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This article covers all the known goofs in the 2014 Alien novel trilogy, consisting of the books Alien: Out of the Shadows, Alien: Sea of Sorrows and Alien: River of Pain.

Alien: Out of the Shadows

Continuity

  • The publisher's summary on the back on the novel incorrectly states the Nostromo was a salvage vessel, when in fact it was a cargo tug.
  • At the start of Aliens, the harpoon gun that Ripley used to kill the Alien can be seen still wedged under the hatch aboard the Narcissus. Thus, the door cannot possibly have been opened at any point between the films, as doing so would have dislodged the gun. This renders the events of the book impossible.
  • A major plot point in the novel is the fact that there is only a single hypersleep tube aboard the Narcissus, thereby severely complicating any escape attempt involving more than a single individual. However, the Narcissus is actually equipped with two cryotubes, as can be seen in some shots in Alien.

Audio drama

  • Ripley repeatedly displays an improbable degree of knowledge regarding Xenomorph biology. For example, she knows that the adult creatures have acidic blood, despite never seeing any evidence of this beyond the Facehugger stage in Alien. She also is somehow aware of their use of an inner jaw as a weapon.

Alien: Sea of Sorrows

Continuity

  • The novel mentions that the USM Auriga crashed into France at the end of Alien Resurrection, yet the film clearly shows that it hits Africa. This confusion may have stemmed from the final scene in the Special Edition of the movie, which shows a post-apocalyptic Paris. However, the film never implies the Auriga is responsible for the city's destruction.
  • In the previous novel, Hoop states the detonation of the fuel cell in the mine on LV-178 will turn everything within one mile into "a cloud of radioactive dust". However, when the mine is rediscovered it is still largely intact; while parts are said to have collapsed, the damage is nothing like as extensive as Hoop suggested, and the difference is too great to be put down to overestimation.
  • The mercenary team is said to consist of 35 members, yet over the course of the book, 38 individuals are named. Furthermore, Llewellyn simply disappears without explanation towards the end of the book.
  • One of the characters is referred to as a woman before being incorrectly referred to as a man.

Factual errors

  • When Rollins informs Decker of Ellen Ripley's actions aboard the Nostromo, she tells him that Ripley destroyed the vessel 318 years ago. However, the book takes place in 2497, and 2497 minus 318 is 2179 — the year Aliens is set. Ripley actually destroyed the Nostromo 57 years prior to this, in 2122.

Alien: River of Pain

Continuity

  • The back cover of the book includes an image of a sign stating Hadley's Hope was founded in 2179. This is the year the events of Aliens (and therefore the book) occur. In Aliens, Van Leuwen states there has been a colony on Acheron for around twenty years prior to this date, and this information is in fact borne out in the novel itself; only the back cover is incorrect.
  • Newt's birthday is given as March 15, 2173, which would make her six years old by the time of Aliens. However, according to Alien3, Newt is around 12 years old at that time. Additionally, in Aliens, Ripley picks up Newt's "Second Grade Citizenship Award" when she catches her in the vents; second grade students are traditionally 7 to 8 years old.
  • The novelization of Aliens by Alan Dean Foster specifically states that there were no soldiers at Hadley's Hope prior to Lieutenant Gorman's team arriving. Similarly, while the film never outright confirms that there was no preceding garrison at the colony, the Marines in the movie do not mention it, nor do they show any concern for their missing fellow Marines (which soldiers would invariably do). Both of these facts contradict River of Pain, which states a whole platoon is stationed at the colony before the Xenomorph incident.
  • When Jernigan is inspecting the Narcissus, he notes that there are scrapes and scratches around the door and a blast-scar close to the engines (from when Ripley killed the Alien in Alien). However, in Aliens, Van Leuwen states that no physical evidence of the Alien was found when another team investigated the shuttle.
  • When Jernigan and his salvage team board the Narcissus, they find the harpoon gun Ripley used to shoot the Alien lying on a computer console inside. In Aliens, the gun is visible still wedged under the door when they cut in. Although its position in the book is inconsistent with the film, this is clearly supposed to tie in to Alien: Out of the Shadows.
  • Daihotai Tractors, often referred to as "crawlers" in the book, are described as having six wheels. These vehicles actually have eight wheels.
  • Colonists Curtis and Otto Finch are stated to have been on Acheron for 47 months by 2179, yet earlier the novel places Otto Finch at the opening ceremony for the colony's recreational center, held shortly after the birth of Rebecca Jorden in 2173. This is some six years earlier, which would mean Otto must have been there considerably longer than 47 months (47 months is actually a month shy of four years).
  • During the mission to rescue the men stranded in the malfunctioning Atmosphere Processor, Captain Brackett orders Corporal Pettigrew to stay behind inside the tractor as backup, yet several pages later the book lists Pettigrew as being among the Marines inside the processor.
  • Some of the dialogue during Ripley's tribunal on Gateway Station does not match that which is actually spoken in Aliens.
  • Throughout the scene where Lydecker and Simpson discuss Russ Jorden's request for clarification of his claim rights, almost all of their dialogue differs from what is actually said in the extended Special Edition of Aliens.
  • When the Jordens find the derelict, Anne asks if they should call in the find, before Russ responds, "Let's wait until we know what to call it in as." This conversation takes place outside their tractor in the book, but in the Special Edition of Aliens, they have it before leaving the vehicle.
  • There are several Eggs in the Pilot chamber aboard the derelict, covered with a blue mist just like those found by the Nostromo crew in the hold. However, these Eggs were not there in Alien (nor in Alien: Isolation) but in the cavern below.
  • Hadley's Hope administrator Al Simpson has a moustache in the book, yet he does not in the Special Edition of Aliens.
  • When sneaking through the vents to the med lab to spy on Russ, Newt, Timmy and Aaron have to slide down an inclined shaft (similar to the one Newt falls down before she is captured in Aliens) before the end up at a grate overlooking the med lab. However, Aliens shows that the med lab is on the top floor of the main administration block — the children would have to go up to reach it, yet they actually do the opposite.
  • While discussing the Facehugger with a revived Russ and his wife, Dr. Komiskey calls the creature "a possible endoparasitoid species". The definition of an endoparasite is "a parasite that lives inside another animal and ultimately kills it", yet at this point no one has died and there is no indication Komiskey knows there is anything inside Russ, making her classification of it nonsensical from a character point of view.
  • Stamovich is labelled a Corporal early in the story, yet later his rank is given as Private.
  • When Dr. Reese and Dr. Mori discuss their intention to secretly evacuate the colony with their data, Reese says they cannot leave until they have acquired a live Xenomorph specimen, "one of the Ovomorphs at least", to take back to Weyland-Yutani. Yet the book (and Aliens) make it abundantly clear that the science team already has several live specimens, in the form of the captive Facehuggers they have removed from the colonists. Why then could they not simply take one of those and leave?
  • Simpson quite clearly states that he has sent a message to Gateway informing them of the escalating Xenomorph outbreak and requesting urgent assistance, yet in Aliens the loss of contact with the colony is considered mysterious and no one (Ripley notwithstanding) has any idea what has happened there until the Marines discover the Xenomorphs for themselves. The situation would not be considered so mysterious if the inhabitants had recently sent a distress call mentioning a hostile alien lifeform.
  • The M41A Pulse Rifle is erroneously referred to as a "plasma rifle" several times in the book. The M41A is actually a conventional projectile rifle that fires bullets, not plasma.
  • The book says the service tunnel that links the colony complex with the Atmosphere Processor originates from the "main floor" (presumably the ground floor) of the colony. However, in Aliens Hudson quite clearly states the tunnel links "into the sub-level" of the colony.
  • When Captain Brackett and the other Marines enter the Atmosphere Processor in search of the Xenomorph Hive, they call the elevators and they come up from below. However, Aliens shows us that the elevators return to the landing pad, at the top of the structure, when not in use. As such, the elevators should descend from above when the Marines call them.
  • It is mentioned several times in the book that an adult could not fit through the ducts leading to the "clubhouse" that the children have set up in the vent shafts, yet in Aliens Ripley is able to pursue Newt into the space with no trouble at all.
  • The operations center is said to be above the colony's med lab, when in fact it is next door in the film. The book also states the operations room only has "one way in and out", when in Aliens the room clearly has two entrances — the main doorway (which Hicks and Vasquez weld shut when operations is attacked) and a second door to the rear that leads to the med lab (through which Burke flees and Ripley and the others later make their escape).
  • When Khati Fuqua stumbles into Reese and Mori in the secret escape passage, it is mentioned that she "vanished the previous evening", yet she appeared with the two scientists in another scene set earlier the same day.
  • There is no mention at all of the "last stand" discovered by the Marines in Aliens. According to Private Drake, "They sealed off this wing at both ends. Welded the doors and blocked off the stairs with heavy equipment." None of this is seen or even mentioned as having taken place in the book, despite the fact the final surviving colonists hole up in operations.

