Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Alien The Cold Forge.

Just finished this recently published new book in the Alien series, bu an author; Alex White, I am unfamiliar with. A situation which off course changed as I read the last page of this story and turned to the short and probably deliberately vague bio at the back of the book. I suggest deliberately vague as I learned from it how he likes to take his coffee rather than any inspirational figures or sources he may have absorbed on his path to literary success, which I have no doubt he will attain with novels of this page turning clarity of storytelling. It is no bad thing for an author to remain deliberately and hopefully comfortably annonymous in his dealings with social media, actually increasingly so. Alex White I salute your decision or rather I salute the Alex White shaped sillohuette left by the two paragraph author's biography.
            The Cold Forge is a Weyland-Yutani research facility , a remote space station , RB232, which has been set up to attempt weaponising the xenomorphs discovered on LV427. Hadley's Hope now being completely destroyed following the horrendous events which occured  there( or the film Aliens as it is perhaps better known.) Learning little by way of species self-preservation, it would seem, Weyland-Yutani misunderstand the simple formula; Human beings plus Xenomorphs equals nightmarish disaster. It is a given. Put the two together and you end up with something from the bad dreams of the poet John Milton and the artist and visionary H R Giger. It also seems the interview process for becoming a member of the Weyland-Yutani staff involves proving oneself to be a complete inhuman bastard. or at the very least to be possessed by insane tendencies for mutual destruction. Actually in that aspect it is a depressingly familiar current science fiction trope; with all crew members being awful human beings, as if only the very worst of us will make it to the stars. Witness the idiotic Prometheus crew and the even more obnoxious covenant crew. They were supposed to be a colony mission but came across as a bunch of hipsters on their way to Ikea for some outre shelving. As though all the people who were too self conciously pouty to be allowed into anyone's Fight Club were packed off on a deep space one way journey to spare humanity the casual acceptance of woolen beanies worn by anyone other than Special Ops( A sure sign of The End Times.)
              Dorian Sudler, the main protaganist in this book, is a Weland-Yutani "cleaner" and ruthless corporate stooge. he makes Patrick Bateman seem like a Butlins Red Coat. He is in his own self made way as monstrous as anything that ever leapt out of an alien egg. Alex White allows us, the reader, to be privy to his brutally efficient internal monologue in the most uncomfortable of ways. he is pure corporate evil squeezed into his form fitting Weland-yutani briefs, which get a mention once or twice. It is perhaps an echo of the final encounter between Ripley in her underwear at the end of the first film and all the naked vunerability that implied, the naked determination to survive.
                Tighty whities in space! I would pay to see that movie.
                Much as I enjoyed this read, and I did, literally just ripping through it. I do wish that some of the writers connected to and working within the Alien franchise would insert some characters of a more humanely altruistic bent. Elizabeth Shaw was a fine example of brilliant dazzling humanity travelling to the stars, more please. The only other kind, brave and heroic figures tend to be artificial beings( Apart from the Big Bad Himself; David.) and even their morality has more to do with excessive programming. How mankind likes to think of itself rather than how it actually is.
                 Maybe that is the point.
                 Oh dear..how depressing.
                 Unlike the book which is exciting and page turning. There is a lot to like in it. Particularly if you are a fan of the earlier films.  I suspect Alex White wrote it for you.

The above is a concept painting for Alien Covenant by artist Khang Lee. It explored some ideas for a road not taken in the making of this movie. I cannot recommend highly enough you perhaps explore this work further on line. They are really quite brilliant.