Titan, out 27 June
Crashlanding near a penal colony, Ripley is faced with some horrendous choices…
Somewhere out there in the multiverse, there’s a printed version of this book which follows the manuscript that Alan Dean Foster originally created – the one which explains the motivations of the prisoners, that deals with some of the faulty science, and which doesn’t see Newt killed off. But – like the lost post-Star Trek 2009 quartet of novels from Pocket Books – the chances of us ever getting to see it are pretty much non-existent.
As Foster has explained in interviews, he was told to follow the script of the movie because it would make a better book. He therefore adhered to the old adage of being given lemons and making lemonade, and novelized the script. There’s more to this book than appeared in the theatrical version but even someone of Foster’s talents can’t make a silk purse out of this sow’s ear.
He continues his “sleeping” motif for the start of the book (as seen in both Alien and Aliens) and there are some good moments scattered throughout – the revelation of who Lance Henriksen is playing at the end, for instance, works well – with the best saved for the final paragraphs. In many ways it’s a shame that this marked the end of his involvement with the franchise but one can understand his frustration.
Verdict: Effectively yet another treatment of the same material as the theatrical version and the Assembly Cut, this can’t hide the film’s flaws completely but Foster creates a highly readable novel. 7/10