Aliens is a 1986 novelization of the film of the same name, written by Alan Dean Foster and published by Warner Books.

As well as standard print editions, the novel was released in audiobook format in 2015, read by actor William Hope and published by Audible Studios.

Publisher's Summary[]

Now there's a whole planet of them, waiting...

Ripley is going back... the sole survivor of the terror that struck her space comrades years ago, she now steels herself to help lead an expedition to the hell she once escaped.

For on a planet far from Earth, alien beings swarm, hungry for the human face, ready to make the human race their nesting ground. Here waits the ultimate nightmare of Alien, hundreds of times stronger, more insidious, and practically invincible.

Here Ripley must re-enter a world of sudden, unspeakable horror... one that attacks without warning again and again and again.

Differences from the Film[]

The additions found in the Special Edition of Aliens are also in the novelization, including the pre-infestation scenes at Hadley's Hope, Hudson's cocky bragging before the team arrives on Acheron, the numerous sentry gun scenes and Ripley and Hicks exchanging first names. However, one notable change present throughout the book is the elimination of the frequent coarse language heard in the film. Other differences include:

  • On Gateway Station, Ripley first wakes lying in a tropical rainforest before realizing it is a hologram being projected inside her hospital room.[1] She also recognizes the space station, whereas in the film it has been built during the time that she has been missing.[2]
  • While Ripley is relaxing in front of the fake forest on Gateway, Jones tries to kill a holographic bird moving around on the video screen, bumping into the wall.[3] This scene was originally intended for the film, but was cut before filming, possibly due to special effects limitations.
  • Burke elaborates a little on Amanda's death, telling Ripley that she died of cancer.[4] This added dialogue is found in the film's script but was not used.
  • At her tribunal, Ripley insists that the lack of evidence regarding the Alien recorded on the Narcissus' black box means somebody has tampered with the device.[5] While they deliberate on her fate, the board makes her wait outside and Burke buys her coffee and donuts.[6] Both of these sequences are found in the script but were not used.
  • The Daihotai Tractors used by the colonists are described as having six wheels instead of eight as in the film.[7]
  • Newt is around 12 years old in the film.[8] The novel states she is only 6.[9]
  • When Russ and Anne Jorden discover the derelict, they debate whether they should call it in to the colony. In the film, this conversation happens while they are still inside their tractor, but in the novel it takes places after they have left the vehicle and are making their way towards the derelict on foot.[10] Interestingly, the novelization's version of events was later used in the novel Alien: River of Pain.
  • In the film, Ripley seemingly presses on with her life following the suspension of her flight status at the tribunal, despite her recurring nightmares. However, in the novel she becomes significantly depressed and introverted, living in a squalid apartment piled high with dirty laundry and dishes.[11] She is also quite rude to Burke and Gorman when they come to see her. Evidently she is far more damaged in the novel than the film. Additionally, the novel makes it clear her apartment is in fact on Earth, not Gateway.[12] The film is unclear on its location.
  • Hudson is a Corporal in the book.[14]
  • Ripley realizes Bishop is an android immediately after she wakes up when she notices an identification number stenciled onto his hand, although she still does not confront him about it until during breakfast in the mess.[15] The knife scene that introduces the character in the film does not take place in the book.
  • After waking, the Marines have a communal shower aboard the Sulaco, and it is while washing that they talk about Ripley having seen an alien before.[16] This sequence was planned for the film, but was dropped before filming because the actresses were unwilling to appear nude.[17]
  • A brief added scene shows Bishop piloting the Sulaco into orbit around LV-426.[18] This is also found in the film's script.
  • The Power Loader is a four-legged "elephant"-like vehicle rather than a humanoid exosuit. It is still identified as a Caterpillar product, however.[19]
  • Early on it is clear both Burke and Gorman do not expect the problems at Hadley's Hope to be a simple communication issue, information that they do not share openly with the other Colonial Marines, possibly implying they are operating under their own agenda (or, more likely, Burke's agenda).[20] It is later confirmed that Burke arranged for the inexperienced Gorman to be placed in charge of the mission.[21]
  • The APC has six wheels instead of four.[20]
  • The USCM armor is more bulky and suit-like, and includes a backpack full of supplies capable of sustaining the individual Marine for over a month.[22] The helmets are also fitted with a permanent visor over the eyes that, as well as offering additional protection, includes an image intensifier,[23] head-up display[24] and infrared capabilities. The tracking device that homes in on the bracelet Hicks later gives to Ripley is also integrated into his armor.[25] The non-combatants on the mission also wear environment suits on Acheron, to combat the cold and harsh weather.[26]
