Alien: Out of the Shadows is a 2014 novel written by Tim Lebbon and published by Titan Books. Set between Alien and Aliens, the book chronicles Ellen Ripley's involvement in a Xenomorph outbreak on the planet LV-178 and the mining vessel in orbit above it. The survivors' attempts to escape the creatures are further complicated by Ash, whose AI consciousness has survived inside the shuttle that brought Ripley to them.
As well as the standard print edition, the novel has been released in audio formats twice — as an audio drama, read by an ensemble cast and directed by Dirk Maggs, and as a standard, unabridged audiobook, read by Jeff Harding. Both were published by Audible Studios and released in 2016.
Out of the Shadows is the first novel in the 2014 Alien novel trilogy, which was designed to tie into the events of the existing film series. It was followed by Alien: Sea of Sorrows and Alien: River of Pain. The novel was originally slated for release in December 2013, but was later delayed until January 7, 2014. It was later delayed again, and finally saw release on January 28, 2014.
As a child, Chris Hooper dreamed of monsters. But in deep space, he found only darkness and isolation. Then on planet LV-178, he and his fellow miners discovered a storm-scoured, sand blasted hell — and trimonite, the hardest material known to man.
When a shuttle crashes into the mining ship Marion, the miners learn that there was more than trimonite deep in the caverns. There was evil, hibernating — and waiting for suitable prey.
Hoop and his associates uncover a nest of Xenomorphs, and hell takes on new meaning. Quickly they discover that their only hope lies with the unlikeliest of saviors... Ellen Ripley, the last human survivor of the salvage ship Nostromo.
In 2159, the deep space mining vessel DSMO Marion, under the command of Captain Jordan, is in orbit around LV-178 while its crews mine for trimonite beneath the planet's surface. Two days after the Marion's crew lose contact with the mine complex, the ship's transport shuttles, the Samson and the Delilah, launch from the planet and head for the Marion at full speed; contact with their crews reveal alien creatures on board that are slaughtering the shuttles' occupants. The Delilah arrives out of control and ploughs into the Marion, severely damaging the ship and killing Jordan, along with Security Officer Cornell. The Samson arrives under autopilot and docks successfully, but the survivors aboard the Marion, now led by Chief Engineer Hoop, seal it off to contain the four Aliens on board. The damage report on the Marion is grim — the impact has knocked the vessel out of its orbit, and with no way to correct it the ship will eventually burn up when it hits LV-178's atmosphere. Worse still, the long-range antenna has been destroyed, leaving the survivors unable to transmit anything other than a localized distress call.
The Marion's transmission is detected by the Narcissus, the escape shuttle used by Ellen Ripley to flee the destruction of the USCSS Nostromo thirty-five years previously. Unknown to Ripley, the shuttle is under the control of Ash, who, before his destruction on the Nostromo, uploaded his AI consciousness to the shuttle's systems. Learning of the Aliens on the Marion, Ash reroutes the shuttle to rendezvous with the mining vessel, still seeking to fulfill Special Order 937 and recover one of the creatures. Upon arrival, Ripley's joy at being rescued is quickly shattered by the realization that she has been drifting for three and a half decades, that Ash is still with her, and that she has awoken in the midst of another life-threatening scenario involving the Alien horror.
With time running out before the Marion enters LV-178's atmosphere, the survivors hatch a desperate plan — to flee in the Narcissus, taking it in turns to use the shuttle's single hypersleep pod for six months at a time, hoping to reach inhabited space before they die of old age. However, before they can leave they must replace the shuttle's spent fuel cell, and the only viable cells are stored in the mine on LV-178. Worse still, the only ship capable of taking them there is the Samson, still docked and sealed with four Aliens on board. With no alternative, the crew open the Samson and take on the Aliens using mining tools. Engineers Welford and Powell are killed, along with medic Garcia, while one of the Aliens survives and escapes onto the Marion.
