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Author Topic: Question about newer novels  (Read 1881 times)

guymelfe
Aug 28, 2020, 05:31:14 AM
Topic on: Aug 28, 2020, 05:31:14 AM
Greetings all,

On a lark I recently dug out some of my old Aliens novels (Earth Hive trilogy, Genocide, first two AvP novels) and started into Earth Hive with vague recollections of it being pretty good.

Admittedly I read most of these when I was in my late teens and while so far the overall events of the first two Earth Hive books are interesting the writing itself is fairly bad. There seems to be a bit of improvement between books 1 & 2 but given that my usual reads are now things like Jules Verne, H. Rider Haggard, Elizabeth Peters, Lovecraft, etc...well the Alien novels aren't quite as impressive once the nostalgia goggle came off.

Now I will admit that they're still a bit of a "guilty pleasure" kind of read and I'll likely finish at least those I already own. By contrast I recently started Dragonlance again for the first time in 20 years and stopped halfway through book 1 since it was so incredibly droll.

Anyways, I'm wondering if any of the newer novels are perhaps a bit more sophisticated in regards to the writing? For example do any of the newer authors actually know how to convey intensity or emotion with something other than a standalone line of "Damn!" or Perry's overeliance on comments about God, Christ, Buddah? I'm a big fan of complex sentence structure as well, and the abundance of short sentences and profuse profanity, while perhaps more suited for a comic or movie script, makes for a dull read in my opinion.

Any thoughts?


SM
Aug 28, 2020, 06:34:06 AM
Reply #1 on: Aug 28, 2020, 06:34:06 AM
I find the writing more than serviceable (at least) in many of the older books.  Stuff like Music of the Spears and Berseker are particularly good.  My go to for 'richer' writing is probably Clive Barker, but I don't think that makes any of the Alien writers sub-par.  Except perhaps Diane Carey, but I'm sure I've read some of her Star Trek books that were decent.  The best 'quality' writing for mine has come from Alex White.


SpaceKase
Aug 30, 2020, 03:40:42 AM
Reply #2 on: Aug 30, 2020, 03:40:42 AM

Anyways, I'm wondering if any of the newer novels are perhaps a bit more sophisticated in regards to the writing? For example do any of the newer authors actually know how to convey intensity or emotion with something other than a standalone line of "Damn!" or Perry's overeliance on comments about God, Christ, Buddah? I'm a big fan of complex sentence structure as well, and the abundance of short sentences and profuse profanity, while perhaps more suited for a comic or movie script, makes for a dull read in my opinion.

Any thoughts?

Agreed with SM, Alex White's Cold Forge is remarkable. For my money though, most of Titan's books have been pretty on point, in particular Scott Sigler's Phalanx which is also outstanding. There's some pretty great stuff in Lebbon's Rage War trilogy and the Anthology collections "Bug Hunt" and "If it Bleeds" will give you a nice cross-section of what many of the current writers have to offer in these franchises. I'm very fond of many of the works in "If it Bleeds" in particular.

Oh! And how could I forget, check out 1992's Alien's Tribes by Steven R Bissette. There's some right sophisticated messed up writing there.

« Last Edit: Aug 30, 2020, 03:45:48 AM by SpaceKase »

guymelfe
Sep 02, 2020, 02:29:56 AM
Reply #3 on: Sep 02, 2020, 02:29:56 AM

Agreed with SM, Alex White's Cold Forge is remarkable. For my money though, most of Titan's books have been pretty on point, in particular Scott Sigler's Phalanx which is also outstanding. There's some pretty great stuff in Lebbon's Rage War trilogy and the Anthology collections "Bug Hunt" and "If it Bleeds" will give you a nice cross-section of what many of the current writers have to offer in these franchises. I'm very fond of many of the works in "If it Bleeds" in particular.

Oh! And how could I forget, check out 1992's Alien's Tribes by Steven R Bissette. There's some right sophisticated messed up writing there.

I actually have Tribes. I seem to recall it being quite good, so I'll go dig it out. What do you think of the Out of Shadows/Sea of Sorrows/River of Pain Trilogy? Seems weird to have a trilogy written by three different authors, but I've seen good comments elsewhere about it though I seem to recall a reddit post saying book 3 had to do some major retconning to make it all work.

