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AvPG Reviews Out of the Shadows

I have just uploaded a review for Tim Lebbon and Titan’s latest Alien novel, Out of the Shadows. Released earlier this year in January, Out of the Shadows takes place prior to Aliens and takes the controversial idea of bringing Ripley into the foray:

“It was nice to see story elements where encounters with the Alien truly take their toll – something I don’t think we see quite enough – and it all built up towards the big red button moment in a logical and believable way. However, despite how well Tim Lebbon wrote Ripley and how much I enjoyed getting inside her head, I really don’t see why Ripley’s character had to be included. The plot would not have lost much without her.”

It isn’t all doom-and-gloom however, as Tim managed to craft some great new characters and write a really enjoyable story. You can find more of my thoughts in our review section. Beware minor spoilers

Tim Lebbon also took the time to sit down and answer some of our questions in a follow-up interview: “They wanted the story set between the first two films, suggested that the android we all know and love had inserted himself into the shuttle’s computer, and also mentioned the necessity that Ripley could not remember what happens to her in this book.” Beware significant spoilers!



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Comments: 7
  1. HuDaFuK
    Interesting reads, thanks. You clearly enjoyed the book a lot more than me, but I did think it was well-written. It was the Fox-imposed crap that spoiled it for me. A shame, because Lebbon comes across as a nice guy.

    Also, completely missed that W-Y reference in The Grey!
  2. HuDaFuK
    If one were to want to include them in any further Aliens tales, I think the best way would be to decanonize Alien 3 and go off on a different tangent.  Otherwise, you end up with inserting improbable stories in between the movies.  I really enjoyed Alien out of the Shadows,but 20th Century Fox's idea to include Ripley was really out of left field IMO and totally driven by marketing.  The best way to do it is to just say that Alien 3 is an excellent non-canonical alternate reality film or a sort of "what if?" story.  IMO this does not invalidate Alien 3.  It's still a great film, but a sort of fantasy within a fantasy....
    Or you could, you know, come up with new characters that don't interfere with the films and make us want to invest in them... Except that's so much harder than sticking "Ripley" on the back of the book.

    I'd take Alien 3 over Out of the Shadows any day. At least Alien 3 had a message and went somewhere. People may not like the bleakness of that message, but Out of the Shadows had no substance at all, it was just a pointless story that went nowhere and resolved nothing. Granted there are sequel books planned, but I shouldn't need them for the first novel to feel complete. I can't stand it when they do that. Alien doesn't need Aliens to be awesome.
  3. Perfect-Organism
    I respect your position on the matter, and it is not far off from mine in some ways.  I actually love Alien 3 too.  If you were to ignore Alien and Aliens, and just jump into the series at Alien 3, anyone would think it is a solid film on its own merits.  However I think people are to this day invested in the characters of Hicks, Ripley, and Newt.  If one were to want to include them in any further Aliens tales, I think the best way would be to decanonize Alien 3 and go off on a different tangent.  Otherwise, you end up with inserting improbable stories in between the movies.  I really enjoyed Alien out of the Shadows,but 20th Century Fox's idea to include Ripley was really out of left field IMO and totally driven by marketing.  The best way to do it is to just say that Alien 3 is an excellent non-canonical alternate reality film or a sort of "what if?" story.  IMO this does not invalidate Alien 3.  It's still a great film, but a sort of fantasy within a fantasy....



    All Ripley nonsense aside, it was fun to go on another adventure with Ripley.  If Tim Lebbon had the stipulation to use Ripey, he did a great job.  More over, we got to enjoy Ash again.  That was his first reappearance in 35 years.  It was plain old fun!  As for canon?  gee, I don't know.

    I've always held the contention that Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection should be de-canonized by Fox and they should allow Cameron to pick up the story with Hicks, Newt, and Ripley.  This wouldn't be the first time a film continuity has been reset.  They did it in the Halloween films (I mean even before Rob Zombie did it), where they literally took one of the old films and ignored it in order to have continuity with one of the older films.  It worked great.  I am not disparaging Alien 3 or AR.  They are great stand-alone films to be enjoyed on their own merits.  Nobody will come and take away your copies of the films.  But the core of the series that keeps bringing fans back in droves is Aliens.  Its James Cameron.  This way Ridley Scott can pursue his Prometheus tangent, and James Cameron can pursue the Aliens tangent.  Who knows, maybe the stories could at some point re-converge?  To me, this would be the only best way to bring back Ripley.  I think I may actually start a Facebook petition for Fox to consider this.  My three cents...

    I know its a bit OT, but to add to my previous post, the plot of an Aliens sequel could be loosely inspired by Verheiden's 1988 graphic novels.  Obviously the homeworld / Space Jockey motifs would need to revamped, but that story was otherwise the best of all the graphic novels published...  From what I gather, it was Sigourney Weaver who really wanted the story to go along the lines of Alien 3 and to make her the focus of the series.  That's why Hicks and and Newt got killed.  It was Michael Biehn's openly stated greatest disappointment.  I think Sigourney has a different tune these days.  Is there anyone who thinks she wouldn't jump at the opportunity to be in a Cameron helmed Aliens sequel?  I think this is the only way the fans will handle the return of Ripley without ridiculing the effort...

    Actually I feel the opposite. I loved Alien 3, didn't care too much for Alien Resurrection. Aliens was a good movie, but I would have loved it to be more like alien, horror, suspense... The mystery....
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