Follow TV Tropes

Following

Literature / Aliens (Steve Perry Trilogy)

Go To

A trilogy of novels adapting the Dark Horse Comics Aliens comics Book One (or Outbreak), Book Two (or Nightmare Asylum), and Earthwar (or The Female War). The novels greatly expand on the events from those comics, as well as performing a minor Retcon. The original comics had followed Hicks, Newt, and eventually Ripley in a new Alien-related adventure, but had the misfortune to be published between Aliens and Alien³. The novels change the comics characters to Suspiciously Similar Substitutes Wilks (Hicks), Billie (Newt), and a highly-sophisticated android who only thinks she's Ellen Ripley. The novels involve both the Company and government attempting to secure Alien specimens for their own uses, these efforts going horribly right, a mission to the Aliens' home planet (not really), an Alien-occupied Earth, a visit to a military outpost with an insane general breeding the Aliens as his personal footsoldiers, and finally a visit to the Aliens' real homeworld in a last-ditch effort to save Earth. And lots of dead humans, Aliens, and androids along the way.

Advertisement:

The novels, in order, are:

  • Aliens: Earth Hive
  • Aliens: Nightmare Asylum
  • Aliens: The Female War

They are also available collected as "The Complete Aliens Omnibus Volume 1."

Tropes featured in the novels:

  • Action Girl: Billie. Wilks gave her some rudimentary weapons training while rescuing her from the colony on Rim, and she gets more practical experience through the course of the books. Best shown near the end of Nightmare Asylum, when she grabs a pulse rifle and starts loading up. The other Marines in the room consider stopping her before figuring A) she's with Wilks and he's not objecting and B) it looks like she knows what she's doing.
    With four hundred rounds, she could theoretically kill a whole lot of things.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The novels add a fair amount of plot and detail to the comics they're based on.
    • Though in one case, plot from the comics is removed from the novels. The comics explain Ripley's absence from most of the story by having her be shanghaied into a return to LV-426, specifically it's derelict, immediately after the events of Aliens. Things go predictably fubar, but it does give Ripley's her lead on the Mother Queen and some Marine allies. This is excised in the novel, necessitating an extended sequence of tracing the actual Alien homeworld and assembling a crew to go there.
  • Advertisement:
  • Adaptation Name Change: While Wilks and Billie are givens (they're new characters who just happen to strongly resemble Hicks and Newt), Mitch's last name changing from Butler to Bueller is unexplained.
  • Afraid of Doctors: Ripley "doesn't do medicos," repeatedly insisting she doesn't need of want medical attention, even after suffering a head injury kidnapping the Queen Mother. This is apparently part of her programming, as a sufficiently detailed medical analysis reveals the fact that she's an android, not the "real" Ripley.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: After the Company's attempt to hold an alien specimen on Earth goes spectacularly pear-shaped, the government is not pleased with them. Turns out, no matter how rich and powerful the Company is, there's still an actual authority that can stomp on them when (actually, after) it becomes necessary. Dr. Orona, heading the government's own interest in the Aliens, spells out that, before the Aliens effectively end humanity, the public will be calling for heads to roll.
    Orona: (to the two Company execs) I'll give them yours. Then the government will give them mine.
  • Advertisement:
  • Ambiguous Robots: The books postulate that synthetics are more organic than they are mechanical. Advances in synthetic engineering are geared towards making them as human as possible, even potentially thinking they are human. Ripley is so advanced only a detailed medical scan reveals her true nature.
  • Amnesia Missed a Spot: Billie was given a "mindwipe" to erase the painful memories of everyone she ever knew being killed on Rim. It didn't take, and the bad thoughts keep resurfacing in her dreams. She's confined to a mental hospital, not improving, and the doctors are considering more invasive methods to cure her issues.
  • Androids Are People, Too: Said word-for-word, and the source of much of the novels' subplots. Billie and Bueller angst a fair amount about it, as Bueller is advanced enough to actually carry on a romantic and sexual relationship with a human, but inherent differences (and the fact he didn't tell her he was an android initially) contribute to their drama. Later, Ripley has some severe misgivings about herself being an android, since she actually has some good reasons to mistrust them on principle. While Bishop did a good job undoing some of her prejudices, the shadow of Ash still lingers.
