Book Review – Alien: River of Pain by Christopher Golden

Alien River of Pain

Alien: River of Pain by Christopher Golden is the third novel in the trilogy of canon Alien books that were published from 2013-2014. This novel tells the never-before-told story of Hadley’s Hope, the doomed colony and setting of the film Aliens. This colony was tasked with terraforming LV-426 (renamed Acheron), the planetoid where Ripley and the crew of the Nostromo had their nightmarish encounter with the Alien. The story follows Anne and Russell Jorden, two “wildcatters” who seek their fortune by surveying the planet, their children Rebecca (aka Newt) and Tim, and Captain Demian Brackett, the new CO of the colonial marines posted to the colony.

Ellen Ripley, long thought lost after the disappearance of the Nostromo 57-years previously, has been discovered adrift by a salvage crew. After her story is unraveled, the Weyland-Yutani Company sends survey coordinates to the science team at Hadley’s Hope, eager to rediscover the derelict ship on Acheron and secure a xenomorph specimen. Anne and Russ are ecstatic when they find the decaying vessel, but what they encounter within spells doom for their fledgling community.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – June 23, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Hope is the Thing with FeathersSince bookstores opened up again where I live, I decided to do a little book shopping and came home with Hope is the Thing with Feathers: The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson. I typically don’t read a lot of poetry; most of what I have I read for school. Nevertheless, I like the idea of trying to read through poetry from time to time, without the expectation of having to dissect or criticize what I’m reading. Admittedly, my eyes glazed over while I was reading a few poems, so I had to reread them a few times. Not knocking her at all, poetry’s just a different beast for me. Some of these were really lovely too, though. I guess some of these will just be harder for me to parse than others. I’ll try not to sweat it too much.


Recently Finished

Alien River of PainOver the weekend I finished reading Alien: River of Pain by Christopher Golden. While it might be the best written of this little trilogy of Alien novels, I don’t think this one is my favourite after all. That honour narrowly goes to Sea of Sorrows. I did enjoy this book, but I think that has more to do with how much I like the film Aliens than the actual story here. I’m mostly proud of finishing this novel so quickly; reading quotas really are working well for me. The characters were enjoyable enough, with some decent standout moments, but there were some annoying contrivances for the sake of tying it to the film that made some things a little dumb too. I’m walking away from this trilogy still curious about reading more Alien books, though, so it’s got that going for it. I should have a review up soon.


Reading Next

Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters Vol1I still very much intend to start Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut within the next day or so. With a good week left in June, I should be able to get it done by next Wednesday. In terms of comic books, I think I will start reading the three-volume series Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters by Eric Powell et al. I don’t have any new Berserk to read at the moment, and I’m actually decently caught up on most of my Star Wars comics, so it’s time I read something a little different. I’m not expecting the deepest of storytelling, but it’ll hopefully be a fun monster romp.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – June 16, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Last night I stated reading Alien: River of Pain by Christopher Golden, which I managed to read 59 pages of. Reading quotas have been working out for me pretty well so far, as I set out to make sure I read at least 50 pages last night. So far, I think my suspicions were correct and that I will like this book the most in the trilogy of books it belongs to. So far, it feels a bit like cheating, though, because a few sections are just scenes from Alien and Aliens adapted into prose. They’re adapted well, mind you, so if they’re sparsely used I don’t think I’ll mind. They’re only just establishing the characters we’ll get to know at the Hadley’s Hope Colony, but it has been enjoyable so far. It has amusingly raised questions as to why anyone would want to make a colony there, and I wonder if that’ll be further addressed.


Recently Finished

HogfatherOver the weekend I finished reading Hogfather by Terry Pratchett, the 20th Discworld novel. This feels to be a rather momentous achievement, I wish I felt more inclined to bask in it a little. 20 books deep into a series is no small feat, even if it took me five years to get here. I really enjoyed this book—absolutely loved certain parts of it—but I can’t help but feel my experience was a little tainted by familiarity. This novel is among the most quoted of Pratchett’s work, and my own curiosity years ago had me looking up clips of the TV adaptation. I just wish I’d known less about it. Some other things in the execution held it back a little for me too, so while I loved it overall, I’m not completely enamoured with it. I should have a review up sometime later this week.


