Alien/Predator Novel Reviews

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

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Alien/Predator Novel Reviews (Read 50,699 times)

The Old One

The Old One

#285
Fair enough, much more to go?

Corporal Hicks

No Exit was definitely strong. It's just that last section of the book, and an absence of an actual conclusion that ruin it. Criminal Enterprise is probably the strongest over-all of DH Press' stories.

HuDaFuK

HuDaFuK

#287
Quote from: Hudson on Jan 30, 2020, 10:41:02 PMNow that I think about it, I guess I didn't like it as much as I remember, but I went in bracing myself for a horrible book, and it's definitely not that.

Same. I get the feeling it's one I'll like less and less the more I think about it, but at the time I found it entertaining enough.

Quote from: Fiendishly Inventive on Jan 30, 2020, 11:04:50 PMFair enough, much more to go?

Of the DH Press Aliens run, I've yet to read Cauldron, Criminal Enterprise and No Exit, although I've got them waiting to go.

I've also not read the last two Predator books from DHP. I've got Turnabout but God knows if I'll ever manage to track down a copy of South China Sea, which by all accounts is ace.

Other than those, Covenant - Origins and Echo, I think I've read everything.

Oh wait, I've not done Predator: Big Game yet either, although I've had it ages. The early Predator novels just didn't click with me so I've been putting it off, despite liking what Schofield did with Rogue.

HuDaFuK

HuDaFuK

#288
Aliens: Cauldron

A book of two halves if ever I've read one.

Everything on the Virginia (the first of two ships on which this is set) was ace, with some unexpected twists and well-written and -staged Alien interactions. In particular, there was that awesome moment where the Aliens manipulate a victim to lure others to them. I especially loved that the novel
Spoiler
spent a substantial amount of time setting up the characters and sub-plots on this vessel, right up until the moment the Aliens are unleashed. Then when you next visit, almost everyone's dead and the rest are interested only in trying to control a situation that's already basically lost. That was fantastic.
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Also dug that, in true Alien fashion, the Aliens are mostly never seen clearly by anyone during these scenes, just glimpsed fleetingly and in part.

Sadly, practically everything that took place on the other ship, the Umiak, started out kinda weak and just went downhill from there. The teen characters didn't sound like any teenager I've ever met (and I used to be one) while events became increasingly silly as things went on. The final few chapters in particular were tough going for how dumb they were, coupled with a sense that Carey was running out of either time or interest when writing them. That said, even here there was another excellent display of Alien tactical intelligence and a really cool Alien death that briefly livened things up.

Such a shame the whole novel wasn't on the level of the Virginia scenes or the other brief highlights, because if it were I think this would've been one of the best Alien novels I've read.

p.s. I bet SM loved the Aussie kid's dialogue in this :laugh:

SM

SM

#289
Don't recall if it was as clunky as Cold Forge, but it was certainly clunky.

Cauldron was possibly the worst of the DH Press books.  It was strange that DNA War was half decent after Cauldron.

HuDaFuK

HuDaFuK

#290
Quote from: SM on Feb 22, 2020, 11:12:39 PMDon't recall if it was as clunky as Cold Forge, but it was certainly clunky.

Cold Forge at least had the decency to spell things properly. Cauldron actually included the words "noyce", "troy", "worsh" and "loik" ;D

Quote from: SM on Feb 22, 2020, 11:12:39 PMCauldron was possibly the worst of the DH Press books.

Nah, for me Steel Egg is waaaay out in front on that one!

SM

SM

#291
Steel Egg had a couple of decent sequences, and the Giff's were an interesting idea.  But the characters were generally appalling, with Reynolds being the most one dimensional cliché in any Alien book.  And there was the hamfisted politics as well.

Corporal Hicks

Agreed on Steel Egg being the worse. Such an absolute disappointment. I'd actually been looking forward to that one the most out of all of the DH Press novels. It's hard to think Shirley was an award winning horror author. At least his entry in If It Bleeds was actually good.

HuDaFuK

HuDaFuK

#293
The bits of Steel Egg that impressed me probably amounted to all of 10 pages. The rest of the book was almost total dreck. I struggled to get through it in a way I never have with any other AVP novel.

As I said, I actually thought everything that took place on the Virginia in Cauldron was really well done, and that probably amounted to about a third of the book. As for the rest, only at the very end did it start to get really bad, and even then I don't think it was as awful as much of Steel Egg.

Both books suffered from similar problems with really terrible dialogue, with people talking like they're in a shit TV advert, but it seemed like a less consistent issue in Cauldron and was mostly confined to the teens. Once they became the sole focus of the book, that's when it really dropped off.

