The long-awaited 7th chapter of the Star Wars saga brings old characters and new together in an epic adventure sure to excite fans a lot more than the prequels of ten, fifteen years ago. We went into this movie expecting a lot and, for the most part, the movie delivered. But what about the book?
I’ve been a fan of Alan Dean Foster ever since reading his novelisation of Alien 3 back in the day. With a dramatic change of pace, the film proved to be divisive among fans of that series and yet Foser seemed to relish the chance to commit its somewhat muted story to print, lending characters such as Charles Dance’s Clemens more definition than even the movie offered. And that should be the job of the novelist – to breathe even more life into those characters onscreen, to offer fans a greater insight to their actions and motivations, their hopes and fears. And here, in The Force Awakens, Foster does it brilliantly.
Okay, so I’ve read this new Alien series from Titan Books completely arse-about-face. I started with the middle one in the trilogy, James A. Moore’s Sea of Sorrows, and then moved onto the third instalment, Christopher Golden’s River Of Pain. And here I am now reviewing the first in the series, Tim Lebbon’s Out of The Shadows. It doesn’t matter, of course, as while they’re all billed as being somewhat connected, they’re not – each is a self-contained story. In fact, the only thing they share in common is the fact that, at least when released, they were sold to the readers as canonical. And that’s very important because, having read all three now, for me the most striking thing about them is how authentic they feel. As I said in my review of Sea of Sorrows, that alone does set them apart from some of the earlier tie-in-novels (ALIEN HARVEST by Robert Sheckley, I’m looking at you) which, while perhaps entertaining in their own right, have felt nothing like the movies.
ALIEN: RIVER OF PAIN is the third book in the new Titan Books trilogy billed as canonical companion pieces to the movies. Written by Christopher Golden, a dab hand at the ol’ franchise tie-ins, it tells the story of the fall of LV-426 (aka Acheron aka Hadley’s Hope). For those a little rusty with the franchise, that’s the moon where we first met a facehugger back in 1979′s ALIEN and then, 57 in-movie (and 7 actual) years later in ALIENS, it was the terraforming colony upon which Ripley and the Colonial Marines dropshipped their asses after receiving a distress call. Of course, they were too late. Acheron had already fallen, its people, save one little girl called Newt, either dead or impregnated with chestbusters-in-waiting. RIVER OF PAIN tells the story of what went down.
Okay, stop me if you’ve heard this one before…
Girl walks into a spacecraft filled with marines. They’re off to a planet called Hiveworld. Our gal’s badass but scared, having something of a history with the Alien sons-of-biatches they’re going to hunt. But that’s okay because there’s a company guy there and, sure, he’s a bit sleazy but she kinda likes him and thinks she can trust him and…