Saturday, June 16, 2018

James Review -- Alien: The Cold Forge

This week I decided to review Alien: The Cold Forge by Alex White. 

Dorian Sudler, an expert at finding personnel that are costing the Weyland-Yutanti Corporation more money than needed, and firing the personnel, is sent to station RB-232, also known as the Cold Forge. The cold Forge is a remote space station where three of the corporation’s most highly classified and dangerous weapon research and development projects take place. One of these is Glitter Edifice, headed by Doctor Blue Marsalis. The project is intended to find a way to use genetics to control the Xenomorphs, whom Marsalis has nicknamed Snatchers because she feels "Xenomorph" is too imprecise. Marsalis, however, has a secret side-project she is running. She is bedridden due to a devastating genetic illness that is killing her, but she has discovered a very short-lived genetic material created when a host is injected with a Xenomorph egg, and she hopes that if she can recover an active sample of this material, she can use it to develop a treatment for genetic disorders like the one she is suffering from.

But Marsalis’s primary ally at Wayland-Yutanti has been arrested for embezzlement and, soon after Sudler reaches the station, Project Silversmile, a highly adaptive neural net computer virus, breaks loose. To prevent the destruction of the Xenomorph samples, Marsalis is forced to take the Marcus android body she can pilot via neural link to prevent their destruction, with the android body sustaining massive damage in the process.

Soon, one of Marsalis’s accomplices, who was injured during an accident linked to her side project, reveals what Marsalis has been up to. This leads to Sudler ordering her restricted to quarters, but soon the saboteur responsible for unleashing Silversmile strikes again, and this time the virus unleashes the Xenomorphs from their cages. Sudler, who has decided the Xenomorphs are the ultimate lifeform, sets out to arrange the extermination of the station’s crew. This leaves Marsalis struggling to use her android body to stop Sudler, while desperately trying to evade the Xenomorphs long enough to escape the station using her human body, which is unable to walk.

I give this book 7 out of 10. There were a few too many times where things that I felt didn’t make sense happened seemingly just because that was what was required to move the story in the direction the author wanted. And I thought Sudler was a horrible villain character who was given little or no apparent motivation beyond the urge to see others suffer and some weird bond he felt with the Xenomorphs. But I liked most of the other characters that received development in the story, and the new details about how the Xenomorphs work were interesting. However, I also found the mystery of the true identity of the saboteur wasn’t handled well and that the identity was too obvious. As soon as things started going wrong, I had a suspect in mind but was hoping for some twist to prove me wrong or something that would make me suspect someone else, to no avail.

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