I find the writing more than serviceable (at least) in many of the older books.  Stuff like Music of the Spears and Berseker are particularly good.  My go to for 'richer' writing is probably Clive Barker, but I don't think that makes any of the Alien writers sub-par.  Except perhaps Diane Carey, but I'm sure I've read some of her Star Trek books that were decent.  The best 'quality' writing for mine has come from Alex White.
I've seen those mentioned elsewhere so I'll check them out.

Really I'd just like something a bit more sophisticated than...

Billie realized Mitch was half a man now. He'd always been, she just didn't know it. Damn. Damn.

And I could also do without the comments about God/Jesus/Buddah/Christo/etc at least once a page. Reading Female Wars now...which is a bit unnerving when you realize the volume of sexual content Perry wrote with his daughter. Ewww....

« Last Edit: Sep 02, 2020, 02:38:11 AM by guymelfe »

SM
Sep 02, 2020, 03:33:13 AM
Reply #4 on: Sep 02, 2020, 03:33:13 AM
Danelle was 23 when they wrote Female War.


SpaceKase
Sep 02, 2020, 08:47:08 AM
Reply #5 on: Sep 02, 2020, 08:47:08 AM

I actually have Tribes. I seem to recall it being quite good, so I'll go dig it out. What do you think of the Out of Shadows/Sea of Sorrows/River of Pain Trilogy? Seems weird to have a trilogy written by three different authors, but I've seen good comments elsewhere about it though I seem to recall a reddit post saying book 3 had to do some major retconning to make it all work.

It feels like a bit of a stretch to call them a trilogy, trio might be more appropriate. They're not really all that connected aside from holding a stronger continuity than the books from previous license holders Bantam and DH press did, which were all stand-alone or comic adaptations. The trio were a big deal when they came out in 2014 because they were the first original novels to come out of the new license holder Titan and they all had stronger ties with each other in general and with the films, which was a stylistic departure from the aforementioned novels which were specifically divergent from the films.

The cool thing about this era of content creation is that Josh Izzo was pulling the strings for license content at Fox at the time and he made a badass effort at tying everything together with his later named Read/Watch/Play initiative. So there's all this sweet tied-in cross-platform content between the comics, games, novels and audio-dramas. It was the most ambitious effort of its kind since the whole Star Wars Shadows of the Empire thing in the late 90's. Rage War, Out of the Shadows, River of Pain, Sea of Sorrows, the Cold Forge, and even the Aliens: Descent attraction, were all a part of this.

The Titan stuff in general is pretty awesome and skips all over the timeline, but they actually cared about continuity so it was a a lot more fun for me. A lot of people gripe and complain about the conceit of having a small marine contingent assigned to the Hadley's Hope colony in River of Pain, mostly because of the number of colonists found cocooned in the movie being a match for those expected, but it's actually a stroke of genius by whoever had the idea, probably Izzo, because the 20+ marine bodies from the book and the added Weyland Yutani scientists serve to cover up the missing colonists that should have gone unaccounted for after having escaped aboard the Onager. The Audible drama for River of Pain even works the Onager reference in to the fall of Hadley's Hope from the story, pretty brilliant in my opinion, but this is another subtle thing that most casual readers aren't going to put together, only the terminally dorky. The Onager itself is a tie-in with this huge comic crossover Fire and Stone which itself even manages to have small cameo from 2001's Aliens versus Predator 2 game. I was very stoked about this time period in the franchise and now I am very sad that it has passed.

River of Pain is mostly standalone, fitting primarily within the time frame of the film Aliens. The other novels share LV-178 as a big throughline element which extends into the VR attraction Descent and further into the prologue for the legitimate trilogy Rage War. Fun stuff all. Out of the Shadows is a genuine Ripley adventure and Sea of Sorrows mostly just follows up on that novel.

« Last Edit: Sep 02, 2020, 08:58:30 AM by SpaceKase »

SM
Sep 03, 2020, 12:07:39 AM
Reply #6 on: Sep 03, 2020, 12:07:39 AM
Josh drove the OotS, RoP and SoS stuff - particularly RoP.  But he'd left by the time of Read/ Watch/ Play.  That was Steve Tzirlin who was previously at Lucasfilm and Read/ Watch/ Play was indeed inspired by SotE.  There was going to be more to it as well, but other events took over.

