In this article, we'll be taking a look at the top 10 Alien books that are a must-read for any fan of the Alien franchise. These novels delve deeper into the mythology of the Xenomorphs, offering new insights and perspectives on the creatures and their origins. From thrilling action to thought-provoking science fiction, these books have something for every type of reader. So, without further ado, let's dive into the list of the best Alien books.
Our Best Picks
A thrilling novel with great characters and a villain worse than the Xenomorphs.
A Medieval take on the human vs. Xenomorph conflict.
An action-packed novel by Alex White more fitting for "Aliens" fans.
10. Alien: Invasion
Alien: Invasion is the second book in the epic Rage War trilogy, most likely one of the biggest events in the Alien expanded universe, taking place in the far 27th century. It follows Predator: Incursion and if you plan to read Alien: Invasion, read the Predator book first to get the full picture of the events. The second book of the Rage War focuses on forging an uneasy alliance between the Predators and Colonial Marines against the elusive Rage, a subrace of humans who departed Earth centuries ago and now expect to return. The Rage were using armies of mind-controlled Xenomorphs as an invasion force. Tim Lebbon has used the Mass Effect games as an influence in writing this trilogy and the Aliens are depicted as a bit too dumb for the perfect organism they are supposed to be. However, the Rage themselves are great villains and it will take a third book (Alien vs. Predator: Armageddon) to finally defeat them.
9. Aliens: Berserker
Aliens: Berserker is one of the old and classic novels published by Bantam Spectra, and takes place during the aftermath of the Alien/Earth War. Weyland-Yutani and the Colonial Marines created specialized Berserker Squads to deal with the presence of Alien hives still popping up in the human sectors. One of the most capable of these was the one handling the MOX power armor, a huge armored suit that injects the user with stimulants and puts him in a Frenzy (also the title of the comic the novel is based on). The novel does a great job of fleshing out the characters of the individual soldiers, many of which are convicts. On a mission to one of the largest Xenomorph hives ever, the soldiers have to deal with their possible deaths, an aspect handled well. Aliens vs. Predator: War is a sequel to this book and features the survivors of Aliens: Berserker.
8. Alien: The Official Movie Novelization
Alien: The Official Movie Novelization was written by the legendary sci-fi author Alan Dean Foster and based on the screenplay by Dan O'Bannon. Although Alan Dean Foster went on to write more novelizations of the Alien films, this is the first and most important one. Even if you know the plot of the film, the book is hard to put down and really enjoyable, offering the best prose out of all the Alien books from this list. In addition, the book has some interesting differences from the movie, like the crew is in hypersleep naked, the chestburster has arms and legs and the fully-grown Alien has eyes. If you plan to pick up only one novelization out of all the Alien films, then choose this one.
7. Aliens vs. Predator: Prey
Aliens vs. Predator: Prey is the best Alien vs. Predator book by far and is rightfully part of the best Alien books list. Unfortunately for pure Alien fans, the book focuses a bit more on the Predators but introduces many interesting aspects of the Yautja culture and background. However, it also explains the complex relationship between the Alien and Predator species, and how the Yautja are breeding habited worlds with Alien eggs to hunt Xenomorphs later. The book is based on the first Alien vs. Predator comic series that focuses on the Broken Tusk Predator and Machiko Noguchi, but many of the cultural aspects are only in the novel, including the term "Yautja". Prey was later released as part of the Aliens vs. Predator Omnibus, but the two sequels it comes bundled with - War and Hunters Planet are not as good as the first one. It's also notable that the latest Predator movie stole the title of this book, but probably by accident.
6. Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual
Aliens: Colonial Marines is one of the best Aliens-based book ever for a person interested in small details. First released in 1995, it covers all aspects of the Colonial Marines weaponry, armor, vehicles, ships, and tactics. In addition to the weapons seen in the movies, it invents some new ones like the M83 rocket launcher, later used in the AvP 1999 and AvP 2 video games. One of the most impressive pages is the inner and outer schematics of the Sulaco. It even involves some interviews by fictional Colonial Marines soldiers and offers an analysis of what happened on LV-426. It is highly recommended for all Aliens fans.
