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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Action > Science Fiction > Aliens > Murder > Alien: Out Of The Shadows (2014/Paperback/Titan Books by Tim Lebbon)

Alien: Out Of The Shadows (2014/Paperback/Titan Books by Tim Lebbon)

Book: B+

Alien: Out of the Shadows is another excellent entry in the Titan Books' Sci-Fi catalog. Taking place between Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986) and is the first in a trilogy of books that tie in the events between the first two films. Written by Tim Lebbon, the book brings you everything that you love about the Alien universe into your palms in this gripping novella.

This story takes place thirty-seven years after the events of Alien. The set-up is a ship known as the Marion; a deep-ore mining vessel operated by the Kelland Mining Company, which is an offshoot of San Rei, which is an apparent subsidiary of Weyland-Yutani. The ship has a crew roster of fifty and is in orbit over LV178, which is a sand-blasted, storm-ridden inhospitable barren rock, home to the Xenomorphs. However, it is home to large deposits of a compound called trimonite, which is the strongest material known to man and worth a fortune. Thus, Kelland have set up a mining complex down on the surface of the planet, which runs nine levels underground. The first four levels have been completely mined out and are currently excavating level nine at the very bottom.

There are two mining crews each comprised of twenty people who take turns to have fifty consecutive days planetside working the mine. There is an additional skeleton crew to handle the day to day running of the Marion who remain onboard at all times. The story picks up during a shift change shortly after a dropship containing the mining crew has gone down to the surface to deliver the next team and relieve the others to make their way back on another dropship, but all contact has been lost with both them and the mining complex.

The ten people left on board are mildly concerned but put it down to the electrical storms enveloping the planet. Both dropships suddenly come back into com range. Clearly, the miners have discovered a nest of Xenomorphs in the mines and have made a bid to escape, however, several of their numbers have been facehugged and from CCTV cameras, the crew of the Marion can see Chestbursters being born.

This soon leads to an accident resulting in one of the dropships careering into the side of the Marion and exploding. Not only does the resulting damage kill some vital crew members but it also knocks the ship out of orbit and they begin a very slow descent towards the planet where they will eventually burn up if they cannot conduct repairs.

Meanwhile, the second dropship docks on autopilot but has four Xenomorphs on board. The Marion's crew seal up the dropship and lock all doors leading to the docking bay, hoping to seal them inside. They watch on camera as the Xenomorphs grow and mature before the feed is lost. Hooper sends out a desperate distress call mentioning the creatures...

Meanwhile, we cut to Ellen Ripley, still asleep in the Narcissus, who has been drifting now for thirty seven years. The Narcissus intercepts the Marion's distress beacon and docks with it. This is now seventy seven days after the original crash. It seems that sometime before Parker burned him alive, Ash inserted his AI into the Narcissus' computers as a contingency to carry on Special Order 937. Because Hoop's distress call mentioned the Aliens, the Narcissus automatically diverted to intercept it. When it docks, Ripley is revived and questioned by the crew while Ash secretly drains the fuel cell of the Narcissus.

Ripley soon learns about the Aliens trapped in the dropship in the hangar and works out that Ash has infiltrated the computer of her ship. The crew explains that their orbit is still decaying and that they need to do something quickly. They decide to come up with a rather desperate plan of using the Narcissus to get back to Earth and take turns in the stasis pod. However, they need a new fuel cell and all the spares happen to be down on the mine beneath the planet's surface. Also, the dropship they need to get to the surface currently has four mature Aliens on board...

The result is shocking in this gripping all new story from Titan Books and is sure not to be missed! When reading, you can almost hear the score by Jerry Goldsmith and the cold visuals brought to us by James Cameron and Ridley Scott. In space... no one can hear you scream!

- James Harland Lockhart V



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