Alien: Sea of Sorrows is a 2014 novel written by James A. Moore and published by Titan Books. A sequel to Alien: Out of the Shadows, the book deals with the rediscovery of dormant Xenomorphs in the abandoned mines of LV-178, which has now been terraformed and renamed New Galveston. The Weyland-Yutani Corporation, reformed after the collapse of the United Systems Military, continue their unceasing efforts to weaponize the creatures, eliciting the help of Alan Decker, an unknowing descendant of the long-dead Ellen Ripley.
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 2018.
Sea of Sorrows is the second novel in the 2014 Alien novel trilogy, which was designed to tie into the events of the existing film series. It was preceded by Alien: Out of the Shadows and followed by Alien: River of Pain. The book was released on July 25, 2014 in the UK, and five days later on July 29 internationally.
As a deputy commissioner for the ICC, Alan Decker's job is to make sure the settlements on LV-178 follow all the rules, keeping the colonists safe. But the planet known as New Galveston holds secrets, lurking deep beneath the toxic sands dubbed the Sea of Sorrows.
The Weyland-Yutani Corporation has secrets of its own, as Decker discovers when he is forced to join a team of mercenaries sent to investigate an ancient excavation. Somewhere in that long-forgotten dig lies the thing the company wants most in the universe — a living Xenomorph.
Decker doesn't understand why they need him, until his own past comes back to haunt him. Centuries ago, his ancestor fought the Aliens, launching a bloody vendetta that was never satisfied. That was when the creatures swore revenge on the Destroyer... Ellen Ripley.
Several hundred years after the incident that destroyed the Marion and the trimonite mine on LV-178, the planet has been terraformed and settled by humans, who have renamed it New Galveston. However, the supposedly successful terraforming has started to run into problems, with a large area of landscape reverting to a state of toxic desert, dubbed the Sea of Sorrows by the engineers tasked with correcting the problem. In charge of the team investigating the issue is ICC engineer Alan Decker; while surveying the area, an industrial accident leads to Decker becoming seriously wounded, and he is evacuated off-planet for treatment on Earth.
On the way to Earth, Decker hunts for the cause of the problems on New Galveston by trawling through historical files, and learns of the previous existence of the trimonite mine directly beneath the Sea of Sorrows. Judging Weyland-Yutani criminally negligent for overlooking or ignoring such a serious source of pollution, he writes a damning report blaming the company for the problems on the planet and submits it to his superiors.
Arriving back on Earth, he finds his report has not been well-received — after refusing to alter his conclusions, he is suspended without pay pending an investigation. To make matters worse, he finds he has begun suffering from seizures and experiencing disturbing nightmares, both apparently triggered by his accident on New Galveston. The situation comes to a head when four unidentified men break into his apartment in the middle of the night and bludgeon him unconscious.
Decker awakes to find he is aboard a ship returning to New Galveston. He quickly learns that his kidnappers are part of a mercenary crew led by Manning, who is working for Weyland-Yutani employee Andrea Rollins. Meeting with Rollins, Decker learns the reasons behind his current predicament — during the seizures he experienced while being treated after his accident, Decker seemingly described the species Xenomorph XX121 in some detail, despite there being no possible way he could know about the creatures. Taking this as a sign the Xenomorphs may be found somewhere on New Galveston, Rollins has launched the current expedition to the planet in the hopes Manning and his men can capture a live specimen for the company. Having also learned that Decker is a low-level empath and may have some form of psychic connection with the Xenomorphs, Rollins has forcibly recruited him to the mission so that he can assist the mercenaries. Decker attempts to refuse, but Rollins reveals he is a descendant of Ellen Ripley and therefore legally liable for the destruction of the Nostromo hundreds of years before; she offers to have this considerable debt written off if he assists with the operation. With little alternative, Decker reluctantly agrees to join the team.
Arriving at New Galveston, the team descends to the surface and enters the trimonite mine, which has since been reactivated. They head straight to the lowest level, where the derelict spacecraft and adjacent alien settlement previously encountered by the crew of the Marion have been uncovered. The mercenaries begin securing the area, although three of their number are almost immediately attacked and taken by the Xenomorphs, which have been lying dormant deep within the alien city. Splitting his forces, Manning leads the bulk of his team, along with Decker, in search of his missing men, leaving others to secure various key areas of the mine.
