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Interview with Alex White, Author of Alien: The Cold Forge – AvP Galaxy Podcast #65

We have just uploaded the 65th episode of the Alien vs. Predator Galaxy Podcast (right-click and save as to download)! Our latest episode includes an interview with Alex White, the author of the absolutely brilliant recent novel Alien – The Cold Forge!

Be warned, this chat does contain some spoilers for the book so I would recommend reading the book first and seriously, if you haven’t already, what are you waiting for?!

 Interview with Alex White, Author of Alien: The Cold Forge - AvP Galaxy Podcast #65

Alex at his book signing on #AlienDay 2018.

Alex talks about how he was inspired with the despicable Dorian Sudler and how to channel Sudler and manipulate your way into writing an Alien book! (just kidding!) We also nerd out with plenty of Alien talk, more about his time working on The Cold Forge and where exactly those eggs came from!

You can follow Alex on Twitter and you can also check out his website here. Alien: The Cold Forge is currently available to order from Amazon (UK/US) and plenty of other good bookstores. If you’ve enjoyed The Cold Forge, be sure to also check out Alex’s new original novel – A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe.

What did you think of our latest episode? Be sure to let us know down below! You can also listen to any of our previous episodes in the Podcast section under the News tab on the main menu. The Alien vs. Predator Galaxy Podcast is also available via iTunesPodBean and Stitcher.

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Comments: 98
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  1. The Cruentus
    It is all about execution though and unlike Hadley's hope. Sevastopol would be a more interesting place as it was already falling apart prior to the Alien arrival. There was smuggling and all sorts of underhanded behavior going on and then there is the working joes, which I think was a great addition to the franchise.

    Knowing the end is not always a bad thing though, sometimes it adds some poignancy.   
  2. The Old One
    I'm always wary of that sort of thing, like the many "Fall of Hadley's Hope" stories we already have- we know where this train stops.
  3. The Old One
    Quote from: FenGiddel on Aug 23, 2018, 02:00:47 AM
    Quote from: The Old One on Aug 22, 2018, 08:25:05 PM
    Is that flirting?
    Coming from a fella married for over 30 years, sad to say, "No, ma'am." But in light of your response to the writing contest, I was pleasantly surprised to see you making some interesting connections across the storylines.


    Does that answer your question?

    I didn't think of the connections as anything other than my own hypothesis, no matter how plausible.
    Thanks for the compliment though.
  4. FenGiddel
    Quote from: The Old One on Aug 14, 2018, 08:03:57 AM
    That's the beauty of a canon that's undefined I suppose, you can set it after A3 yourself if you wish.
    Spoiler

    In my opinion there's two logical places the eggs came from that explains their limited quantity;
    either it's post A3 and it's all they could retrieve from the ruin of the Derelict, or;
    It's during/before Aliens and they found the Torrens, retrieving a number of eggs from it.
    [close]
    Well, aren't you the clever one, teasing interesting things out of the dark corners?  ;)
  5. SM
    Quote from: The Cruentus on Aug 22, 2018, 10:22:28 AM
    Quote from: Wweyland on Aug 22, 2018, 08:30:31 AM
    I finally managed to finish this book and overall I loved it.
    I actually think the best part of the book was the first third with all the great character work, scheming and rising tension.
    When the Aliens escape, it kind of descends into an above average Alien novel.
    While Dorian turning more and more villainous was interesting, I think it could have worked in reverse as well. I mean him actually turning into a decent person with all the hardship. Him starting to bite people at the end was a bit over the top.

    Some questions left open:
    What happened to the sentry guns? They are set up as a great way to contain the Aliens and never mentioned again later.
    Why not use the escape pods immediately? I know most of them were destroyed later but just look at A:R with an efficient way to evacuate.

    That has aleady been done though. Alien: Genocide with Daniel Grant, over the course of the story he becomes more moral and decent. I don't think it would work for Sudler since from the beginning he was evil and petty enough to get a doctor fired because she told him not to smoke.

    I can't remember but maybe silversmile disabled the guns.



    Silversmile did deactivate the guns.

    When the Aliens escape their cages, protocol is lockdown and eject their module.  When that fails they have to evacuate - by which point the Athenian had destroyed them.
  6. The Cruentus
    Quote from: Wweyland on Aug 22, 2018, 08:30:31 AM
    I finally managed to finish this book and overall I loved it.
    I actually think the best part of the book was the first third with all the great character work, scheming and rising tension.
    When the Aliens escape, it kind of descends into an above average Alien novel.
    While Dorian turning more and more villainous was interesting, I think it could have worked in reverse as well. I mean him actually turning into a decent person with all the hardship. Him starting to bite people at the end was a bit over the top.

