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Aliens: Phalanx

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It's Medieval carnage meets Alien as a pre-industrial society fights against extinction brought about by a massive infestation of Xenomorphs. Ataegina was an isolated world of medieval castles, varied cultures, and conquests, vibrant until the demons rose and spread relentless destruction. Swarms of lethal creatures with black husks, murderous claws, barbed tails and dreade It's Medieval carnage meets Alien as a pre-industrial society fights against extinction brought about by a massive infestation of Xenomorphs. Ataegina was an isolated world of medieval castles, varied cultures, and conquests, vibrant until the demons rose and spread relentless destruction. Swarms of lethal creatures with black husks, murderous claws, barbed tails and dreaded "tooth-tongues" raged through the lowlands, killing ninety percent of the planet's population. Terrified survivors fled to hidden mountain keeps where they eke out a meager existence. When a trio of young warriors discovers a new weapon, they see a chance to end this curse. To save humanity, the trio must fight their way to the tunnels of Black Smoke Mountain--the lair of the mythical Demon Mother.


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It's Medieval carnage meets Alien as a pre-industrial society fights against extinction brought about by a massive infestation of Xenomorphs. Ataegina was an isolated world of medieval castles, varied cultures, and conquests, vibrant until the demons rose and spread relentless destruction. Swarms of lethal creatures with black husks, murderous claws, barbed tails and dreade It's Medieval carnage meets Alien as a pre-industrial society fights against extinction brought about by a massive infestation of Xenomorphs. Ataegina was an isolated world of medieval castles, varied cultures, and conquests, vibrant until the demons rose and spread relentless destruction. Swarms of lethal creatures with black husks, murderous claws, barbed tails and dreaded "tooth-tongues" raged through the lowlands, killing ninety percent of the planet's population. Terrified survivors fled to hidden mountain keeps where they eke out a meager existence. When a trio of young warriors discovers a new weapon, they see a chance to end this curse. To save humanity, the trio must fight their way to the tunnels of Black Smoke Mountain--the lair of the mythical Demon Mother.

30 review for Aliens: Phalanx

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michael Hicks

    My review of ALIENS: PHALANX can be found at High Fever Books. I remember reading plenty of franchise crossovers with 20th Century Fox’s Aliens comic book tie-ins as a kid — we had Aliens vs Predator and a spate of sequels, which pitted two of Fox’s biggest science fiction horror alien phenomenas against one another; there was Judge Dredd vs Aliens, too; and even DC got in on the act with Superman/Aliens, Batman/Aliens, and Green Lantern versus Aliens. Scott Sigler’s opus borrows a bit from this My review of ALIENS: PHALANX can be found at High Fever Books. I remember reading plenty of franchise crossovers with 20th Century Fox’s Aliens comic book tie-ins as a kid — we had Aliens vs Predator and a spate of sequels, which pitted two of Fox’s biggest science fiction horror alien phenomenas against one another; there was Judge Dredd vs Aliens, too; and even DC got in on the act with Superman/Aliens, Batman/Aliens, and Green Lantern versus Aliens. Scott Sigler’s opus borrows a bit from this crossover idea of What If Aliens Fought [Insert Cool Idea For A Mashup Here], creating a fresh take on a popular, long-running property that’s unlike any other Aliens media tie-in that I’m familiar with. Rather than opting for the safer, tried and true formulas that are most commonly associated with Aliens, Sigler eschews all the usual stuff one might expect. There’s no cramped spaceship or starbase with an alien (or several) running amok onboard and there’s no heavily armed marines with itchy trigger fingers. Sigler, for the most part, does away with all that, presenting us with his riff on what an Aliens vs 300 crossover event might look like. While Aliens: Phalanx is set on the alien world of Ataegina, it’s borrows a lot from humanity’s ancient days. The humans that live on Ataegina are forced to live in underground habitats because the surface of their world is, quite literally, crawling with, as they call them, demons. After centuries of warfare between themselves and the alien threat, humanity has been decimated, leaving only a few surviving shelters, each of which are dependent on their mutually beneficial trading system. Ahiliyah is a runner, one of the young women who, with a small team, brave the surface of Ataegina to trade supplies between the various strongholds. She has grander ambitions, of course, but because she’s a woman of Lemeth Hold, a highly patriarchal society ruled by bloodline, her destiny is taken for granted and she is forbidden from training as a warrior. Sigler eschews the typical science fictions trappings of the Alien movies and leans hard into fantasy genre elements. There’s a lot of history behind the (for lack of a better term) present-day events confronting Ahiliyah, as well a lot of characters, and a more mythological, ancient history take on the proceedings here. Like most fantasy books (maybe even all?), it’s a thick book, requires a bit of patience, and even has a map right in its opening pages. Even though I’m not a fan of the fantasy genre, I found quite a lot to appreciate in Aliens: Phalanx. Honestly, if this weren’t an Aliens book, I probably wouldn’t have bothered with it, but Aliens: Phalanx certainly does have that glossy, high-concept appeal of a big crossover mishmash, and the lingering questions of what would happen if an ancient society had to contend with these bugs certainly drew me in. What really piqued my interest the most, initially, was the way these societies of Ataegina have adapted and responded to the threat of the aliens (or demons, if you prefer). Lacking the advanced weaponry of Colonial Marines (something they’ve never even heard of), the runners live by a simple rule of avoidance. Ahiliyah’s fellow Lemethians have plenty of myths and stories about the demons, though, which give us a slightly different perspectives on their relationship to these beasts, how they view them, and they understand them and their place in the world. All these people have to survive on is guesswork and their wits. As much as I liked Sigler’s sideways approach to this story (and the oh-so-many questions it raised!), what I most appreciated was Ahiliyah’s journey. She’s a strong, brave heroine, and every time her mettle is tested she rises above and beyond the call of duty to protect her friends, her home, and her people. She is, simply put, an awesome, powerful force, and she makes for an excellent addition to Alien canon. The aliens may have acidic blood, but Ahiliyah has a spine of pure steel. And god, what I wouldn’t give now for an Ahiliyah/Ripley crossover…good lord, the pair these would make squaring off against some big nasties! The phalanx in the title, of course, comes from the ancient Greek’s rectangular military formation of spear-armed infantry. One must naturally wonder how well such an old technique would work, and how well this low-tech, Bronze Age-styled civilization would fare, against the nasty critters of the Alien universe. To say it gets complicated is probably underselling it, but you’ll have to read the book to find out for yourself. I have to applaud Sigler and Titan Books for being ballsy enough to do something so radically different than what’s expected. While there’s still plenty of bad-ass alien action to go around, this book’s a real nice change of pace from the standard Alien staples. If you’re a fan of ancient history and the Alien flicks, Aliens: Phalanx is right up your alley, no doubt. If you’re a fan of the Alien franchise looking for a taste of something different, something that hasn’t been tried yet, you’ll definitely want to give this one a shot. Even though it has a very different feel to it, and Sigler’s approach to the franchise is itself very different, this is most definitely an Alien story, through and through.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Howard

