the Sunflower Samurai
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Waxhaw, NC
At the age of 10, I got a copy of the novelization of the movie Alien. Ironically, my parents wouldn't let me watch the movie, but had no problems with me reading it, so I read the movie years before I ever watched it.
The novelization is pretty much a prose version of the screenplay written by Alan Dean Foster (Alien (1979) ISBN 0-446-82977-3). The screenwriter for the movie was Dan O'Bannon. It is just shy of 200 pages long. There are only 2 differences I can remember. The first is a conversation between the female crew members. In the book, Ripley asks Lambert if she's ever slept with Ash, hinting at a fair degree of promiscuity among the crew members.
The second I include because it's possibly the most chilling part of the book, but was never featured in Ridley Scott's epic movie.
Ripley still hadn't moved. Faint shrieks reached her over the 'com. The screams were Lambert's and they faded with merciful speed. Then it was quiet again.
She spoke toward the pickup. "Parker...Lambert?"
She waited for a response, expecting none. Her expectations were fulfilled. The import of the continuing silence took only a moment to settle in.
She was alone. There were probably three living things left on the ship: the alien, Jones, and herself. But she had to be sure.
It meant leaving Jones behind. She didn't want to, but the cat had heard the screams and was meowing frantically. He was making too much noise!
She reached B deck unopposed, her flamethrower held tightly in both hands. The food locker lay just ahead. There was an outside chance the alien had left someone behind, being unable to manuever itself and two bodies through the narrow ducts. A chance that someone might still be alive.
She peered around the jamb of the locker entrance. What remained showed her how the alien had succeeded in squeezing both victims into the airshaft. Then she was running, running. Blindly, a little madly, neither thinking or caring. Walls reached out to stun her and slow her down, but nothing halted her crazed flight. She ran until her lungs hurt. They reminded her of Kane and the creature that had matured inside him, next to his lungs. That in turn reminded her of the alien.
All that thinking brought her back to her senses. Gulping for breath, she slowed and took stock of her surroundings. She'd run the length of the ship. Now she found herself standing alone in the middle of the engine room.
She heard something and stopped breathing. It was repeated, and she let out a cautious sigh. The sound was familiar, the sound was human. It was the sound of weeping.
Still cradling the flamethrower, she walked slowly around the room until the source of the noise lay directly below her. She found she was standing on a companionway cover, a round metal disc. Keeping half her attention on the well-lit chamber surrounding her, she knelt and removed the disc. A ladder descended into the near darkness.
She felt her way down the ladder until she reached solid footing. Then she activated her light bar. She was in a small maintenance chamber. The light picked out plastic crates, rarely used tools. It also fell on bones with shreds of flesh still attached. Her skin crawled as the light moved over fragments of clothing, dried blood, a ruined boot. Bizarre extrusions lined the wall.
A huge cocoon hung from the ceiling, off to her right. It looked like an enclosed, translucent hammock, woven from fine white silky material. It twitched.
Her finger tense on the trigger of the flamethrower, she walked nearer. The beam from her lightbar made the cocoon slightly transparent. There was a body inside...Dallas!
Quite unexpectadly the eyes opened and focused on Ripley. Lips parted, moved to form words. She moved closer, simultaneously fascinated and repelled.
"Kill me," the whisperer pleaded with her.
"What...what did it do to you?"
Dallas tried to speak again, failed. His head turned a little to the right. Ripley swung her light, turned it upward slightly. A second cocoon hung there, different in texture and color from the first. It was smaller and darker, the silk having formed a hard, shining shell. It looked, although Ripley couldn't know it, like the broken, empty urn on the derelict ship.
"That was Brett." Her light turned back to focus on the speaker again.
"I'll get you out of here." She was crying. "We'll crank up the autodoc, get you..."
She broke off, unable to talk. She was remembering Ash's analogy of the spider, the wasp. The live young feeding on the paralyzed body of the spider, growing, the spider aware of what was happening but...
Somehow she managed to shut off that horrid line of thought. Madness lay that way. "What can I do?" she sobbed.
The same agonized whisper. "Kill me."
She stared at him. Mercifully, his eyes had closed. But his lips were trembling, as if he were readying a scream. She didn't think she could stand to hear that scream.
The nozzle of the flamethrower rose and she convulsively depressed the trigger. A molten blast enveloped the cocoon and the thing that had been Dallas. It and he burned without a sound. Then she swung the fire around the lair. The entire compartment burst into flames. She was already scrambling back up the ladder, heat licking at her legs.