Manning follows his captured mercenaries into one of the strange silicon tubes that have appeared throughout the derelict chamber; within, the team is attacked by Xenomorphs, but manage to fight the creatures off and even capture one of them alive. However, when they try to return to the main chamber and regroup with the rest of their men, they find the Hive-like tube has been altered behind them and now leads elsewhere. Sensing a trap, Manning and Decker elect to find another route out.
Elsewhere in the mine, other mercenaries begin to be attacked by the reawakened Xenomorphs. The survivors band together with a group of Weyland-Yutani scientists from the alien dig site who were also assaulted by the creatures. Led by Cho, the mercenaries' chief communications tech, the group attempts to secure the area and await Manning's return. Lost within the maze of silicon tunnels, Manning's mercenaries are forced to abandon their captive Warrior and fight for their lives. The attacks on them increase in their ferocity, the creatures targeting Decker specifically, somehow aware that he is descended from Ripley and seeking revenge for her prior slaughter of their kind. By the time the survivors escape the tubes, only Manning, Decker and six others remain, and they find they are now several levels above Cho and the rest of the team.
The situation deteriorates further when one of the researchers with Cho's group suffers a breakdown and, desperately hoping to stop the Xenomorphs escaping the mine, destroys the access elevator with a grenade launcher — Cho executes him for his treachery, but the mercenaries are now stuck and the mine is beginning to burn. In desperation, Cho's group attempt to evacuate via an emergency stairway, but before they can begin the daunting 7,000-foot climb, they are overwhelmed by Xenomorphs and either captured or killed.
Likewise trapped by the destroyed elevator, Manning leads his own band of survivors to a secondary elevator, but this too fails, forcing them to proceed on foot to the emergency stairwell. Along they way, they stumble upon a Queen in her Egg chamber — while they are able to destroy the Queen, two of the mercenaries are subdued by Facehuggers. They reach the access shaft and manage to climb to the surface, where they find the Xenomorphs have already captured the personnel who had been working there. They narrowly make it aboard an evacuation dropship and flee back to their ship in orbit, taking the two subdued mercenaries with them.
Once aboard, Weyland-Yutani scientists recover the Xenomorph specimens the team has returned while the crew destroys the mine and everything around it with an orbital strike, sterilizing the area. Decker meets with Rollins again and warns her against trying to contain and research the Xenomorphs, but she flatly rebuffs him. Nevertheless, she upholds her end of the bargain now that he has assisted the company in reaching its goal and promises to wipe Decker's slate clean. Decker enters hypersleep for the long journey home, while Rollins sends a message to her superiors reporting their success.
Author James A. Moore has stated that the book was intended as a sort of "reset" for the expanded Alien franchise, establishing a clean starting off point beyond the continuity of the films from which the universe could progress.
- "The entire premise of this novel is to offer a sort of "reboot" to the series, that honors all of the things that have gone before and establishes a continuity that keeps all of the previous situations intact, including the dissolution of Weyland-Yutany [sic], the devastation of Europe at the end of A:R, ALL of the movies and events as well as several video games. After the first draft of the novel was written Fox went over it with a fine-toothed comb and several changes were made. [...] I did not make major changes to the Xenomorphs. That might be something that happens later on, but for now there are extremely strict rules because Fox wants to UN-muddy the waters that have been muddied again and again by comics, other books, etc. Ultimately nothing that happens in the book would have happened without either a) the express permission of Fox or b) the express DESIRE of Fox. In point of fact, the initial concept behind the novel came from the powers that be at Fox. That doesn't mean I didn't plot the beast out, but the concept of a descendant of Ripley was theirs, as was the empathic link."
- ―James A. Moore on the development of the novel
Originally, 20th Century Fox wanted the novel to ignore the events of Alien3 and Alien Resurrection and reference only the first two films in the series. However, the studio later changed its mind, and the book had to be altered to fit with the events of the later movies. Moore personally welcomed the change, saying, "I was happy to add them back in because, as flawed as the movies might be, I like parts of both."