    I'm going to read this but come on. Your putting out alien fanfic over the Earthcore sequel after all these years. Shame. I'm going to read this but come on. Your putting out alien fanfic over the Earthcore sequel after all these years. Shame.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Charlie

    Phalanx is a surprisingly entertaining addition to the Aliens mythology. Set in bronze age civilization our protagonist, Ahiliyah, is a runner. She contributes to her society by traversing huge distances with as a crew of three by foot to trade supplies and information with other outposts. Living underground or in old forgotten castles they live in constant fear of a 'demon' attack and being dragged away to the Aliens stronghold, the rule for runners is to hide until danger has passed and never t Phalanx is a surprisingly entertaining addition to the Aliens mythology. Set in bronze age civilization our protagonist, Ahiliyah, is a runner. She contributes to her society by traversing huge distances with as a crew of three by foot to trade supplies and information with other outposts. Living underground or in old forgotten castles they live in constant fear of a 'demon' attack and being dragged away to the Aliens stronghold, the rule for runners is to hide until danger has passed and never to risk one's life for one's crew members. Ahiliyah's crew consists of herself, the snarky but highly intelligent Creen and Brandun, a future member of the warrior cast with prestigious strength and a kind heart. There are internal politics at foot as outposts gauge each others strength and weaknesses, much to the chargrin of Ahiliyah who cannot help but wonder why humans are fighting each other when such an obvious threat to the entire species is all around them. When the demons behaviour shifts and more start hunting in packs and during daylight hours she leads the charge for change when her and her crew discover a potential new weapon. There is a lot to like here. The characters are fairly simple but fun to read about. We all know the enemy and it's one of the greatest of all time so there is no need to ponder the threat or whether it's real. We know, like Ahiliyah, know that the threat will never simply disappear and that no matter what precautions are taken they will eventually break through and conquer so there is no need for a big set up or anything like that. It means the reader really gets to jump straight into the action and it's different from other Alien stories in that the culture is at a Spartan level of technology and tactics, using swords, spears and shields and Phalanx formations. If you love Aliens this book will satisfy and in my opinion it adds to the Aliens story very nicely and in many cases better than some of the more recent films. It's also a 500 pager that feels like a 350 pager which is always a good sign. 8/10

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chris Berko

    The final hundred pages of the five hundred page paperback I read were spectacular, it just took a looooooong time to get there. Would’ve been a great short story. A lot of repetitive stuff in the first third and things picked up a little starting in the second half. A really good idea kinda wasted with a lot of non alien storylines.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Swords & Spectres

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I'm a big fan of the alien franchise and have listened to the audio dramas on audible, but never read a book set in the Alien universe. So when I got the chance to see how Xenomorphs and a medieval world turned out, I jumped at the chance. I felt the story took a little while to get going as nothing of major consequence happens for a good while. The first part is mostly character building/world building etc ... but, considering the c I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I'm a big fan of the alien franchise and have listened to the audio dramas on audible, but never read a book set in the Alien universe. So when I got the chance to see how Xenomorphs and a medieval world turned out, I jumped at the chance. I felt the story took a little while to get going as nothing of major consequence happens for a good while. The first part is mostly character building/world building etc ... but, considering the characters suffer from a fair bit of stereotyping (if you're big for your age, you're super strong and want to be a warrior. If you short and weak, you will be the most intelligent thing on two legs. If you're a girl in a male dominant world and just happen to be the main character, you're destined to break the mould.) there didn't seem to be massive need for too much development. That wasn't necessarily a bad thing where the main characters are concerned as they are likeable and, despite the above mentioned stereotyping, quite interesting to read about. There's a lot of conflict, some good-natured, some not, between them and it really adds something to the book. Character work becomes a bit more of a problem when the secondary characters come into things. The ones I mean more than any are the rulers of the city. They are just so childish that any scene with them in just feels like how I'd expect a fifteen year old to write a councillor scene. Far too much petty squabbles (which I know do happen in real life, but they make themselves seem so childish and petty in front of actual children). The councillors aside, I didn't really have any massive issues with any of the characters. Even liked the majority of them. There were a few moments, when things got going, that made me force myself to stay awake so I could keep reading. When Scott wants to get the pulse going, he really knows how. There's nothing like feeling a part of the scene, as a reader, when the characters are being hunted by xenomorphs. More than once I could feel my excitement rising and my pulse racing. There were a fair few time jumps. Not massive ones but more like at the end of a chapter it would say 'so and so is still two days walk from here'. The next chapter would be inside the gates of the city that was two days walk without any mention of what happened in between. Not a massive issue but it took some getting used to. The story itself is an interesting one and, as a reader, I was constantly curious as to why things were as they were and how things would pan out. So I had plenty of incentive as far as page turning goes. Always a good sign. I did feel certain elements of the plot came a little too easily to the characters. A certain weapon for instance and just how one of the characters was so smart that no problem was unsolvable to him. It also, at times, felt nothing like a medieval world. If I'm honest, had the word medieval not been in the blurb, there's very little that would make a reader think that was the time period being aimed for. The ending was a fairly good one even if it did suffer slightly from the 'certain things' happening too easily or too conveniently aspect I mentioned earlier. But, as a whole, it was a really fun and enjoyable read. I'm certainly glad I picked it up and the lasting feeling of having enjoyed it is what's made me score it so highly. Anyone who feels a bit put off for not having read any previous alien books, you can jump in without any prior knowledge of the plot lines already established (I did). It feels like a stand alone that will have little to no bearing on the future of the franchise story lines. Obviously, I could be wrong in that. Ps ... absolutely gorgeous cover. Love a savage alien!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    I have pre-ordered this on Kindle and also on hardcover, because it’s Scott! Finished listening to the amazing Bronson Pinchot read the more amazing Scott Sigler on our way to Vegas (driving because flying is a little iffy in the world of COVID). And, this is the second Aliens book I have read (first was Bug Hunt), and wow! Loved it on many levels. Great characters with great world building.

