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text 2017-09-14 21:09
I didnĀ“t watch Alien...
Aliens 30th Anniversary: The Original Comics Series - Mark Verheiden,Mark A. Nelson

... but I should have. Instead I have watched the movie Life. If you don´t know that movie, it´s the one were Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhall and others are acting like complete morons, even though they are supposed to be scientist. These idiots picked up an ancient life form from Mars, whose main objective is to kill them all (and to get to earth). Due to the stupidity of the astronauts / scientist and the survival instict of the alien, all hell breaks loose on the ISS.

Honestly, I cheered for the alien, which is so wrong because it was so boring and non-threatening. The people in this movie were just so dumb, I was on the verge of throwing stuff at my tv and don´t get me started on the ending. I hated the ending.

 

Coming back to the one and only Alien, the real deal, threatening in all it´s glory. I´m reading the graphic novel for the halloween bingo. The story takes place after the event of the James Cameron movie Aliens, Newt and Hicks have survived and are forced to go after the Alien again. I´m about halfway through and I´m enjoying the story and the artwork with its drawings in black and white.

 

   

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review 2017-09-02 21:08
Stinger by Robert McCammon
Stinger - Robert R. McCammon

McCammon delivers for me a second time. Gruesome and riveting but with a lot of heart. My sample size is small yet as this is only my second McCammon, but I might prefer him to King.

 

A small Texas town is rocked by the crash landing of an object of unknown origin. While something a little strange is going on with a local veterinarians young daughter who interacted with the busted up remnants first, the foreign object is not anything that the nearest air force base and personal can't contain and research...that is until a follow up arrival on a much larger scale brings a less than friendly visitor with a mission - one who traps a whole town for one terrifying night.

 

At 550 pages, I really expected to be reading this for awhile. Fortunately, it moves at such a great pace that I didn't even notice the pages flying by until I reached the end.

 

McCammon creates not only a story that sucks you in, but an atmosphere that is palpable. A hot, dying Texas town, isolated, and withering since the local mine shut down and took away all the jobs, not only feels uncomfortable and weathered, but also desperate...and thus the book opens. It's inhabitants are beaten, on edge and divided - when the unspeakable comes and threatens their very lives and the lives of everyone on the planet really, they are given one good reason to fight, for each other.

 

And in case I am making this sound like puppies and bedtime stories, know that I'm glossing over the fact that this messed-up mucous monster from deep space likes to snatch people, eat them, and use it's advanced alien technology to recreate symbiotic extensions of itself in the skins of its victims to go out and destroy more people with a mouth of needle teeth and metal saw type hands.

  

There is plenty of death and gory violence and characters of all walks and colors - everyone is a little rough around the edges, but the hope in humanity is what really makes this book shine. I loved it.

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2017-08-15 19:46
Imago / Octavia Butler
Imago - Octavia E. Butler

In the third book of her Xenogenesis series, Octavia Butler gives us the alien’s perspective.  It makes the Oankali marginally less creepy, but only a tiny bit.  Butler excels at creating truly alien life forms, with wildly different forms of reproduction.

 

The Oankali having stinging cells and tentacles, giving them some resemblance to jellyfish (Cniderians) in our world, but they are upright walking, hand-and-arm-possessing, intelligent life forms.  And, it turns out, they have a three stage metamorphosis like Earth’s insects do.  This installment follows that mysterious third sex, the Ooloi, as one of Lilith’s children matures sexually into the adult form (hence the title, Imago).

 

In the first book, the Oankali have rescued the small remainder of humanity from a disaster of their own creation and have begun combining the two species.  That’s what the Ooankali do and they consider it their payment for their rescue services, but that’s not what it looks like or feels like to humans.  Lilith gradually becomes convinced that she won’t be allowed to live as human and reluctantly gets involved with the aliens, although it is against her true wishes.

 

In the second book, we follow Lilith’s construct child, Akin, who actually has five parents and who understands the relationship between the two species better than either the humans or the Oankali.  He sees the basic incompatibility between the two species but also how they can also become compatible.  Seemingly a paradox, which Akin reveals as a prejudice of the Oankali against humanity—we’ve always known that humans are prejudiced against the aliens.

 

This third installment reveals just how much the Oankali need and long for relationships with humans.  To this point, they have seemed very unemotional, almost clinical, in their desire to revitalize their own DNA through incorporation of the human genome.  Jodahs, who is metamorphosing into one of the mysterious Ooloi, shows us the depth of feeling, the intense sexual need, and indeed the pain of separation that we have been missing so far in the story.

 

Despite gaining understanding, the whole sexual system of the Oankali feels deeply creepy.  The human male and female in the sexual constellation experience repulsion when they touch one another directly, but when joined by an Ooloi, experience intense sexual pleasure.  Pheromones by the Ooloi make the situation addictive—being apart from one’s group becomes torment.

 

Butler is skillful in her refusal to “pick a side.”  She provides logical reasons for the aliens’ behaviour and points out both the logical and totally illogical responses of humanity.  She explores co-operation, coercion, limited choice, and unequal power without making it obvious which species she favours.

 

In some ways, this series makes me think of Arthur Clarke’s Childhood’s End, in that humanity is being absorbed into a genetic continuum, but likely won’t survive on its own ever again.  Do we mourn the loss or celebrate what survives?

 

Book 260 of my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project.

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review 2017-08-10 00:42
The Field: UFO, Alien Abductions, Science Fiction by Glenn Gillis
The Field: UFO, Alien Abductions, Science Fiction - Glenn Gillis

Got to about 47% through the book and gave up. There were too many grammatical and spelling errors, but the worst of it was the continuity errors. Because of this, the story did not flow well and in the end, I had to stop reading. The book could use a professional editor. Sorry.

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review 2017-08-08 13:26
Damocles by S.G. Redling
Damocles - S.G. Redling

First Contact where we, humanity, are the potentially hostile, terrifyingly alien aliens, with a tiny explorer ship making an unplanned landing on a technologically (and militarily) advanced planet. One that hasn't even thought of looking to the stars yet. You bet they will now though.

 

I did enjoy this, particularly the try at writing an alien race in a way that isn't just humans in a rubber suit, how a different physiology etc. might affect psychology and culture. In this respect it does very well, certainly better than many other such attempts I've read. A lot of the conflict is about trying to build a necessary trust with something you cannot even begin to understand. Redling manages to do it without falling too often into infodump land, but rather letting the differences in thinking and viewpoint tell a lot of the story.

 

I read this way back in March, and it's stuck with me, suggesting it might deserve a higher rating, and yet...

 

There's something just a little too glib about it. It's not that the heroine is a bit too Mary Sue for me, it's that everyone is just a little too... whatever they are. There's not an average person to be found in the entire book. Now that might well be because all the characters belong to the space administration of their respective planets, but still. It's kind of like trying to watch TV with the saturation turned up too high, and I longed for it all to be toned down just a little bit.

 

Still, this is definitely worth a shot if you liked say, Contact, or Arrival (or the Ted Chiang short that was based on - which I for one liked a lot better.) In fact, definitely if you liked Arrival, it clearly shares a lot of DNA.

 

So, as to the rating, it's probably me, book, not you.

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