Review by C.J. Bunce
If only the movies since Aliens had been this good.
Wrapping up the year’s celebration of the 40th anniversary of Ridley Scott’s sci-fi horror classic Alien, coming next week from author Tim Waggoner is the next novel of the Alien universe, Alien: Prototype. I’ve read most of the Alien tie-in novels, and this novel is right on the heels of the best of them, Tim Lebbon’s Alien: Out of the Shadows. Three tough-as-nails female characters drive this story. Readers first meet Tamar Prather, a master of corporate espionage and all-around resourceful spy. Tamar is self-driven and self-serving, and she breaks into Weyland-Yutani to steal a stasis pod housing a valuable trade secret, with a buyer at an opposing corporation ready and waiting.
Several hundred colonists live in the testing facility on the planet Jericho-3, and they’re about to meet a threat even worse than your typical Xenomorph encounter. To protect them is Zula Hendricks (first introduced in the Aliens: Defiance comic series), a member of the security staff who has been training her squad for just this kind of alien encounter. Hendricks knows first-hand what works and what doesn’t in combat, having lost her last platoon from her own bad judgment. Working for the new corporation is a new take on the franchise’s synthetics, an upgraded cyborg named Brigette, and Hendricks’ synth friend Davis, now assisting her but no longer in your typical synth bipedal form.
Despite Alien: Prototype′s requisite, nasty, sci-fi monster–and this time readers will meet an entirely new version of the Xenomorph even more difficult to defeat than her predecessors–the real villains of the Alien-verse continue to be the corporate wonks who refuse to heed the warnings of those who have encountered the Xenomorphs in previous clashes. But for the first time it’s not Weyland-Yutani that is behind the decision-making leading to the next disaster.
Some Frankensteinian efforts combined with that colonial marines action from Aliens, All You Need is Kill/Edge of Tomorrow, and Starship Troopers, and more of what makes Alien… Alien: those weasely, dastardly, bastardly Burke/Paul Reiser types that ultimately teach us not to fool with mother nature–it all spells good sci-fi reading.
Waggoner knows his universe and its rules, what makes a soldier a colonial marine, and a synth a synth. The action makes for a quick, fun read.
For all fans of the Alien-verse, Alien: Prototype arrives in paperback in bookstores next week. It’s available for pre-order now here at Amazon.