Alien: Review: 3: River of Pain

Alien riverBy Christopher Golden

Titan Books, out now

Think you know what happened on LV-426 before Gorman and his Marines arrived? Think again…

Titan’s trilogy of Alien novels comes to a stunning conclusion with Christopher Golden’s tale of life and death on Acheron. Incorporating scenes from both Alien and Aliens (the long version of the latter) into the narrative, this is not at all what you might expect going in.

Golden has taken the clues provided by James Cameron’s script and extrapolated them into a portrait of a colony on the brink, whose people desperately need either to get away or to find something to justify their existence on the desolate moon. We see it through the eyes of a new Colonial Marine commander, as well as the members of the Jorden family – whose daughter, Rebecca aka Newt, is destined to be the only survivor of the Xenomorph attack.

As far as I’m aware, we’ve never learned exactly what happened once the Jordens returned to Hadley’s Hope – Cameron cuts even in the long version from Newt seeing the facehugger embracing her father to the aftermath – and Golden gives us a very effective account of the base under siege from the Xenomorphs. Human greed and stupidity both play their part in the downfall and, as happens in real life, there are unlikely heroes and cowards in the fight. Golden also throws a few real surprises into the mix, and I hope some of the threads left hanging are dealt with in future books.

Between this trilogy, rereleasing the novelisations, and the two Alien hardbacks about the films and the new game, Titan has cornered the market on Xenomorph-related material, and this novel is the icing on the cake – highly recommended to all fans of Alien or horror-tinged science fiction.

Verdict: The trilogy comes to a satisfying and appropriate conclusion – well-written, gorey, it feels like the missing piece of the puzzle. 9/10

Paul Simpson

Click here to order Alien: River of Pain from Amazon.co.uk

Click here for our review of book 1: Out of the Shadows

Click here for our review of book 2: Sea of Sorrows

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