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Alien (Alien #1)

4.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  12,057 Ratings  ·  180 Reviews
Based on the screenplay by Dan O'Bannon. The crew of the spaceship Nostromo wake from cryogenic sleep to distress signals from an unknown planet. One is attacked when they investigate a derelict alien craft. Safely on their way back to Sol, none foresee the real horror about to begin.
Paperback, 270 pages
Published March 29th 1979 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 1979)
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Best Science Fiction With a Female Protagonist
50th out of 816 books — 2,069 voters
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Best Female Lead Characters
156th out of 3,688 books — 4,668 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Frank Roberts
Jul 09, 2013 Frank Roberts rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: 10 year old astrobiologists, Mormons
Greatest book in the whole frickin' universe!!! (of course, having read it over 30 years ago this won't be a highly detailed review...)

Now,I was 11 years old when Alien came out. My mom wouldn't let me see R-rated flicks at the time and most older friends & cousins were afraid of my mother so they wouldn't take me either. I couldn't fathom such a cruel existence - a Monster-Movie junkie being denied access to the latest, and possibly greatest, creature flick of all time. Torture. When some h
...more
Erin (Paperbackstash) *Proud Book Hoarder*
Alien…a classic, epic movie. Created from a screenplay, they turned around and made the movie, then made the book off the movie/screenplay – one rarely thinks of this book offspring when they hear the word “Alien.” The movie is better too, but for fans of the series, especially completionists, this spawned book is a good addition to the shelves.

I won’t go into the details of the story – what’s the point? If you don’t know the story of Alien, rent it immediately or miss out. The book stays pretty
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Sean O'Hara
If you ever want to see how much movie novelizations have changed in the last forty years, you can't go wrong with Alan Dean Foster's work. Pick up his adaptations of the most recent Star Trek movies and you'll find what is essentially just the script reformatted to prose form -- and not just any script, but the final draft continuity script. No deleted scenes, no character development based upon production notes, and certainly no original input from the author.

But go back to the novelizations h
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Scott Rhee
I don't normally read novelizations, but when I do, I read Alan Dean Foster's novelizations. (Okay, that sounded like a beer commercial…)

Part of the reason is that Foster seems to single-handedly write ALL movie novelizations, especially those in the sci-fi/fantasy/horror genre. So, if you're going to read a novelization, more than likely, it's been written by Foster.

Ridley Scott's "Alien" is, in my opinion, one of the best horror movies ever made. It's so creepy and horrifying, it gives me goos
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Donovan
Feb 14, 2012 Donovan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, horror, thriller
I saw the film when I was 9 years old. It has given me nightmares well in to my 30's. This is great stuff!!!
After getting past the initial shock of watching the movie at such a young age, I went and bought the Alien Story Picture book and then in my early teen years I read the novel. It is a great read and really captures the haunting aspects of the movie. Everything you wanted was there with additional content you didn't see in the movies until Ridley Scott released a Director's Cut around 2004
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Tina
Oct 24, 2014 Tina rated it liked it
Shelves: horror-legit
Worth a read, well, the first part at least. Out of 270 pages, the first half comprises of the first twenty minute of the movie. And, to be honest, this is the best part of the book! Overall, the characters are not very well developed and the alien itself isn't described at all (plus, we all know the plot), but the exploration of the alien ship is fantastic; it's intriguing and suspenseful. These scenes are almost from another story - there is a mystery and danger that I never felt when watching ...more
Graham
Sep 30, 2014 Graham rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Not a bad novelisation as they go but not a patch on the film. ALIEN is the first of a trilogy by Alan Dean Foster, in which he based his novelisations on the screenplays rather than the finished movies. As H. R. Giger came up with the look of the alien after the screenplay was finished, we're left with little to no description of the adult alien here; just a bogeyman's hand reaching down to catch its unsuspecting victims.

Given that Ridley Scott's film is a widely acknowledged sci-fi/horror mast
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Matt Byrde
I was about 13 when I first read Alien, not being allowed by my parents to see the movie as it was probably too scary for my young and fragile little mind. I found a copy at the library, the old 1979 hardcover version with cover art depicting a lone astronaut navigating an alien tunnel. As the cover didn't have the now iconic green, glowing alien egg design from the movie poster, my Mom probably didn't see this book as a movie tie-in, but instead another in the long line of benign astro-mystery, ...more
Mark
Dec 10, 2013 Mark rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of the movies
Recommended to Mark by: the movie
Shelves: scifi, cinema
A novelsisation of the movie that scared the living daylights out of me, and that after I read this book. I did read the book before since there was no chance in a snowballs' hell my mother was allowing me to see the actual movie in cinema. So as a good kid I found a 2nd hand copy and read the book before I ever saw the movie, and when I did on VHS I did not tell anybody at home, my sisters being snitches and such.

Alien the brilliant visual conception of GIGER and it does fall short in the book
...more
Hollowman
Apr 16, 2012 Hollowman rated it really liked it
Re-read this novel after almost 30yrs!

Read it when I was quite young (1982 or early 1983, methinks). I read it BEFORE I watched the film as I was too young to see it even when it appeared on home video.

ADF is a very clear, logical writer who incorporates a good deal of plausible science in his sci-fi (I've ONLY read his movie tie-ins). Foster doesn't get caught on messy, expository (=unnecessary) detail, techno-babble or handwavium. In many ways, he's like Michael Crichton. His writing style --
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Eyehavenofilter
Mar 23, 2012 Eyehavenofilter rated it really liked it
Shelves: other-worlds
This thing scared the bejesus out of me! Wholly mackerel! I had to grip the chair I was in. I broke into a cold sweat every time I picked this up to read it. I could NOT do it all in one sitting ' cause it was too intense. I like being scared, but seriously folks this was sheer terror. Something that could adapt to any atmosphere and is undestroyable? SHOOT me now, please? Poke me in the neck with a wooden stick HARD, repeatedly till I die before that thing gets to me!
Whew! Was all I could think
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Karen
Feb 26, 2013 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, sci-fi
More detail and a bit more tense than the movie. The characters are more real. I enjoyed it and would recommend.
Mmmhhmm
Aug 07, 2015 Mmmhhmm rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this book, I really did. Alien and Aliens are my favorite movies of all time so I was more than eager to bring this book home.

The writing style is... quirky. Which would be fine for a novel that humorous or satirical, not for a novel about a chest-bursting alien who horrifically kills people.

At one point I decided to skip ahead, to get to the part of the alien. You know, the BEST part. I jumped a little over into the third part of the book. And guess what, the alien still hadn'
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Rob Bliss
Feb 24, 2014 Rob Bliss rated it really liked it
I like it for personal reasons (the only ones I guess).

I like sci-fi books that stay in space. Sending a ship from A to B, doing an 'Odyssey' type plot, is how I likes my sci-fi. Stopping at planets for a short time, but then getting back on the road instead of stopping at a planet for a long time, getting to know the aliens there, seeing how similar they are to humans ... blah. This is the reason why I love 'Hitchhiker's Guide..." so much. Very few sci-fi novels I've come across do this type o
...more
Octavio Villalpando
Mar 04, 2013 Octavio Villalpando rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans de Alien
Mucho se habla siempre de las adaptaciones fílmicas de obras literarias, casi siempre echando pestes respecto a la pobre calidad de las mismas en comparación con su origen. Sin embargo, también existe el raro fenómeno de las adaptaciones literarias de obras fílmicas. Y en verdad, era de esperarse, ya que no en pocas ocasiones el cine ha dado origen a historias con todos los atributos necesarios para constituir clásicos del imaginario popular. Y al igual como pasa en el caso ordinario, los frutos ...more
Nazim
Dec 25, 2013 Nazim rated it it was amazing
A wonderful Sci-Fi-thriller book! I enjoyed every bit of it! A cosmic tug the Nostromo is sent to analyze a distress SOS signal from the unknown planet. Seven crew members including a warrant officer Ripley landed on that planet to investigate the signal. They found the alien space ship.

They went inside it and found egg shaped barrels. Kane bent on one of them. The small creature jumped from the barrel right to the Kane’s suit helmet and glued himself to the Kane’s face. They brought him to the
...more
Frank Tibbetts
Jan 24, 2012 Frank Tibbetts rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In space, no one can hear you scream.

Seven cryogenically frozen dreamers are awakened aboard the interstellar tug Nostromo. As haziness begins to dissipate, Captain Dallas retires to communicate with MOTHER―the ships onboard computer system.

Finding themselves off course and light years away from home, MOTHER informs Dallas that an alien distress signal has been detected and that under company protocol; they are obliged to investigate it.

Landing on the uncharted planet, Lambert, Kane, and Dallas
...more
Rob Damon
Jan 10, 2014 Rob Damon rated it really liked it
I read this multiple times when I was a teenager. I had seen the film first and found it so scary I wouldn't watch it again for a few years but I loved the story so I got my hands on this book. It is the best novelization of a film I have read and Alan Dean Foster is a great writer anyway. His work has influenced George Lucas and James Cameron's films (Avatar especially).

The book follows the story well and adds scenes that didn't make the final film. The Alien nest is in the book and so is the
...more
Karl Drinkwater
Aug 04, 2013 Karl Drinkwater rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jessica
Si pensaban que es el libro en el que se basaron para la película me temo que estan equivocados, realmente este libro es una novelización de la famosa película de Ridley Scott, de la cual existen 3 secuelas y una precuela y es una de mis películas favoritas dicho sea de paso.

