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Alien NationTM books - a review
Strange 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 humanity’s first contact with intelligent aliens — a peaceful race of former slaves known as the Tenctonese. When their ship crash lands in California’s Mojave desert, the aliens try to fit in with human society. As America’s 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 book #1ALIEN NATION #1:

by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens
Pocket Books

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 Soren’tzahh, 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

Alien Nation TV series book reviewALIEN NATION #2:

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 these pitfalls.

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

Alien Nation TV series book reviewALIEN NATION #3:

by Peter David
Pocket Books

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 l


Other books in the Alien Nation original adventure series:

bulletAlien Nation #4: Slag Like Me
by Barry B. Longyear
bulletAlien Nation #5: The Change
by Barry B. Longyear
bulletAlien Nation #6: Passing Fancy
by David Spencer
bulletAlien Nation #7: Extreme Prejudice
by L.A. Graf
bulletAlien Nation #8: Cross of Blood
by K.W. Jeter

Alien Nation, the original movie starring James Caan and Mandy Patinkin, available on DVD

Episode Guides (out of print, but available used):

bulletNewcomers Among Us: The Alien Nation Companion
by Edward Gross, Tom Soter
bulletAlien Nation: The Unofficial Companion
by Edward Gross
In this issue:
We don't get no respect
History of Comics Industry
Elfquest, Indy Success Story
The Comics / SF Connection
Star Trek Comics
Comics by Star Trek Actors
Displaying your collectibles
Star Wars Models
Kids and the Fan Parent
Reviews : Alien Nation books
Review: History of SF Comics

SNW Issue 14
SNW Issue 13
SNW Issue 12
SNW Issue 11
SNW Issue 10
SNW Issue 09
SNW Issue 08
SNW Issue 04

Issue 11 ã 1993 by Strange New Worlds. No portion of this publication may be reproduced without prior express written consent of the Publisher. All rights reserved. All materials are believed accurate, but we cannot assume responsibility for their accuracy or application. We do not endorse any products or services advertised in this publication.

STAR TREK TM & ã Paramount Pictures.

STAR WARS is a registered trademark of LucasFilms, Ltd. (LFL)


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