Aliens V. Predator Ultimate Prey - AvP Anthology

Started by BryanThomasS, Jan 07, 2021, 08:18:28 PM

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Aliens V. Predator Ultimate Prey - AvP Anthology (Read 32,012 times)

HuDaFuK

I'm only just over halfway through, but so far this antho is definitely recalling Bug Hunt more than If It Bleeds in the way the stories range from awful to great, with most falling somewhere in the middle, whereas If It Bleeds was almost universally great.

Corporal Hicks

What's your general list so far? I've only really disliked Blood and Honor and Better Luck.

HuDaFuK

I absolutely loved Hotel Mariposa and Planting and Harvest.

Blood and Honour was awful and although I've only just started Better Luck to Borrow, irrespective of your review, I can already tell it's gonna be rough.

Everything else so far I've found to be varying degrees of good.

I will say though that Homestead and Abuse, Interrupted were both very well written, they just didn't grab me like Hotel and Planting did for whatever reason.

Marc505

Life got in the way for a while so just picking up the pace again now. Half way through Scylla & Charybdis which I'm enjoying.

Still broadly agree with the opinions above and Hotel Mariposa remains my favourite, I really don't mind AvP in earth/present day settings. Enjoyed the descriptions of the Predator in Abuse Interrupted too although it's noticeable how many of the stories focus on the Predator being female which I'm not sure is needed.

A couple of less enjoyable ones but I don't really like doing writers down if I can help it. "You never go full Kenner" really made me laugh though 😆

Corporal Hicks

Corporal Hicks

#289
I finished Night Doctors this morning.

Spoiler
I really enjoyed this right up until the very end where it went a little off the tracks for me. Think it was somewhat prescient with the whole hesitation towards the COVID vaccine, and from the black perspective as well. I've been listening to Fake Doctors, Real Friends with Donald Faison and it's something he talks about regarding hesitation towards the medical sector because of history that is mentioned in here too.

I did quite like the mad scientist in this one. I thought she was particularly "fun" in how she was written. Loved the whole Alien vaccine thing too. That's something I've found myself toying with in my various attempts to actually finish writing a fan production, so I dug that.

It lost me a little when you start having the main character talking out loud to the Queen, and seemingly being understood. Didn't dig that. So the last 2 or so pages just made me :-X Especially her just picking up that egg. Otherwise I quite enjoyed this one.
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HuDaFuK

Polished off a few more.

Better Luck to Borrow was probably the worst one yet. It reminded me in no small measure of that giant centipede story in the Bug Hunt anthology, which is about the worst official Alien story I've ever read. Tonally it was all over the place and the portrayal of the titular creatures, especially the Aliens, often completely missed the mark. Add to which it was loaded with what is seemingly a hallmark of bad Alien/Predator literature - awful dialogue. Just dire.

Film School was refreshingly ace. Loved the set up, the location was vividly portrayed, some cool creep-out moments courtesy of the sonar scanning system the characters set up, and the way it started in media res and was told in first person really helped it stand out. (A lot of these stories, both good and bad, are suffering across the course of the book from being a bit samey in structure.)

Night Doctors was a bit of a weird one in that despite having a few moments I hated (Hicks has already covered them above), overall I wound up loving the story. I guess it had so much going for it elsewhere I could overlook the faults. Special mention to the idea of researching Aliens to
Spoiler
develop a Chestburster "antidote". That was a really neat concept that actually made a lot of sense, compared to the tired old THEY COULD BE BIOWEAPONS! angle (which I couldn't help but notice the story itself took a little potshot at ;D).
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Marc505

A few pages into Another Mother and I've a feeling it's going to become a favourite.

HuDaFuK

Just finished Scylla and Charybdis. Other than my mild disappointment it wasn't somehow related to Into Charybdis, I enjoyed this one :) The Predator attack on the ship in particular was really well done, I thought. My only gripe is the ending felt really abrupt. I don't know if the author ran out of time or came up against a page limit but it seemed like it got wrapped up really quickly.

