Alien: Review: Aliens (the official movie novelization)

aliensnovelBy Alan Dean Foster

Titan, out now

Recovered after 57 years drifting in space, Ellen Ripley is horrified to learn that LV-426 is now a human colony; when Earth loses contact with it, she joins the colonial marines rescue mission…

Seven years after the first Alien film hit cinemas, James Cameron’s pedal to the metal sequel arrived, turning what had been a haunted house horror story into a full-scale war. This one I saw for the first time at an outdoor screening at a drive-in in Canada – the equivalent in those days of an IMAX – and it rapidly became one of my favourite films of the 1980s. I remember reading Foster’s novelization but perhaps because by then videos were becoming more easily available, I’m not sure I have returned to it in the intervening period.

As with his novel based on Alien, it’s a slightly different take on the material. Some of the iconic lines that have become genre standards are missing (notably the one addressed by Ripley to the Alien Queen at the very end), and certain scenes are handled differently – such as the way in which Ripley realizes that Bishop is an android. The “lost” LV-426 sequence (now included in the director’s cut) is also here intact.

Foster cleverly starts off the story to mirror his Alien novel – hopefully he repeated the trick in Alien3 – and through Ripley’s eyes, we see the marines in a new way. It’s a technique that works well throughout the story, and even if you know the film inside out and backwards, you may see something new next time round as a result of reading this.

Verdict: A strong Alien novel which holds up despite extreme familiarity with the source material. 8/10

Paul Simpson

Click here to order Aliens: The Official Movie Novelization from Amazon.co.uk

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