Title card design by Frans Hattingh
In this podcast, I talk to the author of Alien: The Cold Forge, Alex White. I have previously interviewed him for our Creatives series, and today we cover his inspiration for his character Blue Marsalis, and the Double Robotics presentation which sparked his idea.
With mentions of Avatar, Macross, and the new Taxonomy of the ‘Snatcher’ and ‘Plagiarus Praepotens,’ This podcast is spoiler-filled, do not listen to it unless you have read the book.
If you want the ‘xenomorph’ to remain a mystery please turn back now.
“Sometimes perfection is unexpected…”
My podcast with Alex White was recorded prior to Alien Day, I wasn’t sure I’d have read his book Alien The Cold Forge in time before our call. But once I received my pre-order via Kindle I disconnected from social media and plunged into the first chapter.
Had it been any other Alien book I would have taken my time, I even messaged him apologising for the fact I may not finish it in time for the interview. Fast forward 6 hours and it is 3:30am. I couldn’t put it down. It is possibly the best Alien book I had EVER read. And I read all the movie novelisations and the current canon novels. I think anyone would be a fool to pass up this talented author who knows how to write a really scary story and keep you invested till the very end.
His characters are multifaceted and beats the one sided trope of cannon/xenomorph fodder. Having said that there are a few token characters up for sacrifice but their gory deaths in explicit detail show how unprepared and uncontrollable the Alien truly is.
His character Blue Marsalis is a determined individual driven by survival of her illness Bishara’s Syndrome, spending a good portion of the story bedridden and using her aid Marcus, an android via telepresence called Braind Direct Interface. Allowing her to continue her work as a scientist aboard the ship. And Dorian Sudler and his Psychopathic tendencies, is possibly the most vile and calculating human being to ever grace the Alien universe, surpassing Burke and his urge to “Screw each other over for a percentage” as Ripley so elegantly put it in Aliens (1986).
You would think that these two characters would be the most boring but that’s where you are wrong. Having read Alex’s other book Every Mountain Made Low, I was unsure that his writing style would suit the Alien Universe. But my worries were abated by the first chapter. Alex effectively utilised many aspects within the Alien Universe, coalescing a mixture of corporate subterfuge and unending dread. His depictions of characters are so individual and the pain, pleasure and weaknesses they suffer through are so immersive.
As well as showing us many references to other films in the Alien franchise and outside of it, there is no hint of eye-rolling or sarcasm when I say he uses it to the benefit of the book. He also manages to expand on current theories set by The Anchorpoint Essays that the Alien is a lifeform that could be scientifically entirely possible. The use of technology and human dependence upon a future merged with AI is the most appealing premise tackled in this book, the xenomorphs or should I say the ‘Snatchers’ and their violent carnage is a bonus. This book has blown all my expectations, and I have read it again and again.
Well done Alex, welcome to the Alien family.
Because of Alex’s contribution to the Alien Universe I have decided to add some new sections, Xenomorphology, Weyland Industries to go along with my transcriptions of David’s research from Planet 4 and Weyland Yutani will contain information from their respective movies/books/comics.
I have also expanded on real-world robots and technologies, currently, there is just bare bones information but I plan to write in more detail soon.
If you would like to receive a chapter by chapter commentary by Alex about his book you can subscribe to his mailing list here.