Aliens in between

ALIEN: In den Schatten: Die komplette Staffel

(Canonical Alien Trilogy #1)

by Tim Lebbon (Goodreads Author)


This is the German version of Alien: Out of the Shadows, which came for free from Audible Germany. And that is a full-cast, abbreviated version of the novel of the same name.

Set between the first two movies. Ripley was awoken somewhere else first and—you might have guessed already—things go downhill fast from there. Not bad. Although it was a little challenging at times to figure out what was going on. The mine reminded me very strongly of the setting of the second movie, especially the whole brouhaha with the escalator. The plot was not terribly imaginative. You basically wait for everybody to be decimated one by one with the exception of Ripley and generally just wonder who will bite the dust next.

Ripley sounds like Ripley (or rather like her German dubbing voice). Great voice casting in general. Ash is a little too repetitive for my taste.

I do not recommend this to anybody who hasn‘t seen some of the movies. As this is an abbreviated version with a lot of vague sound effects and there is little to no world building, I think it would be too meaningless to anybody completely new to the Alienverse. 


Currently participating in this readathon:

#24b4monday #24b4mondayreadathon

And now to something completely different—OMG, is it just me or is this newer WordPress editor a major pain in the derriere? Wow.

Home alone, almost…

This Long VigilThis Long Vigil by Rhett C. Bruno
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Do not read the goodreads synopsis, it gives away too much of the story.

Our protagonist Orion is a „monitor“ on a generation ship with 1000 humans in a deep sleep. His sole companion is the ship‘s AI Dan. Orion does menial tasks that Dan can‘t perform himself. Dan serves as his father, friend, teacher, entertainer and sole social contact. Which is why I believe that the story premise is faulty and could never happen like this. Alas, I would spoil you, if I told you more. This is only 20 pages, so have a look yourself. Despite my reservations I enjoyed reading this story.

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I give up!

Judas Unchained (Commonwealth Saga, #2)Judas Unchained by Peter F. Hamilton
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Audiobook part 1, 5h 20min, pages 1-159, ★★★☆☆, nothing really stuck with me. It was ok, I guess. Nothing really memorable happened. Or it did, but it was indistinguishable from the end of the last book…

Audiobook part 2, about 1 hour left, DNF on page 334 of the ebook. ★☆☆☆☆

“A ghost in the machine? How appropriate. It is certainly a machine’s ghost.”
“Ah, right. So, what’s it doing?”
The darkness within Dr. Friland’s hood lessened to reveal a row of smiling teeth. “Whatever it wants.”

Boy, really boring. The mystery/police procedural part is so dry and lifeless, I actually forgot what the crime was, whilst snoozing through this.

Still looking for the Starflyer and who might be playing for which team.

Mellanie is still sleeping her way through the galaxy. You‘d think with her resources she could maybe apply some brainpower here and there. And „women that are happy with the harem arrangement.“ Wow.

I just spent three days finding excuses not to pick this back up. I am a little sad that I wont read more of Ozzie. I had a peek at the last chapter and read the last few pages of the ebook. Sounds as if interesting things happen. But I can‘t face another 29 hours of this audiobook and I am not in the mood to finish reading the ebook either. I can probably find a synopsis somewhere. Sorry, too long, too detailed, too random, too boring for long stretches between the suspenseful stuff.

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Shorter lives

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 147Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 147 by Neil Clarke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Modern Search for the Fountain of Youth by DOUG DLUZEN, 2.561 words, ★★★☆☆

Non-fiction. About longevity and aging interventions.

Can be read for free here:…

Two-Year Man by KELLY ROBSON, 4.692 words, ★★★☆☆

Dystopian story. Bleak society, a lab growing babies, pretty depressing, little hope.

Can be read for free at Clarkesworld here:…
Or at the author‘s website:

Master Zhao: The Tale of an Ordinary Time Traveler by ZHANG RAN, 12.586 words, ★★★★☆

Exploration of the possible ways a time traveler can diverge from the main path. With sketches. Pretty interesting, unfortunately with an unsatisfactory ending.

Can be read for free here:…

The Names and Motions by SHELDON J. PACOTTI, 7026 words, ★☆☆☆☆

Frankly, I didn‘t get it. Not for me.

