Fan Favourite Alex White Returns With New Novel, Alien: Into Charybdis!

Started by Corporal Hicks, Feb 03, 2020, 03:53:38 PM

Fan Favourite Alex White Returns With New Novel, Alien: Into Charybdis! (Read 71,896 times)


Kradan and xiggz u the real gs.


Quote from: Voodoo Magic on Aug 12, 2021, 07:53:18 PM
In just a desire to seek enlightenment, there is a time where we all drop spoiler tags and just talk the film, show, or literary work at hand. I wonder what most feel here is the general acceptable time frame... unless one disagrees there is even such a thing.

I still get angry for people dropping the Vader is Luke's father spoiler.



Quote from: Xiggz456 on Aug 12, 2021, 10:15:32 PM
While I'll always advocate for spoiler tags, you enter these threads at your own risk as soon as the product releases. I personally avoid the thread until I've finished reading to avoid both spoilers and opinions that could affect my own personal experience.
Sure, you enter at your own risk. But when everyone else is showing the courtesy of using spoiler tags, and you're replying to someone using spoiler tags, maybe don't be a c**t and follow suit rather than being too lazy to push a button?

Food for thought.


It's almost as easy for you to not enter a thread talking about a book your totally going to read in the near future than it is for me to post a spoiler tag.

We can play the food for thought game all day baby. 


I still think it's a bit unfair to demand from people to not talk spoilers about something that was released 6 months ago in the most of the world. Even if it's just now being released in your country 'cause a) it's not their fault and b) they might even not know about time delay

We really need to establish some time frame for keeping spoilers. Hicks ?

Corporal Hicks

It's a tricky one because like has been said it's only just come out in Australia and I wouldn't expect folk to be really aware of that since it's been out so long for the rest of us. But because it's been out for so long for the rest of us, it's clearly a danger to come into a thread talking about it.

Now we're aware of the circumstances, let's just remember it's only now coming out for some of our members, and let's just take the 10 seconds to add spoiler tags to any major plot points for the next month or so.



Quote from: Kimarhi on Aug 13, 2021, 01:15:14 AMIt's almost as easy for you to not enter a thread talking about a book your totally going to read in the near future than it is for me to post a spoiler tag.

Except he's given a perfectly good reason why he'd look in here.

Seriously, you click one button. Stop being such dicks about it.

Corporal Hicks


I'm a fan of the series for 30 years now, though probably not as well versed as some of you. I went inside a Jeff Bezos store and got a promotion for his 21st century books on tape (on your phone) thing which I promptly forgot about. But some months later I check it out and there's several alien novels on there for free. I had always wanted to read an alien novel, but it's one of those things that I didn't get around to. I enjoyed the novelization of the Alien Isolation game. I listened to Alien Prototype which I liked less. Then I listened to Cold Forge and I could not stop. It was amazing storytelling made better by the fellow who read it (which I see some people disagree about). Listened to Podcasts and then fortunately Into Charybdis was also available so I heard that. Listened to all the Podcasts out there for the discussion afterwards which I also enjoyed. Cold Forge and Into Charybdis are incredible works, for this realm of expanded sci-fi fiction, or just incredible works in general. I probably would rate Cold Forge as the superior work, but Into Charybdis raises a lot of interest, concept sci-fi questions.

My reading of the Marsalis character is different than what the guys had discussed in the Podcast. I think they felt that she only briefly lost control in the transformation and afterwards was fully in control, just alien in body. But that's not the impression that I got. I think Marsalis raises a lot of interesting questions.

The Cold Forge really had no likeable characters, which people have stated before, including perhaps Marsalis. That of course, doesn't detract from the book. The Cold Forge Marsalis conducts these brutal experiments on a bioweapon project. She's trying to divert the resources towards a medical cause, but that's purely to extend her own life. She's obsessed with self preservation.

