Edited by Charles Lippincott
Published by Titan Books
Presumably to coincide with the release of Ridley Scott’s new Alien notquite-quel Prometheus, Titan Books has republished the long out-of-print ‘70s tome The Book of ALIEN, essentially a making-of/art book detailing the behind-the-scenes work that went into making that classic film. Yippee! I’m all for older, hard to find books getting republished and made available for the masses. This is a good thing! Hell, a great thing! Right?
Well… not exactly. While die-hard fans of the original Alien will need to own this (“Just…because, dammit!”), the average fan or reader will likely find this to be a miss. Printed on thin paper with a flimsy cardstock cover that just seems to wanna curl up into a ball, The Book of ALIEN is not entirely ugly; it just pales in comparison with what we’ve come to expect out of movie art books these days. While it’s nice that the content was copied for this edition, I don’t know that they should have kept the printing style as well. The text reaches from the very top of each page to the very bottom, while the illustrations are sometimes shoddily-placed. It’s just not a very attractive presentation.
And as far as that content goes…well, while the illustrations are plentiful and the behind-the-scenes info is nice, there is simply nothing here that a longtime fan wouldn’t already know from the hours of content they could’ve already found on DVD or Blu-ray. To be fair, this book was initially printed in the ‘70s (then reprinted in the early ‘90s), long before the age of DVD bonus features and “The Art of…” books. In its time The Book of ALIEN was likely quite something. Unfortunately for this reprint current readers will likely find it a bit pointless. It’s a shame that Titan didn’t choose to expand on the material and create a deluxe edition that could sit comfortably alongside newer volumes of its type.
But ultimately what we have is still going to be a nice collector’s piece for hardcore xenofans. And, let’s be honest; even if you’re reading this review, you already have a good idea as to whether or not you’re going to buy it. If you do, enjoy! If not, be content that there’s little here you haven’t already found elsewhere.
2 out of 5