Aliens: Colonial Marines Mostly Comes Out At Night: This Week In Science Fiction

Game over, man! Game over!

By David Wharton | Updated


Aliens: Colonial Marines
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC

Given how shamelessly games have been aping the look and feel of James Cameron’s Aliens over the years, it’s surprising that it’s taken this long for something like Aliens: Colonial Marines to happen. That being: an in-canon game taking place after the events of Aliens, allowing players to explore many of the iconic locations from the films. Colonial Marines puts you in the body armor of Cpl. Christopher Winter, part of a squad tasked with investigating just what the hell happened to Ellen Ripley and company down on good old LV-426. I think we can all agree, this should go off without a hitch…

The story was written by Battlestar Galactica veterans Bradley Thompson and David Weddle, and the designers at Gearbox Software were given access to tons of material to help flesh out the corners of the Aliens world that was only hinted at in the films. You’ll get to explore the empty corridors of the Sulaco, and the creepy interior of the derelict Engineer ship where this mess all started in 1979’s Alien. Hell, they even got the chance to pick Ridley Scott’s brain about Prometheus, so there could well be some crossover surprises we haven’t heard about yet.

I’ve been dreaming of this game for years, and I desperately hope it doesn’t disappoint. If it all comes together, I look forward to several nights on my couch with the lights off, creeping through the colony on LV-426, listening to the beep of the motion tracker as something creeps ever closer through the vents. Game over, man. Game over…

Bang Goes the Theory (BBC America, 10:20 / 9:20c)
BBC America’s new show is in the vein of MythBusters, putting science to the test. First up: “A square-wheeled skateboard is turned into a motorbike. Also: overcoming jet lag.”

Castle (ABC, 10/9c) — “Reality Star Struck”
It’s a Firefly reunion as Gina Torres guest stars. “Castle and Beckett investigate the homicide of an emerging reality star who was part of the cast of The Wives of Wall Street. Meanwhile, Castle runs into trouble as he searches for a Valentine’s Day present for Beckett.”

Continuum (Syfy, 8 / 7c) — “A Test of Time”
Kiera has Marty McFly problems, as she is forced to protect her grandmother from being murdered by Liber8.

BestWorldsThe Best of All Possible Worlds” by Karen Lord
Summary via Amazon:

Karen Lord’s debut novel, the multiple-award-winning Redemption in Indigo, announced the appearance of a major new talent—a strong, brilliantly innovative voice fusing Caribbean storytelling traditions and speculative fiction with subversive wit and incisive intellect. Compared by critics to such heavyweights as Nalo Hopkinson, China Miéville, and Ursula K. Le Guin, Lord does indeed belong in such select company—yet, like them, she boldly blazes her own trail.

Now Lord returns with a second novel that exceeds the promise of her first. The Best of All Possible Worlds is a stunning science fiction epic that is also a beautifully wrought, deeply moving love story.

A proud and reserved alien society finds its homeland destroyed in an unprovoked act of aggression, and the survivors have no choice but to reach out to the indigenous humanoids of their adopted world, to whom they are distantly related. They wish to preserve their cherished way of life but come to discover that in order to preserve their culture, they may have to change it forever.

Now a man and a woman from these two clashing societies must work together to save this vanishing race—and end up uncovering ancient mysteries with far-reaching ramifications. As their mission hangs in the balance, this unlikely team—one cool and cerebral, the other fiery and impulsive—just may find in each other their own destinies . . . and a force that transcends all.

Doctor Who: The Reign of Terror (DVD)
The First Doctor (William Hartnell) visits Paris during the French Revolution. Things go bad fast, and companions Ian, Susan, and Barbara may lose their heads…literally.

Face Off (Syfy, 9 / 8c) — “Two Heads Are Better Than One”
Director Bryan Singer puts in an appearance as the contestants are tasked with creating creatures inspired by the upcoming movie Jack the Giant Slayer.

FarsideFarside” by Ben Bova
Summary via Amazon:

Six-time Hugo-Award winner Ben Bova presents Farside.

Farside, the side of the Moon that never faces Earth, is the ideal location for an astronomical observatory. It is also the setting for a tangled web of politics, personal ambition, love, jealousy, and murder.

Telescopes on Earth have detected an Earth-sized planet circling a star some thirty light-years away. Now the race is on to get pictures of that distant world, photographs and spectra that will show whether or not the planet is truly like Earth, and if it bears life.

Farside will include the largest optical telescope in the solar system as well as a vast array of radio antennas, the most sensitive radio telescope possible, insulated from the interference of Earth’s radio chatter by a thousand kilometers of the Moon’s solid body.

Building the Farside observatory is a complex, often dangerous task. On the airless surface of the Moon, under constant bombardment of hard radiation and infalling micrometeoroids, builders must work in cumbersome spacesuits and use robotic machines as much as possible. Breakdowns—mechanical and emotional—are commonplace. Accidents happen, some of them fatal.

