They say that in space, no one can hear you scream.
Luckily for me, the same rule applies whey you’re alone in your car during an hour long commute to your day job.
Set 35 years after the original Alien film, Alien: Out of the Shadows follows a deep space mining crew, working on the planet LV-178, as they mine for a rare mineral. Not surprisingly, some of the crew stumble across a hive of deadly xenomorphs, and while attempting to flee the planet in two dropships and re-dock with their mothership, the Marion, one ship crashes into the larger vessel and the miners on board the second dropship are slaughtered by xenos. Unfortunately for the reaming crew on board the Marion, the second dropship was on autopilot and docks anyway, bringing the deadly creatures on board. The skeleton crew left on the Marion seals the dropship and alien creatures in the cargo hold.
But they have a bigger problem.
The Marion has incurred critical damage resulting from the first dropship crashing into its hull, and is descending from orbit toward LV-178’s atmosphere, where upon entry it will burn up and kill any souls left on board.
The crew sends out a distress signal, and the only vessel close enough to pick up the signal just happens to be the Narcissus, the lifeboat that contains the sleeping Ellen Ripley. The Narcissus docks with the Marion, and Ripley is revived. She learns of the trapped xenomorphs, and being no stranger to the deadly creatures, does her best to warn the crew of the danger.
The creatures aren’t the only threat, though. Ripley and the crew of the Marion soon find out that Ash, the evil artificial intelligence entity from the first story in the Alien mythos, had uploaded himself onto the Narcissus’s computer prior to Ripley destroying the Nostromo , and has now taken over the computer on the Marion as well. The AI intends to complete his original mission and secure an alien specimen for safe return to the Weyland-Yutani Corporation.
Ultimately, the survivors elect to use the Narcissus as an escape vessel, with the intention of taking turns in the ship’s cryo-pod and hoping they’ll reach an inhabited system before they die of old age. All they need to do is replenish the vessel’s fuel cells, and the only compatible cells just happen to be deep within the mine on the surface of LV-178.
From there, the story moves forward like a Ferrari on a straightaway. The crew, armed with nothing but mining tools must use the dropship–which already contains alien lifeforms–to land on LV-178 to recover the fuel cells. The planet itself is home to an ancient hive of xenomorphs, the mothership is still plummeting toward the planet’s atmosphere, and to top it all off, Ash is doing his best to sabotage every move the crew makes in an attempt to complete his own mission. The end result is a nerve-wracking race against the clock, chockfull of the gore, scares, and action you’d expect from an Alien story.
Oh, and if you’re wondering how Tim Lebbon manages to insert a book in between our beloved Alien and Aliens films without screwing up the whole franchise’s timeline, believe me–he pulls it off marvelously.
I love audiobooks, and when I can find a full-cast production it’s even better, because I basically get an entire movie in my head. I thought I’d include a few notes here about the cast, because if the overall plot hasn’t convinced you to give Alien: Out of the Shadows a shot, some of the talent involved certainly will.
First off, if you decide to listen to this story, you’ll find that NO, Sigourney Weaver does not play the part of Ripley, but Laurel Lefkow does, and she sounds EXACTLY like Sigourney Weaver. I’m serious, I spent thirty minutes Googling because I was absolutely convinced they’d gotten Sigourney to read the part.
It’s genuinely eerie.
So here’s the big one: Rutger Hauer voices one of the characters. I don’t want to spoil, so I won’t tell you which character he plays, but it’s amazing! It’s honestly one of the biggest reasons I bought this audiobook in the first place.
Look, I know audiobooks aren’t for everybody, but if you’ve never given one a shot believe me when I tell you that Alien: Out of the Shadows is one of the best I’ve ever listened to. I give this one 4.5 out of 5 stars.
So go on and download it. And don’t be embarrassed–scream if you want to, no one will hear you…..