Reading Next

Slaughterhouse-FiveI’m hoping I can get River of Pain done soon, allowing me to squeeze in one more book in June. A novel that might just fit in perfectly is Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I bought this book relatively recently and even added it to my yearly to-read list, but honestly, I can’t remember what precisely drew me to it. I know it’s an American classic, and it never hurts to read more classics, but I really can’t summon any relevant information about it in my memory. Well, I’ve got it anyway, so we’ll soon see how a fairly blind reading of it goes.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – June 9, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

I’m currently only 15% of the way through Hogfather by Terry Pratchett, the 20th Discworld novel, so the story is really only getting started. I am loving the setup so far, as I wasn’t completely aware that what Death and his granddaughter Susan will be dealing with is, essentially, the assassination of Santa Claus (named the Hogfather on the Disc). The assassin Mr. Teatime is spearheading the plot, and while it has yet to be executed upon, he’s so elegantly deranged I can only assume he will be successful, at least at first. He’s actually been the greater focus of the story so far, so I look forward to learning more of what Death and Susan specifically get up to. I’m weirdly familiar with this book, but in a vague way, so I don’t actually know a lot of what precisely goes down.


Recently Finished

Over the last week I’ve mostly been reading volumes of Berserk by Kentaro Miura, specifically finishing Vol. 28 and then making much shorter work of Vol. 29. I’m continuing to enjoy it a lot, though it feels a bit like its spinning its wheels at the moment. I had expected they would have made more progress trying to get to Puck’s homeland, but Vol. 28 was a lot of just fighting crocodiles and then a sea monster. The last few chapters of that volume did have some good character stuff with Schierke the witch, though, which bled into 29, where there was then some good stuff with Farnese. I’m realizing that lately Guts goes through stages of fighting and being hurt, with a lot of character focus going to his companions.


Reading Next

Alien River of PainI’m still going to read Berserk Vol. 30 before I even push hard toward finishing Hogfather, but I still have my next novel decided anyway. I need to get further along with my challenges, darn it. In keeping with reading a holiday(ish) book out of season, I’m going to read Alien: River of Pain by Christopher Golden, which tells of the events at the colony of Hadley’s Hope that the marines are deployed to in the film Aliens. I read the first two books in this trilogy around Halloween, but I’ve realized that I’ve set myself up to read so many horror books this year that I don’t want to read yet another Alien book during the spooky season this year.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – February 24, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

I’m between books at the moment. I meant to start reading volume 26 of Berserk by Kentaro Miura last night, but I got sidetracked.


Recently Finished

Hellboy Oddest JobsOver the weekend I finished reading the anthology Hellboy: Oddest Jobs, edited by Christopher Golden, and I posted the review yesterday morning. None of the successive books in this trilogy lived up to my experience with Odd Jobs a few years ago, but I’m actually fine with this. I’m thinking that might have been lightning in a bottle, between the book itself and my mindset going into it. This book was for the most part consistently enjoyable, with a few more surprises along the way than the second one. I actually enjoyed this one more, as it had a couple of stories that were really something special, going to some wonderfully weird and imaginative places. This marks the first book completed for my Series Challenge for this year too, which feels pretty good.


Reading Next

The Song of AchillesAs I’ve said for a couple weeks now, I’m going to start reading The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, which I should actually start any day now. It will feel good to read a more conventional novel again (not that it’s really been all that long). I definitely want to read through Berserk Vol. 26 first, but that won’t take very long. I’ll probably read through volume 27 right after too, to be honest. Other than that, I’m really not sure what book I’ll read next. I ought to figure out the comics I’m going to read next sooner. I’ve been good about getting those read so far this year and I want to keep that momentum going.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