  • The dropship does not plummet violently towards the planet at high speed as in the film. Rather it detaches from the Sulaco quite calmly before beginning its descent under its own power.[27]
  • There are over thirty Atmosphere Processors spread across Acheron, as opposed to the single device at the colony in the film.[28] This concept was revisited in the novel Alien: River of Pain.
  • The Marines find that the main colony lock has been blocked from the outside with two tractors.[29]
  • The initial sweep of the colony contains several differences. As the Marines search, Burke likens one particularly messy room to his bedroom in college;[30] this dialogue was filmed but deleted from the movie. The Marines additionally discover that several of the rooms have been burned, presumably when the colonists attempted to incinerate the Xenomorphs, and also find blood stains on the walls.[30] Finally, the movement readings that Hudson and Vasquez detect is a piece of loose equipment swinging in the breeze, as opposed to the hamster they find in the Special Edition of the film.[31]
  • Rather than a nondescript corridor, Newt is found in the colony's kitchen.[32]
  • During the drive to the Atmosphere Processor in the APC, Newt explains to Ripley how good she was at playing in the "maze", or the colony's ventilation shafts.[33] This dialogue was included in the script.
  • Interestingly, while the novel generally conforms to events from Alien as depicted in the theatrical release of that film, Ripley remembers the Alien's nest aboard the Nostromo when the Marines discover the Hive in the Atmosphere Processor.[34] The sequence this recollection refers to, in which Ripley discovers Dallas and Brett cocooned in the Nostromo's hold and being transformed into Eggs, was filmed for Alien but deleted from the original cut of the movie; it was, however, mentioned in the film's novelization. The footage was later reinstated in the Director's Cut of the film.
  • The Hive's structure includes all manner of detritus from the colony in its construction, including human bones.[35] Several of the colonists have had limbs broken to allow them to be molded into the walls, while others have apparently been eaten by the Xenomorphs.[36]
  • The ambush in the Hive contains several differences. Most notably, the confiscated Pulse Rifle ammunition does not explode and instead of being killed by the blast, Crowe is dragged away alive to be used as a host.[37] Conversely Apone is killed outright, but before this happens he begins handing Pulse Rifle ammunition out to the other Marines, giving them a chance to defend themselves.[38] Apone also begins returning ammunition in the script, but in the film it all explodes when Frost is set aflame.
  • During the escape from the Hive in the APC, Gorman is attacked by a Xenomorph clinging to the outside of the vehicle, which stings and paralyzes him with its tail, rather than being knocked out by loose crates.[39] Hicks then mans the APC's mounted turret and uses it to kill the Xenomorph responsible.[39]
  • The scene where Spunkmeyer delivers supplies to Bishop takes place later in the novel, after the ambush in the Hive.[40] As such, Spunkmeyer is aware of the loss of his fellow Marines, but does not feel the need to evacuate immediately. It is while returning from this supply run that he is attacked by the Warrior aboard the dropship, although as in the film the attack takes place "off-screen".[41]
  • When discussing what to do on board the APC following the ambush, Burke tries at length to convince Ripley not to exterminate the Xenomorphs, going into much greater detail regarding their scientific value and what the discovery could do for Ripley and himself financially should they bring them to Weyland-Yutani.[42] After Hicks sides with Ripley, Burke continues to complain until Vasquez intimidates him into silence by conspicuously cambering her Pulse Rifle.[43]
  • Bishop walks to the broken down APC to rendezvous with the dropship, and as such is present during the crash.[44] Afterwards, Hicks sends him back to the colony to check whether Operations is clear.[45] In the film he remains in the colony, and as such it is never made clear whether the Marines intend to pick him up on their way back to the Sulaco or simply leave him behind.
  • When Ripley is putting Newt to bed in the med lab, the novel briefly mentions that Ripley was married to Amanda's father, but that they got divorced after she was born.[46] Newt specifically asks Ripley if she can be her surrogate daughter.[47]
  • Bishop likens the Xenomorph hierarchy to an ant or termite hive and theorizes about the existence of a ruling Queen.[48] While similar dialogue is in the extended Special Edition of the film, it is said by Hudson, not Bishop; none of the Marines are present for this conversation in the novel, and Ripley and Bishop are alone. Additionally, Bishop proposes Royal Jelly may play a part in creating a Queen at the Egg stage.[49] He also theorizes on the intelligence of the Queen, suggesting that she may even have chosen the Atmosphere Processor for her nest because its sensitive systems means she cannot be attacked without risking serious collateral damage to the structure.[50]