  • Apocalypse How: Earth suffers Planetary Societal Collapse as the Aliens spread. Military officers above a certain rank are allowed to legally shoot to kill anyone suspected of being infected, and the rank required drops steadily as the crisis wears on. Anyone who can flee the planet does so despite the attempts at quarantine, and eventually Earth is left in a state not unlike The Walking Dead, except with Xenomorphs instead of zombies. All this is leading to Planetary Total Extinction, leaving the Aliens the only thing left alive on Earth. Stopping it before it gets that far is the plot of the third book.
  • Apocalypse Wow: The lovingly-described nuclear annihilation Wilks delivers unto the (fake) Alien homeworld.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Subverted. Wilks initially thinks Ripley's and Billie hearing a psychic call from a Mother Queen Alien in a completely different star system (requiring FTL transmission speed) is a bit far-fetched. But lots of others are having similar dreams, he's seen Billie's psychic dreams about Aliens give them early warning of their presence, and has had his own moments where he's ducked or moved for no reason and it saved his life.
    He wasn't much on religion or psyche stuff, but you didn't have to be a chemical engineer to start a fire, either.
  • Bad Boss: General Spears. Not only does he use his own troops as incubators for Aliens, he's quite dismissive of them in general, seeing them as obsolete and soon to be replaced by his "ultimately loyal" Alien soldiers. During the mutiny at the book's climax, he shoots down people in his base attempting to surrender and proclaiming loyalty to him, on the grounds that he can't be one-hundred percent certain of their loyalty and can't risk letting an enemy get close to him. When one of his own loyal troops helping him retake his base breaks his neck, alive but paralyzed, Spears leaves him behind to be found by the Aliens he's set loose in the base. Finally, he abandons his base and everyone still on it, loyal to him or not, taking only his Alien troops with him.
  • Bad Dreams: Wilks and Billie both suffer these based on their encounter with the Aliens on Rim. Billie arguably has it worse, since she was subjected to a brainwipe that didn't entirely take, so she's unaware the monsters in her dreams are real, or why she keeps dreaming about them.
  • Bald of Evil: Spears, once he takes his hat off, is bald as an egg. See all over the rest of the page for the evil.
  • Bedlam House: The mental hospital Billie is confined to at the start of the story is the modern version of this extrapolated to the future. Complete with heavy sedatives to keep the inmates compliant, orderlies armed with "stunners" and "shockers" for when the drugs aren't enough, eating utensils designed to curl up like cardboard if you try stick yourself or someone else, high-tech lobotomies for patients who aren't improving, and orderlies who feel up or jerk off on Billie (and probably others) when they're so stoned they can't move.
  • Bi the Way: Billie's internal monologue notes that her first time with Mitch wasn't her first time. In the mental hospital she'd been with a male patient once, once an orderly, and a couple of women, too. Whether through preference, experimentation, or it just being easier to get alone time with the same gender isn't explored.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Near the end of the first book, the main characters' dropship is being swarmed by Aliens' banging to get in, when suddenly everything goes silent. Checking it out, they find the Aliens dead and melted outside, and a Space Jockey (before Prometheus revealed the Engineers' true nature) nearby, having killed them all and giving Billie a psychic communication. Subverted when she realizes the Space Jockey didn't save them because it liked humans, but because it can't stand the Aliens. Extra-subverted when the Space Jockey follows them to Earth, learns that it's infested with Aliens, and sends Billie another psychic message, basically gloating that once the Aliens have killed all the humans, his kind can walk in and take the planet for themselves.
  • Brandishment Bluff: Wilks and Billie are in a standoff with General Spears, trapped in his ship, unable to disable or destroy it or get to him. However, they came from the ship carrying his precious Alien troops in stasis, Wilks bluffs that they wired that ship with grenades; if Spears gives them an escape pod and lets them go, Wilks will give him the locations. It works.
  • Brick Joke: Early in Earth Hive, one of the Company execs says "Speaking of clubs," and segues into asking about their intercept of the government ship to the Alien homeworld. Later, as the Marines gear up to repel the Company boarders, it's revealed all the pulse rifles have been sabotaged, their feed ramps removed (by Colonel Stephens). "Electronic feed ramps were critical. Without them, the only way anyone was going to do any damage with one of these pieces would be to whack somebody over the head with it." Like a club, one might say.
  • Coitus Ensues: Billie and Mitch's relationship proceeds very rapidly. Granted, she's an eighteen-year-old girl and he's an android with no prior romantic or sexual relationships, but it's still pretty damn fast.