Book Review – Hellboy: Oddest Jobs edited by Christopher Golden

Hellboy Oddest Jobs

Hellboy: Oddest Jobs is the third book in the “odd jobs” trilogy of anthologies edited by Christopher Golden, telling stories about the comic book character Hellboy created by Mike Mignola. This book brings together 15 different authors of fantasy, horror, and mystery. Most notable among them is Joe R. Lansdale, the introduction proclaiming his story as the reason this book started coming together in the first place. Accompanying each tale is an original black and white illustration by Mike Mignola.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – February 17, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Hellboy Oddest JobsI’m only sitting about 48% of the way through Hellboy: Oddest Jobs, which isn’t much progress since last week. My attention got a little divided over the weekend and I haven’t done any reading over the last couple of days. The two stories that I did read were pretty good though, the first dealing with the devotees of an old god in Scotland defending their deity’s shrine from undead U-boat sailors. The second offers an explanation for the long lost colony of Roanoke after a race of salamander people attack a small coastal town in North Carolina. I enjoyed the latter most because Hellboy needed to embark on a search for something throughout the deserted town in order to resolve the conflict peacefully, rather than just punching his way through the problem.


Recently Finished

Master & ApprenticeI got a surprise delivery last week, with my new copy of Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray arriving in the mail. I’d been told to expect it, but hadn’t received a shipping notice or anything, so it’s sudden arrival was quite a pleasant surprise. I devoted time over the weekend to finishing it up, though I was regretfully unable to have a review done by now as well. It should be posted in the next couple of days. I got cut off just as things were getting really good, as it turns out, the climax having more surprises in store for me than I was expecting. The only drawback was that it felt like everything wrapped up and resolved too quickly. The way the events unfolded was fine, but I feel like there was leftover baggage between characters that I would have liked explored more. Some of the tension was only deflated by the end, rather than resolved.


Reading Next

The Song of AchillesI pretty certain The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller will be next on the docket for me, though there is still an ARC I want to check out first. If it strikes a chord with me I’ll be reading that next. I am getting pretty excited to finally read Song of Achilles, though, as it’s weirdly a book I’ve often recommended to people but haven’t actually gotten to myself. I enjoyed Circe so much that I have high hopes for it. I also purchased two more volumes of Berserk by Kentaro Miura, which I’ll likely make short work of in the next week or two.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – February 10, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Hellboy Oddest JobsI’ve started reading Hellboy: Oddest Jobs, the third anthology of stories set in the world of Hellboy and edited by Christopher Golden. After a lot of humming and hawing, I decided to make this the only book I’m reading at the moment. It took a bit of time for my reading to gain some momentum, though I’m sitting at nearly 40% of the way through, and I’d like to no linger on this book too long. So far it’s done a great job of living up to the “odd jobs” moniker, especially the first story by Joe R. Lansdale, which had Hellboy and a weird preacher combating a spectral train that was snatching up entire town-fulls of people. They literally fight a train, and its source, and its much weirder than it simply being a ghost train.


Recently Finished

Star Wars Age of Resistance - VillainsI’ve officially finished reading through all of the “Age of” Star Wars comic books. Last night I read through Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Villains by Tom Taylor et al, telling stories about the villains of the sequel trilogy. The book was of about the same middling quality as the rest of these books, which isn’t really to knock it, they’re just not that remarkable. They’re filler stories, so there’s not much to be expected other than a bit of fun. I suppose I was hoping for a little more from the Age of Resistance books, though, as I want more expanded media tied to those films/characters. For what it’s worth, I did particularly enjoy Phasma and Kylo Ren’s stories, as they offered a bit of a look at the First Order’s conquest of worlds in the Unknown Regions of the galaxy.


Reading Next

to-be-taught-if-fortunateProbably unsurprisingly, I’m not 100% what book I’d like to start next. There’s an ARC that I’ve been eyeballing that I might start, but I think I want to test the water before I commit to reading all the way through it. Just a feeling, not based on anything too concrete as of yet. Since I will have read two collections in a row after Oddest Jobs, I’m thinking it should just be a more straightforward novel. I’m considering To Be Taught, if Fortunate by Becky Chambers or The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, but I’m really just grasping at the straws from my to-read list that I feel most interested in.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – February 3, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Nothing at the moment. I’m between books.


