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Alien (novel)

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Alien
Author(s)

Alan Dean Foster

Publisher

Warner Books

Publication date

June 1979
June 1986

Media type

Paperback

Pages

270

Timeline

2122

Followed by

Aliens

  [Source]

Alien is a 1979 novelisation of the film of the same name, written by Alan Dean Foster.

Publisher's SummaryEdit

Back coverEdit

Where was Earth?

This was not their galaxy. A strange sun lit the sky with orange rays. In their long cold sleep, the seven space travellers had left their own universe behind, and now their monitor told them that on the planet revolving below them, someone was signalling for help. By space law, they must descend, explore, and render assistance.

But they would carry weapons. For who could tell what being called to them — or why. All they knew was that it was Alien.

Inside frontEdit

The thing looked like the hand of a skeleton with many fingers curled into the palm. Something like a short tube protruded from the palm and something like a tail was coiled beneath the base of the hand. There, on the back, was a dim, convex shape like a glazed over eye. Disgusting! But if that was an eye and not some slimy excrescence... he moved closer to take a look. And the eye moved; it stared right back at him.

Then, the ovoid sprang at him, exploded at him with the energy contained in that coiled tail. He raised an arm to protect himself. Too late! The thing's fingers gripped his faceplate. The weaving tube in the palm's center was stroking the glass. It started to sizzle. The faceplate was dissolving! The creature was through the plate. Must get it off! It was pushing at his mouth, tight around skull, tube down throat, can't breathe...

"Kane, answer me," Dallas' voice came from above, but from down below, there was no reply.

Differences from the FilmEdit

  • In the book, the Nostromo is hauling a cargo of crude oil and a refinery to process it rather than mineral ore.[1]
  • The novel implies mankind has established contact with extraterrestrial species before the Xenomorph, whereas this is never addressed in the film.[2]
  • Hypersleep chambers are filled with a viscous liquid when in operation, and upon waking the crew has to wipe themselves down to remove the remains of this fluid.[3]
  • The interior of the Derelict is quite different; most notably the Pilot is completely absent. Dallas also finds an empty Egg in the main chamber.[4] The room containing the Eggs is not actually a part of the ship, but rather a large cavern beneath it accessed by a tall, smooth-sided vertical shaft that runs for some distance down into the ground, as opposed to the hole melted in the floor seen in Alien. In the Egg chamber, the Eggs are placed all over the walls as well as the floor. Additionally, Dallas and the others find the equipment that is broadcasting the signal that brought them to the moon.[5]
  • The design of the Egg is different — they are smooth and opaque but become rough and transparent prior to Facehugger release.[6] The Eggs do not open neatly like in the film, rather the Facehugger simply explodes violently through the top of capsule.[7]
  • The design of the Facehugger (referred to in the novel as the "alien hand") is different to the theatrical films. In the novel it is grey in colour with a single bulging eye on its back, whereas in the films they are a pale yellow and have no eyes.[7] It also has octopus-like suckers underneath the help it adhere to Kane's face.[8]
  • We find out that Dallas and Lambert get Kane back to the ship by building a makeshift stretcher out of the winch assembly they used to lower him into the cargo hold.[9]
  • After the Facehugger's blood almost ruptures the Nostromo's hull, the crew briefly considers operating on Kane outside the ship where the blood cannot cause damage.[10]
  • The Chestburster in the novel has limbs.[11] The creature in the film was originally supposed to have limbs, however Ridley Scott elected to remove them before filming.
  • Kane's first name is listed as Thomas.[12]
  • In the film, Ripley is mistrustful of Ash. In the novel, both Ripley and Dallas begin to suspect Ash of treachery. Dallas even correctly guesses that Ash is seeking to keep the creature alive for the company,[13] and this happens far earlier in the book than in the film, where Ripley does not find out about Ash's secret mission until she checks with Mother late in the movie. In the novel, it is Dallas who questions Ash in the medical facility following Kane's funeral,[13] whereas in the film, this scene is given to Ripley.
  • The fully grown Drone has large eyes.[14] While the creature in the movie had no eyes, H. R. Giger's original designs did feature large eyes at the front of the head. The Alien in the novel also has similar regenerative abilities as the Facehugger, and notably does not possess an inner jaw, instead killing its victims with its bare hands.
  • At one point, Ash theorizes that the Drone may not be the final stage in the Alien's life cycle,[15] unintentionally foreshadowing the Queen form from Aliens.
  • While searching the ship following Brett's death, the crew discovers the Alien eating their food supplies in a store room and Dallas attempts to kill it with his flamethrower, but it escapes into the ship's vents.[16] It is immediately following this that Dallas enters the air ducts to try and drive the creature into the main airlock; as such, in the novel this plan is made up on the spur of the moment, rather than being formulated in advance as in the film.
  • Rather than a cramped ventilation duct, the Alien takes Dallas inside a large maintenance chamber within the vent system, thereby explaining how Parker is able to retrieve his flamethrower so easily.[17]
  • A lengthy sequence is added where Parker finds the Alien near the main airlock when he goes to refuel Dallas' flamethrower. He quietly contacts Ripley and Lambert on the bridge and gets them to slowly open the airlock's inner door, hoping to expel the creature into space. The Alien goes into the lock, mesmerized by a spinning green light, but just as Ripley shuts the inner door and opens the outer one an alarm sounds and scares the creature off.[18] As it flees, its arm is caught in the inner door as it closes, tearing it off and spraying acid.[19] The Alien knocks Parker unconscious as it flees, and when Ripley goes to investigate the spilt acid finally eats through the airlock door and begins decompressing the compartment. Ripley and Parker are both trapped in the decompressed area when the safety bulkhead supposed to separate them from the breach gets blocked by one of the cylinders of flamethrower fuel Parker had been carrying.[20] Ripley, blood frothing from her nose and ears, manages to dislodge the canister and the door shuts, before Lambert and Ash arrive to assist. Ripley accuses Ash of setting off the alarm to save the Alien, and subsequently goes to Mother to confirm it. This whole sequence was originally planned for the movie, but was cut during filming after only a small portion of the scene set on the bridge had been shot. It would have explained why Ripley suddenly has a nosebleed when she is confronted by Ash inside Mother.
  • As it lacks an inner jaw, the Alien kills Parker by breaking his neck.[21]
  • Ripley discovers the bodies of Dallas and Brett cocooned in a silk-like material as she prepares to activate the Nostromo's self destruct, and it is implied they are being transformed by the Alien into new Eggs.[22] Dallas begs to be killed and Ripley incinerates the room with her flamethrower. This sequence was actually filmed for Alien but was cut late in production. Notably, whereas the other differences between the book and film of Alien were ignored in the subsequent novelizations in the series, this cocoon scene is still referenced in the novels Aliens and Alien3, despite not appearing in the first movie. The footage filmed for Alien was later partially reinstated for the 2003 Director's Cut of the film.
  • The scene on board the Narcissus after the Nostromo is destroyed is markedly different. Following its discovery, the Alien is fully awake and aware that Ripley is hiding in the locker; at one point, it leers at her through the window in the locker door before becoming distracted by Jones in his carry box.[23] As the Alien attempts to break the case open to get at Jones, Ripley gets into the spacesuit and arms herself with a metal spear, which she uses to impale the Alien before opening the airlock. She too is almost expelled from the craft in the process and ends up clinging to the airlock frame with the Alien hanging from her ankle. She climbs back aboard, slams the airlock shut, crushing the Alien's hand, and fires up the shuttle's engines, hurling the Alien's burning corpse out into space where it then explodes.[24]

