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Tag Archive: Christopher Golden


Review by C.J. Bunce

If you put aside the summer theatrical release of The Predator (a blast of a military/sci-fi action film, check out our review here), and take a look at the two novels that supported the movie, you’ll see a much bigger story Shane Black created to continue the saga of the alien race first introduced to audiences in 1987’s sci-fi classic Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, Predator.  We reviewed James A. Moore’s prequel to the film, The Predator: Hunters and Hunted, here.  Moore gave readers the best of Predator scenes, as one of what we would later learn to be multiple aliens arrived only to first face off in hand to jaw combat against an alligator in the deep South.  Now writers Christopher Golden (Alien: River of Pain) and Mark Morris (The Great Wall) have arrived with The Predator, The Official Movie Novelization

Taken together with Hunters and Hunted, the prequel and novelization bridge the events of Predator 2 in some 600 pages with a to-be-seen future story of advanced, evolved, and upgraded Predator hunter-killers–the place where the novel leaves audiences in the final scene.  It is not the action star squad that is the focus of the entire story arc, it’s Sterling K. Brown’s quasi-government, too-cool-for-CIA alien chaser Traeger.  And if you missed the end of his story arc in the film, you’ll be happy that Holden and Morris’s novel provide a finish worthy of this loathsome villain.

While the novel is faithful to the film, readers will certainly see a lot more than they could see as theater goers–the key scenes in the movie are predominantly filmed in dark and shadow, so the novel amplifies what may have been missed in the outdoor action scenes.  Readers will also better get into the heads of the show’s main stars, the soldier McKenna, his son Rory, and scientist Casey, in addition to the Looneys–the men in McKenna’s ad hoc strike force against the Predator Upgrade creature.

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Is this a stand-up fight or another bug hunt?

Would Aliens–that epic sci-fi war movie sequel to the groundbreaking sci-fi horror tale Alien–have been half as great without the performance of Bill Paxton as Colonial Marine Private Hudson?  Tens of thousands of fans came out to celebrate Paxton and his performance in the film when news spread of his passing this February.  Always willing to recite a line from one of his movies for fans, you have to think he would have loved a read like Aliens: Bug Hunt, a new anthology from Titan Books.  Aliens: Bug Hunt hones in on the gritty band of spacefaring soldiers as 19 authors share 15 new short stories of the Alien universe.

The new release, just after the Aliens 30th anniversary and nicely timed to this month’s theatrical release of Alien: Covenant, provides stories before and after Aliens, some sci-fi, some horror, action and drama, or a mix of each.  One story tells the tale of Corporal Hicks before the events in Aliens, and a personal mission to locate the cause of his wife’s death.  Another story details an operation of the Marines in an encounter with a hostile alien menace unrelated to the Xenomorphs.  One story provides insight into the synthetic Bishop and how he came to be the determined and decisive crew member we met in the series.

The anthology was edited by Jonathan Maberry with new works by Maberry and a “usual suspects” list of tie-in book writers and more.  Dan Abnett, Rachel Caine, Larry Correia, Keith R.A. DeCandido, David Farland, Matt Forbeck, Ray Garton, Christopher Golden, Heather Graham, Brian Keene, Paul Kuppenberg, Tim Lebbon, Marina J. Lostetter, James A. Moore, Yvonne Navarro, Weston Ochse, Mike Resnick, and Scott Sigler contributed stories.

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Tim Lebbon

Interview by C.J. Bunce

Earlier this week I reviewed British author Tim Lebbon’s latest exciting novel, Alien: Out of the Shadows, (see the review here) the first in a trilogy of new novels in the Alien universe, which takes us on a perilous mission with none other than sci-fi/horror icon Ellen Ripley.  This week we caught up with the Bram Stoker Award winning author and asked him about this latest project.  You might know Tim from any of his several novels, including Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi–Into the Void, novelizations of 30 Days of Night (a New York Times Bestseller), and The Cabin in the Woods, or his Hellboy novels.

CB:  It’s not every day someone asks an author to tell a story in what is being marketed as canon for a major sci-fi and horror franchise.  It sounds like an exciting opportunity.  How did you approach the project?

TL:  It’s very exciting!  I’ve been an Alien fan since I saw the first film in my teens, and Aliens is probably my favourite film.  I’d wanted to write an Alien novel for a long time, and when this opportunity arose I agreed in about three seconds.  It was a slightly unusual project in that Fox came up with the very basic outline for the three new books — about a page per novel — and asked the three of us (me, James A. Moore and Christopher Golden) to construct our own ideas around their concept.  It was an interesting process, and once I had my proposal approved by Fox it was pretty much plain sailing.  They made a couple of suggestions about the finished novel — good ones! — and I’m thrilled with the final product.

Alien Out of the Shadows

CB:  Bridging these two films allows you only a very specific opening to create a new story.  Ellen Ripley is in stasis at the end of the original Alien and the beginning of its sequel, Aliens.  Where did the idea come from to locate Out of the Shadows at this point in time?

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Alien Out of the Shadows

Review by C.J. Bunce

You might think you’ve seen it all with five Alien feature films featuring the vile and merciless Xenomorphs.  You might really think you’ve seen everything about Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley from the spaceship Nostromo.  Ripley, the tough-as-nails heroine of the franchise played by Sigourney Weaver, was the lone human survivor of Alien (1979), and she led the charge against a Xenomorph attack in the sequel Aliens (1986), to come back again after her escape pod crashes onto a penal colony planet in Alien³ (1992), and finally return 200 years later as a human/Alien, Terminator-inspired hybrid clone in Alien: Resurrection (1997).  Ripley is on so many best-of lists, like Best Action Heroine and Top 100 Best Genre Character, that it’s impossible to count.  Ripley didn’t make an appearance in either Aliens vs Predator (2007) or Ridley Scott’s return to the Alien universe in 2012’s Prometheus, but has appeared in various incarnations in comic book spinoffs.  Well you haven’t seen the last of Ripley.  To quote the series’ often used tagline, The bitch is back.

A new trilogy series begins later this month, with Tim Lebbon’s Alien: Out of the Shadows.  Surprisingly it bridges the period between Alien and Aliens.  That’s right, Alien: Out of the Shadows pulls apart what you think happened to Ripley between entering into her deep stasis sleep at the end of Alien and her rescue from that sleep at the beginning of Aliens.  And Lebbon does it in a way fans of the series might not flinch at.  More importantly he takes Ripley on a nonstop, perilous mission that is as engaging as the grittiest and most exciting scenes in the franchise, the military mission in Aliens.

#1 Ellen Ripley

Chris “Hoop” Hooper works as chief engineer on a mining vessel called the Marion, as part of a Kelland Mining Company search for a rare metal called Trimonite.  Kelland is, of course, a subsidiary of Weyland-Yutani—the company that controls everything in the future.  Without wasting any paper, Lebbon catches us up with the Marion as two mining vessels go out of control in response to an invasion by certain familiar space “monsters.”  The ships ram the Marion–limiting anyone’s chances at survival, at ever leaving the orbit of the seemingly unextraordinary planet below, and causing the Marion to slowly descend to be burnt up in the planet’s atmosphere.  Jordan is the Marion’s experienced captain (and Hoop’s former love interest), Lachance is a level-headed pilot but he’s a pessimistic sort, Josh Baxter is the ship’s communications officer (and makes a good cocktail), Karen Sneddon is a hardened, intelligent science officer, Garcia is the nervous medic, and Kasyanov the doctor, with Powell and Welford engineers that keep the Marion’s crew alive for more than eleven weeks until Ripley’s shuttle auto-docks with them, 15 days before they predict they will get too close to the planet and burn up.

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