(Alien, #1)
Published June 1979
Horror, Science Fiction

"Seven dreamers..."

The crew of the spaceship Nostromo are awakened from cryogenic sleep by apparent distress signals originating from an unknown planet. Fulfilling ship directives, the astronauts land and investigate a derelict alien craft along with its strange cargo. One of the crew is attacked by an alien life form but survives and is taken back aboard ship. When the crew are safely on their way back to Sol, none foresee the real horror about to begin...

Alien…a classic, epic movie. Created from a screenplay, they turned around and made the movie, then made the book off the movie/screenplay – one rarely thinks of this book offspring when they hear the word “Alien.” The movie is better too, but for fans of the series, especially completionists, this spawned book is a good addition to the shelves.

I won’t go into the details of the story – what’s the point? If you don’t know the story of Alien, rent it immediately or miss out. The book stays pretty faithful to the film. This didn’t work for the beginning, though, as reading about drug out technical aspects of landing, planning the course, and positioning lasted far too long and bored me. After page forty or so, my interest finally shipped off.

The scene where Lambert, Dallas, and Kane explore the alien vessel and find the chamber is especially eerie and great. In written form, I was able to appreciate the impressiveness and uniqueness of the ship much more than when staring at it on the screen. I think this was due in part to the author taking such time to detail the structure and how truly alien it was, emphasizing this fact further than the movie did. Creepiness was laid on thick as Kane explores the chambers; in written form that daunting climb down seemed longer in length, it’s suspense richer.
After the first half, the book starts changing small things from the movie, which is fine. Overall the deaths in the book were lackluster to the movie though. There wasn’t as much suspense and impact. There is even more kitty emphasis. Mother plays a smaller part, especially at the end. The chase scenes were great and made sense (in other words, they weren’t in trouble because they were acting stupid like some stories rely on, they were acting with intelligence but happened to be up against something stronger than they.)

And of course, there was no underwear showdown!

Character wise, Ridley was less likeable. She is flatter, bitchier, and her arrogance irritated me as well as the crew. Dallas is as likeable in written form as the flick. I cared more about Parker and Brent reading about them. Ash was well done and further fleshed out.

Oddly the alien’s appearance isn’t discussed hardly at all. Weird, right? The author goes into detail about the egg, the facehugger alive and dead. Ash eagerly dishes out revelations and theories about the being’s abilities and superiority, but when it comes to the adult’s alien appearance, it’s ridiculously vague. Was it because the author struggled with the right wording on describing the unique creature right? Writing error and accidentally leaving that description out despite the many chances to include it? Did they want to leave that particular surprise for the movie buffs, what? It bugs me.

Overall fans should read it if they own it or stumble across a copy. The book doesn’t add in any missing pieces or further insight but it’s still an enjoyable read. The characters, even the alien, are flatter – but the action segments work and it’s a fascinating story. It also has made me in the mood to watch the movie again.


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