Alien/Predator Novel Reviews

Started by Hudson, Aug 19, 2014, 04:55:43 PM

Author
Alien/Predator Novel Reviews (Read 50,570 times)

Corporal Hicks

No Exit, perhaps, as it was the last one but in all honesty, I don't think so. And you've got the reprints anyway.

HuDaFuK

HuDaFuK

#76
Yeah, I'd feel like a bit of a dick taking the whole lot off you :laugh: But having just had a quick gander on Amazon, the cheapest I can find No Exit for is near enough 20 quid, with others going for significantly more than that, so if your offer's still good...

I'd much rather have individual issues than omnibus editions, so sadly the new reprints don't much interest me.

Hudson

Hudson

#77
AvP Prey 4/5

I decided to revisit this one over the weekend with a plan to follow it up by reading Berserker and then AvP War, saving Hunter's Planet for last as it seems to be kind of an alternate 'non-canonical' sequel at this point.

This is what I would consider to be one of the (if not the) iconic narratives of the Alien/Predator expanded universe. The novel form is the definitive version of the story, for me personally at least. The original comic features outdated art, and suffers from typical pacing/characterization issues as any graphic novel would. Not to say the graphic novel is bad, but I find that it's dated whereas this novel survives better in the twenty-first century. One of the things that most impresses me about the novel is its pacing, and the characterization. Each focalizing character (whose eyes we experience a scene through) feels well drawn and dynamic. The important players in the story all want something, including the Predator characters. "The novel is a machine of desire," writes Douglas Glover in his fiction-writing craft book, "Attack of the Copula Spiders," and each of the characters present in "Prey" are well developed and operate based off of their human (or otherwise) desires. The pacing of the novel also features a structure which holds off an outright Xenomorph invasion until somewhere near the middle, similarly to the original films. AvP Prey has a nice slow-building narrative until everything comes to a head and inevitably reaches a fever pitch. This gives us time to know the people and the setting, and I never felt like the opening parts of the book were moving slowly. Everything here feels readable and entertaining and purposeful. There's a lot of momentum, even in scenes which primarily feature dialogue. A lot of this is the result of what I'd call a well-plotted story. Every scene seems to have a specific function. I don't find that there's anything "extra" that I'd take out. The reader is always learning something important.

After a quick read (this might by my third read overall) I think I only have a couple gripes off the top of my head: 1.) I still don't appreciate all the human attributions laid onto the Predators. Any time one of them is described as "smiling," I felt this was inappropriate. I'm also iffy on their direct dialogue sounding so human. As impressive as the world-building is w/r/t the Predator society and the backstory of the principle character Dachande, a lot of this really detracts from the audience perceiving the Predators as "monsters," which is how they originated in media. They still come off as dangerous, for instance I think half the human body count probably comes as a result of Predator attacks, but the Predator 2 novelization did a fine job of portraying a civilized society without making the Predators come off as essentially Klingon ripoffs. Their culture still feels very familiar and human, as opposed to unfamiliar and alien. 2.) Does Ackland ever face any kind of consequences for being such a tool? It seems like the remaining human characters in the colony are just able to escape, which is detrimental to a sense of tension we get as a reader. Or did I miss something here? Seems like these people just drive away in RVs (sorry, AVs) and get away scot free.

Other than a couple gripes, this really is a memorable and essential text in the Alien & Predator universe. It's a dirty shame that Paul W.S. Anderson got away with the crime of creating a cheap knock off of this story, instead of adapting it. Not to mention the fact that this book works as a great feminist text which feels very much in the tradition of the Alien series.

Quote from: HuDaFuK on Feb 19, 2018, 04:01:59 PM
Yeah, I'd feel like a bit of a dick taking the whole lot off you :laugh: But having just had a quick gander on Amazon, the cheapest I can find No Exit for is near enough 20 quid, with others going for significantly more than that, so if your offer's still good...

I'd much rather have individual issues than omnibus editions, so sadly the new reprints don't much interest me.

Sure enough it does seem that No Exit is starting to creep up in price. Although, it's not celebrated like South China Sea, so I can't see it becoming unattainable. Humblebrag: I got my copy signed by the man himself, Brian Evenson.

I know how you feel about wanting the individual editions too. I never had the Bantam Spectra books other than AvP Prey, so I just felt like tracking down the individual first-editions would've been pricier than getting the Omnibus anthologies. They do look kind of goofy on the shelf.

HuDaFuK

HuDaFuK

#78
Quote from: Hudson on Feb 19, 2018, 06:06:03 PMI know how you feel about wanting the individual editions too. I never had the Bantam Spectra books other than AvP Prey, so I just felt like tracking down the individual first-editions would've been pricier than getting the Omnibus anthologies. They do look kind of goofy on the shelf.