  7. 5 out of 5

    BigJohn

    I've not read any of the Alien supplemental novels, but I have seen all of the movies in the franchise and I guess you could say I'm a fan. So when I heard Scott Sigler was writing a story in the Alien universe, I was very excited. I know his favorite movie is Aliens, and he had a very well-received short story that he wrote back in 2015 called Dangerous Prey - a story written from the perspective of one of the alien xenomorphs. Generally, however, I'm not a big fan of Space Marines stories. I do I've not read any of the Alien supplemental novels, but I have seen all of the movies in the franchise and I guess you could say I'm a fan. So when I heard Scott Sigler was writing a story in the Alien universe, I was very excited. I know his favorite movie is Aliens, and he had a very well-received short story that he wrote back in 2015 called Dangerous Prey - a story written from the perspective of one of the alien xenomorphs. Generally, however, I'm not a big fan of Space Marines stories. I don't have anything particular against them, I just do not find the majority of the setting unique or interesting enough to invest much time in pursuing. What luck! This story is set in a bronze-age type of environment that has become overrun with xenomorphs, and has to learn how to survive against The Demons. The story is one of terrified colonists trying to eke out a meager existence while the governing class is distracted by petty squabbling, jingoism and isolationism. Instead of working together against a common threat, they are stuck in "the way things have always been" and are uninterested in making change. Some of the younger generation have discovered a weapon they want to use to eradicate the persistent and terrifying threat of the xenomorphs, but they need to convince the government to rise up instead of hiding. The story is full of great character development, with many compelling - even if selfish - reasons to join one side of the argument or the other. The world-building is exquisite, if isolated. The scope of their world is limited to what appears to be a continent on a planet, with acknowledged outsiders to the North. So the story is not really a locked-room mystery, but with no way out the residents seem to have no choice other than to hide or die. Enter the weapon. Once it has been discovered, it has the potential to change the entire dynamic of their society. But nothing can be done without the support of the government. The story flips between the terror of Alien encounters and the mundanity of government. But the storytelling is compelling and drags the reader along the emotional path of fear to frustration. I really enjoyed this story and would love to read more by Sigler in this world, or see whether there are other types of Alien stories that move away from the colonial marines that are as compelling.

  8. 4 out of 5

    CalebCW

    This was a father-son read. This was painful. I love Alien and I was really looking forward to this and found myself to be really disappointed. If you want to understand the political functions of a medieval society read this book. It'll give you the council, the margrave, and all their little peons. It'll show you distrust between villages. It will not, for the first 300 fucking pages show you a Xenomorph. No that's reserved for the last 200 pages and done through battle formations with one of This was a father-son read. This was painful. I love Alien and I was really looking forward to this and found myself to be really disappointed. If you want to understand the political functions of a medieval society read this book. It'll give you the council, the margrave, and all their little peons. It'll show you distrust between villages. It will not, for the first 300 fucking pages show you a Xenomorph. No that's reserved for the last 200 pages and done through battle formations with one of the most whiny leads I have ever seen. "I wanna be a warrior but I'm a woman so my village won't let me. Oh there's a woman leader in the next village who allows women to be warriors? But I like my margrave who I secretly know to be an asshole so I'm suspicious of anyone offering to let me ascend my current standing." Stab me in one of my face holes with a dirty trident. All her problems could be fixed by taking a small stroll. All she has to do is say bye and bounce. But no. Oh lol and the romance, there's romance by the way. Or what's being peddled as romance, it's probably one of the most YA things of the book. It doesn't make any sense to be there except offer something to sympathize with the lead over, of which which it does poorly. If it would have just stuck with the two runner buddies it would have worked better. As a matter of fact you could take out the romance and it is the same book just without the baby on the hip at the end. The best part of the story is Brandun and Creen those are the two who I used to pull me along. I cared what happened to them which is why this got a two over the one star for me. This wasn't horroresque at all which I think is most of my gripe. I expected action of course like jousting against a Xenomorph, word (doesn't happen, sorry to tease), but I also expected fear, and danger. These guys were in danger most of the book but I never felt that. I felt tired and bored, which is sad because I really, REALLY wanted to love this. I just couldn't, it didn't offer anything exciting except for Brandun's climactic charge. My son is still reading it, when he finishes it I will update this review. I hope he loved it more than me, I really do. There it is and there you have it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Hexter