What they find stuns everyone, and the human race will never be the same.

LivesLostThe Lives We Lost” by Megan Crewe
Summary via Amazon:

First, the virus took Kaelyn’s friends. Then, her family. Now it’s taken away her home.

But she can’t look back–the life she once had is gone forever.

A deadly virus has destroyed Kaelyn’s small island community and spread beyond the quarantine. No one is safe. But when Kaelyn finds samples of a vaccine in her father’s abandoned lab, she knows there must be someone, somewhere, who can replicate it. As Kaelyn and her friends head to the mainland, they encounter a world beyond recognition. It’s not only the “friendly flu” that’s a killer–there are people who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the vaccine. How much will Kaelyn risk for an unproven cure, when the search could either destroy those she loves or save the human race?

Megan Crewe’s second volume in the Fallen World trilogy is an action-packed journey that explores the resilience of friendship, the ache of lost love, and Kaelyn’s enduring hope in the face of the sacrifices she must make to stay alive.

OverrideOverride” by Heather Anastasiu
Summary via Amazon:

Zoe is free. She has escaped the enslavement of the Community, disconnected from the hardware that had controlled her every thought and emotion, and evaded capture by the Chancellor intent on killing her. She is finally free, but she is far from safe.

Zoe and Adrien hide themselves from detection at the Foundation, an academy that trains teen glitchers to fight in the Resistance movement. Together, Zoe and her new team of superhuman fighters must risk their lives to rescue other glitchers and humans from the Chancellor’s control. Challenges abound at every turn, and Adrien, who has become silent, distant, and tormented by his visions of the future, only adds to the growing certainty of defeat. But worst of all, as Zoe’s team fights against impossible odds, distrust and betrayal leads to the terrible discovery that their greatest threat could already be lurking behind the safe walls of the Foundation.

Full of high-adrenaline action and shocking twists, Heather Anastasiu’s Override is an exciting continuation of this popular young adult trilogy.

Robot & Frank (Blu-Ray & DVD)
This charming little flick was one of the best surprises of 2012. If you didn’t see it in theaters — and you probably didn’t — you should definitely give it a chance. Frank Langella stars as a retired thief who reluctantly befriends a caretaker droid his son forces on him, then realizes that his robot helper could be the perfect accomplice for a few more jobs.

SeverSever” by Lauren DeStefano
Summary via Amazon:

Time is running out for Rhine in this conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Chemical Garden Trilogy.

With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.

Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.

In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered.

Dark Matters: Extra Twisted (Science Channel, 10/9c)
Tonight’s episode examines “a cure for epilepsy with a memory-erasing side effect; and the story of a doctor who infected himself to prove a point. Also: information about a nuclear disaster.”

Nova (PBS, 9 / 8c) — “Earth From Space”

Satellite data is transformed into visual sequences that detail the interwoven forces that sustain life on Earth. Included: how dust from the Sahara fertilizes the Amazon; how a vast underwater “waterfall” off Antarctica helps drive ocean currents around the globe; and how a powerful hurricane is born from the sun’s heating of the southern Atlantic.

Saucer Country #12 (Vertigo Comics)
If you’re still not reading Saucer Country, I may have to send the Greys to rewire some sense into your brain. Here’s what’s up:

It’s the run-up to election day, and Arcadia is racing to close the gap on her Republican rival. But meanwhile Prof Kidd’s life is falling apart, as he discovers the secret of the Pioneer Couple. Secrets are revealed, an election is won and lost, and several steps toward the truth are taken in Part One of the three-part tale “President’s Day.”

StarWarsStar Wars #2 (Dark Horse Comics)
The new ongoing series continues, serving up stories set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.

A cagey young Imperial officer seems to anticipate the Rebels’ every move, so Princess Leia forms a “stealth squadron”—including Luke Skywalker—to expose a suspected spy within their ranks.

Meanwhile, Han Solo and Chewbacca run afoul of bounty hunter Boba Fett, and the Emperor sends Darth Vader on a secret mission!

Walking Dead #107 (Image Comics)
The official summary of this month’s issue could pretty much serve as the synopsis for the entire series: “Rick is, once again, pushed BEYOND his breaking point.”

Person of Interest (CBS, 9:01 / 8:01c) — “Booked Solid”
Reese and Finch attempt to prevent the murder of a hotel maid. Unfortunately the suspects include pretty much everybody else in the building.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Cartoon Network, 9:30 a.m. / 8:30c) — “The Jedi Who Knew Too Much”
“Ahsoka makes a deal with Asajj Ventress to find answers about who set her up for murder.”

The Walking Dead (AMC, 9 / 8c) — “Home”
Rick goes looking for a missing friend, while Merle and Daryl wonder whether that whole striking out on their own thing was a bad idea.