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Alien: Sea of Sorrows (Novel #2) Mass Market Paperback – July 29, 2014
Attention Science Fiction Fans
Man vs. machine, humans vs. aliens, paranormal activities – discover the best of science fiction with these collectible books. Learn More.
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"Know your onions before diving in. If you do, you'll find ASOS a fun and rewarding book that gives you everything you've been missing in your life: more ALIEN! Can't go wrong with that." - Aint it Cool
"Moore's writing style is compelling, and the Alien narrative is one of the best seen outside of the major films from the series." - BGG
"If you are looking for a suspenseful, frightening and action packed Science-fiction story with interesting and provoking characters than this is the novel for you." - Geek Hard
"Fun, page-turning read." - Giant Freakin Robot
"This latest entry will no doubt deliver a pulse-pounding, fright-filled read for fans of the films." - Joblo
"James A Moore brilliantly captures the tone and the terror of the first films in the series and provides an interesting addition to series mythology." - Bloody Disgusting
About the Author
James Moore is an American horror novelist and short story writer. In 2003, he was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for "Best Novel" for his book Serenity Falls. In 2006, the novella Bloodstained Oz (co-authored by Christopher Golden) was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for "Best Long Fiction". He wrote the novelization of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Chaos Bleeds (based on the video game written by Christopher Golden).
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Top Customer Reviews
PS: Like Lebbon's volume 1, I had to stop reading this one at bedtime because I kept having stupid alien nightmares. That should be all the kudos this book needs, really. :)
If you've read Out of the Shadows and watched Aliens, there's virtually nothing new here. I kept waiting for some shocking twist, some sort of revelation, but aside from a bit at the very end that offers a tantalizing glimpse into the next--and hopefully more interesting--book, this is paint-by-numbers Aliens stuff: The big tough soldiers go down to the remote colony and start getting picked off one by one by nasty, drooling monsters while the soulless corporate representatives pull the strings. If you're even remotely familiar with how Alien stories work, you've seen all this before, and done better.
Nearly one-third of this all-too-familiar 350-page trip is spent just getting to the main story proper. Until then, you'll be getting uncomfortably acquainted with our protagonist, Decker, the thoroughly unlikeable male lead who seemingly doesn't think anyone else is likeable either, unless they have nice boobs. All of the women he interacts with in any significant way, he either is indifferent to, hates or wants in his bed. An early scene in the book sees Decker badly wounded, barely staying conscious, but all the while still staring at the cleavage of the medic working on him, and wanting to say dirty things to her even though he doesn't have the strength to talk.
The book handles women poorly in general, seeming to go out of its way to describe various women as "attractive" and little else, which is not only feels a bit sexist but is a rather lazy way to avoid actually describing the physical features of the characters in any detail. For a series that spawned Ellen Ripley, one of the greatest leading ladies in sci-fi history, it's sad seeing the female members of the cast handled in such a flat, immature manner.
Speaking of Ripley, even she is damaged by this book, as the story foolishly elevates her and her entire family line to the status of "Destroyer," hated by the entire xenomorph race for generations. Like the bemoaned midi-chlorians that plagued the Star Wars prequels and ruined the hopes of every fan that dreamed of being a Jedi, tearing Ripley away from her blue-collar roots and making the Ripley family into some sort of race of destined warriors ruins her connection to the everyman (everywoman?) and turns her whole lineage into ridiculous superheroes.
But back to Decker. His failure as a main character radiates intensely enough to harm the story as a whole. You see, Decker is an empath, meaning he's able to sense the emotions of others--humans *and* aliens. Not only is this supernatural nonsense out of place in the grungy, realistic, tactile Alien universe, this leads to scads of awkward, blunt writing, where Decker merely *states* how other characters are feeling instead of letting the readers pick up on context themselves. It also results in a lot of panic attacks as the outside emotions overtake him. A LOT of panic attacks. A tiresome amount of panic attacks. But the most grievous sin: This power lets Decker know when the aliens are going to strike. It's difficult to get wrapped up in suspense and paranoia when the book is basically telling you, "Hey, something's about to jump out now. You should be scared."
Not that there would be much to be scared of even without the prior warning. Like in so many unfortunate video game incarnations, the aliens themselves have lost a good deal of their punch and end up as cannon fodder far too often. Sure, they still kill a lot of people, but these are not the same aliens that repeatedly forced a group of well-armed Colonial Marines into retreat time and time again back on LV-426. In the book, one battle against a massive horde of aliens is literally won by a character standing in one place and holding down the trigger on their gun until all of the aliens die. Really. The tension flies out the window when you know the heroes can just blast everything to bits with their seemingly endless supplies of ammunition.
The experience isn't completely dire, however. In a surprisingly well-done storytelling mechanic, the action is spread out across various teams working at the colony, letting events unfold from several different viewpoints simultaneously. It should come as no shock that things get a lot more riveting when the action pulls away from Decker, towards the other characters who are genuinely vulnerable and don't have alien-detecting spidey sense (even if they're still extremely thin on characterization).
Still, in the end, there's very little that makes this book worthwhile. It fails to shed much light on aspects of the Alien mythos you didn't already know about (aside from the stupid Ripley "Destroyer" thing, and a brief mention of the aftermath of the Auriga crash), and simply isn't scary enough, surprising enough, exciting enough and doesn't have interesting enough characters for it to stand on its own. If you're desperately craving some sci-fi action, no matter how trite or derivative, Alien: Sea of Sorrows is easy enough to digest. Otherwise, this is strictly for the Alien completionist who must have everything the series offers.