The Complete Aliens Omnibus Vol 1 by Steve Perry

9/10 All the horror, fear and description you want and expect

As I remember watching Alien 3 in the cinema way back to the days of pre-internet, I also remembered the first two movies and Alien that set off the franchise with a cast that felt they were hand-picked to do the job of convincing us that there was life on other planets, and that it wasn't as friendly as we first thought. The release of this series of three novels in the Aliens series made me recall this memory of feeling a part of something new and interesting, and as deep and dark as I had hoped.

Here, Titan Books have started us off with a first volume, which as you can expect will also have us wanting to read more of the same. As this compendium of novels is released pre-Alien: Resurrection, this has Earth Hive, Nightmare Asylum and The Female War and as Titan are well known for their publication of thick omnibuses containing three or more novels, this is well worth the wait; take their latest Independence Day Omnibus for example, Stephen Molstad takes all of the action and interesting parts from the movie and creates the right atmosphere for the remaining two novels.

In Earth Hive, fans of the third Alien movie, which had its release back in 1992, will get to read the aftermath of the movie in which this book is set. When a deserted spacecraft is found to have a xenomorph aboard the story escalates from there as the military want it for their plans to experiment on them, and, quite foolishly "tame" them. This, as you can imagine is doomed to failure, but the novel has several characters in it that prove to be of interest, Billie and
Wilks, the only remains of humankind from colony world, Rim. Writer Steve Perry manages to craft a story that almost mirrors the atmosphere of the movie and makes sure the characters get under your skin.

Nightmare Asylum continues from where Earth Hive left it with us finding out what happened when Billie and Wilks made it off Earth after the aliens had taken it over. Unaware of the danger they are about to be in, they get to a ship run by General Spears, but he isn't the man they had thought as his plans to create an alien army makes him less than sane. Billie and Wilks will have to keep their wits about them as Spears has an idea to use his own modified aliens against the ones already on Earth in the hope they will take over and restore it to its former glory. Fans of the movies will see the point of this story, that it contains what made people want to go see the movies in the first place. Aliens taking over the Earth, the colonial marines trying to fight them off and the terror of what man could do against such strong, alien opposition.

In The Female War, Ellen Ripley makes an appearance as Billie and Wilks's saviour after leaving a deranged General Spears with his crazy idea of creating his own xenomorphs to take back Earth for the humans. This plan has failed, and Ripley is the only one who can, it seems, make a difference. While many are dreaming about an alien queen being brought to Earth - the plan is to kill her and the aliens who flock to her, thus saving the world from their influence. Things, as we can imagine don't turn out the way we'd hoped.

As an omnibus of stories, continuing the saga of Aliens, it is interesting to see what happens to all the characters after the third movie and how Ellen Ripley has changed too from having the influence of the alien inside her. Steve Perry’s work on other movie tie-ins is useful here as he approaches the novels as a fan would, using what he had seen in the movies as a real basis for all the horror, fear and description of the aliens plus the feel of the stories.

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