  • Commonplace Rare: Billie remembers in a dream when she and some friends went on a "camping trip" in a crawler, using the heater to stand in for a campfire, since wood is worth more per gram than platinum on the colony world of Ferro.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Billie calls her plan to escape the interceptor Gateway sends after their stolen ship "goofy enough to have a chance" as well as "almost embarrassingly simple." Shut everything down to evade the EMP, play dead until they're being towed, then "tap" the other ship, wrecking it's control surfaces. It can't follow, and by the time Gateway can dispatch another ship, they'll have an insurmountable lead.
  • Death by Looking Up: Textbook example in Nightmare Asylum, combined with *Drool* Hello.
    Peterson wiped something from his face, a clear, slimy goo.
    "What the hell is that?" Renus asked.
    Peterson looked up at the ceiling.
    Renus and Magruder looked up, too.
    Chapter 11 (several pages about Billie, before cutting back to Peterson, Renus, and Magruder getting slaughtered by Aliens.)
  • Death World: Two.
    • In Earth Hive, the fake Alien homeworld. Barely breathable atmosphere, swarmed by Aliens, and having at least one other lifeform the Aliens haven't yet eradicated completely. It's later implied to be just another world infested and overrun by the Aliens, but a nasty enough place before that happened so that the local wildlife is able to compete with the Aliens and strike an ecological balance.
    • In The Female War, the real Alien homeworld. Also has a barely breathable atmosphere, very hot and humid, with enough contaminants in the water that drinking it is a bad idea. If there's any animal life the Aliens haven't killed, it's never seen. And it's home to the Mother Queen, the largest and most powerful Alien Queen and possibly the progenitor of the entire species, as well as her personal bodyguards.
  • Description in the Mirror: Billie describes herself in a mirror for the audience after her first nightmare.
  • Designer Babies: General Thomas A.W. Spears. The "A.W." stands for "artificial womb," and he was part of a government project to engineer better soldiers. They certainly succeeded on that count, Spears is a very formidable foe. Mostly because he's utterly paranoid and a total sociopath.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Billie hits it after Mitch gets torn in half and the Aliens ground the dropship. She's going to die soon, she thinks, either from the Aliens or (more likely) a Mercy Kill from Wilks, so nothing matters. Not how she felt about Mitch when she thought he was human, not how she feels now she knows he's an android, not the horrible parts of her life, not the distant potential of still surviving this situation. . . nothing.
  • "Die Hard" on an X: The climax of Earth Hive involves Billie being a Spanner in the Works for Massey's takeover of the Benedict. Most of his forces are on the planet and get wiped out there, but Billie has to contend with a few. . . and the man himself.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: To get through some Marine guards, Billie strips naked and beckons them behind some crates, where they are promptly Mugged for Disguise. Billie can't believe they fell for it.
    Did they really believe that a woman who'd never even met them would be so overcome with lust at the sight of them she'd strip to the skin and beckon to them, all wet and ready?
    Apparently so.
  • Double Tap: Spears uses the Real Life "Mozambique Double Tap," two shots to center-mass and one to the head, stating it's the standard pistol drill.
  • Dual Wielding: Bueller does this with a pulse rifle in one hand and a pistol in the other as his squad assaults a hive near the end of Earth Hive.
  • Dumb Muscle: Wilks reflects that most Colonial Marines are this; if you're smart enough to find your way to the recruitment center and spell your name, they'll probably take you. This is in direct contrast to the Colonial Marines Technical Manual, which states that the technical education most Marines require to do their jobs is higher than most civilian graduate degrees.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The Company trying to get the Alien in this series is Bionational (as in the comics the novels adapt), not Weyland-Yutani. Whether this is a case of not knowing the Company's name or creating another, competing Company is not explained.
  • Fantastic Drug: The two Company execs at one point order, from a dispensary in their office, two variations of these. One gets a small bowl of Devil Dust (which is taken by pressing your eye against the mound of red powder), the other gets an "orgy inhaler," and the two proceed to discuss business while under the effects of these narcotics. Which explains a lot about why the Company behaves the way it does in the Aliens EU, actually.
  • Flat "What": Stephens' reaction when Wilks comes clean about bringing Billie. Transforms into a Big "WHAT?!" when Wilks elaborates.