SM

SM

#294
QuoteBoth books suffered from similar problems with really terrible dialogue, with people talking like they're in a shit TV advert, but it seemed like a less consistent issue in Cauldron and was mostly confined to the teens.

I thought the teens - while pretty bad - were the least of the issues with character and dialogue.  Ned and his sister seem to have grown up pretty isolated so you could excuse the godawful words they were given.  The crew though... dialogue that bad is rare outside of fanfic. 

The best bit of Cauldron was the Alien making the dead guy make noises.  The water tank was kind of inventive too.  Otherwise, probably the worst Alien novel.

HuDaFuK

HuDaFuK

#295
Quote from: Hudson on Feb 24, 2020, 03:11:24 PM2019 novel review blurbs roundup:

Not got Echo yet (waiting on the paperback) but I agree completely with the other two.

Quote from: SM on Feb 24, 2020, 07:38:45 PMI thought the teens - while pretty bad - were the least of the issues with character and dialogue ... dialogue that bad is rare outside of fanfic.

I honestly remember Steel Egg being so much worse on the dialogue front - as was Forever Midnight by the same author.

That's not to say there wasn't some seriously ropey stuff in Cauldron. But again, as an issue it seemed bizarrely specific to the Umiak scenes. I don't recall having any problems with the Virginia crew's chat.

It's also weird because I thought Carey's dialogue in DNA War was generally pretty good. Some of it was certainly odd, but in that book it seemed fitting for the characters. Strange that she got it right in one novel and so wrong in another.

As a final aside, I've definitely noticed a trend with these DH Press Aliens novels in that they typically seem to start quite well, but sooner or later go to pot - Original Sin was sort of OK but then had no real conclusion, Cauldron went downhill once you were off the Virginia, DNA War started getting totally wtf in the final act, and Steel Egg became a shitshow pretty much immediately after some halfway engaging opening scenes. From what I've heard this downward trend is true of No Exit as well.

But f*ck it, I'm reading Predator: Turnabout now and it's fantastic. Wish Perry, Sr. had written all his EU books this well, he's like a totally different author on this one.

The Old One

The Old One

#296
Yes it's a real good one.

HuDaFuK

HuDaFuK

#297
Finished Turnabout; absolutely ripped through it. As Hudson says, it's minimalist but really engaging and never boring. Ending was predictable but otherwise I can't fault it. Got a good giggle out of the sneaky reference to Perry's Yautja take on the Predators, ditto the cameo by Arnold Schwarzenegger as himself :) So far, this and Flesh and Blood have taken a Predator-sized dump all over the DH Press Aliens books.

I'm gonna give Rematch another look next purely because I'd not read the book to which it is a sequel the first time around. After that, Phalanx ;D

HuDaFuK

HuDaFuK

#298
So, after years of coveting it, I just finished South China Sea a few minutes ago.

First of all, let me say this - despite the reverence typically shown for this book, I think I wound up liking Turnabout more. Which kinda surprised me. Ultimately I think it boils down to the extreme simplicity of Turnabout's plot - there's not an ounce of fat on it, and the bare-bones nature of it reminded me favourably of the original film. By contrast, the other Predator (and indeed Alien) novels I've read have tended to have a lot more going on, and Turnabout shines in the way it jettisons just about anything and everything superfluous to its main story.

Now that that's out of the way, and before this starts sounding like a negative review (it's absolutely not), I need to mention the one area where this book kicks all kinds of ass - it's titular antagonist. Good God if this guy hasn't immediately become my favourite Predator of all time. Aside from being one seriously unkillable BAMF, he's also a total c*nt when it comes to tormenting his prey, and I bloody loved it. A few highlights of Predator dickery include:

Spoiler
  • Running up to some unsuspecting dudes in a field and f*cking liquefying one of them where he stands just to let the others know he's around.
  • Tearing out some guy's head and spine so he can lob it into a minefield to check there are mines there.
  • Wilfully ignoring a goon who's paralysed with fear while Mr. Pred stands next to him doing some recon of the surrounding area, then when he's done he just grabs the guy and throws him off a ledge to his death.
  • Hurling the severed heads of the dozens of people he's just killed over the wall of the fortress where the survivors are holed up.
  • Lastly, my personal favourite - the bit where he stands outside said fortress blasting the anguished screams of all the men he's just slaughtered so the people inside can hear.
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He's an absolute sadist, and it's excellent. Loved it.

426Buddy

426Buddy

#299
Cool, I'll PM you my address so you can send it on over lol :laugh:

Did you get it for a reasonable price?

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