Chronologically (not chapter order) where her story picks off in Charybdis is that she uses the alien parasite material to transform her wasted body into a xenomorph queen, although she retains her mind and memories. Her boss tries to stop this and her first act post-transformation is to eat his brains. IIRC, it's written that she found the taste to be delicious and then stared at the rest of his body eager to strip off his flesh. That was one of the most horrifying things in the book, IMO. To what extent is her human mind able to override her xenomorph biology (think mind suppressing base hormonal urges)? Chronologically I think later in the book she tells one of the survivors that she knows what they "taste like". At the end of the book, when she carries Kamran through the hive he wonders that she saved him, but saved him for what? To eat? To be a host? He also wonders what kind of person would have wanted to work with xenomorphs. IIRC, Marsalis the alien is always salivating in front of the human survivors. At times when they annoy her she gets very angry going - just short of - full animal alien in her responses. Does she hate the humans deep down? Does she hunger for them? Is it just her extreme brainpower that keeps these instincts in check? I know some of this stuff is explored in the vampire literature/movies (which I'm not into) but the vampires look like people, and Marsalis has the body of a giant monster. There's a lot to unpack that really wasn't in the book but which could be explored in a prequel (like adventures of spacefaring Marsalis vs. science installations). Does she eat the humans? Only the ones who get in the way? Does she enjoy keeping company of the feral xenomorphs? How much human is preserved in there? Why does she care to carry on her experiments? She must know that there's no way back for her into society?!

Also the concept of being disembodied has more than can be explored. This was done really well in Robocop and perhaps even moreso in its over the top sequel Robocop 2. We know Dorian wanted to be an alien, but most people wouldn't. This would be a nightmare. But how does it feel for Marsalis who was disembodied for some time and piloting a robot host. How does it feel to be in the body of this giant monster alien? Given the Cold Forge' Marsalis obsession with self preservation, maybe like her adversary Dorian its one thing she has in common with him that perhaps she likes this on some level. Maybe she likes the size and power? She was also ostracized from human society, perhaps totally so after the death of her ex-girlfriend in Cold Forge. There's really a lot of questions and a lot to think about.


Part 2, few additional thoughts

In ST:TNG/Voyager there's storylines about how people can overcome their basic biology, instincts, or to a lesser extent culture. In ST:DS9 there's storylines about how the biology in particular is overriding. i.e. The Jem Hadar boy doesn't care for Odo's outlook and wants to go back to the Dominion as soon as he learns of it. Odo meets an older non-Dominion changeling who explains to him he finds nothing interesting about the "solids". This foreshadows Odo also returning to his people in the final episode, despite all the buildup about his relationship with Kira. It's interesting to look at this work through that lens.

Regarding Robocop 2, what's shown in the film is that they can't get anyone to cooperate for the Robocop 2 project. No one wants to be disembodied and controlling a robot host. So they find a sociopath obsessed with living forever. He has some gripes (murders his old girlfriend) but otherwise carries on with controlling his monstrous robot host, which unlike the original Robocop can never walk among people with a degree of acceptance (e.g. at least with his police colleagues).

To what extent does the same apply to Marsalis who has been reincarnated in this giant monstrous body, just like Robocain? There's no indication that she's unhappy with what she's got. IIRC, the books are written with third person omniscient perspective. In the Cold Forge, we get to see all of Dorian's dark thoughts. In Charybdis, the only time we learn what Marsalis is thinking is in the interludes, which precede the action of the book. On purpose, her motivations are concealed throughout the action that is taking place on the Charybdis planet, which leads to Kamran's thoughts questioning them almost at the end. In the end, we see that her actions were altruistic. I don't even like Psychology that much, but it would be fascinating to read about the Marsalis alien's thoughts in another work like a prequel (or sequel?!?!). Is she fighting the biological urge to eat everyone, while at the same time trying to save them?


Bloody love the character. (Evidently)


Amazon's just told me the paperback's been pushed back to 20th April.

Voodoo Magic

Printing delays has plagued the industry. :-\

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