  • Foreshadowing: Much about the Marines in the first book being synthetics, growing a bit less subtle as you get closer to The Reveal. References to "fluid" or "liquid" instead of "blood" when they're injured, Billie noting Bueller's abnormal strength given his frame, and Massey noticing that the Marine's helmet camera and data feeds don't include the normal life-signs data (since androids wouldn't have life-signs, per se).
  • Four-Star Badass: General Spears, despite being an utterly despicable human being, is an exceptionally dangerous opponent, a Frontline General who is a crack shot with his sidearm and consistently a step or two ahead of everyone who opposes him. Except his "tame" Aliens.
  • Freud Was Right: The Alien psychic communications delivered in dreams tend to be sexual, involve a mother, or (once that we hear of) both.
  • Future Food Is Artificial: Most of what the characters get to eat is pretty bad "soypro," they complain endlessly about it's lack of quality.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Billie goes full-tilt Hysterical Woman — watching your first real lover get torn in half by an Alien and thus learning he's an android will do that — and Wilks gives her a solid slap to stop her screaming, so he can focus on getting them out alive.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Even the most transparent of half-baked plans will get you past a Colonial Marine guard in these books. Wilks lampshades this by ruminating about them being Dumb Muscle, and Billie can't believe they fell for the old "We Need a Distraction, pretty girl, get naked" routine.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Mitch gets torn in two by an Alien. Being an android, he survives, and spends the end of the first book and the start of the second with no lower half, until Spears' people make him some mechanical replacement legs.
  • Hospital Hottie: The psychologist who tells Wilks about Doc Holliday. He notes she's very pretty, and he would have tried to sleep with her under other circumstances. . . then, as she keeps prattling on, debates trying to sleep with her just to shut her up.
    They called them shootdowns or showdowns or some such testosteronic euphemistic nonsense.
  • History Repeats: In the climax of the third book, Billie, having seen transmissions from Earth of a young girl named Amy, seeks her out to rescue her, and must charge into an Alien hive and save her just before she's due to be facehugged. Where have we seen that before?
  • Hope Spot: Likowski, James T., the incubator for the Company's Alien specimen has one where he shoots his way out of the hospital they're holding him in, Action Hero style. He gets to say goodbye to his wife, the heads for the sun. . . only to realize it had been an Imagine Spot. The Company wouldn't allow an armed guard in his room, can't risk their precious specimen.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Mostly from Billie, but there are several parts in all three novels where things get a bit racy.
    • The first novel includes Alien-worshipper Salvaje visting a pregnant prostitute, and becoming aroused at the thought of carrying a life (specifically, a Chest Burster) within him. There's also Mitch and Billie hooking up, though that's mostly in a fade-to-black.
    • The second includes Spears getting aroused as he pets an Alien egg, and flashing back to his first time. Also Billie having a dream where Wilks basically tries to rape her before a fully-grown Alien rips out of him, cluing her in to Aliens aboard the ship, and later basically an erotic dream about the Alien Queen. Finally, Billie strips naked to distract some Marines so the group can escape Spears' base.
    • The third has Wilks hooking up with a friend, Leslie, helping them plot their mission, and later having a slightly-erotic nightmare involving Leslie and Billie (not at the same time). Billie also gets involved with one of the Marines on their mission.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: The books posit that not being in cryosleep when a ship is in hyperspace does funny things to one's mind. Wilks states it makes your worst nightmares look tame. Given how horribly Wilks and Billie both dream about the Aliens, they hustle to the sleep chambers.
  • I Control My Minions Through...: Spears uses fear of being fed to the Aliens (adults or babies) on his human troops, and fear of torching her eggs to control the Queen (and thus, the drones under her command). In the former case, it makes him so despised many of his troops join a mutiny spearheaded by Wilks and Spears' own XO, Major Powell. In the second case, the Queen merely bides her time until the opportune moment to kill Spears and lead her hive her way.
  • Implausible Deniability: The CMA (Cover-My-Ass) Code, though the way it's described is a little strange. It's stated to be a part of a normal log entry early in the mission, but stilted in such a way that it doesn't quite fit. Then, if something unexpected comes up later that you really should have been aware of, you can refer back to that odd part of a log entry and claim you were on top of it, but entering it in your log in code to protect it from prying eyes. The example given states outright that the hypothetical officer is aware of the unexpected going-on and stated so bluntly in his log. It's noted to be a trick that wouldn't fool anyone who's been in the Marines for more than five minutes, but one bad officers still use.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: During his Dual Wielding moment, Bueller notes that the pistol won't penetrate the Aliens armor, so he shoots them in the mouth when they get ready to use their inner mouths. That he's so casual about this incredibly tricky shooting (remember, he's also Firing One-Handed with a pulse rifle) is a big hint that he's more than human.
