the most recent movie premiered in 2017.
And looks who’s BACK! Good ol’ Alan Dean Foster, making that franchise paper!
2. Aliens (Bantam Books) 1992-1998
Since 1979, there have been a stream of Alien Comics, and twice novelists would attempt to use elicit words from graphic interpretations of film. The layers are getting deep, man!
Between 1992 and 1998, 6 different authors attacked the Alien franchise, including Steve Perry (NOT “Open Arms” Steve Perry, the Steve Perry who wrote the novelization for Men in Black.)
With titles such as Nightmare Asylum, Berserker, and The Female War, who wouldn’t want to read these?
3. Aliens (Dark Horse Books) 2005-2008
As best I can tell from lazily reading only a few synopses of Alien novels, pretty much all of them involve Ripley in one form or another. Clone/Alien Hybrid/Human woman who is repeatedly ignored despite her actual experience battling the aliens.
Poor Ripley. If she were a man this franchise would end real quicklike with the aliens conquering the universe.
Let’s talk about the xenomorphs, why don’t we? The MO for these creatures remain pretty consistent throughout:
- Impregnate another living being
- Burst out of their chest.
- Murder fucking everything
A tried and true formula that has spawned (get it?) spinoffs galore and that’s not even getting into Alien vs. Predator. Which, not to digress, but the alien should win! Every time! There’s only one Predator and as many aliens as there are eggs and living hosts. It’s barely feasible when humans beat the alien, and we’re like freaking cockroaches and have nuclear weapons! And Ripley!
Producers are clearly just pandering to the powerful Predator lobby.
Well…I didn’t even write anything about that book series. OK!
4. Canonical Alien Series
In 2013-14, another trilogy of Alien madness was published, this time by a new set of authors: Tim Lebbon (The Silence), Christopher Golden (Ararat, Snowblind) and James A. Moore, who has this author’s photo:
And in this new trilogy, guess who’s back? Back again?
Yep, it’s good ‘ol Ripley. I know this because I listened to the Audible productions of River of Pain and Out of the Shadows (Sorry, James A. Moore), featuring performances by none other than Neville from Harry Potter, and that guy who gets cubed in Resident Evil. Even if they don’t really bring anything new to the table, do we really need that? Isn’t a good helping Alien gore with a side of Ripley enough sometimes?
Now that this post has gone on for about 500 words too long, visit Xenopedia to learn more about the Alien universe.