- Main article: Alien: Sea of Sorrows (audio drama)
In 2018, Audible Studios released an audio drama version of Sea of Sorrows, directed by Dirk Maggs and starring Stockard Channing, Laurel Lefkow, Tony Gardner and John Chancer alongside an ensemble cast. The audio drama runs for 5 hours and 7 minutes and was released on April 26, 2018, to coincide with Alien Day.
The same year, Audible also released a standard, unabridged audiobook version of Sea of Sorrows, read by Jeff Harding. The audiobook runs for 9 hours and 55 minutes and was released on October 4, 2018.
- The samples recovered at the end of the novel would go on to form a background plot point in Tim Lebbon's Rage War trilogy.
- As with the other two books in the 2014 Alien novel trilogy, Sea of Sorrows' title has a musical link; it shares its name with the fourth single by rock band Alice in Chains, "Sea of Sorrow" (1991), although with an "s" appended.
- The novel is one of the few Alien franchise stories in which events are depicted from the perspective of the Xenomorphs. Other examples include the comic Do Aliens Dream?, the novelization of Alien Resurrection, the novel Alien: Prototype and, perhaps most notably, the short story Dangerous Prey.
- Sea of Sorrows was the first media to use the new, official in-universe designation for the Alien creature — Xenomorph XX121. The term was coined by S. D. Perry for Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report, but Seas of Sorrows was ultimately published several months before Perry's book.
- The novel hinted at the events of the then-unreleased video game Alien: Isolation when Rollins mentions that both Ellen and Amanda Ripley have previously thwarted Weyland-Yutani's attempts to recover a Xenomorph specimen. Author Moore later confirmed that this was an intentional reference.
- According to this book, telepathy is not an uncommon phenomenon in the future of the Alien universe; Decker himself is a low level telepath, known as an empath.
- While the video game Aliens: Colonial Marines showed that Queen Facehuggers look no different from standard variants, the novel contradicts this by describing one such creature as similar to the Royal Facehugger seen in the Special Edition of Alien3, being larger with webbed digits.
- The novel mentions that the USM Auriga crashed into France at the end of Alien Resurrection, yet the film clearly shows that it hits Africa. This confusion may have stemmed from the final scene in the extended Special Edition of the movie, which shows a post-apocalyptic Paris. However, the extended cut never implies the Auriga is responsible for the city's destruction.
- When Rollins informs Decker of Ellen Ripley's actions aboard the Nostromo, she tells him that Ripley destroyed the vessel 318 years ago. However, the book takes place in 2497, and 2497 minus 318 is 2179 — the year Aliens is set. Ripley actually destroyed the Nostromo 57 years prior to this, in 2122.
- Manning's team is repeatedly said to consist of 35 members, yet over the course of the book, 41 individual mercenaries are named, plus at least two more who are never explicitly named.
- In the previous novel, Hoop states the detonation of the fuel cell in the mine on LV-178 will turn everything within one mile into "a cloud of radioactive dust". However, when the mine is rediscovered it is still largely intact; while parts are said to have collapsed, the damage is nothing like as extensive as Hoop suggested, and the difference is too great to be put down to overestimation.
- When the scientists who flee the dig site first join up with Cho and his group of mercenaries, there are said to be seven of them. Later, when the same group elects to try and climb out of the mine, there are suddenly ten unarmed civilians.
- One of the characters is referred to as a woman before being incorrectly referred to as a man.
- ISBN 978-1781162705; [July] , Titan Books, paperback, 352 pages
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 "Amazon.com - Alien - Sea of Sorrows (Novel #2)". Retrieved on 2013-12-30.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 "Amazon.co.uk - Alien - Sea of Sorrows (Book 2)". Retrieved on 2014-07-28.
- ↑ "The Aliens Legacy - Alien: Sea of Sorrows excerpt". Retrieved on 2014-08-08.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 "The Aliens Legacy - Alien: Sea of Sorrows excerpt". Retrieved on 2014-08-08.
- ↑ James A. Moore. Alien: Sea of Sorrows, p. 62 (2014), Titan Books.
- ↑ "The Aliens Legacy - Alien: Sea of Sorrows excerpt". Retrieved on 2014-08-08.