A dramatic new Alien novel, as Weyland-Yutani seeks to recover from the failure of Hadley’s Hope, and successfully weaponize the Xenomorphs.
With the failure of Hadley’s Hope, Weyland-Yutani has suffered a devastating setback–the loss of the Aliens they aggressively sought to exploit. Yet there’s a reason the Company has risen to the top of the food chain. True to form, they have a redundancy already in place… the facility known as The Cold Forge.
Remote station RB-232 has become their greatest asset in weaponizing the Xenomorphs. However, when Dorian Sudler is sent to RB-232 to assess their progress, he discovers that there’s a spy aboard–someone who doesn’t necessarily act in the company’s best interests. For Dorian, this is the most unforgivable of sins. When found, the perpetrator will be eliminated with extreme prejudice. If unmasked, though, this person may be forced to destroy the entire station… and everyone on board. That is, if the Xenomorphs don’t do the job first…
Firstly I must say that other than watching the Alien films, this is my first time in the Alien universe. While researching this book review, I also found out that Blade Runner is also set in the Alien universe! Maybe I’m the last person on the internet to know this. It makes sense tho.
The main part of the book is set on a remote space station where there are three research projects, each of which has a military application, only one involving Xenomorphs, but i guess.. One is totally enough.
The well known universe of the Alien franchise are perfectly captured by Alex White, from the retro futuristic feel to the dirty, industrial space station. All written expertly with as few words as possible. Moving on from the physical world tho, White captures the atmosphere of the Alien franchise perfectly. Playing on the similarities between the ultra-capitalist Weyland-Yutani, who sits at the top of the capitalist food chain and the Xenomorphs, the ultimate killing machine. But.. as we all know the basic premise of the Alien franchise is that the Xenomorphs will undoubtedly wreak havoc and death on all around them. I do not think that this is a spoiler. After that basic premise, the Alien franchise really boils down to characters..
And this book does not fail to deliver. Two characters really stand out for me… and their bitter rivalry is the making of this book.
Early on we meet Doctor Blue Marsalis, whom we learn is severely physically handicapped on account of a degenerative terminal illness, while her failing body lies in her room, she conducts her day-to-day business by commandeering Marcus, the station’s synthetic. I’m also going to add here that it is also mentioned in passing in the early parts of the book that the space station has a power loader, a synthetic and a power loader! I actually found myself rolling my eyes at this.
You would think that the terminally ill scientist would invoke a sense of sympathy and compassion… but no, once Xenomorphs get involved, all humanity is stripped away and it is simply a case of survival, and what you are prepared to do to survive. I understand the choices and actions Blue makes, but at no point was I ever rooting for her to win.
Dorian Sudler, an exceptionally ruthless auditor for the Weyland-Yutani Corporation. Oh Dorian… where to start?
This man is without doubt one of the worst types of person, the embodiment of all that is wrong with capitalism who views all of his interactions as a way to further his career within the company, but it’s not even that. As he audits people and inevitably saves the company money, he takes an almost sexual pleasure in destroying peoples lives. But he is so intelligent, always looking for weakness and a way to manipulate people, and he is oh so good at it. One of the most interesting psychopath characters i have read in quite some time. The rest of the cast of characters really do add to the story, but Dorian and Blue… fantastic.
The Gritty sounding Michael Braun really suits the story, his voice just fits into the Alien universe so so well, his delivery is perfect using rhythm and pace changes to really build tension, this is so critical to a horror audiobook. In my mind he looks like a gnarly battle scarred space marine, perfect choice for this audiobook.
All in all i really really enjoyed this book, and i can even let White off with his use of a synthetic and power loader (which is not just mentioned, but plays a big part near the end of the book) Alien fans will really enjoy this book, also horror fans and scifi fans in general. Great listen