HuDaFuK

HuDaFuK

#293
Just read the last two stories.

Another Mother I found to be perhaps a little lacklustre, but that's solely because Phalanx was so exceptional. Mostly I think it was just because the novel was so immersive, taking so much time to build the world and characters, that this felt a bit lightweight in comparison. Still, it was cool to be back on Ataegina and it was a lot of fun seeing them meet the beasties from the other half of the franchise.

To be honest, it's been a bit of a trend with these anthologies that the shorts serving as prequels/sequels to other stories have invariably disappointed me (while some have just been downright awful). Safe to say Kyōdai broke that trend. Possibly my favourite in the whole book. I loved the author(s)'s style. A bit like Isolation, I was worried that being based around Hanzō's brother would feel forced but it was worked in a way that totally made sense.
Spoiler
The shrine to Hanzō's defeat of Falconer was a great touch. I got a good laugh out of Eiji describing Hanzō as the "more emotional and more expressive" brother :laugh: I even liked that there wasn't technically any AVP action in this one - after 14 other stories featuring Aliens and Predators fighting each other it felt like a refreshing change. Even the ending worked for me, although I can see it being something people hate.
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Top marks for this one.

HuDaFuK

Having given it a few days to digest, I found this anthology to be more in line with Bug Hunt than If It Bleeds. By which I mean the stories ran the whole spectrum from excellent to awful. It certainly didn't meet the level of consistent quality found in If It Bleeds.

I'd rank it above Bug Hunt though. Simply because it seemed to have far fewer bad stories than that did. Having said that, I think I liked the best Bug Hunt shorts more than pretty much anything in this one (although to be fair, that likely has more to do with me generally being a bigger fan of Alien than a reflection on the quality of the writing here).

Another problem that I already touched upon is the fact a lot of these shorts felt kinda samey - people are somewhere, Predators and Aliens show up, they fight, Predators win, people move on. The backgrounds and specifics changed but otherwise a lot of the stories were remarkably similar. I haven't read them since they came out but I recall a lot more variety in both Bug Hunt and If It Bleeds. I guess there's only so much you can do when your key focus is on Aliens fighting Predators. Only Kyodai really seemed to mix the theme up any.

Still, I don't wanna sound too down because I enjoyed this for the most part and I'm really glad we're getting more of these collections.

Corporal Hicks

So I finished the book last night, with Scylla and Charybdis, Another Mother and Kyōdai. Again, all solid reads. S&C is another one of those where I think the concept would work quite well in a longer form novel. I think it plays the surprise quite nicely. I can't disagree with HuDa regarding the abrupt ending, but I tend to find that an issue with shorts in general.

It was great to see Sigler and his characters back with Another Mother. I loved seeing how the world had evolved since the end of Phalanx, and was particularly interested in the interactions with the Predator. It was a solid read, but it did still stick to the usual AvP template so while I really enjoyed it, it wasn't in my overall favourites.

Kyōdai was brilliant. It broke from the template which works for me. As with Another Mother, I do love the sequels, and Predators is an entry that hasn't been taken advantage of enough so I particularly enjoyed returning to the hunting preserve. Loved the focus and depth on Eiji. The ending though...

Spoiler
I can see it being disliked. I'm not overly sure how I feel about it myself. But it was nice to see the Aliens demonstrated with intelligence. Not enough shorts in the anthology did that for my liking.
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I'm working on my written review now. Of the 15 shorts, I disliked only 2. I can see what HuDa is saying about the ones he enjoyed more in Bug Hunt tipping it over, but for me I think the majority of the shorts in this being actually good vs the poor-to-okay of the majority of Bug Hunt means as an over-all package I prefer Ultimate Prey over Bug Hunt. I'm leaning in the 8 direction for Ultimate Prey, whereas I'd probably only got for a 5 or 6 for Bug Hunt (I need to do a proper review there).

But realistically, I'm not going to sit and read an anthology through in one go going forwards. I always pick them up for the specific stories.