  • When going to confront Burke after learning that he intends to take the live Facehuggers back to Earth, Ripley — still mistrustful of Bishop — asks the android to accompany her, testing his loyalties. When he complies without comment, she changes her mind and tells him to continue his work.[51] While confronting Burke, Ripley specifically asks him about the doctored black box from the Narcissus, but he ignores the question.[52]
  • Bishop reveals that the damaged wiring preventing the survivors from using the colony's uplink to contact the Sulaco was severed during the fighting with the Xenomorphs, presumably in the early stages of the outbreak, thereby explaining why the colony never called for help.[53]
  • The survivors hear the Xenomorphs eventually break through the sealed door in the tunnel below the complex, thereby signalling that the creatures are now inside the colony.[54] This scene was filmed for the movie but ultimately removed from both cuts.
  • As he crawls through the conduit towards the colony's uplink, Bishop sees a Xenomorph through a hole in the side of the pipe. It lunges at him, but when he freezes in place it loses interest. He subsequently theorizes that movement and some other unidentified facet of the human body may be what the Xenomorphs use to detect their prey.[55]
  • When Bishop is readying the second dropship, automated systems aboard the Sulaco begin fuelling the dropship for flight.[56] Model shots for this sequence were filmed, but never used in the movie.
  • The Facehugger that attacks Ripley in the med lab does so while she is standing, crawling up her body as she tries to fight it off.[57] Vasquez is not present when the Marines come to save her, presumably staying to keep an eye on things in Operations, and it is Hudson who kills both creatures.[58]
  • During the large assault on the operations center, the Marines use flamethrowers to help fight off the attack, whereas in the film they only use their Pulse Rifles.[59] As a result, the fire alarm and sprinkler system activate, adding to the chaos. When Hudson is dragged through the floor, he is taken so quickly the others do not even have a chance to try and save him; Hicks fires a burst of gunfire into the hole in the hopes of killing Hudson rather than letting him be taken alive.[60]
  • Burke is stung and paralyzed by the Alien that attacks him, like Gorman.[61]
  • The survivors fleeing Operations get trapped between two groups of Xenomorphs in the ventilation ducts and Hicks has to cut through the side of the duct with his hand welder so that they can escape into an adjacent corridor.[62] This version of the escape is found in the script, but it was simplified for the finished movie.
  • When Newt slips down the shaft into the sewers, Ripley blindly dives after her but ends up in a different part of the complex when the shaft forks into two.[63] This leads to the scene where Ripley and Hicks try to cut through the floor to reach Newt.
  • While searching for Newt in the Hive, Ripley discovers Burke cocooned and impregnated with a Chestburster, and she gives him a grenade with which he can commit suicide before moving on.[64] This was another scene filmed but cut from all versions of the movie.
  • The Queen is attended to by small, albino Xenomorphs called Drones (not to be confused with the Drone caste from the films). These creatures move the Eggs in the Hive once the Queen has laid them, and they completely ignore Ripley as they go about their duties.[65] These creature also appear in the film's script, but were dropped before filming began.
  • There is no "negotiation" between Ripley and the Queen as in the film; instead she simply opens fire as soon as she sees the creature.[66]
  • Ripley has to climb out of the Hive using ladders and stairs as the elevator takes too long to reach her.[67] In the film, she makes for a ladder, but the arrival of the Queen causes her to retreat to the elevator again.
  • When she is cornered by the Queen on the deserted landing pad, Ripley climbs over the railings, intending to throw herself to her death, along with Newt, rather than face the Queen's wrath.[68]
  • There is a brief additional scene where Bishop redocks the dropship with the Sulaco after escaping Acheron.[69] The film fades from them leaving the atmosphere to already being back aboard the Sulaco.
  • The final showdown with the Queen is somewhat different. During the fight, the Queen succeeds in damaging the Power Loader's hydraulic oil hoses, causing it to topple over, and she then climbs on top of the crippled vehicle trying to reach Ripley. Trapped, Ripley activates the machine's blowtorch and burns the Queen's face, and she falls off the machine into the hangar's cargo airlock, dragging the Power Loader after her.[70] She is crushed by the heavy machine upon landing, and the spilled blood begins to eat through the airlock hatch. Ripley escapes as the hangar begins venting, sealing the inner door and watching through a small window as the outer hatch finally gives way and the Queen is sucked out into space.[71] The Queen herself plummets back to the surface of Acheron rather than drifting away into space as in the film.[71]