EditionsEdit

  • ISBN 0-446-32878-2; First printing: [June] [1979], Second printing: [June] [1986], Warner Books, paperback, 270 pages
  • ISBN 978-0751506679 (as The Alien Omnibus); [October] [1993], Little Brown Book Group, paperback, 656 pages

ReferencesEdit

  1. Alan Dean Foster (1979). Alien novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 13. 
  2. Alan Dean Foster (1979). Alien novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 54. 
  3. Alan Dean Foster (1979). Alien novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 6. 
  4. Alan Dean Foster (1979). Alien novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 61. 
  5. Alan Dean Foster (1979). Alien novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 62. 
  6. Alan Dean Foster (1979). Alien novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 73. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Alan Dean Foster (1979). Alien novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 74. 
  8. Alan Dean Foster (1979). Alien novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 114. 
  9. Alan Dean Foster (1979). Alien novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 78. 
  10. Alan Dean Foster (1979). Alien novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 95. 
  11. Alan Dean Foster (1979). Alien novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 137. 
  12. Alan Dean Foster (1979). Alien novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 132. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Alan Dean Foster (1979). Alien novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 149. 
  14. Alan Dean Foster (1979). Alien novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 164. 
  15. Alan Dean Foster (1979). Alien novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 168. 
  16. Alan Dean Foster (1979). Alien novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 170. 
  17. Alan Dean Foster (1979). Alien novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 176. 
  18. Alan Dean Foster (1979). Alien novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 186. 
  19. Alan Dean Foster (1979). Alien novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 191. 
  20. Alan Dean Foster (1979). Alien novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 189. 
  21. Alan Dean Foster (1979). Alien novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 209. 
  22. Alan Dean Foster (1979). Alien novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 210. 
  23. Alan Dean Foster (1979). Alien novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 215. 
  24. Alan Dean Foster (1979). Alien novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 217. 


Alien and Predator film novelizations
Alien · Aliens · Alien3 · Alien Resurrection
Predator · Predator 2 · Alien vs. Predator

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