Recently Finished

Me Talk Pretty One DayOver the weekend I finished reading Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. It didn’t feel wildly different from the other books of his that I’ve read, but having not read one for nearly four years, it was great for getting back into the groove with his writing. I expect reviewing this book may be more difficult than usual, as is often the case with any sort of collection. A number of the essays within dealt with self-expression and/or communication, so it’s not to say there’s no through-line at all, but it’s just easier to consider a book when it’s a more cohesive whole. I guess I’m just worried about how much I’ll have to say about it. This was fun, nonetheless, and I’ve got another one or two of his books lying around the house, so there’s a good chance I’ll read another this year.

Star Wars Age of Resistance - HeroesI also read Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Heroes by Tom Taylor et al last night, staying on top of these “Age of” volumes that celebrate the heroes and villains of the saga from across different eras. It was about the same as the other books for me, so these have been nothing if not consistent, though also unremarkable. In this case, the timing was weird considering this collection was clearly put together before The Rise of Skywalker came out. I’m confused as to why they wouldn’t wait for the trilogy to be finished first. Nevertheless, each were enjoyable one-shot stories, decent despite being filler. I especially enjoyed Poe and Finn’s respective stories, for how they showed a glimpse into their lives before the films.


Reading Next

Star Wars Age of Resistance - VillainsI still intend to start reading the anthology Hellboy: Oddest Jobs, edited by Christopher Golden. I just haven’t taken the time to start it during these past couple of days off yet. Anthologies always feel supplemental to me, so I’m still humming and hawing over whether I’ll start something else at the same time. Maybe not, just so I can get through it more quickly. We’ll see how smoothly the reading goes. I’ll also read Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Villains next, to finally have them all wrapped up. I swear, I kept saying to myself I’d read them all in 2020, but I never got around to them. I’m glad I’ve fixed that so promptly this year.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – January 27, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray is officially on hold for the time being. It couldn’t have come at a worse time, as things are ramping up to the climax, but I will have to wait for my new copy. I will refrain from mentioning it in future posts until I can continue.

Me Talk Pretty One DayIn the meantime, I started reading Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris, the author’s 2000 collection of personal essays. I have sorely missed reading Sedaris’s writing, which manages to strike funny and poignant chords quite well. I’ve read through part one of the book so far, which is a collection of anecdotes that covers a range to times throughout his life as well as members of his family. What’s been most amusing is how familiar I am with these people and phases of his life. I suspect that having read his book Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002, is the most responsible for this. I think it covered a lot of what he developed into anecdotes here, particularly his stints as an artist, creative writing teacher, and mover.


Recently Finished

Star Wars Age of Rebellion - VillainsKeeping the Star Wars train going, last night I finished Star Wars: Age of Rebellion – Villains by Greg Pak et al. As with the other books in this “Age of” series, the issues within were one-shots about specific characters: Grand Moff Tarkin, Boba Fett, Jabba the Hutt, Darth Vader, and IG-88. As with the others, each story was enjoyable fluff of varying quality. None of them were bad or boring, but as something celebratory and short they can’t do much with the characters. The story about Jabba the Hutt stood out, however, as tales centered around him are a lot less common. I’ve read so many Vader stories, however, that this was an inconsequential drop in the bucket. Worth checking out if you’re not looking to invest a lot in reading Star Wars comics, though.


Reading Next

Hellboy Oddest JobsOn the comic books front I know I’m going to move on to the Star Wars: Age of Resistance books. I’m excited to get to those, as we haven’t had as many tie-in stories to that era, I assume because the movies were still coming out. In terms of books, nothing from my yearly list is really speaking to me at the moment. I’m not sure why. I am however interested in starting the one unread Hellboy anthology I’ve got left: Oddest Jobs, edited by Christopher Golden. With that book out of the way I’ll only have the novels left to get through.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.