Just a quick review today, this time for Alien: River of Pain by Christopher Golden.
It’s only 4hr 52m, and maintains a pretty fast pace throughout. This one, like Out of the Shadows takes place between Alien and Aliens and you could say it actually follows on from that audio drama, though if you haven’t listened to it, it also serves as a direct link between the two films.
There is a crossover as in this, Ripley is back on Earth after the events of Alien and the conversations she has are the same as on Aliens – this serves to produce a little more context and a way to tie in the events of the films with this new entry which focuses on the colony on LV-426 (now Acheron) leading up to and during the Xenomorph outbreak.
As you can expect, there is plenty of action but I think the audio edition does well to cut this down somewhat and focus on the relationships and climate leading up to the event to build suspense and flesh out the story a little. On the whole the voice acting is very good and so is the sound and effects production.
It’s when the action happens that things do suffer a little. Because there are no visuals and no narrator, some of the time it was a little confusing what was happening. At times this made it scarier because you could just hear the aliens and screaming and gunfire. That plasma rifle sound always sends a chill down my spine. But after a while it somehow felt a little messy at times for being able to follow what was happening.
Maybe the fact it goes a little crazy is a purposeful effect and to an extent its successful in that but I think the quality of the audiobook is better in the first half. You could skip the final hour and not have really missed any of the plot at all.
Overall it’s still a must listen for Alien fans, and you don’t need to know the films to necessarily enjoy it. There are probably better full effects audiobooks for casual listeners and non-alien fans, though.
For another alien audiobook, albeit without the full cast and effects, I’d highly recommend The Cold Forge by Alex White which I think would be enjoyed by any horror fan.
Thanks for reading.
This review is purely for the audio dramatisation and not any novels with the same name.