Leaving the Alien on board the Marion, the remaining survivors — Hoop, Ripley, Sneddon, Baxter, Kasyanov and Lachance — fly to the surface of LV-178 in the Samson and enter the mine. As they descend into the complex, Ash (who has now infected the Marion's computers) sabotages the elevator and sends them plunging to the very lowest level of the mine, where the miners originally stumbled upon the Xenomorphs. The elevator is smashed beyond repair, and the survivors are forced to trek through the complex to reach a second elevator at the far side. They soon stumble upon a Xenomorph Hive, as well as a massive derelict spacecraft buried underground. With the Xenomorphs pursuing them, they have no choice but to head inside the ship.
The survivors soon discover they have been herded inside because the ship is full of Xenomorph Eggs, which were apparently being nurtured by the ship's long-dead creators, a mysterious race of dog-like aliens. The survivors desperately fend of multiple Xenomorph attacks and the repeated assaults begin to take their toll — Baxter breaks an ankle, Sneddon is subdued by a Facehugger, Kasyanov is sprayed with acid, losing the use of one arm, and Ripley is badly wounded by a Xenomorph spawned from the ancient dog-aliens. Despite their injuries, the survivors escape the ship and reach the second elevator, although Baxter is bisected when a Xenomorph pulls him partially out of the cage as it is ascending.
The survivors finally recover a replacement fuel cell, setting a second to overload and destroy the mine, before returning to the Marion. Once on board they witness the explosion on the planet's surface. As the group heads to the medical bay to treat the wounded and gather supplies, they are attacked by the remaining Xenomorph and Lachance is killed. A revived Sneddon chases after the creature, eventually cornering it in a hold where she blows herself up as the Chestburster inside her begins to hatch, killing the adult Xenomorph as well. With time running out before the Marion enters LV-178's atmosphere and breaks up, Hoop and Kasyanov place Ripley in the ship's med pod to treat her wounds. Tormented by recurring nightmares of her daughter Amanda being killed by the Xenomorphs, Ripley also begs to have her memories of recent events wiped, and Hoop reluctantly complies. Kasyanov also enters the med pod to heal her own injuries, but in cruel twist Ash takes over and has the machine kill her.
Hoop carries an unconscious Ripley to the Narcissus and puts her into stasis with Jones, who had remained safely locked aboard the shuttle all along. Hoop then wipes Ash from the shuttle's computer with a powerful virus program, finally destroying him, but discovers that the rogue AI, in a final act of defiance, has sabotaged the shuttle's automatic docking release. With no alternative, Hoop bids farewell to Ripley and steps back onto the Marion to launch the shuttle. He tearfully watches her leave, knowing that she won't even remember him when she wakes up.
Awaiting the Marion's disintegration, Hoop fetches all the supplies he can and boards the Samson. He watches the Marion break up in LV-178's atmosphere, looking down on the obliterated mining complex. Cast away, with no faster-than-light or stasis capability, Hoop helps himself to a bottle of bourbon and records a distress call, declaring himself last survivor of the Deep Space Mining Orbital Marion.
The novel is the first in a new trilogy that ties into the events of the Alien films, although the subsequent books will not be penned by Lebbon, but by two other authors — James A. Moore and Christopher Golden, respectively. The project was said to have been spearheaded by Golden after Titan Books expressed an interest in publishing new Alien novels. According to Lebbon, "the three novels are very much stand-alone, but they do together form a fascinating, wide-ranging look at the Alien universe, and Weyland-Yutani's scheming place in it." The novels are being written under the supervision of 20th Century Fox, and have been confirmed as part of the film series' canon.
Reception to the novel was generally positive, although with a fair amount of reservation and criticism directed at the inclusion of Ellen Ripley, which was viewed as unnecessary and — given that her survival into Aliens was guaranteed — detrimental to any suspense the book may otherwise have generated. The manner in which Ripley's memories of the events aboard the Marion were erased was also derided. The lack of development in the supporting characters was likewise singled out as one of the novel's shortfalls, with many agreeing the supporting cast were merely "fodder for the aliens". However, the book's action sequences were strongly praised, as was the introduction of the unidentified aliens (later named the Drukathi by Lebbon in his novel Alien vs. Predator: Armageddon) and their derelict spacecraft buried under the surface of LV-178. Lebbon was also commended for his grasp of Ripley's character, with several reviewers pointing out that her dialogue in particular sounded very much like it could have come from Ripley as portrayed in the film series by Sigourney Weaver.