    I have not yet read any of the other Aliens novels, but I have read Sigler’s fiction before. And if this is an example of the style of the other Aliens books, I will be reading them. Full disclosure: I’m a huge fan of Scott Sigler and his books. I pre-ordered this book and I was going to buy this book even if it sucked. It was great! It tied into ideas that are suggested by the movies, and like the movies has sections that are suspenseful and violent. But it also has sections that appropriately I have not yet read any of the other Aliens novels, but I have read Sigler’s fiction before. And if this is an example of the style of the other Aliens books, I will be reading them. Full disclosure: I’m a huge fan of Scott Sigler and his books. I pre-ordered this book and I was going to buy this book even if it sucked. It was great! It tied into ideas that are suggested by the movies, and like the movies has sections that are suspenseful and violent. But it also has sections that appropriately suggest how a pre-industrial society could discover a way to combat these creatures. Also: I listened to the audiobook version. The reader did an excellent job voicing the different characters, and I particularly enjoyed the voicing of a particular less-than-likeable main character. To my ear, there was a “Beavis and Butt-Head” vibe giving on. And it fits!!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Keith Hughes

    Scott has crafted a unique story that show us the affects and a xenomorph horde in a way we've never seen before. While the culture of the humans scrabbling to survive in an alien-dominated world is different from what this franchise has previously offers, the author delivers a final battle and confrontation sequence worthy of James Cameron. Scott delivers a tight story that is perfect for the established Alien fan, as well as those who are unfamiliar with the franchise. Recommended! Scott has crafted a unique story that show us the affects and a xenomorph horde in a way we've never seen before. While the culture of the humans scrabbling to survive in an alien-dominated world is different from what this franchise has previously offers, the author delivers a final battle and confrontation sequence worthy of James Cameron. Scott delivers a tight story that is perfect for the established Alien fan, as well as those who are unfamiliar with the franchise. Recommended!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ewreck82

    Fast, fun read. I started this one at work and finished it when I got home in the morning. The main core of characters are very likable even if one is supposed to be a sarcastic ass. I never knew that I needed a story of aliens vs medieval weapons and tactics but boy was I missing out all these years. I would have liked more xenomorphs early on but the end battle more than made up for it

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bentley ★ Bookbastion.net

    The third act was my least favorite part of the book, which was a bit of a let down. I absolutely loved the premise, setting and characters, and I love the way this book reads like a Young Adult book set in my favorite franchise of all time. That being said, the story is weighed down by a lot of pretty convenient solutions to the problem of the Xenomorph/Demons being an apex predator hunting people living in a medieval society. They're quite easily dispatched by the poison within the leaves of t The third act was my least favorite part of the book, which was a bit of a let down. I absolutely loved the premise, setting and characters, and I love the way this book reads like a Young Adult book set in my favorite franchise of all time. That being said, the story is weighed down by a lot of pretty convenient solutions to the problem of the Xenomorph/Demons being an apex predator hunting people living in a medieval society. They're quite easily dispatched by the poison within the leaves of trees that cover the planet combined with medieval phalanx military tactics, and those leaves also prevent humans from being burned by their blood, which unfortunately makes then a lot less scary. The writing also glosses over how exactly the demons came the planet of Ataegina in the first place, and how humanity managed to survive a number of generations despite the threat. This to me is symptomatic of the larger issues that is Aliens, the movie, and what it did to the canon of the Xenomorph. Don't get me wrong, I love that movie with my heart and soul, but it was the beginning of the end for the horror that is the Xenomorph. HR Giger intended the creature to draw from cosmic and body horror. They're terrifying because of how foreign and powerful they are. That level of horror is somewhat reduced when they're treated like mass-producing insects rather than a cunning beast that stalks its prey from the shadows. I wish that more authors would lean into that side of the horror more. It's often overlooked and I think would have made this book a tiny bit more enjoyable for me.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Sims Flanagan

    Aliens: Phalanx is the first book by Scott Sigler that I have ever read. I listened to the Audible version by Bronson Pinchot (I fell in love with him when I was in my early teens watching him as Balki. Jeez, I'm old.) Bronson's ability to make you believe in each of the characters he portrays and Scott Sigler's adept storytelling were exceptional. I was so drawn in that it elicited such strong feelings in me that I not only laughed out loud but also felt such sadness that I cried (something I d Aliens: Phalanx is the first book by Scott Sigler that I have ever read. I listened to the Audible version by Bronson Pinchot (I fell in love with him when I was in my early teens watching him as Balki. Jeez, I'm old.) Bronson's ability to make you believe in each of the characters he portrays and Scott Sigler's adept storytelling were exceptional. I was so drawn in that it elicited such strong feelings in me that I not only laughed out loud but also felt such sadness that I cried (something I don't do easily). There is only one other author who has ever been able to bring me to actual tears, and he has been my favorite author since I picked up my first book by him in 5th grade, Stephen King. It appears that I have another author to add to my favorites list. Scoot over, Stephen and Clive Barker, you'll be sharing the shelf from now on.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brian Anderson

    So, ya, not going to lie, I was nervous about this book. I’m a huge fan of Scot’s and a lifelong “Aliens” certified fanboy. Sometimes, though, when you hear two of your favorite things are coming together, you clench up a bit. Doesn’t always work out well. Except for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. They knocked it out of the park. Boy, that fear was unfounded. This story rocked. Couldn’t put it down. I had to, ‘cause I had work to do, but man, never enjoyed staying up late to read a book this much. I So, ya, not going to lie, I was nervous about this book. I’m a huge fan of Scot’s and a lifelong “Aliens” certified fanboy. Sometimes, though, when you hear two of your favorite things are coming together, you clench up a bit. Doesn’t always work out well. Except for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. They knocked it out of the park. Boy, that fear was unfounded. This story rocked. Couldn’t put it down. I had to, ‘cause I had work to do, but man, never enjoyed staying up late to read a book this much. If you’re a fan of the “Aliens” franchise, you’ll love the steaming acid blood out of this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Wayne

    Now THIS is an Alien story! I would put this proudly behind Alien and Aliens as the best stories in the franchise, bar none. Spectacular on all counts! Scott Sigler, and the narrator, Bronson Pinchot, provided a riveting reading experience, which honestly, has left me at a loss as to what to move on to. What will be nearly as satisfying? Believe I may just listen to this Audible edition again...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Shawn Deal