Aliens audiobook

Aliens audiobook.

In 2015, Audible Studios produced an unabridged audiobook of Alan Dean Foster's novelization, read by actor William Hope (who played Lieutenant Gorman in Aliens). The audiobook runs for 9 hours and 47 minutes and was released on December 10, 2015, alongside similar audiobooks of Alien, Alien3 and Alien Resurrection (also read by Hope).


  • Much like the Aliens novel adaptation, the novelization of Alien contained numerous differences compared to the film, including in the climactic confrontation between Ripley and the Alien aboard the Narcissus; most obviously, Ripley impales the creature with a metal pole in the novel rather than shooting it with a grappling gun.[72] However, when this incident is recalled in the Aliens novelization, the creature's demise instead matches how it was depicted in the original film.
  • Each of Alan Dean Foster's novelizations for the Alien franchise begins with a section discussing dreams. With the exception of Alien3, they also all conclude with a mention of dreams (by the conclusion of Alien3, all of the main characters are dead and thus there is no one left to dream).


See: Aliens goofs#Novelization



See Also[]


  1. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 13 (2014), Titan Books.
  2. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 16 (2014), Titan Books.
  3. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 22 (2014), Titan Books.
  4. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 24 (2014), Titan Books.
  5. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 28 (2014), Titan Books.
  6. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 32 (2014), Titan Books.
  7. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 45 (2014), Titan Books.
  8. Vincent Ward (writer), David Fincher (director). Alien3 (1992), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
  9. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 48 (2014), Titan Books.
  10. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 52 (2014), Titan Books.
  11. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 55 (2014), Titan Books.
  12. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 57 (2014), Titan Books.
  13. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 67 (2014), Titan Books.
  14. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 70 (2014), Titan Books.
  15. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 72 (2014), Titan Books.
  16. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 73 (2014), Titan Books.
  17. "Strange Shapes - I Love The Corps!". Retrieved on 2014-10-24.
  18. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 83 (2014), Titan Books.
  19. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 84 (2014), Titan Books.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 87 (2014), Titan Books.
  21. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 95 (2014), Titan Books.
  22. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 90 (2014), Titan Books.
  23. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 103 (2014), Titan Books.
  24. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 111 (2014), Titan Books.
  25. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 203 (2014), Titan Books.
  26. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 113 (2014), Titan Books.
  27. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 93 (2014), Titan Books.
  28. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 100 (2014), Titan Books.
  29. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 104 (2014), Titan Books.
  30. 30.0 30.1 Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 108 (2014), Titan Books.
  31. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 109 (2014), Titan Books.
  32. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 121 (2014), Titan Books.
  33. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 139 (2014), Titan Books.
  34. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 144 (2014), Titan Books.
  35. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 145 (2014), Titan Books.
  36. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 150 (2014), Titan Books.
  37. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 174 (2014), Titan Books.
  38. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 158 (2014), Titan Books.
  39. 39.0 39.1 Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 168 (2014), Titan Books.
  40. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 179 (2014), Titan Books.
  41. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 180 (2014), Titan Books.
  42. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 184 (2014), Titan Books.
  43. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 189 (2014), Titan Books.
  44. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 191 (2014), Titan Books.
  45. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 194 (2014), Titan Books.
  46. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 207 (2014), Titan Books.
  47. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 208 (2014), Titan Books.
  48. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 211 (2014), Titan Books.
  49. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 212 (2014), Titan Books.
  50. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 213 (2014), Titan Books.
  51. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 214 (2014), Titan Books.
  52. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 219 (2014), Titan Books.
  53. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 230 (2014), Titan Books.
  54. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 231 (2014), Titan Books.
  55. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 242 (2014), Titan Books.
  56. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 248 (2014), Titan Books.
  57. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 258 (2014), Titan Books.
  58. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 261 (2014), Titan Books.
  59. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 272 (2014), Titan Books.
  60. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 274 (2014), Titan Books.
  61. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 277 (2014), Titan Books.
  62. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 282 (2014), Titan Books.
  63. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 286 (2014), Titan Books.
  64. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 301 (2014), Titan Books.
  65. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 304 (2014), Titan Books.
  66. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 305 (2014), Titan Books.
  67. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 306 (2014), Titan Books.
  68. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 308 (2014), Titan Books.
  69. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 310 (2014), Titan Books.
  70. Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 315 (2014), Titan Books.
  71. 71.0 71.1 Alan Dean Foster. Aliens, p. 317 (2014), Titan Books.
  72. Alan Dean Foster. Alien, p. 279 (2014), Titan Books.