I always rode my bike at breakneck speed to my friend Peter’s house. Sixth grade, wind whipping through my helmet-less hair, dodging suicide traffic on the east side of town. Dismount the bike right in the front yard, legs and arms akimbo, bang on the thin metal screen door until Peter’s mom would welcome me in with a grape soda and a hug. Peter would thump up the stairs from the basement, VHS tape in his hand. The tape in his hand: ALIENS!
We would be the first kids at our school to see it. Peter and I would be legends in the halls of our catholic school. Sodas and Peter’s dark basement and a thirteen-inch color TV. We watched that movie every day for a month straight.
Many, many, many, years later, author Alex White and Titan Books offer up Alien: The Cold Forge for our consideration. My sincerest thanks to those involved in this fantastic journey into the world of corporate bio-weaponry.
We begin the journey by peering through the eyes of Dorian, the corporate head-hunter with a penchant for sadist firings of the weak employees and the even weaker scientists. He takes twisted pleasure in sleeping with a few before he fires them in a grand gesture of ultimate domination. Little does he know, his next assignment will juxtapose him with the universe’s ultimate hive-mind predator, researched extensively and expensively on RB-232, a research vessel orbiting a supernova. And so it goes. The stage is set.
Alex White weaves an enthralling tale of humanity at its best and worst, wrapped in the life or death struggle all Alien fans have come to cherish. This franchise has always banked on the theme of exploring what humans would do when faced with the horror of survival, matched with biological profits of unimaginable proportions. White taps into this effortlessly, connecting what we know from the movies with the new material which revolves around Weyland-Yutani, the company with exclusive knowledge of the namesake species.
Facehuggers. Xenomorphs. Research. Corporate espionage. Secluded space station.
At the risk of spoiling this white-knuckled race against time and death by dismemberment or worse, we learn that a rat lives amongst the Weyland-Yutani researchers, bent on stealing secrets and biological specimens for sale to the highest bidder. This translates to a culmination of tension, building to the final gush of escaped creatures and hysterical crew.
Among the dying and infected crew of SRB-232, a helpless, disease ridden invalid who can bio-connect and control a synthetic (think Ash or David) leads the charge against the escaped xenomorphs. The spy and Dorian are working to preserve specimens, whatever the cost.
And there’s still two-hundred pages to go!
If I haven’t convinced you yet to nab this book and grab a beach chair this summer, check your pulse. Alien: The Cold Forge is an absolute must read for fans of the franchise. Hidden shout outs to the movies that defined a generation of creature feature fans in the nineties are abundant, the characters are tight and dynamic, and the action drives this novel like a second mouth through a skull.
My friend Peter didn’t make the journey into the new millennium with the rest of us. In the twilight of my thirties, I don’t have a lot of connection back to those days of no helmet bike rides and grape soda, and that saddens me when I reflect on my youth. However, I carry with me Aliens and Peter’s basement and our friendship and our legendary status for reciting lines on the the city bus.
In case you’re not keeping up on current events pal…we just got our asses kicked! Game over, man! Game over! Apone…Report! Mostly they come at night…Mostly.
Litmus paper for movie franchises worth a damn indicate a lifelong effect on fans, and for good reason. Alien: The Cold Forge tests PH positive on all fronts, because it moved me forward and brought me back. I can offer no greater praise. I can say with certainty this is the best book I have read from Titan Books. Well done!