    The most different alien book out there. Scott Sigler is one of the best doing it right now. This was wonderful.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    Horror great Scott Sigler stamps his own brand of terror on the Aliens franchise When I heard Scott Sigler was writing a standalone novel for the long running Aliens franchise, I was in two minds over whether this was a project worthy of such a cool author. I have been a long-term fan of Sigler for well over a decade and have read every word ever published and if you are unfamiliar with his output: let me give it to you straight up - Scott Sigler has created monsters which would fuck the Xeomorph Horror great Scott Sigler stamps his own brand of terror on the Aliens franchise When I heard Scott Sigler was writing a standalone novel for the long running Aliens franchise, I was in two minds over whether this was a project worthy of such a cool author. I have been a long-term fan of Sigler for well over a decade and have read every word ever published and if you are unfamiliar with his output: let me give it to you straight up - Scott Sigler has created monsters which would fuck the Xeomorph into the middle of next month. My principal worry was whether the constraints of the Aliens franchise (acid for blood etc) would hold back the multi-dimensional imagination of the Future Doom Overlord (FDO), as his hardcore fans like to call him. I was proven to be correct; in Aliens: Phalanx Sigler plays by the franchise rules we are all familiar with, making the backbone of the story eerily familiar and somewhat predictable. In his other fiction ‘predictable’ is not a word I would ever associate with this master of crazy over-the-top horror and science fiction. Ultimately the Aliens themselves are a faceless enemy which work better on the big-screen and in book format they’re a rather monotonous adversary, which just keep coming, and the story is never seen from their point of view. We all know how deadly these creatures are and that makes them rather boring. Sigler handles these drawbacks admirably by creating an amazingly well drawn world and I could not help wondering how the medieval planet of Ataegina would have been like if it had a genuine Sigler created ‘beast’, instead of the tired old Xenomorphs? Chances are it would have been a much better book. For a start, in most of Sigler’s fiction the ‘enemy’ does have a point of view, this is sorely lacking in Aliens: Phalanx. Aliens franchise or not this is still an excellent Scott Sigler novel and if you’re a fan of his high-octane action sequences, gory violence and tough characters there is much to enjoy here. He most definitely stamps his mark of authority on a franchise which could do with some new ideas. Compared to some of his earlier fiction the violence is slightly toned down and considering how dangerous the Xenomorphs are, Sigler makes the brave decision of setting it on a world with no guns or modern technology. Ouch. The action picks up around fifty years after the Xenormorph invasion and mankind has all been wiped out apart from the last bastions which hide in underground or camouflaged and boobytrapped forts, which hold the last few thousand survivors. Food and supplies are short, and many are running on empty. Many people have never been outside and in a chunky book of over 500 pages a fair bit of time is spent setting the scene, introducing the culture, leaders, and the dynamics surrounding the society, the Aliens themselves are largely absent for the first 200 pages. I’m now going to drop the use of the term ‘Xenomorph’ as the technical term used in the novel is ‘Demons’ and we quickly find out that virtually nobody has ever killed a Demon, those that do are held in the highest of esteem and are referred to as ‘Demon Killers’. As there is no technology, radios etc, the story is built around nineteen-year-old Ahiliyah who is the lead runner of a crew of three. Runners have the crucial and incredibly dangerous job of ferrying medicine, goods, trade and messages between the various underground forts. Early in the story the famous line uttered by Newt in the second film is paraphrased: “Because the demons mostly come at night.” There is an incredibly high mortality rate for runners, many set out and are quite simply never heard of again, being picked off by the creatures. They are trained to commit suicide before risking capture, as although they don’t know the exact details, they suspect victims who are carried off alive are being used for something nasty. If you’ve seen the films, you know what is in store for them. Ahiliyah is a great lead character, ably supported by her two even younger runners, Creen and Brandun. As part of their culture/law all teenage girls make ten ‘runs’ and get a tattoo after each is completed and boys only have to make five as many will end up as warriors. Much of the human conflict in the novel revolves around the fact that Ahiliyah dreams of being a warrior, a position forbidden to girls. The plot is built around the politics of the various underground forts, their double-dealing, some of which may remind you of Dune, and Ahiliyah is convinced the behaviour of the Demons is changing, but none of the elders believe her. They are old and set in their ways and Sigler has fun clashing the young with the old. As everybody know how dangerous the Demons are, you may wonder why there are any people left at all? Or why all runners aren’t killed straight away? This was very cool, they wear a type of ‘hidey suit’ which acts as camouflage when travelling, these journeys could be anything from a couple of days to two weeks or longer, carrying huge loads. This is only a small part of a very detailed and believable world for Sigler to let his imagination run wild. The action sequences are worth hanging around for and in the second half you’ll realise why the novel is called Phalanx and there are some stunning fights reminiscent of ‘Custer’s Last Stand’ with a huge body-count mashed up with The 300. Scott Sigler throws in enough spicy curveballs to give the defenders a slim chance as it hurtles towards its conclusion. If you want to know more about the fiction of Scott Sigler check out my article Ten Years of Bleeding with Scott Sigler over at Ink Heist: https://inkheist.com/2019/03/06/ten-y... Finally, it’s a well-known fact that Scott Sigler inserts his major fans, ‘the Junkies’, into his novels as a mark of appreciation and endearment. I, ‘Tony Jones’ am proud to appear in two Galactic Football League books, here’s a brief excerpt from The Champion which was a very cool moment for this Junkie of many, many years… “Tony Jones barrelled in on all fours from Quentin’s right, Katan the Beheader from Quentin’s left. Tony’s hands shot out, a slow-motion attempt to grab Quentin under the shoulder pads, stand him up, block-destruct and toss him aside. Quentin turned sideways and drove in, sliding between the wide hands as he threw his armored right elbow forward – it smashed into Tony’s facemask, knocking the big head back.” Scott Sigler most definitely blasts new life into a tired old franchise; but the reality is simple, Aliens: Phalanx is an appetizer for the main events….. The Gangster (Galactic Football League Book 6) and Mount Fitzroy (sequel to Earthcore) of which there have been rumours for years. Whilst we wait for these new books from the main Siglerverse, Aliens: Phalanx was a worthwhile distraction.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Robert Lambregts

