One of the more overlooked portions of the Alien Expanded Universe these days seems to be the novels. The Rage Wars and of course, Cold Forge have changed this a bit. Hopefully it continues as the novels always seem to give us some nice additions to the lore. Prototype keeps this going, Tim Waggoner put together an entertaining read. The novel doesn’t officially release until the 29th, so this will be spoiler free.
Getting my claws on this novel a few weeks early was never in my plans, little did I know the Titan booth at New York Comic Con would it have it avaible for purchase. Of course I snatched it up without a second thought, signed too! Tim Waggoner is a veteran in the game of writing tie-in fiction. A small sample of his credits include: Supernatural, X-Files, Doctor Who, Resident Evil and Nightmare on Elm Street (I need to look into that last one..). The premise of the novel goes like this: Venture, a Weyland-Yutani rival acquires a leathery object from a corporate spy. They think they can use this to gain an advantage over the competition. It doesn’t exactly go as planned.
Much to my delight, Zula Hendricks plays a central role in this novel. She has become my favorite part of this new Expanded Universe. First introduced in the Defiance comic book series, Zula has been a staple ever since. Tim does a wonderful job capturing the essence of her character and giving us additional insight as well. The novel take place on Jericho 3, a testing facility for Venture. It’s here where Zula is training personnel to deal with any threats the planet might throw at them. There is some great moments with Zula and her team. Tim does a great job getting into the mind of a soldier and their relationships with their squad. Her team is given just enough love where the characters don’t feel like throwaways. By the end you grow an attachment to them and want to know what they are up to next.
The other main characters are as such:
Tamar Prather: She’s the sneaky corporate mentioned in the plot summary. Tamar is an interesting one, as she attempts to balance doing the job and surviving where she can. And trust me, she’ll do what she needs to complete either. I enjoyed reading about her, it was interesting watching her trying to figure out which motivation to follow.
Millard Gagnon: The good doctor was enjoying the simple lab work life until Tamar handed over to him a mysterious leathery object. Suffice to say, he wasn’t quite sure what to do with the thing at first. I enjoyed reading about him studying the egg itself. I always appreciate the science in a science fiction novel. I hope we get another movie with a scientist studying the Aliens. Resurrection left a bad taste in the fan’s and studio’s eyes, but both Prototype and Cold forge show what a great story element it can be.
Brigette: She’s Gagnon’s synthetic assistant. Brigette started her life programmed as a pleasure model, but was repurposed for medicine. A Pretty Woman success story if I must say myself. Fortunately, she doesn’t fit into any of the previous AI tropes, and stands on her on. The portion of fandom that is obsessed with AI will certainly approve. It was cool reading about her mind works, as I don’t think I’ve read about a reprogrammed synthetic as a key character before.
So, those are other players. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like much, these are all stories we’ve read it before. But what brings into all together is when the Xenomorph is introduced. It’s absolutely killng me that I can not completely talk about because it is awesome. Being a huge creature guy I am always a mix of curious, anxious and nervous about any additions or alternation to the monster. But I thought this one is fantastic. It makes sense, it’s terrifying and treats the creature with the respect it deserve. And I firmly believe it’s name will quickly become a favorite. We also get an intricate look into the “mindset” of the beast. I thought it was all described wonderfully without coming off as a corny.
There is plenty more I want to talk about, but I don’t want to ruin anything. Overall, I found Prototype to be a solid additon to the Aliens library. The highlights for me were Zula and the Xenomorph. Both kept me turning the page to see what happens next. The action itself is also well written, one scene in particular I reread a few because it was beautifully macabre. Do yourself a favor and pre-order if you haven’t already!
Alien Protoype is definitley Gogel Certified.
8 facehuggers out of 10 recommend.
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