  • Informed Attractiveness: More like "Informed Unattractiveness." Billie's description is not particularly flattering, and she notes she's "not ugly, but not worth crossing the room to get a better look." This doesn't prevent her from attracting a few admirers and pulling off a successful Distracted by the Sexy ploy.
  • Insistent Terminology: Steve Perry has choice words for several things in his books, some of which don't make a whole lot of sense.
    • Incubating an Alien chestburster is being "infected."
    • Non-Queen Aliens are "drones."
    • Pulse rifles (slightly newer model than in Aliens, but same basic gun) are "carbines," and never referred to as anything else.
    • A dropship is an "APC." This one is especially confusing, as Aliens made it clear the dropship and APC are two completely separate vehicles. Though, the confusion could be understandable; the film doesn't make it clear that the dropship crash also took out the APC on it's way to wrecking the atmosphere processor, so when the survivors talk about "the APC wreckage," one could assume they were talking about the dropship.
  • Just Think of the Potential: The main interest the Company and government have in the Aliens. A Company report on how they obtained their Alien sample shows the facehugger has the ability to put a human into a kind of stasis to survive on a ship with basically no life support, and it's noted "That alone is worth a fortune if we can figure out how the hell it did it." It's heavily implied throughout the series that the simple idea of leashing the Aliens and pointing them at your enemies is absolutely the least profitable thing that could be done with them.
  • Large and in Charge: The drones guarding the Mother Queen are themselves the size of ordinary queens. The Mother Queen herself is commensurately larger.
  • Lobotomy: Despite all the drugs the mental hospital doctors can pour into her system, Billie is not getting better. Considering her a danger to herself and others, they're prepared to move on to more invasive methods. It's more high tech, involving a medical laser, but it's basically a lobotomy, destroying select portions of the brain to end her Alien-related nightmares, and possibly including some memory loss. Billie is convinced the procedure will turn her into an Empty Shell. Wilks seems to agree, as seeing Billie scheduled for this procedure convinces him to break her out of hospital.
  • Magical Security Cam:
    • Zig-Zagged in Earth Hive. Orona watches Salvaje and his followers raid the Company facility studying the Alien through footage pieced together from various sources, many of which were destroyed during the fight. There's jumps, missing time, and poor sound, but good enough angles and resolution to pick out Salvaje himself, as well as provide suitably dramatic description of the event.
    • Played straight in ''Nightmare Asylum. Thanks to his extreme paranoia, Spears has hidden cameras all over his base that play it completely straight, even able to track the same subjects across multiple cameras without missing a beat. He's also able to watch the deserters' entire multi-day transit to the civilian colony, and much of what happens when they get there (some of the cameras are covered by Alien resin). Spears also has recorders on any action he finds himself in, convinced they will be of extreme importance to future military historians.
  • May–December Romance: By the end of the third book, Wilks and Billie are on the verge of a full Relationship Upgrade. Whether this is sweet or squicky depends on how you feel about both the age difference and the Parental Substitute vibes.
  • Mythology Gag: A few.
    • While on Spears' base, Billie sees Ripley's transmission from the end of Alien, setting up Ripley's (sort of) reappearance at the end of the novel.
    • Wilks dryly comments "Another glorious day in the Corps." when he and Billie come out of hypersleep, noting it's something his old Sergeant used to say.
    • The "military instant cornbread," apparently the same as that supplied to the Sulaco, has become famous. Or infamous.
  • Narcissist: Spears, much like Doctor Doom, insists on recording every combatsit he finds himself in, convinced the military historians of the future will find them priceless treasure troves of tactical wisdom. He believes the Aliens might actually think of him like a messiah, leading them a kingdom of power and glory. He considers himself the absolute commander of whatever is left of humanity's military, and thinks that once he's proven his "new soldiers" in the field, everyone will agree with him, and if they don't. . . sic 'em, boys.
  • The Neidermeyer: Abundant.
    • Earth Hive gives us Colonel Stephens, who Wilks openly describes as an idiot with no field experience, let alone combat experience, who for some unfathomable reason has been given the mission to go to the Alien homeworld and retrieve a specimen for the government. He countermands Wilks' requisition of plasma rifles just to prove he's in command, can't identify by sight the extra person on his ship because he doesn't recognize his own troops yet, orders pointless but by-the-book manual inspections of the ship, and is actually on the Company payroll the whole time.