Plot holes

  • In Aliens, Ripley realises that firing the Marines' military-issue weaponry near the atmosphere processor's cooling systems could potentially trigger a catastrophic meltdown, and this concern is later proven accurate as the reactor is thus damaged during the initial ambush and eventually explodes. However, in River of Pain, no one ever really suggests this will be an issue when the Marine raiding party goes to rescue the captured colonists; while it is mentioned off-hand that Simpson goes along to ensure nothing vital is damaged, the issue of gunfire damaging critical systems is never brought up, even when the raiding party discovers they are in the immediate vicinity of the main heat exchangers. If Ripley — in essence a complete layman — is able to recognise the danger, it makes no sense that not one of the many people who live at the colony and actually work with the technology on a daily basis would recognise and point out the threat.
  • As Brackett and the few surviving Marines prepare to evacuate, Private Yousseff points out that the scientists' escape ship has room for "five or six passengers", yet there is no way she could know this — nobody outside of the Weyland-Yutani science team were even aware of the ship's existence until a few minutes earlier, when Dr. Hidalgo told Brackett about it just before she died, and Yousseff was on the other side of the colony at the time. Moreover, Hidalgo never actually revealed how many people the vessel could hold — Sergeant Draper did ask this question, but the doctor succumbed to her wounds before she could reply.

Audio drama

Continuity

  • One of the board members at the inquiry aboard Gateway states the Narcissus' computer was wiped "approximately 27 years into [Ripley's] extended hypersleep", an obvious reference to the events of Alien: Out of the Shadows. However, Out of the Shadows was set in 2159, which was 37 years into Ripley's journey.
  • In the same scene, Ripley states the Alien wiped out her crew in just 12 hours. Not only does this contradict Aliens, it is contradicted later in the drama, when Ripley tells her psychiatrist it took the Alien 24 hours to kill her crew.
  • In the book, Simpson carries a portable scanner inside the Hive that shows the raiding party the location of the captured colonists inside the atmosphere processor. In the audio drama, this scanner seems to turn into a motion tracker partway through the scene, suddenly able to pick up moving Xenomorphs.

Plot holes

  • While exploring the derelict, Russ uses the label "xenomorph" to describe the dead Xenomorphs, yet not the dead Engineers. Given that he could not possibly know Weyland-Yutani's official Xenomorph XX121 designation for the former, he could only be using the word xenomorph in its most general sense, literally "alien form", for an otherwise unidentified alien creature, which would apply equally to both species.
  • Due to the rearranging of dates in the drama, the Marines do not discover the massacre in the med lab until two days after it occurs, which seems incredibly unlikely, especially as Hidalgo has been locked in the testing room alive for all of that time.

Factual errors

  • Throughout the audio drama, characters mispronounce Acheron, saying it with a hard 'ch' sound (as in "chemist") instead of a soft one (as in "chef") it should be.[1]
  • Brackett labels the pistol he hands Hidalgo a "9mm VP8". Given that he describes the gun as having a three-round burst function and an 18-round magazine, he actually means the VP78.

References

  1. James CameronOrigins of Acheron (2010), 20th Century Fox [Blu-ray].