Alien: Out of the Shadows (2014)

BOOK REVIEW: Alien: Out of the Shadows (2014)

Alien: Out of the Shadows was published in 2014 and is part of a trilogy of original stories based on the Alien films by Ridley Scott. Each book has a different author, this one was written by Tim Lebbon and takes place between the first and second movie.

This novel is a stand-alone story so knowledge of the movies isn’t necessary but it helps as they do make references from time to time. If you haven’t watched the Alien movies yet, seriously get on that shit immediately.

Alien: Out of the Shadows is about a man named Hoop, an engineer on a mining crew stationed on planet LV178. During a storm, their ship the Marion is knocked out of orbit as one of the mining shuttles returning from the planet crashes into a loading dock blowing it up and many of the Marion’s inhabitants. The remaining crew aboard the Marion watch in horror on closed circuit tv as another one of the shuttles trying to escape the planet has its occupants killed one by one first by the face huggers and then their offspring.

With the Marion being knocked out orbit it gets closer and closer to the planet’s atmosphere where it will inevitably burn up. Despite all efforts to contact Earth, no response comes back. Over 70 days later, the remaining crew of the Marion are still trying to survive and figure out how to make it to safety. A strange ship docks in the only remaining docking station left and the crew is optimistic that it’s someone responding to their distress signal. To their bewilderment and dismay when they get inside there is one woman and her cat asleep in the stasis pod, one Ellen Ripley.

Ripley awakens to find that she has been in stasis for 37 years and she’s now on a doomed ship infested with the aliens she thought she just left behind. I really enjoyed reading Ripley’s thoughts and perspective on the situations that occur in this book. Her characters mind read exactly how I imagined it.

In order to have any chance of getting home Ripley, Hoop, and the remaining crew must go to the mines on planet LV178 in order to find a much-needed battery to secure their flight home. While on the planet they encounter more of the aliens, face huggers and even an entirely new species of alien. Here is the only part I wish the reader was given more information, the new species of alien were interesting and I would have liked to know more about them. The whole book, however, is written in a way that lets you know time is of the essence, compelling the reader to panic and read frantically at times and making it unbearable to put the book down.

I wondered how they could make a book that fit between the first two movies work in terms of how they could dismiss its existence in the second movie but it works and it works well.

Any fans of the movies and fans sci-fi, in general, should definitely check out Alien: Out of the Shadows. I personally can’t wait to read the next book in this series Alien: Sea of Sorrows by James A. Moore. As a completist and avid fan of the movies, I also want to check out the movie’s novelizations.

Posted by Candace Stone

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