Book Reviews: The Book Of Alien And Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual

It has been said that when I get my teeth into something, I just don't know how to unhinge my jaw and let it go to live its life properly. Let's just presuppose for one moment that Ridley Scott's game-changing sci-fi flick Alien was one of those things I've spent the better part of thirty years clamped down on and obsessing over. Space Jockey! Derelict ship! What was that that? A distress signal OR a warning? GAH!

Anyway... This may be the reason why I shot directly to the moon as if there were rocket boosters attached to my ass when the Alien books arrived via UPS yesterday.

In my sweaty little hands I held The Book Of Alien by Paul Scanlon and Michael Gross and Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual by Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. These are two very different but equally compelling takes on every minute detail you could ever hope to read about the making of the original film and the inner workings of the Colonial Marines from James Cameron's sequel Aliens.

The Book Of Alien is a behind-the-scenes look at the development, design, and creative genius that went into crafting the original Alien film with preliminary sketches, photos from the set, and talks with key people (H.R. Giger and Ridley Scott, just to name a few). Because the movie was and is so visually stunning, it's a treat to see the highly realistic and haunting images that eventually made it to your local movie theater to scare the crap out of you. I will tell you that you should be eternally grateful that some of Giger's original concepts and creations were not used or toned down a bit for whatever reason. It's truly the stuff of nightmares.

The Book Of Alien is an absolute must for everyone who ever had heartburn and secretly wondered if they were going to reenact the chestburster scene at the dinner table with Mom and Dad.

For true die-hards and Cameron fans, there is Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual. Ah, the US Marines. Is there anything they can't do? Why, funny you should ask: they got their asses kicked pretty hard on LV-426 thanks to the diabolical dealings of that shady Weyland-Yutani Corporation.

So, nearly every single person who saw the almighty James Cameron's fast-paced and action-packed sequel to the original Alien loved the high-capacity futuristic firearms and kick-ass attitude of the doomed soldiers on a "bug hunt." This book gives you an in-depth look at the technology, weaponry, and vehicles that this futuristic version of our own men in uniform might use when they make the jump to space. We're talking detailed diagrams, schematics, explanations, and photos. Nothing is forgotten.

Even with all this and the smarts of the unit dispatched to check out a colony planet riddled with Xenomorphs, the end result was horrific. The only way to be sure is to take off and nuke the sight from orbit.

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