Alien NationTM books
- a reviewStrange New Worlds Issue 11 - December 1993
Though it aired on the Fox Network for only a single season, the TV series Alien
Nation won critical acclaim and a devoted following for its blend of science fiction
and police drama. In March of 1993, Pocket Books launched a series of original novels that
continue the characters, situations, and themes of this groundbreaking show.
Set in 1995, Alien Nation is the story of humanitys first contact with
intelligent aliens a peaceful race of former slaves known as the Tenctonese. When
their ship crash lands in Californias Mojave desert, the aliens try to fit in with
human society. As Americas strangest group of immigrants, the Tenctonese face
intense prejudice and hostility while trying to adapt to thier new homeworld.
For those who mourned the cancellation of Alien Nation, this new series of
novels is not to be missed. Though flawed, all three books are entertaining and a welcome
addition to the Alien Nation mythos.
ALIEN NATION #1:
DAY OF DESCENT
by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens
From the authors of Prime Directive, the premiere book of the Alien Nation
series provides fans with a look back at The Day of Descent when the Tenctonese
landed on Earth. The police tale of rookie detective Matt Sykes on his first murder
investigation is intertwined with the saga of Stangya Sorentzahh, a Tenctonese slave
destined to become Detective George Francisco. An astronomer's murder leads Sykes into a
deadly conspiracy that threatens his life, his daughter, and his world. Meanwhile, as the
slaveship approaches Sol, Stangya is swept into his peoples last desperate struggle
for freedom against their ruthless masters, the Overseers and the ship that they serve.
This well-crafted book deftly merges the often contradictory worlds of the film Alien
Nation and the series. In a near seamless joining, this book answers many questions
left unexplored in the series. The scenes aboard the alien ship are so compelling,
however, that the earthbound murder mystery pales in comparison. But with a whole alien
civilization to explore, an ordinary cop drama cannot hold its own. The tale of rebellion
and conspiracy aboard the ship is worth reading again and again, even if you skip over the
Los Angeles crime story.
(Out of print, Alien Nation: Day of
Descent available used from Amazon.com
by K. W. Jeter, Pocket Books
When Fox cancelled Alien Nation, they left the series first-season cliffhanger
unresolved. Dark Horizon is the novelization of that cliffhanger and its unfilmed
two-hour sequel. Based on screenplays by Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider, the story
deals with a ruthless group of humans who want to rid the Earth of all aliens. They
unleash a deadly new bacteria among the Tenctonese, including the Francisco family.
The resolution of most television cliffhangers are anticlimactic. In the intervening
months, viewers often create more imaginative resolutions than the ones concocted by
cost-conscious producers. Fans of Alien Nation have been waiting since May 1990 for
the resolution of the season cliffhanger "Green Eyes." K. W. Jeter had the
unenviable task of turning the already scripted finale, along with "Green Eyes,"
into a single cohesive book. While no author could live up to the years of anticipation,
Jeter presents us with an entertaining and exciting page-turner. His story moves best when
it explores new ground; the tale of the Overseer newly landed on Earth and his plans to
recapture the slave cargo is Alien Nation at its most compelling. This book at its
worst deals with the prejudice against Buck Francisco and his platonic relationship with
his school teacher. Alien Nation often failed in its attempts to present biting
social commentary. These stories usually devolved into sermonizing and, far worse,
predictably boring scripts that failed to entertain. Hopefully the book series will avoid
Despite these minor flaws, Dark Horizon should please Alien Nation fans.
It is nice to finally know the outcome of the Purist attack on the Francisco family.
(Out of print, Alien Nation : Dark
Horizon available used from Amazon.com)
BODY AND SOUL
by Peter David
In Body and Soul Matt and George investigate the birth of the first half-human,
half-Tenctonese child. Meanwhile, Sikes and newcomer Cathy Frankel find they can no longer
deny their feelings. Quickly they learn just how dangerous human-Tenctonese love can be,
and how far it can go.
Author Peter David has come through again with the type of witty, tightly-written
adventures that we have come to expect from this prolific genre writer. By far the
strongest of the three, David's sparkling prose style and genuine affection for the
material make Body and Soul a pleasure to read. His pacing keeps the cop saga
moving. His description of Matt and Cathy's first encounter, which could have been
salacious, instead is thoroughly charming and warm. It's like reliving your first kiss.
(Out of print, Alien Nation : Body and
Soul available used from Amazon.com) l
Other books in the Alien Nation original adventure series:
Alien Nation, the original movie starring James Caan and Mandy
Patinkin, available on DVD
Episode Guides (out of print, but available used):