    • When our heroes return to Earth, overrun by Aliens in their absence, an unnamed general is running the last uninefsted compound, overseeing the final military evacuation. The plan is to simply abandon Earth and any survivors to the Aliens, come back when they have some way to eliminate them, and reclaim Earth then. The general posits that it's not a bad thing. . . Earth has been on the brink for awhile, and the Aliens are an opportunity, a clean slate. He also states Wilks and company basically aren't important enough to get to come along, despite bringing back another desperately-needed starship. And threatens to shoot Wilks when he objects, and does shoot android Marine Blake when she objects to anyone getting shot. Wilks kills the general with his own gun.
    • General Spears, who comes to believe humans are inherently inferior (at least, as soldiers) and the Aliens are better. His grand plan is to lead an Alien army to retake Earth, and to this end punishes his human troops by making them incubators for his "loyal" Alien troops. . . who turn on him the first chance they get.
    • General Peters of Gateway Station, a man Wilks immediately pegs as someone who had any creativity ground out of him with by-the-numbers military procedure, and probably hadn't had much in the first place. He refuses to grant a ship for the mission to capture the Mother Queen (though even Wilks admits their evidence is pretty flimsy) and declares that, civilian authorities on Gateway or no, when it comes to military missions using his hardware, he's God.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: The Aliens are given a few new abilities in these books to make things more dramatic.
    • Alien drones can "hormone storm" and transform into Queens if necessary to propagate the hive.
    • Facehuggers can put their victims in stasis if no viable environment exists to allow the host to survive long enough to deliver their Chest Burster.
    • Chestbursters can mature in a host who is cryogenically suspended. Specifically, at the start of Nightmare Asylum, Wilks, Billie, and Mitch discover Aliens incubated from other people in hypersleep deep in the ship, "Iced as cool as you can get without killing them."
  • The Paranoiac: General Spears. Constantly monitors his own troops for signs of disloyalty, and provides punishment for such by making them hosts for the Aliens he's breeding. This leads to one on-page desertion attempt, as well as a full-blown mutiny while Spears is away dealing with the deserters. He has a special communication channel to his base, designed only to transmit clearly if something is wrong, and a backup stealth flyer to travel back to his base undetected. He ticks the "Cynically Suspicious," "Jerkass," "Control Freak," and "Self-Important" criteria.
  • Power Armor: Ripley's and her team strip their ship's two Power Loaders to make four improvised suits, hoping to even the odds against the Mother Queen and her guards.
  • The Power of Apathy: Wilks has this. Near the end of Nightmare Asylum, he recalls a psychiatrist telling him about Doc Holliday, and how he survived against deadlier gunslingers despite subpar skills because, with his tuberculosis diagnosis, he honestly didn't care if he lived or died in any given moment. Wilks embraces "Doc Holliday Syndrome," believing he's been living on borrowed time ever since Rim. Nothing the Aliens can do to him frightens him, since it should have happened to him a decade ago, just like the rest of his platoon. And if he's beyond caring what the Xenomorphs can do to him, he certainly has zero fucks to give about anything a human being could threaten him with, no matter how much rank, status, money, or power they can claim.
  • Psychic Powers: The novels postulate that the Aliens communicate telepathically, and that some humans are sufficiently sensitive to pick up on their "transmissions." Billie is, hence her extreme derangement when it comes to the Aliens. The Aliens can even deliberately communicate with humans, turning them into tools to advance the Aliens' own agenda (which is simply to expand as much as possible and kill anything that gets in their way). The Space Jockey is also apparently psychic, and communicates with Billie in a fashion that's basically Mind Rape.
  • The Quisling: The Aliens psychic influence turns some humans into tools to advance their agenda. In the first book, they form a cult who storm the Company compound where the Alien Queen is being held, get themselves infected on purpose, then have comrades drag them off to hatch their chestbursters elsewhere, spreading the Aliens around the globe. Once Earth has well and truly fallen under the Aliens' sway, "Bug Feeders" start roaming the wasteland, locating and capturing survivors to bring them to the hives.
  • Red/Green Contrast: The two Company executives in the first book. One wears a green silk suit with a ruby throat gem, the other wears a red silk suit with a diamond throat gem, twice as big as the other's. They're never given proper names in the novelnote , simply addressed as Red and Green.
