‘Alien Vault’ Book review
It’s fair to say that the making of Ridley Scott’s sci-fi masterpiece Alien has been pretty well documented. Whether it’s books about the making of the film, HR Giger’s work, or epic documentaries on DVD & Blu-Ray, pretty much everything seems to have been covered.
And so along comes Alien Vault, from Ian Nathan, executive editor of the UK’s Empire magazine, raising the question of what on earth else can possibly be added to the story.
Beginnning with a personal and heartfelt introduction from Nathan, Alien Vault dives back into the story behind the film with new energy. To be fair, there’s little in the way of ‘well I never knew that’ revelations, but several things lift the book above what has come before.
Written with full co-operation from Ridley Scott and 20th Century Fox, there are certainly plenty of previously unseen photos and production images, from publicity shots to quickly snapped continuity Polaroids, complete with quickly scribbled annotations.
All the familiar ground is covered, but it’s never dull, and Nathan’s obvious passion for the subject drives the book forwards at a cracking pace, and it’s the little details he covers that really add some depth to story of the film.
Unique to this book are several pull-out ‘enclosures’, which include reproductions of Giger images, early poster designs, Nostromo blueprints, Scott’s ‘Ridelygram’ storyboards, a hand-annotated script page and lots more.
After pulling together all the behind the scenes tales from Alien, Nathan also spends a little time looking at the film’s legacy, including the sequels and publishing spin-offs.
The whole package is beautifully presented in hardback and good quality, glossy paper, and sits in a sturdy slipcase.
So, is it worth a purchase? If you’re a fan who is so far largely unfamiliar with the behind-the-scenes story of Alien, then without hesitation I can say that this is an essential purchase. For those (like me) whose book-cases are already straining with Alien literature, I would say it’s still worth checking out; yes it’s a familiar story, but it’s well told with a fresh eye, and immaculately presented.