5. Aliens: Nightmare Asylum
Aliens: Nightmare Asylum is the second book in the Earth War trilogy and is based on the comic with the same name. The book works well even if one does not read the prequel or the sequel, as it is mostly a stand-alone adventure. The comic is a bit better because of the awesome artwork that fits the style of a "true Aliens sequel" perfectly, but the book does a better job of fleshing out the characters and situations. While the first version of the comic featured Hicks and Newt after the events of Aliens, the book is based on the second version, which replaced Hicks and Newt with Wilks and Billie to be in continuity with Alien 3. Many Alien books and comics go with the "mad scientist researching Aliens" trope, but this one has a mad Colonial Marine general, a nice change of pace. Nightmare Asylum has some great action and a very satisfying ending, but the story continues in Aliens: Female War.
4. Aliens: Rogue
Aliens: Rogue was released in 1995 and is based on a comic book series with the same name. Taking place on a remote asteroid in Charon Base, it follows a mad scientist Ernst Kleist's attempts to create a new breed of Alien - a Xenomorph king. Things don't go as planned and all hell breaks loose. Caught up in the chaos is a squad of Colonial Marines led by sergeant Green and a starship captain Joyce Palmer. There is a great chapter about a scientist trying to spy on Kleist but it ends with his living head being placed in a jar on a shelf. Compared to the comic, it fleshes out the characters more and makes the Colonial Marines more competent. The book is action-packed and great fun, perhaps the book most similar to the second Alien movie. Aliens: Rogue is included in the Complete Aliens Omnibus Volume Three.
3. Alien: Into Charybdis
Alien: Into Charybdis is the second Alien novel by the great Alex White and a semi-sequel to Alien: The Cold Forge. The story takes place on an installation built around Charybdis, a bottomless maelstrom surrounded by a vast sea on LV-991. The underground caverns housed many secrets, including a Xenomorph infestation, and three separate factions (including Iranians and the Colonial Marines) were interested in gaining control over the facility. Like is accustomed to Alex White, the novel features a vicious villain and great characters, but perhaps a bit too many, as the focus shifts between them a bit too much. The novel combines the dread and mystery of Alien, the action and the Colonial Marines of Aliens, and the Black Goo pathogen mutations of Prometheus in one awesome book.
2. Aliens: Phalanx
Don't let the bad cover of Aliens: Phalanx fool you, it is actually one of the best Alien books ever. The book has one of the most unique settings of all - medieval castles with knights battling Xenomorphs in a desolate landscape. Similar to Alien 3, there is no advanced technology or weapons of any kind, only spears, swords, shields, and bows. The characters and worldbuilding are great, and the book even features a map of the entire continent. However, the book is not set in Earth's past, but on a remote planetoid instead, with human holdouts trying to survive and communicate through brave people (called runners) venturing into the open. The only negative side is that the discovery of a new Xenomorph weakness is a bit too easy and contrived. The book received a later sequel short story in the Aliens vs. Predators: Ultimate Prey book titled "Another Mother", also by Scott Sigler.
1. Alien: The Cold Forge
Alien: Cold Forge is one of the most recent Alien novels and possibly the best one as well. The story is nothing special - there is another secret research lab experimenting on Xenomorphs. What makes it great is the deeply developed characters and their fleshed-out motivations. Dorian Sudler makes a great villain in the auditor sent to the research facility to cut costs. He slowly descends into madness while becoming more ruthless and getting fascinated by the Aliens. The novel takes some cues from Alien: Isolation as well, with several characters sneaking around the Xenomorphs with great tension.
In conclusion, the Alien franchise has spawned many Xenomorph-related books, and this list of the best Alien books is a testament to that fact. From exploring the origins of the Xenomorphs to continuing the storylines of beloved characters like Ripley and the Colonial Marines, these books offer a unique and thrilling perspective on the Alien universe. Whether you're a die-hard fan of the films or a newcomer to the series, there's something for everyone on this list. So, if you're looking to delve deeper into the world of Alien, be sure to check out these must-read books. Also, be sure to check out the list of the best Predator books and the best Alien graphic novels.