Tag Archive: Chronicles of Riddick


Review by C.J. Bunce

The latest Aliens novel will come as a surprise to fans of the Alien franchise and tie-in novels.  More of a video game tie-in than an outer space/sci-fi/horror tale, Aliens: Phalanx finds its confrontation with the gloss black, spike-tailed Xenomorphs on a planet much like audiences saw in the sister series, Predators, where individuals are plucked from across the universe and dropped on an undeveloped planet to survive being hunted by that franchise’s title creatures.  Like something out of a post-apocalyptic nightmare, or the tie-in novels for Warcraft, Tomb Raider, or Gears of War, readers meet up with members of a pre-industrial culture fighting for survival.  Aliens: Phalanx arrives in stores everywhere today and is available to order here at Amazon.

Literally a society on the run, locals must strategize their movements to get from place to place, actually living among the Xenomorphs that they not surprisingly refer to as “demons.”  Writer Scott Sigler details in more than 500 pages–the longest Alien tie-in yet–his characters’ journey, all toward the ends of touching back into more of the familiarity of the Alien universe.  The conceit of the films is that humans could stand any chance against the Xenomorphs.  Readers’ suspension of disbelief will be pressed even further here, when those being asked to survive in the tale do not benefit from the full arsenal of Weyland/Yutani’s corporate-backed armament as found in the Aliens movie and prior stories.

Billed as a “medieval” tale, Aliens: Phalanx is probably more about “going medieval,” survival in the modern sense, more than anything that touches on the actual Middle Ages (as a historian I wouldn’t have guessed the Middle Ages presence here over, say, an early North or Latin America construct).  In fact, without the title and cover art, for most of the novel readers wouldn’t know they were reading an Aliens universe story.  The environment, the worldbuilding, the culture, the lack of naming convention all lend the book to have been readily adapted to an alien world of any sci-fi franchise, or even something like Cowboys and Aliens, as the vibe is more something out of S. Craig Zahler’s Bone Tomahawk–primitive culture but not so primitive antagonists in a horrifying, primal bid for survival.

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Riddick and pal

Imagine a movie where Khan from Star Trek is trapped on Seti Alpha VI and Jabba the Hutt puts a bounty on his head and sends several mercenaries to track him down.  Now imagine this takes place in Jurassic Park and Ridley Scott’s aliens invade.  Oh, and Battlestar Galactica’s Kara Thrace is one of the bounty hunters.  And better yet, Khan is played by Vin Diesel.

sci fi and fantasy mix in Riddick

Imagine no further.  Just check out the new trailer to the latest installment in the Chronicles of Riddick, titled Riddick:

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Riddick

The 2000 sci-fi movie Pitch Black alone was a solid thriller, considering it was starring a relatively unknown new action star, Vin Diesel.  A dark battle for survival with marooned space travelers on a desert planet, Diesel’s equally dry voice and cool demeanor boosted him into lead roles in The Fast and the Furious series and the XXX series.  Pitch Black featured Diesel as a silver eyed mercenary who has the rare ability in this new sci-fi world to see clearly in the dark, along with Red Widow star Radha Mitchell and They Live co-star Keith David.

Dragon and Riddick

Four years later Diesel brought Riddick back in an animated film, Dark Fury, and to the big screen again in The Chronicles of Riddick, an amped up and bigger budget film co-starring Judi Dench (Skyfall, As Time Goes By) and Karl Urban (Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Judge Dredd).  Like Road Warrior took the original 1979 movie Mad Max into new territory, so went The Chronicles of Riddick, with epic Flash Gordon-inspired sets and Lord of the Rings-quality costumes.  So will the September release of Vin Diesel’s fourth film entry in the Riddick franchise be a Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome blockbuster?

Diesel released the first teaser from the new movie this week on his Facebook page.  It’s definitely a teaser–pretty brief–but you definitely get a vibe this will have a lot of action and suspense.  Check out the first preview of Riddick:

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