Cowboys and Aliens by Joan D Vinge


Let me start by saying that I don't like cowboys. I am not a fan of westerns. Give me a home where the buffalo roam and I would probably ask you where the nearest book shop/library is and what the internet access is like. Also, is it okay to ignore the buffalo and just let them, you know, roam? Bearing that in mind, even I can see the enormous potential in a bringing cowboys and aliens together. It is such an exciting, fun idea that I'm surprised it hasn't been done before. However, for such a potentially mind-blowing premise I found the plot more than a little dry and uninteresting. There was just no fun in this story.

The author of the novelization, however, is not responsible for the plot and any holes therein. She is given a script and can only really flesh out the characters and provide a depth that can be lacking from the on screen version. I haven't seen the film on which this book is based but I did find the cast of characters, which might seem like one-dimensional stock western characters in the film, became more real and their motivations and actions were easier to understand and believe in. The aliens, however, were never really fully explored. I still have no real idea what they looked like or what their motivations were. They travelled across the galaxies, abducting and killing whole civilisations for gold? Really? If they just sent envelopes and promised to pay cash we'd have sent them any old jewellery and gold fillings we could find.

There are some lovely descriptions of the desert landscape in this book and the flashback scenes provide a back story for the main character that kept me reading when I felt like putting the book down. Unfortunately, the action scenes that would, hopefully, blaze across the screen and dazzle the audience in the cinema appear difficult to follow and overly long when written down and I found myself skimming through these scenes.

All in all this is not a book that I would read again. I'm glad I've read it and I enjoyed the book more than I think I would have enjoyed the film but I'm happy to have finished the book and moved on to other more exciting reads.

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