Aliens: Bug Hunt Review

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Aliens: Bug Hunt is Titan Books new compilation of tales from the Aliens universe. Spanning eighteen authors, they have all contributed a short story to this compendium of Bug Hunts, that are all related to Aliens in different ways. Aliens: Bug Hunt is a perfect way to kick off the hype for the new Aliens: Covenant movie.

The eighteen stories within Aliens: Bug Hunt are full of the combat and horror stricken essence that developed throughout the Aliens series. Below is the full list of authors and their contributing stories to this thoroughly creepy book.

  • Chance Encounter by Paul Kupperberg
  • Reaper by Dan Abnett
  • Broken by Rachel Caine
  • Reclamation by Yvonne Navarro
  • Blowback by Christopher Golden
  • Exterminators by Matt Forbeck
  • No Good Deed by Ray Garton
  • Zero to Hero by Weston Ochse
  • Dark Mother by David Farland
  • Episode 22 by Larry Correia
  • Deep Background by Keith R.A. DeCandido
  • Empty Nest by Brian Keene
  • Darkness Falls by Heather Graham
  • Hugs to Die For by Mike Resnick and Marina J. Lostetter
  • Deep Black by Jonathan Maberry
  • Distressed by James A. Moore
  • Dangerous Prey by Scott Sigler
  • Spite by Tim Lebbon

The full Aliens: Bug Hunt book was edited by Jonathan Maberry himself, and he also wrote the introduction discussing how the book came to be and the inspiration.

“The stories here are all different. They range from pure adrenaline-fueled action to introspective human dramas to the deeply weird. As the editor of the anthology I got to read them first – and there is a greedy little joy in that. As a fan of the genre I feel like I’ve been invited back into the world of Xenomorphs, corporate greed, kickass action, heroics, horror, and the kind of dark magic that is particular to this kind of horror-based science fiction” – Jonathan Maberry, Introduction

We’ve decided to spotlight four of the eighteen stories that depict the variation within Aliens: Bug Hunt, but all have the premise of existing in the same universe in some ways.

Chance Encounter

In Chance Encounter by Paul Kupperberg, the Colonial Marines come across a hoard of Leapers hiding in gigantic creatures called Floaters. Their mission starts out with simple recon of the area, but when they come across a Leaper attacking a Floater, their request changes to getting a tissue sample of the Floater and potential genetic material of the Leaper from the Floater that was attacked. The story follows to Officers, London and Gilmore as they go out on their mission with the Science Officer Jepson and XO Lawford. What they didn’t expect was to come across an entire nest of Leapers, and for Officer London to make a fatal mistake of bringing an egg back for the Marines to analyze.

Zero to Hero

This story takes place in the Lambda Serpentis system, on moon LV-666 on July 9th 2182. Corporal Franklin Sykes is the commander of an eighteen person Colonial Marine platoon on the moon where No Wey-Yu miners have been excavating a large area. Since this is a small spot, Sykes has never really had to get involved with the miners, but they sent out an SOS that they were in trouble. Sykes is pretty cowardly but heads the platoon down to the mines and discovers that they’ve been hit with a bio-weapon used for experimentation. The side effects force the person to spit everywhere and lose part of their nervous system that controls non-autonomous muscle movements.

Episode 22

This short story is completely different than the previous ones showcased from the book, as it doesn’t have real-time action taking place but is instead a history of the M41A Pulse Rifle on a show called Saga of the Weapon. Since this is a major weapon used by the Colonial Marines, the short story discusses how the weapon was created, why the predecessor of the M56 Smart Gun and M41 threatened the hinder the lives of the Marines than save them. At the end, it is told that Jonathan LaForce a veteran Marine, invented the M41 and M41A Rifle because he understood what the forces needed when facing enemies.

“Pulse rifle isn’t in the official designation, we all know that, but since it was a pulse that ignited the primer, the name just kind of stuck. Marines do that kind of thing. My great great whatever grandfather carried a Pig and his dad carried a Tommy Gun. It sounds cool, it works, it sticks. The problem with calling the M41 that name though is always some dumb boot hears we get issued pulse rifles and gets all excited thinking it’s going to be shooting laser beams at something. What do they think this is? Sci-fi? – Lance Corporal Tripp Dorsett, USCM”

Plenty of accounts for individuals are given in this short story, making it more television-like with a presentation style that is refreshing.

Hugs To Die For

In Hugs To Die For, the Company is looking into using the Xenomorph blood that is highly corrosive, for weaponization among other uses. When General Amotz goes to visit the facility as she’s instructed, all hell breaks loose as she’s touring the Egg lab. The Company believes they can neutralize the facehuggers by neutering them and cutting off their tail and cauterizing the proboscis tube so they are easier to work with. What they don’t anticipate is that the glass that’s holding them in the facility is to break, and the non-neutered ones can escape. This means they’re able to implant their parasitic cells that transform people into chestbursters. It’s up to Amotz to rescue her Officer’s son Daniel, while avoiding the roaming facehuggers and their acidic turmoil.

Final Thoughts

Aliens: Bug Hunt has such a variety of stories that span the different creatures and scenarios in the Aliens universe. By having the different authors write these short stories, we are able to see different parts of this world through the eyes of some of the best authors out there. The book is a tasteful horror-driven science fiction that Jonathan Maberry promised in the introduction.

I would recommend this book for someone who is already familiar with the Alien franchise. If you go in reading it without knowing any creatures or plot from the movies, it makes understanding the Sci-Fi and Alien elements that make it worth reading.

Aliens: Bug Hunt can be purchased tomorrow on April 18th directly from Titan Books.

Good

  • Many Connections to the Alien Movies
  • Tastefully Written with Horror, Sci-Fi, and Combat

Bad

  • Stories Could Be Longer
  • Needs Alien Universe Backstory for Full Understanding
9.5

Amazing

Connection to Alien Films - 9.7
Science Fiction Quality - 9
Quality of Writing - 9.8
An avid gamer, journalist, literary reviewer, and lover of all things Marvel; wrapped in a colorful hair-do.

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