First up from The Complete Aliens Omnibus Volume 3 is Rogue by Sandy Schofield. Freighter captain Joyce Palmer arrives at a research facility at a former penal colony on Pluto’s moon, Charon. It’s no surprise to discover that Joyce has a bit of previous with the Alien xenomorphs dating back to their failed terrestrial invasion or that Professor Ernst Kleist, the head of the Charon base has a secret Alien project hidden in the tunnels below the base, that is steadily wiping out Charon’s contingent of Space Marines (yes I knew there would be bloody Space Marines in there somewhere). So can Joyce and the Space Marine survivors stop Kleist from carrying out his insane plan.
Rogue is pretty much what you’d expect from the franchise, a shoot em up space western where the real villains are power crazy humans, kind of like the old horse operas where the Indian agents are selling rotgut whiskey to the Native Americans. Essentially its an undemanding actioner (nothing wrong with that) and it was nice to see that the lead character was a black woman.
The Labyrinth by SD Perry takes us firmly back to the Space Marines. Colonel Doctor Crespi (yes even the scientists and support staff are now in the Corps) and his crew rock up at the Innominata space station where Colonel Doctor Paul Church is engaged in a secret project to meld humans with xenomorphs, which is why people have been vanishing within Innominata‘s internal labyrinth and never coming back. Yes there is definitely something fishy going on here and its up to Crespi and computer hacking genius Lieutenant Sharon McGuinness to get to the bottom of it before it all goes horribly wrong.
Like Rogue, The Labyrinth is a straight forward action story where the villain is once again a brilliant scientist gone bad, only this time with a little touch of budding romance (but not too much action fans) between Crespi and McGuiness, and as such it’s another undemanding read ideal for the beach or a long flight. However I have to admit that I am getting a touch of Space Marine fatigue with this series and I would probably have enjoyed it more if Crespi, Paul and McGuiness had been demilitarised.
A further problem with both the novels in The Complete Alien Omnibus Volume 3 is that the plot of both of these stories are essentially very similar to each other: rogue scientist up to something nefarious with the aliens who are holed up either underground or deep within the bowels of a space station, it might have been better to have split the stories over different editions.
Gripes aside I give straight ahead actioner Rogue a 555/666
While the bit too Space Mariney The Labyrinth gets a 444/666, although things might have been different had I read them in reverse order.
The Complete Alien Omnibus Volume 3 is out now price £8.99 (UK), $9.99 (US) and $13.50 (Can) from Titan Books.