"Alien: The Cold Forge" Book Review
Written by John Colianni
Published by Titan Books
Written by Alex White
2018, 320 pages, Fiction
Released on April 24, 2018
We’re all familiar with the setting; a station out in the vast reaches of space that holds an unimaginable horror that few will ever experience. A corrupt company that will stop at nothing to harness a powerful creature that they could never begin to understand and control, and those who oppose them. The Alien franchise is one that millions of horror lovers hold near and dear to their hearts because of the attention to detail this series of films, comics and novels have received. The expanse of the canonical material (and non-canonical) can keep any new and returning fans endlessly occupied. This is due the world building that started with Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusett and Ridley Scott nearly forty years ago. With each new installment of media to the detailed library that already exists, a more detailed story is continued that allows readers and viewers to immerse themselves deeper. Alex White’s Alien: The Cold Forge is a fantastic continuation.
With the destruction of Hadley’s Hope, the Weyland-Yutani corporation faced an incredible setback. No longer able to harvest the Alien from LV-426, the corporation created their own contingency, assuring they are capable to continue their research to turn the Xenomorph into a biological weapon. Aboard The Cold Forge, also known as RB-232, a collection scientists and Colonial Marines supervise and conduct test on adaptive weaponry, software and artificial intelligence. One such project, Glitter Edifice, overseen by Doctor Blue Marsalis, directly experiments on the aliens in hopes to weaponize them for Weyland-Yutani. When company auditor Dorian Sudler arrives at RB-232 to assess which projects are behind schedule and which can be axed to save money, he discovers there may be a spy aboard. As he gets closer to the truth, a series of events threatens Glitter Edifice as well as the lives of everyone on board.
Alien: The Cold Forge is a perfect addition to the vast number of locations that complete the Alien universe. The description is in its name: a sterile environment that exists to create technology and weapons. Whether employees know this is arguable. This being the first novelization of the franchise that I’ve experienced, I felt immediately familiar with the characters and the description of the installation they were all unfortunate to occupy. Alex White’s attention to detail when painting the picture of Dorian’s coldness and exploitative tendencies is only eclipsed as we’re introduced to a slew of other great archetypes including jarhead Colonial Marines, a heroine scientist and a clever use of a Synthetic. Only indulging in the movies and comics, I was surprised how comfortable White made me as a reader. This has been the first time I’ve spent this much time with a character of The Company and how evil and indifferent a man can be to those he deems below him. His interaction with the others on RB-232 shines in the story’s strongest points, as does his climax to the events that transpire.
Alex White’s Alien: The Cold Forge is 320 pages of pure nostalgia. Disregarding this story, lovers of the Alien franchise would be missing out of a new collection of characters and lore that adds to the already expansive universe that few have so easily and unoffensively imitated. I can only hope that Alex White has the pleasure of returning for a continuation (or prequel) to flush out more of these characters and this enjoyable story arch.