Much like STAR WARS needs to tell tales that don’t involve The Skywalker family, so ALIEN needs to find a way to thrive beyond Ellen Ripley.

Now, I quite enjoyed ALIEN: OUT OF THE SHADOWS, but that did require me to get over that it rather incredibly and improbably slots between ALIEN and ALIENS. No, Ripley didn’t sleep uninterrupted for all those years, instead her pod – steered by the A.I. consciousness of Ash – battling more Xenomophs. Of course then, the cynic within me spent a lot of it waiting for the scene where Ripley loses her memory, so as not to disrupt what we see in ALIENS. And because of that, I did spend most of running time wondering whether we really needed Ripley there at all.

This free Audible dramatisations of the Tim Lebbon novel is – narrative contrivance apart – quite a fun listen. Bringing together elements from ALIEN, ALIENS and even PROMETHEUS. Of course, all those things we’ve seen before and it’s undoubtedly a bit of a re-tread, but the different medium helps in not making this feel utterly redundant.

The cast is great, with Laura Lefkow in particular evoking Ripley perfectly, and the production is top notch. I just wish it had created a completely original group of characters so that the ending wouldn’t have to fit in uncomfortably with what we’d already seen in 1986.

Is it essential? Hell no. Is it fun? Actually, it is.

My debut novel, THE WANNABES – which has been out of print for a little while – is now available for free. A supernatural thriller of beautiful actresses and deadly ambition in London town, it’s well worth your time. You can get your copy here!

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