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Cowboys & Aliens

3.28  ·  Rating Details ·  428 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
Blockbuster filmmaker Jon Favreau directs Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford in an event film for summer 2011 that crosses the classic Western with the alien-invasion movie in a blazingly original way: Cowboys & Aliens. Joined by an arsenal of top moviemakers-Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci-he brings an all-new action thriller tha ...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published August 2nd 2011 by Tor Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Mike (the Paladin)
Sep 11, 2011 Mike (the Paladin) rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
This is a novelization of a movie...maybe that should be my entire review. I haven't seen this movie yet. Now I wonder if I will at all(well,probably for the special effects).

As noted in my "shelving" I didn't finish this one (I even considered starting a "new shelf"..."total crap"). It finally burned me out.

This wants to be a genre bending western meets space invaders type movie book. My big question is this. How can a cowboys meet ET goes postal movie adaption book manage to hit every cliche o
May 08, 2012 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure if this was a novelization, or if the movie was based on this book. Further, I haven't seen the movie, but from listening to the audio book, I suspect it makes a better movie.

What's not to like about this story, aliens invade a dying mining town out west, and (view spoiler) band together to fight them off. So far, I'm there. For me the book fell down with too much navel gazing. What would have made a great double barr
Oct 20, 2016 Elar rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
I had my misgivings as movie was nothing special, but this book is actually better than movie. It has its cliches and alien tech seems really alien in 19th century western, but adventures with gunslingers, indians and romance make it quite decent audiobook.
You know, I was pleasantly surprised by this western/sci-fi/horror/action/adventure book! I have not seen the movie which spawned the book, but I do know that it didn't do particularly well at the box office. I didn't really have high hopes for this book, but I wanted something, well, different. You know how that goes sometimes. The thing about Cowboys and Aliens is it was different, and yet, it wasn't. This book had all of what you expect in a good western. Cowboys (obviously), good guys, outla ...more
Sadie Forsythe
I obviously wasn't looking for a serious read when I picked this book up to listen to. I thought it might be silly and fun, and since I never saw the movie, I'd at least know the plot then. The problem is that I didn't realize that it is a novel based on the screenplay for the movie, as opposed to the book the screenplay is based on. Thus, it reads just as a movie would play out and any of the additional depth that makes a book preferable to the screen is missing.

While I the occasional shadows o
Sep 21, 2011 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brian Irwin
Sep 08, 2011 Brian Irwin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

I got this as a no brain required summer read, and I was pretty surprised that this was a book, as the movie (which I have not seen yet) seemed like an interesting concept.

When I got to the point that said "A Novelization of the movie" I should have given up, but alas I didn't.

The first half opens up with a few interesting points, but once the action starts it is clear that things that make a good popcorn spectacle on the big screen are just tedious in book form.

Also some of the th
Caroline Carter
My god! The cliches! Most of it wasn't too awful. It wasn't good, but it wasn't awful. I borrowed it for some nice, light, brainless fun. But the end was just a barrage of every feel-good movie trope ever written.
Jul 06, 2011 Allyson marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Once again we revisit the eternal dilemma: what to do first? Watch or Read?
This was an interesting book to read. It is a novelization of a movie based on a comic book [graphic novel]. The graphic novel is quite different than the movie [especially the end of the graphic novel (view spoiler)].

The book starts off as it does in the movie: A lone str
It is the story of a man who wakes up wounded and without any memories. The only thing he has left is a metal manacle on his wrist. He ends up in a town where the local sheriff recognizes him as a wanted man. As he is thrown in prison, aliens attack the town and kidnap some of the townsfolks. Along with the town businessman, the man has to search for the aliens and his memory.

The plot was weak. By that I mean that it was cliché and easy. What I mean by that is that there was nothing new or spect
Brian Turner
Dec 31, 2016 Brian Turner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, westerns
I haven't seen the film that goes with this novel, so didn't have any expectations about characters or events.

Stands on its own as a good hybrid of sci-fi and Western.

The characters start off as the typical Western tropes; silent and mysterious stranger with a past, cattle barons who think they run the town, worn down sheriff trying to keep the peace.
As the action progresses they realise they all have things that will help the others, and they become a lot more sympathetic than if this was just
Feb 11, 2017 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Nope. I couldn't do it. I made it halfway through the book before I had to give up and quit. I've only quit one book before. it wasn't the writing that was bad, I couldn't get through the storyline. I feel bad that that's what Vinge had to work with. For me, it was like a group of men decided they wanted to combine their two childhood dreams and mashed them together in the worst way. Not something I would recommend.
See more reviews on my blog:

Cowboys and Aliens by Joan D. Vinge is a novelization from the movie that came out in theaters in July 2011. If it hadn’t space month on the blog, I don’t know if I would have normally picked out this book as I don’t normally like seeing a movie before I read the book. However, I gave Cowboys and Aliens a try because I really enjoyed the movie and thought for sure I would enjoy the book. So for this review, I’m going to do a book vs. movie compariso
Rafael C
May 02, 2012 Rafael C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rafael Contreras-Book Review #1
Boom! And an alien falls down. Boom! There goes another one. Jake keeps firing his gun and killing aliens while the others battle them with arrows and bows. Crash! An alien comes down real hard. There are only a few men left and Jake has to do something. If you like adventure, action and mystery, you will love the book of “Cowboys and Aliens.”By Joan D. Vinge
When you think of Cowboys and Aliens, do you think of Aliens destroying cowboys? Well that is the case in
Sep 07, 2013 Will rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: SciFi junkies
Recommended to Will by: A twisted maniac
Shelves: science-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lauren K
Sep 18, 2011 Lauren K rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review was first posted @ The Australian Bookshelf

This was a novelization of the movie released in August, 2011. I really enjoy when books are made into movies but this was my first encounter with it being the other way around. Unfortunately it didn’t really work.