  • Robot Soldier: Come in two varieties in the first book. The Colonial Marines deploy a platoon of synthetic troops to the Alien homeworld, and they're fully Three Laws-Compliant. Company Psycho for Hire Massey is given his own combat synthetics to stop that mission, and they are not Compliant (as well as being designed to wear out in short order).
  • Robosexual: Billie enters a romantic and sexual relationship with synthetic Marine Mitch Bueller. She didn't know he was a synthetic at the start, and her figuring this out places a great deal of strain on their relationship.
  • Robotic Reveal: The Marines in the first book are all synthetics. This is foreshadowed, but not fully revealed until an Alien rips Billie's Love Interest Mitch in half, and white circulating fluid instead of red blood sprays through the air.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Billie and Charlene Adcox are a bit older than the trope usually indicates, and aren't physically romantic with each other, but otherwise very much give off this vibe. "Call me Char," Adcox says to Billie in their first meeting; given the prevalence of Last-Name Basis in the 'Verse, this comes off as very personal. Char's death sends Billie into a Heroic BSoD, something Mitch never quite managed, though he came close a few times.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: SOP for our heroes.
    • Wilks breaks Billie out of the mental hospital because he can't let them lobotomize her for her Bad Dreams, especially since he knows the reason for them. He also smuggles her aboard the Benedict for the trip to the Alien homeworld because she wants to go, could use the closure, and has nowhere else yo go, despite knowing Colonel Stephens will throw a fit when he finds out.
    • To get him, Billie, and Mitch off Earth, Wilks shoots a general dead.
    • By the time of Female War, Wilks and Billie are borderline professional starship thieves, so stealing a ship to go after the Mother Queen is no big deal.
  • Sexbot: Referenced when the two Company execs are discussing how they're going to spend the ridiculous amounts of money the Alien will earn them. One expresses interest in getting Hyperdyne Systems "Love Slave model," and the other asks if his wife will be okay with that. The first man just shrugs and states maybe he'll get her one, too.
  • The Sociopath: Two figure prominently in the first two books.
    • Earth Hive has Massey, a Company hire who is sent to stop the Marines from obtaining an Alien specimen, since the Company already has one and doesn't want the competition. When he gets his orders, they accidentally come to his home, where his son reads them, and his wife is a bit confused about what her husband actually does for a living. Massey calmly breaks both their necks, commenting only that he got used to life with them, he'll get used to life without them.
    • Nightmare Asylum has General Thomas Spears. As he gets his own Alien breeding program up and running, the standard punishment for all infractions of regulations becomes being host to a new Alien, and his soldiers become convinced he's making up the regs as he goes along. Once the atmosphere processor that supplies his base is functional, the civilian colonists who maintain it are redundant. Goodbye, colonists, hello, new Alien hive. Finally, when leaving his base and all his soldiers behind, taking with him only the cream of his Alien crop and the Queen (and slagging the engines of every ship except his two), he gets a panicked transmission that the ships are all sabotaged and the Aliens have gone berserk. Spears finds it interesting the Aliens can apparently sense the Queen is missing. . . but he's much more interested in his celebratory cigar.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Basically the entire second book. Wilks, Billie, and Mitch left Alien-infested Earth by stowing away on a ship in a military armada, only to wake up with the rest of the fleet nowhere in sight. They arrive at General Spears' base, after killing the Aliens the ship had been delivering to him. They find out about his Alien project (he's not keeping it secret on the base) and the insane lengths he's going to in order to forward his plan to have his Aliens fight off the Aliens on Earth. They help lead a mutiny against Spears, Spears takes off with his Alien soldiers leaving all the rest of his troops to die, Billie and Wilks escape on one of Spears' transports but have to leave Mitch behind. They make it back to Earth, escape Spears and arrive on Gateway station. Spears attempted first battle against the Aliens goes terribly for him, with "his" Aliens ignoring his orders to free their Queen, who promptly kills Spears and leads her Aliens into the wilderness of Earth to found another new hive.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Slave to PR: Spears doesn't just want to save Earth, he wants to look good doing it. He carefully selects the site of the first battle, a historical example of superior weaponry and superior training overcoming superior numbers, and goes to lead his Alien army in full dress uniform, including a sword. He's promptly killed as his "loyal" Aliens turn on him.
