As 80s kids, my brother and me were blown away when we first watched James Cameron’s epic ALIENS (1986) and then we had to grab a VHS copy of Ridley Scott’s ALIEN (1979) to fill in the blanks, because Sigourney Weaver played the iconic scientist hero Ellen Ripley who was such a bad-ass. In our minds Aliens 3, Alien Resurrection and Aliens vs Predator never happened, just like Brett Ratners’ X-Men 3. My head hurts just thinking about this, but I digress. After watching the first two films, you wondered if anything happened to Ellen Ripley during her 57 years of sleep? This “official novel” enlightens ALIEN fans on what happened to Ripley from the end of the first ALIEN film and the start of the second ALIENS film.
The orbital mining freighter Marion and her crew are on a mission to mine Trimonite which is the hardest compound known to man on the rock planet LV178. The ship uses two dropships, the Samson and Deliah to bring the miners and material back and forth. On what seem to be another routine day in space mining, all hell breaks lose the as the Samson crashes into a docking bay causing major damage to the Marion and killing part of the crew. The crew locks up the docking bay with the mysterious Aliens onboard. Now it’s up to Chef Engineer Chris Hooper to get the rest of the surviving crew to safety.
With the Marion floating in orbit, they somehow find the shuttle ship Narcissus with Ellen Ripley on-board in a stasis pod. Ripley finds out that she’s been sleeping for 37 years and thrown into another nightmare again. Not only that, but the evil android Ash is back too in the form of the shuttle Narcissus. Ripley learns that the Marion is badly damaged and will crash onto LV178. The crew figures to use Ripley’s shuttle ship to escape back to Earth, but they need supplies and fuel packs. The surviving crew decides on a crazy last plan, where they would open up the dropship Samson with the Aliens onboard and try to capture them; and then fly down to LV178 mining facility to grab supplies and fuel packs. After that, reboot her shuttle hoping to wipe Ash’s AI and head back to Earth. Sounds like a plan, but when they land on LV178 and retrace what the miners did, they find more than just Aliens.
Usually I’m not a fan of “tie-ins” or “official licensing” products because they sometimes miss the point, but Bram Stroker winner author Tim Lebbon does a fine job bringing another Ellen Ripley adventure to life. And I really liked the Chris Hooper and how he lead his crew, kind of like Michael Biehn’s character Corporal Dwayne Hicks in ALIENS. If you’re a fan of ALIENS then it’s a MUST read and add this book to the canon of the first 2 ALIEN films.
Paperback: Alien – Out of the Shadows
Author: Tim Lebbon
Publisher: Titan Books
Available: January 31, 2013