    Some questions left open:
    What happened to the sentry guns? They are set up as a great way to contain the Aliens and never mentioned again later.
    Why not use the escape pods immediately? I know most of them were destroyed later but just look at A:R with an efficient way to evacuate.

    That has aleady been done though. Alien: Genocide with Daniel Grant, over the course of the story he becomes more moral and decent. I don't think it would work for Sudler since from the beginning he was evil and petty enough to get a doctor fired because she told him not to smoke.

    I can't remember but maybe silversmile disabled the guns.

  7. HuDaFuK
    Quote from: Wweyland on Aug 22, 2018, 08:30:31 AMWhat happened to the sentry guns? They are set up as a great way to contain the Aliens and never mentioned again later.

    Presumably deactivated when Silversmile gets into Titus.

    Quote from: Wweyland on Aug 22, 2018, 08:30:31 AMWhy not use the escape pods immediately? I know most of them were destroyed later but just look at A:R with an efficient way to evacuate.

    They pretty much did. They had no reason to suspect the Aliens would get out of the Glitter Edifice labs after they sealed them, at least not before they could jettison them, but as soon as they did everyone ran for the pods. The Aliens just beat them there.
  8. Wweyland
    I finally managed to finish this book and overall I loved it.
    I actually think the best part of the book was the first third with all the great character work, scheming and rising tension.
    When the Aliens escape, it kind of descends into an above average Alien novel.
    While Dorian turning more and more villainous was interesting, I think it could have worked in reverse as well. I mean him actually turning into a decent person with all the hardship. Him starting to bite people at the end was a bit over the top.

    Some questions left open:
    What happened to the sentry guns? They are set up as a great way to contain the Aliens and never mentioned again later.
    Why not use the escape pods immediately? I know most of them were destroyed later but just look at A:R with an efficient way to evacuate.
  9. Perfect-Organism
    I'm really glad interest for this book has picked up.  I read it as soon as it came out and for a few weeks afterwards, it seemed like it dropped but nobody read it.  Now virtually all reviews are glowing positive.  This book has been one hell of an awesome ride!
  10. The Cruentus
    Quote from: HuDaFuK on Aug 15, 2018, 09:20:22 AM
    Quote from: Corporal Hicks on Aug 15, 2018, 07:14:34 AMAlso, I'm currently halfway through another re-read/re-listen for this weekend's podcast and I am just so f**king annoyed at the staff of the Cold Forge for not having back-ups of everywhere on portable storage in a safe somewhere.

    :laugh:

    Maybe they didn't want to risk someone leaving it in the back of a taxi.

    I think it was mentioned that they were not allowed to have personal back ups or something like that. Blue had to keep hiding hers but that may have simply been because it was for personal use. Official back ups might have been allowed. Can't remember now.  :P
  11. Corporal Hicks
    Quote from: HuDaFuK on Aug 14, 2018, 07:12:45 PM
    The trouble with them coming from the Torrens is there are something like 60-odd Aliens on the Cold Forge to start with, plus a bunch of eggs left over. And that's not even counting the ones that didn't survive to adulthood; I recall the novel mentioning Blue ends up terminating most of the specimens before they mature, because she's only interested in the Facehugger.

    Seems like far too many to have come from Verlaine's ship.

    Unless a Queen developed on the ship? I think I actually prefer the idea of the eggs coming from somewhere other than LV-426. The intent was that the eggs were procured before Aliens took place and it seems like it maybe a bit tight on continuity to pull that off. I do like the idea of it connecting to the lore elsewhere and have them coming from the Torrens.

    Also, I'm currently halfway through another re-read/re-listen for this weekend's podcast and I am just so f**king annoyed at the staff of the Cold Forge for not having back-ups of everything on portable storage in a safe somewhere.
  12. Huggs
    Quote from: The Old One on Aug 14, 2018, 08:21:12 PM
    You're right, it was destroyed in atmosphere.

    As for being propelled elsewhere, that doesn't necessarily mean quickly but just enough so that the trajectory changes.
    An object propelled in a vacuum will keep travelling until it hits something.

