Alien: Review: 2: Sea of Sorrows

Alien seaBy James A. Moore

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

Paul Simpson


2 thoughts on “Alien: Review: 2: Sea of Sorrows

  1. Tim Lebbon’s book was written under a lot of constraints, but it turned out to be a solidly entertaining read. I’m definitely interested in seeing what they do without a reset button.

    This may finally be the first Alien line of novels I stick with. The first series, adapting comic book miniseries, lost me after the first book, partly because the idea of novelizing comics instead of telling new stories seemed pointless. The second series had some writers whose work elsewhere has not been among my favourite reading material so I ignored them, though I missed a couple that could be interesting. Doesn’t hurt that I finally started watching my Alien blu-rays and even had fun playing the much maligned Aliens: Colonial Marines game. (You want to see a justly maligned game, try the Star Trek game.)

    Posted by sjroby | July 27, 2014, 1:02 am
    • For those of us who hadn’t read the comics, the books were good – particularly given the changes they made to them. Both the novels so far have been streets ahead of those though

      Posted by PS | July 27, 2014, 2:20 pm

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