*WARNING: A couple of small spoilers are included in this review.
I’m a huge fan of the Alien films and the Alien: Isolation video game, so I am happy to say that Tim Lebbon and Audible have created a more than worthy addition to the franchise with Alien: Out of the Shadows. As far as I’m concerned, it is leaps and bounds better than Alien Resurrection, though I’m glad they decided to do this as a dramatization rather than a movie. While it is official canon, it includes Ellen Ripley and takes place in between Alien and Aliens, which I feel would be too complicated to get right on film.
That said, Alien: Out of the Shadows, does require fans be open minded about Ripley, re: how she’s incorporated into the story, but it works and doesn’t feel too contrived (which I was worried about when I first read the summary). This is a fun, well-written novel with several new and interesting characters, though only a couple of them were fleshed out enough to be memorable. Hooper (voiced by Corey Johnson), the central character, is a likeable Hicks type hero whose story could easily be expanded, and I’d love to see him included in further novelizations (the ending is open enough that it’s plausible he could survive).
The entire voice cast was top notch, with special mention given to Laurel Lefkow as Ripley. I quickly forgot I wasn’t wasn’t listening to Sigourney Weaver—she was that spot-on fantastic. Ash also makes an appearance, voiced by the talented Rutger Hauer who brings a darker, more sinister, and yet more sympathetic feel to the character. I was skeptical at first, but his Ash turned out to be one of the best parts of the entire dramatization.
The sound effects and music were also excellent, and faithful to the movies and video game. Of course, for me the best parts were several moments of feel-good nostalgia for fans—moments that harken back to the first two films and the more recent Alien: Isolation.
From beginning to end, I loved how it felt like I was listening to a new Alien movie. As someone who logged dozens of hours playing the video game, I loved the sounds and references incorporated from Isolation’s Sevastopol Station. Basically, I enjoyed every nostalgic minute of this story, and didn’t want it to finish. The only thing I can complain about is that the two sequels to Alien: Out of the Shadows haven’t yet been given the dramatization treatment. Get on with it, Audible!
If you can’t already guess, I love this audiobook and should have written this review last year. Listening to it again the other day just reinforced that I can wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who likes Sci-Fi thrillers, but I especially recommend it to Alien fans.