    I love the Alien movies and watch them every once in a while, because I think they still hold up pretty good (esp. the first two) when it comes to the production value. And they are just extremely entertaining. I never knew there was also an entire book series written by different authors based on these Ridley Scott movies movies. I found Aliens: Phalanx when I was looking for a Scott Sigler book that I have to look at some of the reviews and from there I found out there are a lot of different b I love the Alien movies and watch them every once in a while, because I think they still hold up pretty good (esp. the first two) when it comes to the production value. And they are just extremely entertaining. I never knew there was also an entire book series written by different authors based on these Ridley Scott movies movies. I found Aliens: Phalanx when I was looking for a Scott Sigler book that I have to look at some of the reviews and from there I found out there are a lot of different books from different well known writers. I find these things tricky though, because will they really hold up? And how does it translate to the page without the visuals? But with Sigler involved, I decided to take a chance and man was I glued to the story. It is well written, action packed, exciting and everything I hoped for. From the very first moment you know if the story works in this case, and when the 'demons' make their first appearance, you know you're in for a ride. I am certainly going to look for more of these books now, because I'm pretty much hooked. But I do feel this is also a thing that you need to use as a special treat to not get overkill. This was a great start and I am looking forward to meet these aliens again.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nikki Ellix

    “‘Silence is strength.’ He said. ‘To preserve the silence, to preserve our way of life, when a runner will not run, we all know the penalty.’ The crowds volume and intensity sent a chill over Ahiliyah’s skin. ‘The penalty is death.’” “In a world full of demons, nobody got a pass.” I’ve never read previous titles by Scott but can I just say that if he was responsible for writing all of the alien franchise books that I would binge read every single one? (Or close too there are so goddamn many my god “‘Silence is strength.’ He said. ‘To preserve the silence, to preserve our way of life, when a runner will not run, we all know the penalty.’ The crowds volume and intensity sent a chill over Ahiliyah’s skin. ‘The penalty is death.’” “In a world full of demons, nobody got a pass.” I’ve never read previous titles by Scott but can I just say that if he was responsible for writing all of the alien franchise books that I would binge read every single one? (Or close too there are so goddamn many my god.) This book is so interesting and has a very different tone to any of the other entries I’ve read. It takes place in a world, on a island, where the entire population is safely located behind walls of their own strongholds. They have technology similar to that of what humans had established in the medieval periods, meaning they do not know that the “black demons” that haunt the landscape are in fact xenomorphs from another world entirely. You see them portrayed in a style that hasn’t been attempted before, where the protagonists are kept in the dark about the alien’s morphology and even its life cycle. Phrases like demon, spiders, tooth tongues are used instead of the scientific terms were all used to, which actually adds quite a refreshing spin to the writing. Runners are the backbone of every stronghold, as they are a means of ferrying supplies, information and any other types of communication in between the holds. Trained in stealth and survival, they become heavily relied upon to ensure the functionality of entire populations. Men and women all have to make compulsory runs to serve their holds. Men only have to run 5, whereas women have to run 10 (unless they fall pregnant, and until the age of 30.) Ahiliyah, the books main protagonist, has to make far too many runs and far too often as her hold comes down with plague. Being surrounded by danger so often, she starts to notice that the demons are changing their behaviours and fears they’re becoming more of a threat. The race to find a successful weapon is on. Slow burn, but never not interesting. Will definitely be reading more of this series for sure.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brad

    A joy for fans of Alien or Sigler I’ve read many of Sigler’s books, and his unique voice and style are evident in the novel. It’s not just Aliens meet swords and shields: there’s some great world-building, complex characters, and tributes to the original Alien mythology. It’s never clear where this story fits into the bigger Alien universe, and I think that’s to the benefit of the story. There are some great moments of fan service at the end that really took the book to the next level for me. I h A joy for fans of Alien or Sigler I’ve read many of Sigler’s books, and his unique voice and style are evident in the novel. It’s not just Aliens meet swords and shields: there’s some great world-building, complex characters, and tributes to the original Alien mythology. It’s never clear where this story fits into the bigger Alien universe, and I think that’s to the benefit of the story. There are some great moments of fan service at the end that really took the book to the next level for me. I hope Sigler will get more opportunities to write in this universe (and maybe get this one onto a screen, one day...?).

  21. 5 out of 5

    DZ

    The writing was extraordinarily juvenile and the amount of cursing pulled me from the story and therefore the overall immersion. Clearly the authors command of the English language ended at 3rd grade as it mostly consists of four letter words and crass humor. You of course have the tried and true gender politics thrown in for good measure. The author failed to make the protagonist anything better than a stereotypical female lead. The world I found to be interesting but not what one would conside The writing was extraordinarily juvenile and the amount of cursing pulled me from the story and therefore the overall immersion. Clearly the authors command of the English language ended at 3rd grade as it mostly consists of four letter words and crass humor. You of course have the tried and true gender politics thrown in for good measure. The author failed to make the protagonist anything better than a stereotypical female lead. The world I found to be interesting but not what one would consider medieval. Read if you’re bored and devoid of anything else worthwhile.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mr Chuck

    A brand new take on the Alien books. Some great moments with mediaeval battle formations and some nice moments of the hunted and the hunter. However for me it fails short on what I was hoping for. Horror, there's no horror with the Aliens just left out during most of the character development that I didn't really care for. Battles are made but I just felt left short for a real war. Read if you're an Alien fan as it's a nice addition to the series but don't expect to be blown away. A brand new take on the Alien books. Some great moments with mediaeval battle formations and some nice moments of the hunted and the hunter. However for me it fails short on what I was hoping for. Horror, there's no horror with the Aliens just left out during most of the character development that I didn't really care for. Battles are made but I just felt left short for a real war. Read if you're an Alien fan as it's a nice addition to the series but don't expect to be blown away.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    This book was FIRE!

