There are fewer things I enjoy more than a good book, and what’s better than that? A good Aliens book! I was cautiously optimistic after the reading the premise, but ended up far exceeding my expectations. After a bit of slow going since the release of Covenant, we again have a new Aliens story to sink our fangs into. So what is the premise? After failing to achieve their goal in Aliens, Weyland-Yutani was all set with a backup plan. A place called the Cold Forge. *Spoilers* ahead!!
Everything you know about the Standard Aliens Novel, throw it all away for this one. Alex White takes the typical tropes associated with the franchise and makes it his own. Forget the safe ideas and stereotypes that we are used to. The main characters are Dorian Sudler, a Weyland-Yutani Director and Blue Marsalis, who is a scientist with ALS. Because of Blue’s condition she has a Marcus model synthetic she can jack into to get around and perform her duties. You’re probably yawning about now? Or rolling your eyes? But here are the kickers, neither of these characters are good people.
Before I get into Dorian is a legit asshole who gets emotionally aroused when he fires people to benefit the company’s bottom line. Everything is a game, and competition. Dorian is the Michael Jordan of the corporate world. And he discovers an unplanned fascination with the Xenomorphs that completely changes his outlook on life. But don’t get in his way. With his arrogance about his skill and good looks, I wonder if the Dorian first name is a nod to Dorian Gray. This fine fellow has quickly ascended the every changing Favorite Aliens Character Ladder. Alex White informed me had fun writing these characters, and it showed.
Blue Marsalis is no hero either. Her entire life was ruined after being crippled by ALS, and she has spent the entirety of it trying to find a cure. With the discovery of the Xenomorphs, all of that has changed. The Cold Forge was there to study the beasts in every shape and form but that was not good enough for Blue. She had her own agendas and plan, which was not for the good of the Company. The Xenomorphs (called “snatchers” in the book) had other ways they could contribute.
Speaking of my favorite creatures, how were they treated? Awesome. Alex White did some really good things here. We have the Xenos finally abducting their prey and using them to makeshift hives. Holy hell, it’s about time. Its one of the core behaviors of the aliens that’s seemingly forgotten about in recent years. Their main reason for living is to kill and reproduce. It was refreshing to not only have the hives back but the Xenos were ruthless. Absolutely brutal and creative kills. You fellow Xenomorphs enthusiasts will be pleased. Bonus points awarded as well for novel use of their tail, an appendage too often forgotten about. They are armored weapons, and their tail is part of that.
Weapons, that’s another standard story we get with the creatures and Weyland-Yutani. Blue/Marcus wanted no part of that. She had enough of the ALS, of relying on other people and Marcus. These snatchers were her key out of everything. Blue and Kambili had secret experiments going on with stolen eggs and chimps, trying to find that secret Xenomorph ingredient. And they find something alright! The latest topic for us in the fandom to debate over, ladies and gentlemen let me introduce you to Plagiarus praepotens. No, that is not a Harry Potter spell. That is what Blue discovers changes the DNA in the host. What a great tie back to Prometheus and Covenant while also providing a great explanation of the DNA reflex in the beasts. Brilliant.
The story itself constantly kept me on edge, the quintessential page turner as they say. I don’t know who “they” are, but they are right. There are many layers to it, from the human drama to the science, and it does not let up. The supporting characers: Lucy, Kambili, Cardozo, Anne are all great as well.
Cold Forge is one of the most refreshing and original additions to the Aliens Expanded Universe in quite some time. You’ll find nods to the various movies sprinkled throughout, but not done in an obnoxious manners. Dorian is an absolutely fantastic asshole, and a joy to read from front to back. Keep in mind, I’m partial to characters like David 8 and I rooted for Thanos in Infinity War.
Cold Forge is one of the most refreshing and original additions to the Alien Expanded Universe in quite some time. You’ll find nods to the various movies sprinkled throughout, but not done in an obnoxious manner. Dorian is an absolutely fantastic asshole, and a joy to read from front to back. Keep in mind, I’m partial to characters like David 8,I rooted for Thanos in Infinity War, and I also prefer the Xenomorphs to the humans in the Alien franchise. I can’t recommend this enough, go get it. And as always, Stay Frosty…
5 out of 5 Perfect Organisms