Titan, out July 31
Centuries after Ellen Ripley’s battles with the Alien, one of her descendants discovers that the Xenomorphs have very long memories…
As a concept for an Alien novel, the idea of putting a male descendant of Ripley’s into an Aliens-esque scenario (forced to join a group of soldiers investigating odd activity of a terraformed world) would seem to be one of the less likely to succeed. However, James Moore provides a rollercoaster ride that hearkens back to the film series regularly, but has its own twists on certain elements.
There are some very intriguing hints about Weyland-Yutani’s role in the Alien saga given in this (and reference to Ripley’s daughter’s battle against the Xenomorphs, in a story that’s shortly to be revealed in Alien: Isolation), and a great deal of insight into the Xenomorphs themselves. We’ve had a certain amount of material over the years from their perspective, but Moore gathers pieces of information together to perhaps explain some of the oddities of the film saga.
As with Aliens, we spend a lot of time with the soldiers – who this time are “freelancers” (i.e. mercenaries) rather than full-time Colonial Marines – and there are some truly horrific moments told from their points of view. Unsurprisingly, many of them, and the other inhabitants of LV178, don’t survive, and Moore gives them appropriate deaths – karma, as is pointed out, can be a bitch. There’s also a twist on the “You always were an asshole, Gorman,” scene from Aliens that is as powerful as the original.
There is plenty of scope for a continuation of this story – and I hope that this trilogy of novels (begun with Tim Lebbon’s Out of the Shadows earlier this year, completed with Chris Golden’s River of Pain in November) is just the start of the original Alien stories from Titan.
Verdict: Another well-written, horrific and scary delve into the Alien universe. 9/10