El libro se publico el mismo año que la película (1979), si bien es cierto las novelizaciones tienen muy mala fama ya que es muy difícil dotar a un libro del mismo interés que despierta la película este caso es sin duda la e
...more
Ana Mardoll
Alien (Film Novelization) / 0-446-82977-3

The film novelization of "Alien" is pleasantly well-written from a technical standpoint; the book possesses correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation, which cannot always be said for film novelizations. The characters are largely true to their counterparts in the movie, and both the expanded dialogue and the internal thoughts of the crew have a ring of the genuine to them.

This novelization was apparently based on an extremely early transcript of the scre
...more
Lucas Mangum
May 07, 2014 Lucas Mangum rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Licensed material can be a mixed bag, however Foster's adaptation of Dan O'Bannon's brilliant script is certainly the gold standard for media tie-ins. From its ethereal opening chapters where the characters wake to the evocative imagery as the strange planetoid is explored, this is atmospheric sci-fi horror at its very best. Once things start moving, they move quickly, almost too quickly. Some of the action scenes toward the end left this reader wanting as far as details go. That said, these mis ...more
Fishface
Feb 02, 2016 Fishface rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
In space no one can hear your chest burst.
E.
May 03, 2015 E. rated it liked it
Different from the movie in a few fascinating ways.
Kate
Jul 23, 2014 Kate rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
I have two confessions to make here:
1) I haven't seen Alien.
2) I actually *liked* the slow and sciency beginning of the novel. In fact, I might even prefer it. This rock is made of basalt, that's cool!

It was a pretty good book overall. Not a lot of suspense, which I was expecting, and the action scenes always seemed pretty short. But I liked Ripley's character, the way she was quite standoffish to the crew. If they'd just listened to her in the first place none of this mess would have happened,
...more
Velociraptor
Sep 28, 2015 Velociraptor rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steven Stennett
May 04, 2014 Steven Stennett rated it it was amazing
'The Corpus Christi and the wrecks attached to it would berth at one of five, immigration control space stations that orbited Pluto.

Specialized security quarantine professionals, a unique, militarized, biological scientific team with broad powers, would enter the ships to make sure that nothing dangerous hid aboard the vessels that could contaminate the inner system.

The scope of their dictum, allowed for the termination of cargo and crew without hesitation, their powers so broad and unique tha
...more
Walter Sito
Feb 23, 2014 Walter Sito rated it it was amazing
My mother grabbed this for me from the library one day. I think I was either in the 1st or second grade. (Yeah, I read back then too). The cover art was different, it showed the 3 crew members aside a large alien doorway, and it was thick. It took me a few days to get into it, but once I did, I loved it. Some of the story was different, scenes in the book that were not in the film, but exciting read nonetheless. I had cable TV and I was counting the days until it would be showing on HBO. I remem ...more
Heidi Whurr
Jun 13, 2015 Heidi Whurr rated it it was amazing
Fantastic! From start to finish this nail-biting horror/thriller film turned novel kept me gripped and thoroughly engaged in the story. I find Alan Dean Foster’s unique style of writing to be simple, user friendly and yet poetic and flowery simultaneously. Foster was able to pack oodles of atmosphere into lots of description, but it was written in such a way as to make it interesting, a place where a lot of authors fail. To achieve such a marvelous mixture in the correct proportions is true tale ...more
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Can't recall the names of the books! 2 20 May 26, 2014 09:38AM  
  • Aliens: Earth Hive
  • Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
  • Alien Resurrection
  • Total Recall
  • Aliens: Genocide (Aliens)
  • Aliens: Labyrinth
  • The Abyss
  • Star Wars, Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (Star Wars, #6)
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (Star Trek TOS: Movie Novelizations, #2)
  • Back to the Future, Part 3
  • Star Wars, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (Star Wars, #5)
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in His Adventure on Earth
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers
  • Aliens: Steel Egg
  • Independence Day: Novelisation
  • Aliens: Music of the Spears (Aliens)
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Fantastic Voyage
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Bestselling science fiction writer Alan Dean Foster was born in New York City in 1946, but raised mainly in California. He received a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA in 1968, and a M.F.A. in 1969. Foster lives in Arizona with his wife, but he enjoys traveling because it gives him opportunities to meet new people and explore new places and cultures. This interest is carried over to his writing, ...more
More about Alan Dean Foster...

Other Books in the Series

Alien (4 books)
  • Aliens
  • Alien³
  • Alien Resurrection

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“This is the deep-space commercial tug Nostromo, registration number one eight zero, two four six, en route to Earth with bulk cargo crude petroleum and appropriate refinery. Calling Antarctica traffic control. Do you read me? Over.” 0 likes
“Rule makers always draw up their precious rules and regulations in safety and comfort, not out in the field, where those same absolutes are supposed to be applied. At those times we have to rely on our own minds and feelings.” 0 likes
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