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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

on 10 June 2012
The Book of Alien by Paul Scanlon and Michael Gross was originally published in 1979 as tie in for the original film. And with Ridley Scott's Prometheus sparking a renewed interest in the Alien saga, this reprint from Titan Books takes you behind the scenes with the key people involved, including director Ridley Scott, scriptwriter Dan O'Bannon and the creative stages featuring conceptual designs and illustrations from HR Giger, Ron Cobb, Chris Foss and Jean 'Moebius' Giraud plus models and costumes demonstrating why the movie won an Oscar for it's visual effects and would come to be classed as a science-fiction classic.

The book also gives you a brief grounding of the genesis of the film, from Dan O'Bannon's collaboration with Ron Shusett on the first draft entitled 'Star Beast' and to Ridley Scott's involvement. Although running at only 112 pages, it may not be as detailed as other behind the scenes books like 'Alien Vault: The Definitive Story Behind the Film' it is a visual feast of superb illustrations by some of the best artists in science fiction.

If you're a fan of the film, looking forward to seeing Prometheus or just interested in conceptual art then I would definitely recommend this book!
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on 29 November 2017
Bit disappointed by its content and edition quality (mostly b&w poor quality photos). Expected more. So if you're ALIEN'S fan I suggest to look for something else...
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on 19 August 2012
Superb book, maybe a little flimsy as a result of not being a hardback edition, but a superb read all the same. It is a must have for any Alien fan, whether it's the horror element of the first one, the crash bang wallop of the second or the wonder and curiosity of the remaining movies that excites you, this book illustrates the lengths to which Scott & Co went to in order to get the original off the ground.

A superb series of movies, the book is a brilliant reference point for the start of the journey.
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This book was originally published to coincide with the release of the movie in cinemas. It follows the 1978 production of the movie at Shepperton and Bray Studios, the spats with the accountants and executives at Twentieth Century over budgets and plot, the creative arguments and collaborations, and so on. It is one of the most insightful books of its kind, being honest and forthright, while being a wonderful book to simply leaf through.

Though not overloaded with text, Paul Scanlon and Michael Goss have written nicely about the subject, and sensibly given over almost the entire book to a vast collection of movie artwork from the design department. The designs, by such visionaries and luminaries as on Cobb, Bob Foss, Jean (Moebius) Giraud, and others, pack almost every page. Among them are wonderful designs that were too expensive to use, other designs that just fell be the wayside, and yet others that were used in the movie.

Add to this a raft of alien material from H.R.Giger, and you have a complete cross-section of the movie's design. Giger's many alien designs are explained much more fully in the fabulous book, Giger's Alien, but for set and craft designs, this book is absolutely jam packed with the most amazing graphics, many of which seem to influence later movies. My favourite is Cobb's superb helijet design - one of many that could have added to the movie, but which were never to be. Overall, this is an excellent companion to the movie: informative, entertaining and inspiring.
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on 27 June 2012
There is a distinct irony to the Book of Alien being released after the Alien Vault book of last year; One of the common complaints with that book was that it didn't have nearly the amount of visuals that the Book of Alien does. Now that the Book of Alien has been rereleased, the complaint is that the Book of Alien doesn't have enough in terms of interviews or documentation regarding the film's development.

Ideally, you need to buy both this and the Alien Vault, plus a copy of Giger's Alien if you want the whole thing. The Book of Alien is, however, a sumptuous document of the visual development of Alien, perhaps intentionally so given Ridley Scott's background in graphic design and the like. Yes, there isn't much in the way of text, but the visuals - some not seen since the Book of Alien's previous release back when the film was released - more than make up for it. In what text there is, there are also some interesting clues to Prometheus - Especially in terms of talking about the derelict ship and the Space Jockey, which could provide some interesting food for thought until we receive news of a Prometheus follow-up.

In terms of the stills and design work on show, this is vital for anyone who might not own a copy of the older edition, but actively likes the Alien franchise. My only fault with the book is that it isn't especially sturdy, being a softcover, and the pages can seem a little weak - it isn't the sort of thing you want to just want to split open, which occasionally presents difficulty in viewing the images. But for the price, this can't be beaten.
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on 1 February 2017
Low cost essential guide to the classic film, lots of great pre-production info and more. Initially printed in 1979 as a sort of cash in to the film it is still a great buy for those curious about H R Giger and the rest of the great conceptualist artists involved. An essentail library addition for fans of the film . Slim and softback but well worth a look.
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on 22 July 2012
It is a great product. Full of design pictures and interesting in depth articles about all the important elements of the movie as well as interesting anectodes about Alien creators, especially Scott and Giger. A must have!
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on 21 January 2013
If you are interested in the back story. Behind films.
The ideas that went in to making this one may interest you.
A straight to the point lay out .
Same of the diagrams rather small
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Great book full of detail, the extras are great, the pull out drawings within slip case through the book, give it a rounded off finish, adding a layer of detail. Highly recommended to any Alien fan.
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on 11 June 2014
I love the movie so i decided to buy this book.Love everything to do with the movie alien.If there was the book for Aliens i would probably buy that as well.Classic movies both of them.
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