« Last Edit: Sep 03, 2020, 12:09:33 AM by SM »

SpaceKase
Sep 03, 2020, 01:02:15 AM
Reply #7 on: Sep 03, 2020, 01:02:15 AM
Josh drove the OotS, RoP and SoS stuff - particularly RoP.  But he'd left by the time of Read/ Watch/ Play.  That was Steve Tzirlin who was previously at Lucasfilm and Read/ Watch/ Play was indeed inspired by SotE.  There was going to be more to it as well, but other events took over.

Oh sweet, an inside scoop! Yeah, this is all just pictures I've put together from an outside perspective. How involved were you in all this? What kind of things were there going to be more of? Do you mean more out of Josh before his departure or more out of Steve? Are the other events the impending acquisition of Fox or something else?


SM
Sep 03, 2020, 01:14:38 AM
Reply #8 on: Sep 03, 2020, 01:14:38 AM
The main events were the Disney take over and Rising Threat getting canned.

The ending for the Isolation series was supposed to be more complex and action oriented.  Lack of budget nixed that.  And we talked about more adventures for Amanda and Zula and bringing in other characters fans would be familiar with.  And there was another project that a bit of work had gone into that never came to fruition.  Olivia Shipp just can't catch a break really.

From memory Josh departed to go work for James Cameron during the Life & Death run, then things were up in the air for a bit before Steve came in.

My role was just providing feedback and consulting on continuity.



guymelfe
Sep 03, 2020, 01:59:31 AM
Reply #9 on: Sep 03, 2020, 01:59:31 AM

It feels like a bit of a stretch to call them a trilogy, trio might be more appropriate.....Fun stuff all. Out of the Shadows is a genuine Ripley adventure and Sea of Sorrows mostly just follows up on that novel.
EDITED FOR SPACE.

Ok, cool, thanks for all the info. Any books to specifically avoid? I think I saw Criminal Enterprises and Steel Egg getting trashed IIRC.


SM
Sep 03, 2020, 02:00:57 AM
Reply #10 on: Sep 03, 2020, 02:00:57 AM
Many of the DHP Alien books are not that great.  Criminal Enterprise is probably the best of that run though.



SpaceKase
Sep 03, 2020, 05:15:28 AM
Reply #12 on: Sep 03, 2020, 05:15:28 AM
Danelle was 23 when they wrote Female War.
I wasn't referring to her age. I meant the co-operative aspect of writing sexual content with one's child (regardless of age)...just not something I would do...

The most explicit sexuality was all the Gen Spears stuff from Nightmare Asylum, I think Perry the elder was still writing solo on that one. I don’t quite recall a lot of hardcore stuff in Female War. But yeah man, you should check it all out yourself and tell us what you think. As you can tell we are all nerdy enthusiasts here with varied tastes, so you’d be the best judge ultimately.


SM
Sep 03, 2020, 08:18:28 AM
Reply #13 on: Sep 03, 2020, 08:18:28 AM
There was some sex in Female War from memory. Both authors were adults. Don't see an issue personally.


Corporal Hicks
Sep 03, 2020, 08:28:25 AM
Reply #14 on: Sep 03, 2020, 08:28:25 AM
Josh drove the OotS, RoP and SoS stuff - particularly RoP.  But he'd left by the time of Read/ Watch/ Play.  That was Steve Tzirlin who was previously at Lucasfilm and Read/ Watch/ Play was indeed inspired by SotE.  There was going to be more to it as well, but other events took over.

SotE? Shadows of the Empire?

From what I know of the roadmap that was planned under Tzir, it would have certainly been interesting! Some potential for things to have gone rather wrong (*cough* McClaren) but some genuinely interesting stuff in there.

My role was just providing feedback and consulting on continuity.

Were you around for Izzo?

There was some sex in Female War from memory. Both authors were adults. Don't see an issue personally.

My issue was where they took the Wilks/Billie relationship. Just felt so damn inappropriate.


 

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