    Maybe it ran into Big Chap? Poor fella. Probably thought "Finally, after years of waiting...Food!"

    Boards the Torrens

    "aw dammit. Well, it beats being outside."
  13. The Old One
    You're right, it was destroyed in atmosphere.

    As for being propelled elsewhere, that doesn't necessarily mean quickly but just enough so that the trajectory changes.
    An object propelled in a vacuum will keep travelling until it hits something.
  14. Huggs
    Quote from: The Old One on Aug 14, 2018, 06:52:24 PM
    Sevastopol station's explosion propels the Torrens out of the system on an unknown trajectory.
    The Torrens is found, with a limited number of eggs onboard and one deceased adult Alien.


    I'd always assumed the Alien was propelled out into space along with Amanda when she opened the airlock. And the torrens didn't seem like it was out of control when she boarded it, immediately post Sevastopol explosion. Ad wasn't it basically destroyed in atmosphere?
  15. The Old One
    Quote from: HuDaFuK on Aug 14, 2018, 07:12:45 PM
    The trouble with them coming from the Torrens is there are something like 60-odd Aliens on the Cold Forge to start with, plus a bunch of eggs left over. And that's not even counting the ones that didn't survive to adulthood; I recall the novel mentioning Blue ends up terminating most of the specimens before they mature, because she's only interested in the Facehugger.

    Seems like far too many to have come from Verlaine's ship.

    That leaves the only conclusion that they must have been all they could salvage from the wreckage of the Derelict then.
    IMO
  16. HuDaFuK
    The trouble with them coming from the Torrens is there are something like 60-odd Aliens on the Cold Forge to start with, plus a bunch of eggs left over. And that's not even counting the ones that didn't survive to adulthood; I recall the novel mentioning Blue ends up terminating most of the specimens before they mature, because she's only interested in the Facehugger.

    Seems like far too many to have come from Verlaine's ship.
  17. The Old One
    I doubt that, or there would be no reason for Michael Bishop to go to Fiorina 161,
    nor would it work with his displayed desperation.

    It makes much more sense in my mind that the chain of events went like this;

    The Derelict is present on LV-426.
    Nostromo touches down due to a distress beacon, they leave and the rest is history but they don't deactivate the beacon.
    Years later the Anesidora deactivates the beacon, the events of Alien Isolation take place- Sevastopol station's
    explosion propels the Torrens out of the system on an unknown trajectory.
    The Torrens is found, with a limited number of eggs onboard and one deceased adult Alien.
    The eggs are brought aboard The Cold Forge for study.
    As far as they know these are the only ones in existence.

    They have no knowledge on the Derelict until the time of Ripley's inquest,
    or this takes place after Carter Burke failed and the Derelict was destroyed.

    The reason I refer to Alien Isolation is due to the beacon, and the end of the events that emerged from it.
    It ties into the original Alien in a legitimate way that no other EU story has other than The Cold Forge.

    Eggs coming from anywhere else other than the Derelict to prompt the events of TCF
    around the same time as Aliens/A3 would be too convenient in timing to be believable.
  18. Huggs
    Well that's the thing isn't it? Before Isolation, there was no Sevastopol, no Torrens. Who knows how many other places that have yet to be created and brought into canon, that could more easily explain where the eggs came from?


    On a side note, I'm having a very hard time believing that a company with such resources and a colony on LV-426 could have such a difficult time and constantly fail to gather specimens. Surely before or during the time the colony was being built, or during the early days of the colony, the company could've gotten their hands on something? Of course that would mean Burke was really out of the loop, but we didn't get to see the egg chamber. So who knows how many may have been missing by the time Newts parents got there?

    I think they got what they needed, and have a company owned and operated Hive somewhere.
  19. The Old One
    That's the beauty of a canon that's undefined I suppose, you can set it after A3 yourself if you wish.
    Spoiler

    In my opinion there's two logical places the eggs came from that explains their limited quantity;
    either it's post A3 and it's all they could retrieve from the ruin of the Derelict, or;
    It's during/before Aliens and they found the Torrens, retrieving a number of eggs from it.
    [close]
  20. TheBATMAN
    The only thing I dislike about the book is the time setting. There's no need for it to be set around the same time as Aliens. For me it would have worked better as a post Alien 3 story, all the more so when the acquisition of the eggs is is purposefully left ambiguous.
  21. HuDaFuK
    Quote from: 426Buddy on Aug 13, 2018, 04:20:41 PM
    Spoiler
    Can anyone tell me where the eggs came from? I know they mentioned Burke in the beginning. I'm not sure when this book takes place in relation to the films.
    [close]

    Per Alex White's podcast interview with Hicks:

    Spoiler
    He suggested someone at the company (other than Burke) found out about the derelict following Ripley's recovery, and a team was sent there to recover eggs some time between Ripley being picked up and the colonists finding it themselves. His reasoning was that it's never really made clear how much time elapses between Ripely being found by the salvagers and her attending the inquest aboard Gateway - it could be months, which would give somebody plenty of time to go and collect some samples.