In June 2016, Audible also released a standard, unabridged audiobook version of Out of the Shadows, read by Jeff Harding. The audiobook runs for 9 hours and 55 minutes, twice the length of its audio drama predecessor. It was released on June 9, 2016.
- Alien: Out of the Shadows was the first Alien novel to be published by Titan Books (although the company had previously produced several other Alien-related books), taking over from DH Press.
- Out of the Shadows is the only book in the 2014 Alien novel trilogy that does not include a reference to water in its title (unlike its sequels, Sea of Sorrows and River of Pain).
- As with the other two books in the trilogy, Out of the Shadows' title has a musical link; it shares its name with the second album by rock band The Shadows, Out of the Shadows (1962).
- As a reference to Prometheus, a MedPod appears in the novel.
- The book notably introduces an alien species other than the Xenomorphs — the Drukathi, the species that created the ship the miners uncover. Previously, such non-Xenomorph species were limited to Aliens comics books and even then were a rarity; notable examples include the lizard-like space travelers in Aliens: Theory of Alien Propagation, the Reapers from Aliens: Reapers, the reptilian Xenomorph-eating alien from Aliens: Taste, the alien pilot shown in Aliens: Earth Angel, the hunting village aliens from Aliens: Alien, the extraterrestrial scientists in Aliens: Incubation, the alien monkeys in Aliens: Fire and Stone and, of course, the Predators and Engineers. The anthology Aliens: Bug Hunt would later feature numerous non-Xenomorph alien species among its stories.
- The artwork on the cover of the book comes from artist Dan Luvisi, a famous photoshop painter who also created the LMS series. The image (with slightly different colors) was also used in promotional artwork for the 2013 video game Aliens: Colonial Marines.
- The events of the novel are referred to in Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report.
- The publisher's summary on the back on the novel incorrectly states the Nostromo was a salvage vessel, when in fact it was a cargo tug.
- At the start of Aliens, the harpoon gun that Ripley used to kill the Alien can be seen still wedged under the hatch aboard the Narcissus. Thus, the door cannot possibly have been opened at any point between the films, as doing so would have dislodged the gun. This renders the events of the book impossible.
- A major plot point in the novel is the fact that there is only a single hypersleep tube aboard the Narcissus, thereby severely complicating any escape attempt involving more than a single individual. However, the Narcissus is actually equipped with two cryotubes, as can be seen in some shots in Alien.
- ISBN 978-1781162682; [January] , Titan Books, paperback, 352 pages
- Alien: Out of the Shadows (audio drama) — The audio drama adaptation of the novel.
- Amazon.com - Alien: Out of the Shadows (Novel #1)
- Amazon.co.uk - Alien: Out of the Shadows (Book 1)
- Amazon.de - Alien: Out of the Shadows (Novel #1)
- AvP2Daily - Interview with Tim Lebbon
- AvPGalaxy - AvPG Interviews Tim Lebbon
- Google Books - Out of the Shadows - Tim Lebbon
- Tim Lebbon - Alien – Out of the Shadows
- Titan Books - Alien - Out of the Shadows (Book 1)
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 "AvP2Daily - Interview with Tim Lebbon". Retrieved on 2013-08-13.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 "Den of Geek - Alien: Out of the Shadows Book Review". Retrieved on 2014-11-25.
- ↑ "Pop Insomniacs - Book Review: Tim Lebbon Awakens Ellen Ripley in "Alien: Out of the Shadows"". Retrieved on 2014-11-25.
- ↑ "Adventures in SciFi Publishing - Book Review: Alien: Out of the Shandows by Tim Lebbon". Retrieved on 2014-11-25.
- ↑ "Seattle Pi - Book Review: 'Alien: Out of the Shadows' by Tim Lebbon". Retrieved on 2014-11-25.
- ↑ "Amazon.com - Alien: Out of the Shadows (Novel #1)". Retrieved on 2013-12-29.