Dinosaurs, Xenoborgs and Attila the Hun, Reviewing Aliens vs. Predator: Hunter's Planet - AvP Galaxy Podcast #120

Started by Corporal Hicks, Dec 21, 2020, 03:57:22 PM

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Dinosaurs, Xenoborgs and Attila the Hun, Reviewing Aliens vs. Predator: Hunter's Planet - AvP Galaxy Podcast #120 (Read 3,665 times)

Corporal Hicks

Feel free to call out anything that we complained about that was addressed in the book. It's been a while since I listened to this one so I'd be curious to go back and check it out.

Quote from: ModMonkey on Jun 28, 2022, 02:02:46 PMall the negative reviews on the podcast in the last little while

You're not the only one. I'm just scheduling in a discussion on one of our favourite ones because between Alien 3, Prometheus which I'm editing now, and the inevitable Alien: Revival, I needed one where people were positive.

426Buddy

I've probably read most of the published EU in the last 30 years and I would say Hunters Planet definitely lands near the bottom.

Kradan

@Corporal Hicks, what is Alien: Revival ?

Also, you're doing something for Prometheus ? A retrospective,  perhaps ? :o

Corporal Hicks

Quote from: Kradan on Jun 28, 2022, 04:15:08 PM@Corporal Hicks, what is Alien: Revival ?

Unless I'm misremembering, that was what I thought Marvel's second arc was titled.

Quote from: Kradan on Jun 28, 2022, 04:15:08 PMAlso, you're doing something for Prometheus ? A retrospective,  perhaps ? :o

Just an anniversary retrospective.

Kradan


ModMonkey

Quote from: Corporal Hicks on Jun 28, 2022, 02:31:04 PMFeel free to call out anything that we complained about that was addressed in the book. It's been a while since I listened to this one so I'd be curious to go back and check it out.

A number of the things I would have called out were actually addressed by one or more members of the panel when they came up on the show. Little details like when someone mentioned that there were no traditional Aliens in the book and it was pointed out that there was the one on the Predator ship and a few in flashback. Also, my memory of the scene with the person who had the chestburster is a little different than how the panel viewed it. Machiko did wonder about the lady's condition but there was a line or two in the book where it says something that allayed Machiko's concerns. To be fair, I don't love that scene either but the text is at least there to address the thing that we all disliked about it.

There were a handful of bits like that that just felt like whomever brought it up was speedreading, skipping pages, or rage reading. I did think the complaints about chapter length and how the dialogue was sorted throughout the book was also very much on the subjective side (though to be fair, all reviews are entirely subjective).

To me, the shorter chapters fit the pacing and the style of the narrative, love it or hate it. I honestly couldn't imagine what else Bischoff would have to say with Hunter's Planet by adding 10 to 30 more pages to each chapter. Maybe a handful more pages *could* have been used to flesh out a few more details, but your comment about the book being a quick work-for-hire deal is likely spot-on and probably played a role. Bischoff also could easily have been writing to a set word or page count as per his publisher and contract.

The example of Phalanx was brought up during the conversation to argue the chapter and pacing point and I honestly thought the first half of that book was an awful, painful slog before it suddenly became one of the more thrilling Alien novels I'd ever read. In my mind, at least Hunter's Planet was brief and consistent in tone and pacing, something that I honestly didn't think Phalanx had going for it (though I think Phalanx is also a very different book from HP and probably had very different goals and creative intent behind it).

As for the dialogue, I don't know why it was so difficult to keep track of who was speaking in any given scene. 100% Not an issue that I had with the book. It kind of stood out as an odd complaint for me when the panel started ragging on that point.

Though the X Group and Attilla's abilities are a bit on the ridiculous/deus ex machina side of things, Bischoff is pretty straightforward about them in the story. The exposition is all there.

Again, I don't think this is by any means an amazing piece of expanded universe fiction. A quickly put together work for hire sounds like a pretty accurate evaluation of it. I think that's why the pile on just seemed a bit harsh. I think AJ hated the book pretty early on in his reading of it and every little thing was not the best was probably equivalent to swallowing glass for him. It didn't offend me. I've definitely read worse (Earth War was far less enjoyable, likely because it was adapting an existing story I previously enjoyed) and the book, at no point, seems to be trying to be the best AVP tie-in novel around. Like I said in my previous post, it was a brisk afternoon read for me and my expectations were not the highest to begin with so that probably has a lot to do with why I enjoyed it. I didn't mind the fact that the Aliens were kind of background elements in the story. As soon as you put Machiko in a book you know it's going to be pretty Predator heavy, anyway.

Anyway, I just found myself reacting strongly to the heavy negativity of the episode that I thought seemed a little unfair. Maybe it's because of all the other negative reviews and the Predator commentary having a slightly bitter aftertaste, maybe I'm just jumping to the defense of the underdog. I dunno.

Love the show, keep on doing what you're doing. I'm going to go have a nap.

426Buddy

It's probably one of the worst books I've read, alien or otherwise.

This book shouldn't even be mentioned in the same breath as Phalanx. But I've seen a lot of tearing down of good things to make other things look better lately.

BlueMarsalis79


ModMonkey

Quote from: 426Buddy on Jul 09, 2022, 01:53:22 PMIt's probably one of the worst books I've read, alien or otherwise.

This book shouldn't even be mentioned in the same breath as Phalanx. But I've seen a lot of tearing down of good things to make other things look better lately.

Fair enough. Not trying to change hearts and minds about Hunter's Planet. It's objectively not a great book by any stretch of the imagination and I'm not arguing that it is. The criticism I have has everything to do with the general tone of the discussion by the panel and complaints that were levelled against the book that were kind of specious and super negative. I'm not defending the literary quality of Bischoff's book, per se, though it clearly doesn't bother me as much as it does some others in the community.

And Phalanx and HP are two completely different animals that were produced in two radically different periods for licensing and expanded universe content, roughly 25 years apart, and with two very different approaches and goals beyond a basic desire to be somewhat entertaining. You are correct in saying they're a bit apples and oranges and I'm saying it would have been nice if that context was reflected in the panel's discussion a little bit more.

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