Yeah, it would definitely be easier and probably cheaper to just get the omnibus editions, but unfortunately I'm anal about things like this :laugh:

With the Bantam books it was moot anyway because I collected them just before the omnibus versions were announced. The only one I remember struggling to get for a reasonable price was Berserker (which is a shame because it's definitely the best of them if you ask me) but I lucked out finding a decently-priced copy for sale in the end. The rest were a matter of pennies.

Hudson

Hudson

#79
Just started Berserker last night, through the first three or four chapters. I did notice Perry's already snuck in one "Buddha" which I can only take as a reference to her dad. I also caught one "Jesus f**king Buddha" in Prey.

HuDaFuK

HuDaFuK

#80
I assumed, "Buddha!" was an expletive, akin to us saying, "Jesus Christ!"

An attempt to show that religion has changed and probably diversified in the future.

Hudson

Hudson

#81
Quote from: HuDaFuK on Feb 19, 2018, 07:36:34 PM
I assumed, "Buddha!" was an expletive, akin to us saying, "Jesus Christ!"

An attempt to show that religion has changed and probably diversified in the future.

I think that's a generous read. I felt it was way too conspicuous in Earth War. Just reeked of the author's hand as opposed to a plot point, kind of like the way Stephen King uses the term "gooseflesh" when I probably hear it more commonly referred to as "goosebumps."

EDIT: To be fair, Earth Hive is heavily oriented toward religious thematic content.

HuDaFuK

HuDaFuK

#82
I wasn't necessarily suggesting it was a major plot point, just a way of showing that things have changed in the future.

SM

SM

#83
Quote from: HuDaFuK on Feb 19, 2018, 07:36:34 PM
I assumed, "Buddha!" was an expletive, akin to us saying, "Jesus Christ!"

An attempt to show that religion has changed and probably diversified in the future.

Yeah, I remember one of the comics or novels using 'Jesus H Hubbard' too.

Hudson

Hudson

#84
Maybe this is just an indicator that I'm easily annoyed by things and should be more patient before misreading something.  :P

Corporal Hicks

Corporal Hicks

#85
Quote from: HuDaFuK on Feb 19, 2018, 04:01:59 PM
Yeah, I'd feel like a bit of a dick taking the whole lot off you :laugh: But having just had a quick gander on Amazon, the cheapest I can find No Exit for is near enough 20 quid, with others going for significantly more than that, so if your offer's still good...

I'd much rather have individual issues than omnibus editions, so sadly the new reprints don't much interest me.

I'm not too sure exactly what I got in the lot but I'll need to check. If no-one else claims any off me before I send you Predator 2 back, I'll just pop them all in there.


Quote from: Hudson on Feb 19, 2018, 10:33:17 PM
Maybe this is just an indicator that I'm easily annoyed by things and should be more patient before misreading something.  :P

Ha. I can see where HuDa is coming from but I always found it a little "eh?" too.  :laugh:


Quote from: Hudson on Feb 19, 2018, 06:06:03 PM
After a quick read (this might by my third read overall) I think I only have a couple gripes off the top of my head: 1.) I still don't appreciate all the human attributions laid onto the Predators. Any time one of them is described as "smiling," I felt this was inappropriate. I'm also iffy on their direct dialogue sounding so human. As impressive as the world-building is w/r/t the Predator society and the backstory of the principle character Dachande, a lot of this really detracts from the audience perceiving the Predators as "monsters," which is how they originated in media. They still come off as dangerous, for instance I think half the human body count probably comes as a result of Predator attacks, but the Predator 2 novelization did a fine job of portraying a civilized society without making the Predators come off as essentially Klingon ripoffs. Their culture still feels very familiar and human, as opposed to unfamiliar and alien. 2.) Does Ackland ever face any kind of consequences for being such a tool? It seems like the remaining human characters in the colony are just able to escape, which is detrimental to a sense of tension we get as a reader. Or did I miss something here? Seems like these people just drive away in RVs (sorry, AVs) and get away scot free.

More recently I ended up letting my dislike for the Yautja culture colour my view of the book. And of course the Alien's being stomped upon. Which was unfair a bit, I think, as it was actually a pretty good book! Reading your review, I do now fancy a re-read of Prey.

SiL

SiL

#86
Books? Free books? I'll pay postage.

Corporal Hicks

Let me check exactly which ones I snagged in the deal and I'll let you all fight it out.  :laugh:

SM

SM

#88
Foit ya for it.



Shit that reminds me I have to send back SiL's copy of DNA War...

SiL

SiL

#89
My life is incomplete without those unicycling Aliens.

Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube RSS Feed