  24. 4 out of 5

    David Veith

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Such a fun read! Love Scott Sigler, very good author. Story moves along very well. What was weird to realize after I finished is that until the end there is very little interaction with the xenomorphs. It is not till the end that they are more prominent and then the shit hits the fan! Also loved that this was on a different planet, and as you go on more gets explained to you (as happens often in books by Mr. Sigler), but just enough to help the story along, not as much unneeded info. Also loved Such a fun read! Love Scott Sigler, very good author. Story moves along very well. What was weird to realize after I finished is that until the end there is very little interaction with the xenomorphs. It is not till the end that they are more prominent and then the shit hits the fan! Also loved that this was on a different planet, and as you go on more gets explained to you (as happens often in books by Mr. Sigler), but just enough to help the story along, not as much unneeded info. Also loved that at the end you find out that this all happened due to a ship from earth crashing on this planet, and there is a android (like Bishop). It really ties this into the past books/movies.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Sigler plays with the Aliens formula here by setting this novel on world more akin to something you'd find in a fantasy novel. An interesting take on how a pre-industrial society would tackle these iconic creatures. As a plus there are no corporate goons for us to hate on and our lead character (and her companions) are all genuinely likeable. Sigler plays with the Aliens formula here by setting this novel on world more akin to something you'd find in a fantasy novel. An interesting take on how a pre-industrial society would tackle these iconic creatures. As a plus there are no corporate goons for us to hate on and our lead character (and her companions) are all genuinely likeable.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chris The Lizard from Planet X

    One of the things that drives me to stories that feature the is that they often mix science fiction and horror. When I read the blurb for Scott Sigler’s Aliens: Phalanx, I was almost put off by the word “medieval” in the description. My first reaction was that it didn’t sound like it was for me. My love for anything starring a xenomorph eventually burst through that initial resistance, and I purchased the book. Were my own personal misgivings proven correct, or was I blown away like a face-hugge One of the things that drives me to stories that feature the is that they often mix science fiction and horror. When I read the blurb for Scott Sigler’s Aliens: Phalanx, I was almost put off by the word “medieval” in the description. My first reaction was that it didn’t sound like it was for me. My love for anything starring a xenomorph eventually burst through that initial resistance, and I purchased the book. Were my own personal misgivings proven correct, or was I blown away like a face-hugger disintegrating in pulse-rifle fire? Read on to find out. The events in Aliens: Phalanx take place on Ataegina, a rugged continent of mountains and ravines. The inhabitants have been slaughtered by black-husked ‘demons’, the survivors driven to living in subterranean mountain keeps. People don’t venture above ground often, but the ones that do, the Runners, race between the various holds to trade goods. These mainly take the form of various essential medicines, but this doesn't stop them bringing a variety of luxury items too. The book follows Ahiliyah, a young woman who is one such runner, as she serves Lemeth Hold and tries to earn her keep. She also wants to become a warrior, but in Lemeth Hold, women aren't warriors. She runs with two others, the large framed warrior-in-training Brandun, and a weaselly little guy called Creen. Brandun is a warrior-in-training and is already blessed with a larger frame than is expected for someone of his age. He is also a little slow at times, which Creen loves to point out to him by calling him “dumbdun”. Creen is actually the comic-relief in many ways, coming out with many cruel words but also displaying vulgar humour in almost equal measure. It is this trio that the reader gets to know during the course of the book, how their already limited world becomes yet more dangerous, as the demons start to eradicate the last traces of humanity in Ataegina. The societal landscape, the relationships between the various holds, plays an integral part in the pressures that fall on the dwindling people. Due to the nature of the threat from the demons outside, what doesn’t naturally grow in one hold often ends up being an urgent item for another. There are a number of illnesses that can afflict people. Imbid flowers grow abundantly in Lemeth Hold, and Imbid Soup is the cure for something called Weakling Disease. If another hold is suffering from such a disease, runners from Lemeth will trade Imbid flowers for something that they might need to treat their own hold’s different outbreak of illness. Add into this the usual way that humans become greedy, paranoid and even religious zealots, and the politics between holds becomes a true driving force, and often hindrance, to them actually working together. When the humans clash with the demons, the weapons they have at hand are knives, spears and shields. On my first thoughts about this notion, I think I was guilty of thinking “How the hell are they going to fight them with spears?” in a “Pfft” kind attitude. It didn’t take too long to think the exact same question with a more curious “How will they?” frame of mind. Having finished the book, I didn’t realise that the answer could be so exhilarating. Just as in the films, if you go from the pulse-rifles of Aliens to the cleavers and machetes of Alien3, there’s an exhilaration to be found in that. The holds themselves are also aptly suited to this kind of horror. The humans are trying to shut out the danger, but by doing so, they have to live claustrophobic and grim lives. They use strangely glowing water in glow-pipe plumbing to light their dark corridors, harvest plants and make use of anything that sits within their “safe” realm. When things take a turn for the worst - as you’d expect they would in a tale like this – these corridors turn from claustrophobic passageways into tunnels of death. I’m not sure what is more scary, meeting a xenomorph on open ground and seeing it dart at you from hundreds of yards away, or hearing one coming towards you along a dark tunnel. Probably the latter... Aliens: Phalanx is a very satisfying tale. We get to see all three of the runners rise-up in their hold, fighting against prejudice, fear and politics, even sometimes against each other. They all become nicely fleshed out characters with more about them than their more obvious traits. They all grow as people too, and their relationship changes and strengthens as events unfold. It was nice to see a society that viewed the xenomorphs in a different way, as demons and semi-supernatural rather than naïve humans stumbling across them on a spaceship-based jaunt across the galaxy. The story itself escalates in a way that any xenomorph fan will enjoy, and the culmination at the end is the kind that sets the previous events in a slightly different frame, which I thoroughly appreciated. Aliens: Phalanx is a brilliant story, and I’m very glad that I decided to give it a try.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Darth Dragonetti

