This book may be small, it may sit comfortably in your pocket, but it's no lightweight thing. A lightweight thing wouldn't mess with your head or leave you contemplating a shower after reading it. Taking into account the subject matter, high praise indeed.
An unlikely companion to ALIEN QUADRILOGY, it is, however, the perfect antidote to all those 'Making Of...' books that flood the market every time so-called blockbusters hit the multiplexes. ALIEN QUARTET, by DAVID THOMSON, has positioned itself deliberately upon the upper slopes of intellectual analysis (high prose indeed?) and invites the reader to share in the author's overview of a series of films that are substantially more than they might appear. Despite admitting that the first instalment may not even be 'great' - "it is 'only' something I have never been able to get out of my head" - he then proceeds to get right under the skin of ALIEN, ALIENS, ALIEN 3 and ALIEN RESURRECTION with great skill and insight. There are BIG THEMES at play here. And in Thomson's capable hands, the correlation between base instinct and deepest fear feels all too real, highlighting barely concealed metaphors about rape; male impreganation; the inextricable link between life, death and rebirth; sexual identity; supressed urges with regard to species and survival...oh, the deep, down and dirty list just goes on. All this from what was initially conceived as a B-movie set in a place where no-one can hear you scream. Just goes to show.
There's also a substantial 'how it all began' section followed by well thought out scene breakdowns for all four films, details of subsequent box-office returns, and, in the case of ALIEN RESURRECTION, a (partial) alternative screenplay. Even with the great God of hindsight at his disposal, Thomson still conjures up a fascinating and legitimate look at what could have been.
So, ditch the sci-fi geek who riffs on about a tall bloke in a tight monster suit at the pub, okay? and get acquainted with this little beast instead. You may need to be more than a little focused, but I guarantee it's well worth the effort.
Stimulation and alarm in equal measure.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED