Alien: Covenant Origins by Alan Dean Foster (Narrated by Tom Taylorson)

Highly Recommended

My love affair with all things Alien really began when I read Alien: Earth Hive written by Steve Parry. While this was a non-canon adaptation of a previous comic series, it opened my eyes to just how big the world of the xenomorph could be. I was drawn to both movies, Alien & Aliens, but I never really gave much more thought to the world they hinted to with their space marines, corporate overlords, and terraforming. It was just entertaining, and I left it at that. Until that book.

It was big and bold and brought new characters and new possibilities, while still keeping a strong hold on the nail-biting tension of the films. After that, I read every book and comic I could get my hands on. To this day, any time I see something with the prefix “Alien:…” it is an instant purchase. Even the bad versions of the story (*cough*cough*Alien 3*cough*cough*) are still worth watching and re-watching.

A few years ago, when the film Prometheus hit, I felt like there was something familiar to it but couldn’t place it. I watched the trailers (those first ones were particularly good at burying the lede) and kept thinking that this was a world I knew. When I finally saw it, it clicked.

So, when the Audible app advertised Alien Covenant: Origins as a story I might like, I jumped at it. I also thanked the Audible app out loud for how well it knows me.

The story is set a few years before the events in the film, Alien: Covenant and takes place completely on Earth or in its orbit. The terraforming ship full of colonists, the Covenant, is counting down to launch. We are introduced to several members of its crew as an unfortunate event is taking place. Someone is holding another crew member hostage with a smuggled weapon they brought aboard. Their demand was simple: abort the mission. When it seemed like the crew and security were just about to resolve the situation peacefully, the terrorist threw themselves out an airlock.

From there, we meet the head of security on Earth who is doing the last of their interviews for a final position to be filled on the security team. When an assassination attempt on their life doesn’t succeed, the tensions surrounding the mission rise. We are then whisked to the halls of power where the newly merged Weyland-Yutani Corporation is meeting to discuss the future after the launch and a daring, daylight kidnapping of Yutani’s daughter by more terrorists, and her subsequent escape, means the group must now tackle an even bigger problem than the logistics of a launch to another planet.

The story is tight, the action is believable, the dialogue flows perfectly, and the world-building is incredible. Foster, who also wrote the novelization of the film, has given an incredible addition to the Alien-verse with this story, that coincidentally enough, does not contain a single xenomorph throughout. The closest we get is that the group behind the attempt to thwart the launch is led by a prophet who has visions of “demons,” and it is this vision that is guiding their desire to keep humanity away from space.

Highly recommend this book for anyone, regardless of their fandom preferences. Even if you’ve never seen or read anything in this universe of stories, it is a great one to get into. Alan Dean Foster’s writing style is tailor made for sci-fi and one could argue that our understanding of modern sci-fi, especially intellectual properties like these, are shaped by his contributions.

The narration by Tom Taylorson is superb in every way. Outstanding diction, tone, timbre, and flow. His ability to change the tonal inflections, accents, and mannerisms for each character made the production feel like an ensemble cast performed it instead of through a single narrator. I will keep his name at the top of my narrator preference list for a long time.

Book Description:

The Covenant mission is the most ambitious endeavor in the history of Weyland-Yutani. A ship bound for Origae-6, carrying 2,000 colonists beyond the limits of known space, this is a make-or-break investment for the corporation – and for the future of all mankind.

Yet there are those who would die to stop the mission. As the colony ship hovers in Earth orbit, several violent events reveal a deadly conspiracy to sabotage the launch. While Captain Jacob Branson and his wife, Daniels, complete their preparations, security chief Daniel Lope recruits the final key member of his team. Together they seek to stop the perpetrators before the ship and its passengers can be destroyed.

An original novel by the acclaimed Alan Dean Foster, author of the groundbreaking Alien novelization, Alien: Covenant Origins is the official chronicle of the events that led up to Alien: Covenant. It also reveals the world the colonists left behind.

Alien: Covenant Origins by Alan Dean Foster
Narrator: Tom Taylorson
Length: 8 hrs and 31 mins
Series: Alien #0
Published by Blackstone Audio on September 26th 2017
Genres: Science Fiction
Format: Audiobook

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