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Cowboys & Aliens Mass Market Paperback – August 2, 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"In addition to presenting the plot's twists and turns in vivid detail and creating a strong sense of time and place, Vinge paints in-depth portraits of the characters.... Despite the amalgamation of genres, the telling never veers into the campy, keeping the focus on how the characters grow and change and the page-turning action front and center."
--School Library Journal

About the Author

Joan D. Vinge, the author of the novelization of the screenplay, is the winner of two Hugo Awards, one for her novel The Snow Queen. She has written several dozen short stories, and nearly twenty books, including her Cat novels, Psion, Catspaw and Dreamfall, and the other Snow Queen cycle novels, World's EndThe Summer Queen and Tangled up in Blue. She has had a number of bestselling film adaptations published, including  the #1 bestselling The Return of the Jedi Storybook and novelizations of LadyhawkeMad Max Beyond ThunderdomeReturn to Oz and Willow, among others. She is also the author of The Random House Book of Greek Myths. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1 Mti edition (August 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765368269
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765368263
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,665,137 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Larry on August 7, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Since this is a novelization of a recent movie, let me start by saying I did see the movie last week. I liked the concept of the movie and thought it was worth seeing, but did not have much depth. Picked up the book today and read it and now really like the story line much more.

Joan Vinge did a nice job of filling in some the gaps in the characterization and motivations of the people in the story. This really added alot of depth and made it a much more believable and fun story to read.

If you have already seen the movie and did not absolutely hate it, then the book is a great read to fill in the gaps. However, if you are planning on seeing the movie next weekend you might want to buy the book and give it a quick read if you have time. I think this would make the movie even more fun to watch. Finally, even if you do not plan to see the movie, the book stands alone as a well written story.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this, as i did "Return to Oz", because I like Vinge's writing and there's not enough of it! And while I'm not sorry I read these, they are not as good as her original works.

As a novelization, I think this is the better of the two. It did read more like a novel than a novelization, and gave a lot of background and context that I think would have been impossible in the movie. (Note: I have not seen the movie, nor do I plan to.)

If one is a fan of the movie, I think this would be an excellent read that would increase the appreciation. However, as a novel in and of itself, it's a bit heavy-handed, especially in terms of plot. Plus, I still cannot see how it makes sense for aliens to come all the way here for basic resources, when they can- with their advanced tech- just MAKE whatever they need. Most Earth lifeforms have a innate policy of doing as little as possible to get the results they want; I can see why this would be selected for; and I do not see why aliens would follow a wildly different, more complex, and far more fragile evolutionary path. But hey- it's mostly a plot in which Humans Triumph and Virtue Is Rewarded, not actual science fiction; more a morality play with sf garnishes.

Very well-done as a novelization, though.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A man awakens in the desert to complete memory loss. The only clue to his past is a picture of a young woman and a metal contraption locked around his forearm. When he arrives in a nearby town of Absolution, trouble isn't far behind. But when strange lights from the sky arrive and begin shooting up the town and abducting its residents, the survivors decide to risk all to hunt the kidnappers and find their loved ones.

While I loved the film, this novelization fills in the gaps and gives a much-needed look beneath the surface of the characters. Vinge does a fantastic job of giving more depth and humanity to the characters. And all of the drama, romance, and suspense of the film translated well to print.

I highly recommend seeing the movie first, then reading the novelization. The surprises and emotions are experienced better on-screen, and knowing some of it beforehand would probably lessen the impact. But for those, like me, who loved the film and the story and wanted more, this retelling in novel form was highly entertaining. Fast-paced and action-packed, Cowboys & Aliens is one fantastic mash-up of western and science fiction.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I like Joan D. Vinge and this is the only reason I bought the book. I read it without ever intending to watch the movie, although later my curiosity took the upper hand and I did watch it. So - this is a great book based on a total waste of a movie. The book works great as a stand-alone; I actually enjoyed the reading and will probably return to it in the future. The only good parts of the movie revolved around the lean physique of Daniel Craig...
For me, the book is character-based and less action-based. It explains all the motivations and reasons of all the people involved. It actually makes sense - whether in the movie so many things did not. What I like the most is the fact that the book contains some themes and observations on human nature (as is the case with D. Vinge's books) that really make the book. The main character Jack deals throughout the entire book with this dilemma where on the one hand he needs to remember who he is and what happened to him and on the other hand he's afraid to remember because it means to remember that he is really a ruthless criminal; he develops feelings for two women at the same time - his lover who just died and the Ella character, very interesting to see how this is combined into one thread to make him a better person. Ella, who is just a silly plot trick in the movie, receives depth thru Jack's understanding of her. Dollarhyde deals with old traumas of war and learns more about humanity.
The inner workings of the books are equally good - the language is beautiful and engrossing, as usually is with this author. The switches between points of view of different people are seamless. Everything is tied together. Kudos for Joan D. Vinge.
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By Sadie Forsythe on October 16, 2015
Format: Audio CD
I obviously wasn't looking for a serious read when I picked this book up to listen to. I thought it might be silly and fun, and since I never saw the movie, I'd at least know the plot then. The problem is that I didn't realize that it is a novel based on the screenplay for the movie, as opposed to the book the screenplay is based on. Thus, it reads just as a movie would play out and any of the additional depth that makes a book preferable to the screen is missing.

While I the occasional shadows of important themes pop up, not a single one is ever explored or expanded on. The book is action-packed, but not much else. All-in-all, there wasn't much to recommend it. At least the movie had some cool actors in it; all this had was an overly breathy, over-acted voice. Meh

Note: borrowed from library
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