Joan D Vinge writes in a skilful manner but I think the plot that she had to work with put her at a disadvantage. I couldn’t connect with ‘the stranger’ because written from third person he was very much foreign for the first part
Deroo Vasghanian
Nov 15, 2011 Deroo Vasghanian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The moment I saw this novel's title, I decided to pick it up right away.The whole idea of Cowboys going against Aliens seemed very new and unheard of. The main story starts right away in this book, with a man waking up in the middle of a desert not knowing who he is, or what the heck happened to him. All he knows is that he's seriously wounded and has a shiny metallic wrist band never seen before. He then walks into a town and finds out that he's a wanted criminal. Now that is a start that will ...more
Mar 24, 2012 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Normally, I avoid movie tie-in books like plague. The vast majority of them are pretty awful (even if the movie was decent). I have a few exceptions on my shelves, either because the books themselves are good (Ladyhawke and Serenity) or I just love the movie that much (Van Helsing and Constantine). I did not expect much out of the book tie-in for Cowboys and Aliens, but I picked it up because a.) I really enjoyed the movie and-I-don't-care-what-anyone-else-says-it-was-fun (albeit with not nearly ...more
Aug 24, 2014 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
1875. New Mexico Territory. A stranger (Craig) with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. The only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles one wrist. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution don’t welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde. It’s a town that lives in fear.

But Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate cit
Feb 15, 2014 Cissa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this, as i did "Return to Oz", because I like Vinge's writing and there's not enough of it! And while I'm not sorry I read these, They are not as good as her original works.

As a novelization, I think this is the better of the two. It did read more like a novel than a novelization, and gave a lot of background and context that I think would have been impossible in the movie. (Note: I have not seen the movie, nor do I plan to.)

If one is a fan of the movie, I think this would be an excellent
Feb 20, 2013 Paul rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, novels, x-movie
I have to admit that I actually went out of my way to go see the movie by John Favreau, I figures, hey, it's by the guy that did Iron Man, so it's gotta be good, right? right?

Well, Cowboys & Aliens is a 2011 American science fiction Western film directed by Jon Favreau and starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and Olivia Wilde. The film is based on the 2006 graphic novel of the same name created by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg. The main plot revolves around an amnesiac outlaw (Craig), a wealthy
Aug 15, 2011 Ashley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received a copy of this book, thanks to goodread's first read! Best I can tell, this is a truly rare gem- a book that started as a movie, instead of the other way round. And I think that is part of this book's problem. Don't get me wrong, it was an interesting read, and a really unique concept. The first half of the book is really great, fabulous writing, interesting characters and character development. I don't have much experience with westerns, but I still found this one to be a page turner ...more
Jan 22, 2013 Sheenin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 17, 2011 Becky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love movie novelizations. I can't exactly say the book is better than the movie because the book is the movie with more detail. Unlike some movies taken from books that are nothing like the book.
This book is incredibly written. I've not read anything by Joan D Vinge and she writes like how I want to. She paints a perfect picture in my mind of each individual and scene without being tedious. I intend to read some of her other work because of how impressed I was with Cowboys & Aliens.
There w
Cheryl Landmark
Despite its rather hokey-sounding premise, I surprisingly enjoyed this book quite a bit. I was expecting it to be kind of silly, light-hearted, cheesy, even implausible. But, it wasn't all that bad. Ms. Vinge's writing was very good and she blended the elements of the wild west, cowboys and Indians, and deadly aliens from another planet into a mix that was actually quite well done. Yes, there were hokey, cheesy moments, but, all in all, I found the characterization and action interesting. I alwa ...more
Sep 11, 2011 Lisa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who don't like caring about the characters
It sounds like a B movie, doesn't it? Cowboys and was a movie first, then they make it into a book, ah-h-h. The county library had the audiobook available for download, so I did.

The premise is actually kind of interesting to think about. What would happen if some aliens (I don't mean the illegal kind) came down and attacked some cowboy town and abducted a few of the folk?

If that happened in present time, the lucky abducted victim would think, "Oh yeah, I heard about this, but I did
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kurt Bennett
Nov 01, 2011 Kurt Bennett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book. It was written after the movie, versus the other way around. I havent had a chance to see the movie yet so cant give a comparison. But I hope the movies is as good as the book. Being a Sci-Fi and Western reader this book managed to wrapped the two together.

The lead character Jake in this book took a beating and while he survived his "Alien Encounter" I still wish he had gooten more at the end. The story line was great and you could actually envision the action taking place, ve
Steve Mitchell
This was a bit of an experiment.
I have never read a book and then gone to watch a movie based on that book where my enjoyment of the film has been spoiled by my having read the book. However, if I watch a film and then read the book that inspired the movie I find that even if my enjoyment of the book has not been totally spoiled (Red Alert was ruined for me because Dr Strangelove had been watched several times before reading the book) then I cannot help picturing the actor rather than the charac
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Joan D. Vinge (born Joan Carol Dennison) is an American science fiction author. She is known for such works as her Hugo Award-winning novel The Snow Queen and its sequels, her series about the telepath named Cat, and her Heaven's Chronicles books.
More about Joan D. Vinge...

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