    I'm with SM though, I'm not really sold on that explanation and think the book's better without it.
    [close]
  22. SM
    Quote from: 426Buddy on Aug 13, 2018, 04:20:41 PM
    I agree, but i wasnt really commenting on which one is better or why. Just that Cold Forge is the best thing since.

    Its interesting that the general plot for Cold Forge isnt anything new, but the characters and the way things unfold really elevated the the story to something great. Also the Aliens were given great respect and written in in a way that made them feel like a scary and tangible threat to the rest of the characters.

    Spoiler
    Can anyone tell me where the eggs came from? I know they mentioned Burke in the beginning. I'm not sure when this book takes place in relation to the films.
    [close]

    Spoiler
    White said he thought they came from the Derelict, which doesn't really wash.  There's no indication in the book though - which works way better.  It's above the classification of the characters to know.
    [close]
  23. The Old One
    I believe it takes place at the same time as Aliens or after.

    The Cold Forge is definitely something new, there's no attempt to weaponize them - it's all about Plagiarus Praepotens and specifically I must say the protagonist and antagonists are also unlike any others I've seen before in Alien media.

    The general outline might not be new, but I don't think it has any bearing on quality, positive or negative.
    It's all in Alex White's excellent writing as you no doubt know.

    Spoiler
    I believe Alex White hinted at where the eggs came from, I don't remember off the top of my head.
    [close]
  24. 426Buddy
    I agree, but i wasnt really commenting on which one is better or why. Just that Cold Forge is the best thing since.

    Its interesting that the general plot for Cold Forge isnt anything new, but the characters and the way things unfold really elevated the the story to something great. Also the Aliens were given great respect and written in in a way that made them feel like a scary and tangible threat to the rest of the characters.

    Spoiler
    Can anyone tell me where the eggs came from? I know they mentioned Burke in the beginning. I'm not sure when this book takes place in relation to the films.
    [close]
  25. The Old One
    While I think Isolation has a serviceable story, no nonsense- tonally in line with Alien, believable method for the Derelict to be revisited etc
    It inhabits the world of Alien and feels very genuine doing so, but unfortunately the character writing while exceptional for background characters in particular, the main characters aren't all that well defined partially due to the runtime of the game spending most of its' time away from others.

    That's where The Cold Forge really surpasses Alien Isolation, in it's writing of character and motivation.
    Every character in The Cold Forge is more nuanced and layered than Amanda Ripley.

    It's also essentially why when people say they'd like a sequel to Alien Isolation;
    I question why they'd want Ripley back because she's followed through on what she set out to do.

    Yet another thing The Cold Forge made me realise too, is that with the Derelict destroyed and the eggs gone.
    The only remnant of the original Alien strain exists aboard the Torrens, unless the Plagiarus Praepotens obtained somehow brings it back.
  26. Russ840
    With you on that. Although I do have a couple of Aliens comics on my list of 'Best Of The Franchise'

    For me, this is the only Alien book I would re read.  I own a digital copy but would purchase a hardcover copy if it saw a release.
  27. HuDaFuK
    Quote from: 426Buddy on Aug 12, 2018, 04:35:05 PMHonestly its the best thing to come from the franchise since Isolation. Just a really fantastic alien story.

    Yeah. I'm coming to the end of a re-read myself at the moment; I've literally never re-read a book so soon before. I was thinking yesterday that I've always found the first three films to be what I love most about the franchise, with probably only Isolation from the EU really matching up to them in terms of how much I enjoy the overall product. I think this book might have joined that club though.

    Something else I've really noticed second time around that I've not seen mentioned - I really dig how it's almost entirely presented from the points of view of Blue and Dorian, but with the occasional "interlude", as White calls them, from other characters. That's a neat stylistic touch.
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