Xiggz456

Quote from: Corporal Hicks on Apr 05, 2022, 11:20:36 AM
So I finished the book last night, with Scylla and Charybdis, Another Mother and Kyōdai. Again, all solid reads. S&C is another one of those where I think the concept would work quite well in a longer form novel. I think it plays the surprise quite nicely. I can't disagree with HuDa regarding the abrupt ending, but I tend to find that an issue with shorts in general.

It was great to see Sigler and his characters back with Another Mother. I loved seeing how the world had evolved since the end of Phalanx, and was particularly interested in the interactions with the Predator. It was a solid read, but it did still stick to the usual AvP template so while I really enjoyed it, it wasn't in my overall favourites.

Kyōdai was brilliant. It broke from the template which works for me. As with Another Mother, I do love the sequels, and Predators is an entry that hasn't been taken advantage of enough so I particularly enjoyed returning to the hunting preserve. Loved the focus and depth on Eiji. The ending though...

Spoiler
I can see it being disliked. I'm not overly sure how I feel about it myself. But it was nice to see the Aliens demonstrated with intelligence. Not enough shorts in the anthology did that for my liking.
[close]

I'm working on my written review now. Of the 15 shorts, I disliked only 2. I can see what HuDa is saying about the ones he enjoyed more in Bug Hunt tipping it over, but for me I think the majority of the shorts in this being actually good vs the poor-to-okay of the majority of Bug Hunt means as an over-all package I prefer Ultimate Prey over Bug Hunt. I'm leaning in the 8 direction for Ultimate Prey, whereas I'd probably only got for a 5 or 6 for Bug Hunt (I need to do a proper review there).

But realistically, I'm not going to sit and read an anthology through in one go going forwards. I always pick them up for the specific stories.

My thoughts exactly when comparing to the other Anthologies. Looking forward to your written review and potential podcast. 

HuDaFuK

Quote from: Corporal Hicks on Apr 05, 2022, 11:20:36 AMI can see what HuDa is saying about the ones he enjoyed more in Bug Hunt tipping it over, but for me I think the majority of the shorts in this being actually good vs the poor-to-okay of the majority of Bug Hunt means as an over-all package I prefer Ultimate Prey over Bug Hunt.

I think you misunderstood - I thought Ultimate Prey was the better book, I just liked a few of the Alien stories more :)

Adamantiumhip

Mayberry has been hit or miss with these stories. Some were dreadful, some good, one or two truly excellent and a few mediocre.

Its better than bug hunt but i still felt disappointed.

Scott Sigler and Mira Grant saved the day for me . Scotts story as a sequel was worth it alone and wish it had been a full book

Corporal Hicks

Corporal Hicks

#299
Thoughts on the actual entire anthologies aside, of Maberry's shorts, there's not been a single one I didn't enjoy. Deep Black in Bug Hunt, Gameworld in If It Bleeds and Kyōdai (along with Louis Ozawa) in Ultimate Prey have all been really good in my opinion. Unless I misunderstand you there Adam. If you're talking entire anthologies, I do have to disagree with you there. 2 shorts I really dislike, 13 I enjoyed at varying levels. That's a thankful win to me.


Quote from: HuDaFuK on Apr 05, 2022, 03:53:07 PM
Quote from: Corporal Hicks on Apr 05, 2022, 11:20:36 AMI can see what HuDa is saying about the ones he enjoyed more in Bug Hunt tipping it over, but for me I think the majority of the shorts in this being actually good vs the poor-to-okay of the majority of Bug Hunt means as an over-all package I prefer Ultimate Prey over Bug Hunt.

I think you misunderstood - I thought Ultimate Prey was the better book, I just liked a few of the Alien stories more :)

Ahhh. That's fair. Yeeeaahh. I think I agree there. The shorts I loved in Bug Hunt, I loved more than the majority of the solid stories in Ultimate Prey. Too many shorts in Ultimate Prey, while good and enjoyable, were still following something of a typical template.

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