    Aliens: Phalanx" is a 2020 novel by Scott Sigler. The novel tells a standalone story that is not connected to any of the other Aliens novels or comics. Whether you're a seasoned Alien reader or it's your first time 'round, this is an excellent novel for anyone looking to enjoy a fantastic story from a fantastic property. The plot of "Phalanx" is unlike any other novel from the Alien franchise. A pre-industrial society lives in a world infested by xenomorphs. The people of this world reside in mou Aliens: Phalanx" is a 2020 novel by Scott Sigler. The novel tells a standalone story that is not connected to any of the other Aliens novels or comics. Whether you're a seasoned Alien reader or it's your first time 'round, this is an excellent novel for anyone looking to enjoy a fantastic story from a fantastic property. The plot of "Phalanx" is unlike any other novel from the Alien franchise. A pre-industrial society lives in a world infested by xenomorphs. The people of this world reside in mountain strongholds where they cower in terror from the aliens. When an opportunity presents itself to help fight the demon menace, those who see the writing on the wall must work to convince the others to take up arms and end the demon menace once and for all. The above synopsis isn't terribly specific; specificity would be difficult without ruining the excellent plot of the novel. But I can safely say that author Sigler has, without a doubt, crafted one of the most original and refreshing plots of any Alien novel to date. The story combines a classic science fiction property with a fantasy setting, and the result is a terribly unique tale that works well as both Alien story and as just a standalone story in general. The pace of the plot is a little slow at first, but once it picks up, you won't be able to pry your eyes from the page. Excellent characterization is another feather in the cap of "Phalanx." All of the main players are extremely well-drawn, with memorable personalities and traits, and each character is developed in an important way through the course of the novel. Sigler is a master at making you think certain ways about certain characters, but then casting them in another light later on. This dynamic gives the novel real depth when exploring the psychology of its characters. Occasionally, though, I found myself getting inundated with too many characters. Many people in the colony are mentioned by name, and they may only appear once, so you may find yourself with a few too many names bouncing around in your head, but it does serve to humanize the settlement. I appreciated the strong female characters; this is in keeping with Alien tradition. Quality writing is yet another positive component to the novel. The author has a knack for detailed description, and makes you feel as if you are there, experiencing what the cast experiences. A few times, the writing style and some dialogue came across as reminiscent of a young adult novel, but this was but a minor annoyance, and really comes down to personal preference. I was impressed with the world and society that Mr. Sigler came up with. There is a depth to the culture, but while unique, the fictional culture of the world still mirrors our own culture in ways with which we can empathize. The author challenges gender roles, methods of leadership, and tradition for the sake of tradition, all issues our society deals with today. Myriad emotions are explored in the book, and they run the gamut from fear, anger, terror, hope, hopelessness, nationalism, and more, creating a real emotional roller coaster of a novel. I was also in awe of the author's ability to fit so many big audience pleasing moments into a cohesive story. You'll experience everything from classic Alien horror, to fantasy world building, to epic battles, to science fiction wonder, and the book does it in a way that works so well, and will still leave you invested in the characters and rooting for them to overcome their insidious foes. I cannot find enough good things to say about "Aliens: Phalanx." In an age where the Alien concept has started to sag, along come Scott Sigler and Titan Books, and I'll be darned if they didn't knock this one out of the park. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up. You won't be disappointed, and you'll experience one of the most original and refreshing Alien books to be published to date. "Phalanx" is quality tie-in fiction at its best, and even better, science fiction at its best.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Barbeler

    As a fan of both the Alien franchise and of Scott Sigler, I approached this book with equal parts excitement and trepidation. Some Alien expanded universe content is... not great. But Scott does not disappoint. This book is one of my favourite things to happen to the Alien franchise in years. It almost makes up for the shitshows that were Prometheus and Alien Covenant. This book is one of the most unique takes on the xenomorph ever, and achieves the rare feat of adding to the lore of the xenoverse As a fan of both the Alien franchise and of Scott Sigler, I approached this book with equal parts excitement and trepidation. Some Alien expanded universe content is... not great. But Scott does not disappoint. This book is one of my favourite things to happen to the Alien franchise in years. It almost makes up for the shitshows that were Prometheus and Alien Covenant. This book is one of the most unique takes on the xenomorph ever, and achieves the rare feat of adding to the lore of the xenoverse without making it worse. It takes place in a pre-industrial society where humans live in holds built into the mountains. The humans live in fear of the black-skinned demons that crawl over the island continent of Ataegina. Any humans that fall into their grasp are killed, or carried off to Black Smoke Mountain: the lair of the demon mother. The book never once calls the xenos aliens - to the people of Ataegina, they're demons. Their presence carries with it the heft of a mythical monster, and the demons really are scary. The characters are great, and Scott has a talent for writing lovable jerks. He writes characters that you should hate, but they grow on you like warts. (I'm looking at you, Creen). Anyway, great book, best thing to happen to the Alien franchise in years - go read it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bill Riggs

    On an isolated world where humanity lives underground in medieval mountain strongholds runners face demonic aliens as they travel between the scattered keeps. 3 runners will eventually decide the fate of their world- will humanity prevail or will the alien menace decimate the planet? One of the most unique and interesting entries in the Alien universe. Highly recommended for fans of the movies and books.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueline Taylor

    This is a wonderful new take on the Aliens universe. I love that the focus of the novel is on the people rather than the aliens. It takes a close look at the way that war and horror effect the human mind and heart. It is a well told story. Nothing really surprising; no super creative story twists. But it didn't need them. This is a wonderful new take on the Aliens universe. I love that the focus of the novel is on the people rather than the aliens. It takes a close look at the way that war and horror effect the human mind and heart. It is a well told story. Nothing really surprising; no super creative story twists. But it didn't need them.

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