  • Space Is Noisy: Averted. The description of the deathly silence of space adds to the tension of scene where Billie goes EVA to eliminate an Alien on the hull of their ship.
  • Spanner in the Works: Massey's takeover of the Benedict accounted for Wilks, Colonel Stephens, and the platoon of Marines. One teenage girl, recently escaped from a mental hospital, whose most noteworthy skill is hiding? Not so much.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Out of necessity, the novels turned the main characters into these:
    • Wilks is Hicks, being the Sole Survivor of a Marine platoon who investigated a colony that went dark because it got overrun by Aliens. He's even got acid scars similar to the wounds Hicks ends Aliens with. He also takes some elements of Ripley, since she was not present for Wilks' encounter with the Aliens, so Wilks is the one who rescued. . .
    • Billie is Newt, the Sole Survivor of a colony overrun by Aliens, a little girl who survived by hiding from them and was eventually rescued by Colonial Marines, who were slaughtered in the process.
  • Tempting Fate: Colonel Stephens is less than happy about Wilks being assigned to the mission to the Alien homeworld, and complains to Orona about it. Orona basically tells him to shut up and deal with it, and notes that Wilks has been bumped to Sergeant and put in charge of loading supplies for the mission. "How much damage can he do there?" Orona asks. Cut to Stephens finding the plasma rifles and chargers Wilks requisitioned. . .
  • There's No Kill Like Overkill: Wilks thinks so. For the mission to (what is believed to be) the Aliens' homeworld, he requisitions plasma rifles and chargers. Colonel Stephens overrules him, citing that Wilks' own testimony states standard pulse rifles chop up Aliens just fine, and "I won't jeopardize my mission by splattering potential specimens all over the countryside with weaponry designed to stop tanks." Of course, Stephens has other reasons to not allow blasters on the ship.
  • Those Two Guys: Two Company executives create the bulk of the plot in the first book, attempting to secure (and then later, hold) an Alien specimen. They are never named in the book, instead identified by their suits. . . one Red, one Green.
  • Three Laws-Compliant: Wilks cites that synthetics are programmed with "Asimov's Modified Laws." Exactly what the modifications are is unknown, the only one discussed replaces "harm" in the First Law with "kill," since a otherwise a synthetic surgeon would be unable harm a human with surgery, even to save them from greater harm or death. It's also noted that, while the synthetic Marines can put bullets into a target on the range anywhere they want, actually trying to shoot a human nonfatally is far to risky. Massey's Mecha-Mooks are noted not to be First Lawed and illegal as hell. Finding out she's also not First Lawed causes Ripley some additional consternation.
  • Tyke Bomb: Little Tommy Spears was nine years old when he killed his first enemy, another Designer Babies the government made to try and engineer better soldiers, and The Bully who singled Spears out as the target of his ire. It seems Spears never faced any kind of disciplinary action for this, though he does mention earlier that all but one of the Designer Babies became a Marine, and that one would have if he hadn't been killed in an accident as a prepubescent. Whether Spears himself made it look like an accident or it was officially ruled an accident because whoever was running the program approved of Spears' bloodlust is unknown. Either option is horrifying.
  • Victory Sex: Equal parts this, Rescue, and Glad-to-be-Alive, Billie promises some to Mitch as they're ready to evacuate the (not really) Alien homeworld. Too bad an Alien had other ideas.
    Mitch: Hey, Billie, hope you kept it warm for me.
    Billie: Come and get it.
  • Villain Decay: The novels outright state the average Alien drone is only about as smart as a dog, a far cry from the implacable murder machine aboard the Nostromo. The Queens have near-human level intelligence, however.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Spears has one when his "tame" Aliens disobey his orders and free their Queen. A brief one, as the Queen tears his head off.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: Even in midst of hunting down an Alien on the hull of their spaceship, Billie can't help but take a moment to marvel at the cold, clear beauty of deep space.
    Billie: It's a real E-ticket ride out here.
    Wilks: Ain't it, though. You never forget your first EVA.
  • Worthy Opponent: Though he can barely remember Wilks' name, Spears considers him this, being impressed with his bravery and willingness to take action. Were Spears still interested in leading human troops, he'd promote Wilks and be proud to have him under his command.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Massey shoots Stephens dead pretty much instantly after setting foot on the Benedict, claiming he doesn't need Stephens anymore and reasoning that a man who would sell out his own command is hardly trustworthy.
Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report