Can be read for free here:…

When We Find Our Voices by ELEANNA CASTROIANNI, 10080 words, ★★★½☆
„A race of bird-people is forced to save mankind from extinction. Contemplating gender, procreation, duty and intimacy through the eyes of an agender, asexual protagonist. Family, friendship, love, oppression and rebellion in a half-ruined world.“

Hm, odd. The Voices are something that is taken from the bird-people after birth. Voices provide energy. Nuclear fission? Not quite sure what to make of it. Interesting, uncomfortable. Not sure it all makes sense. I have a unscientific image of how the making of an egg could look like, but can‘t think of a way this could actually work. Worth reading just for the oddness of it.

Can be read for free here:…

„Eleanna Castroianni is a genderqueer writer, poet and oral storyteller from Greece. A cultural geographer by training, Eleanna tells stories from the margins of history and the far futures of the Anthropocene. They live in Athens, Greece with a number of string instruments.“
Author‘s website:

Bringing Down the Sky by ALAN BAO, 11088 words, ★★★★★
Climatefic. The world has turned grey, the rich live under domes, the poor struggle with acid rain and collect clean air from high up to earn a living. USA, China, politics… Very good!

Can be found for free here

Marshmallows by D.A. XIAOLIN SPIRES, 3430 words, ★★★☆☆
A world that has gotten so gruesome and dilapidated that people on their daily commute use visual and auditory enhancements to see a more appealing world. I did not like the storytelling much per se, but the idea was interesting enough.

She herself calls this her augmented reality holiday story at her blog

She also mentions being inspired by another short story. Although that one was even shorter, I liked it more for where it took me as a reader.

Can be found for free here

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We opened the box….

Pandora's Star (Commonwealth Saga, #1)Pandora’s Star by Peter F. Hamilton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a very long book and really should be read with the plan to continue with Judas Unchained. The story unfolds with the speed of a geriatric snail, so bring patience and time and appreciation for the little things along. I took me two months to get through the audiobook—ok, I am slow with audio—and I did it with the print version next to me, to double-check on details.
The world building is great, this is full of great ideas. And when there is action, it is well done. Characters take their time to develop and the aliens are truly scary in their otherness. This is good, although I wonder what it would be like at half the page count…

Thoughts and comments, while working my way through this monster:
Audiobook Part 1: 6 h 56 min (183 pages), Chapters 1-6, ★★★½☆
Glacially slow set-up and introduction of a variety of characters. Very little plot progression. I liked what was there. Alas, it was not for the impatient and easily bored (aka ME!). I wonder how all these very different stories will come together.

Audiobook Part 2: 7 h 22 min (pages 184-376), Chapter 7-11, ★★★★★
Interesting biology and chemistry! Really cool idea, although Merredin is not necessarily a planet I would like to visit. Just that by itself is a great plot bunny for a colonization/first contact novel! There are several other planets and constructs in this part of the book, that would make for great settings for separate novels. The world building here is fascinating.

With all people living multiple lives, I would love to have a timeline sketched out at the back of the book. If I should ever decide to re-read this book, I plan to make annotations and try to figure out a timeline myself.

You definitely need patience with this book. Interesting things happen and then you switch POV and…. something else happens and it‘s all a very loooong game….

But by Chapter 10 (yes, yes, almost 300 pages of set-up), things are starting to come together, the many characters are becoming familiar names and the plot picks up the pace.

Audiobook Part 3: 7 h 30 min (pages 377-574), Chapters 12-16, ★★★★☆
The characters are finally familiar and we are getting into the meat of the story.

Audiobook Part 4: 8 h 52 min (pages 575-806), Chapters 17-21, ★★★★☆
Chapter 18 was horrific! We are moving towards a climax… maybe… Besides the action I still enjoyed Ozzie‘s chapters the most.

Audiobook Part 5: 6 h 48 min (pages 807-988), Chapters 22-25, ★★★★☆
Wow, I finished! I thought this would never end. There was some light wrapping up of the status quo at the end, but I guess it would be a good strategy to have Judas Unchained ready to go! I pretty much continued with the audio straight away.

On the Marie Celeste of the Commonwealth universe:…
And the RL Mary Celeste:…

The Commonwealth, publication order:…

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