I think I can speak for everyone when I say that I am easily the biggest and most well-informed Alien fan on the planet. If you have any doubt, just know that I’ve read every Alien(s) novel in existence (some of them multiple times); and even though there’s no such thing as a bad Alien story, some are better than others. That’s where I come in. I bring you today’s Top 5 Friday list…
Rogue Hippo’s Top 5 Alien Novels
Full Disclosure: I’m not including any Alien VS Predator titles. I’m a purist.
#5- Aliens: Music of the Spears
by Yvonne Navarro
At first I wasn’t into this one because the plot was so strange: an eccentric musician (Damon Eddington) wants to use alien screams to create a Symphony of Hate so he goes to his record label, and surprisingly, they’re fully onboard with the idea. In fact, they’re so onboard that they send a team of ninjas to steal an alien egg from a competing corporation so that Damon can hatch the egg and record the resultant alien’s screams. Unfortunately, the alien only seems to scream when it’s angry so naturally the ninjas begin acquiring cats, dogs, a bull, a panther, and the homeless to do battle with the caged alien… all in order to make Eddington’s magnum opus. It gets even crazier when the Helltones (an android thrash metal band) enter the story and face off against the alien; but I won’t spoil that for you as I’m sure you’re all rushing out to buy this one. Yes, it sounds crazy; but dammit it’s just crazy enough to work.
#4- Aliens: Earth Hive
by Steve Perry
This book made the list for two reasons. First, despite Ellen Ripley’s efforts to prevent an alien from reaching earth, I’ve always been curious about what that might look like; and as you can probably guess by the title, that’s exactly what happens in Earth Hive. Let’s just say that Ripley was right and the results are catastrophic. The book does a good job at presenting the futile efforts of the world’s government, military and civilians battle as they battle to save their homeworld. The second reason is that because Earth Hive was written after Aliens but before Alien 3, it essentially creates a new what-if timeline completely independent of Alien 3. I happen to like Alien 3 (there’s no such thing as a bad Alien story, remember) but it was a shame to see what happened to Hicks and Newt after they survived Hadley’s Hope. In Earth Hive, they not only survive, they are the main protagonists as they continue their fight against the alien menace; so I found it enjoyable to see them get a chance to continue their story. If you enjoy this book, it also happens to be part one in a trilogy.
#3- Aliens: Original Sin
by Michael Jan Friedman
If there’s one thing that all Alien fans want, it’s a sequel to Alien: Resurrection. Well, that may not be completely true but if you actually do want a sequel to Resurrection, it can be found in the pages of Aliens: Original Sin and it’s better than you might expect. If you forgot how Alien: Resurrection ended, Ripley 8 and the other survivors of the Auriga incident (Call, Vriess and Johnner) end up aboard The Betty and are shown flying to Earth. Call asks what Ripley 8 what she wants to do next. Ripley replies “I don’t know. I’m a stranger here myself.” Well, you’ll be shocked to learn that Ripley decides to travel around the galaxy hunting aliens! Ok, maybe that’s completely predictable but this is a solid Alien story despite that fact. Ripley and friends learn of a plot to infest the occupants of a massive orbital greenhouse that’s floating through space. It’s this setting that made this story interesting to me. It’s not the typical space station or desolate planet, but instead the humans must make their way through multiple domed greenhouses filled with thick forests and vegetation with plenty of places for bloodthirsty aliens to hide.
#2- Alien: River of Pain
by Christopher Golden
If you’re an Aliens, you’ve wondered what happened at Hadley’s Hope prior to the events of Aliens. Well, wonder no more. That is the story behind Alien: River of Pain; and despite knowing that the end result won’t be a happy one, it’s still a informative ride for any fan of the movies. From a brief introduction to the residents of the colony to the tragic events when Newt’s parents discover the derelict spaceship to the initial alien outbreak and the hopeless struggle to survive, River of Pain fills in one of the most intriguing blank spots left by the Alien movies. It also does an excellent job detailing the timeline of Ripley’s actions on Earth with the events simultaneously playing out on LV-426. Alien: River of Pain is technically the third book in a trilogy that’s loosely tied together but I can assure you that you can read it without reading the other books first. However, if you’re interested in the whole trilogy, start with Alien: Out of the Shadows then Alien: Sea of Sorrows.
#1- Alien: The Cold Forge
by Alex White
One of the most common themes in any Alien story is The Company and the questions that arise when they are compared to the aliens. The aliens are ruthless killing machines because of their instincts. The Company does the same things out of sheer greed and Alien forces asks us which is worse… aliens or humans? To quote Ripley “You don’t see them fucking each other over for a goddamn percentage.” Alien: The Cold Forge is the best example of Company ruthlessness than I’ve seen in any Alien setting. In fact, Weyland-Yutani Auditor Dorian Sudler is arguably the main character of this story which gives the readers an uncommon insight into the thoughts of an Alien-staple… the treacherous ‘company man’. Imagine hearing Burke’s thoughts as he attempts to manipulate the the events at Hadley’s Hope at the expense of everyone around him in order to further his own selfish interests. You get that chance here and I would argue that Dorian mercilessly puts Burke to shame. While all the typical Alien action and carnage can still be found here, it’s the unique perspective of watching it unfold through Dorian’s eyes that make Cold Forge my #1 Alien novel.
Well, there you have it… the top 5 Aliens novels. Tell my why you agree or feel free to boldly flaunt your ignorance in the face of my infallible Aliens knowledge below.
Until Next Time,