Book Review | Alien: The Blueprints
“Graham J. Langridge has done his research well and has produced a book of marvellous quality”
When I got my copy of ‘Alien: The Blueprints‘, the first thing I thought was “Ok, this book is only likely to cover the original Alien film and that’s it”. How wrong I was. Graham J. Langridge has delivered a fantastic book to everyone. He not only has provided us with the blueprints of vehicles and other material seen in the original film but has encompassed the whole Alien saga including ‘Alien: Covenant‘. Every technical aspect of what is seen in the movies is covered, nothing is left out. It is a joy to behold for any fan of the saga to read and to discover what makes the ships and the various devices used in the whole collection of films tick.
Alien: The Blueprints | By Graham J. Langridge
Upon opening the book, we are afforded a nice photograph of the crew member Kane surveying the egg chamber from the original film across a two-page spread. We already know how this will end but we still get the feeling of dread as we look upon the image. We want to scream at him to get out, we want to warn him about what’s about to occur. Alas, our warnings will come in vain. Across the page and we are presented with the contents listing alongside a nice large photo of the alien himself. I admit it, I love the alien. The way he is, the design of him and the complete sense of fear I had when I first saw him many years ago brings back wonderful memories. The contents list what we will discover inside the pages. Pages eight through to thirty and dedicated to the original film. The refinery named the Cygnus Tesotek Refinery greets us in all her glory accompanied by a nice written description and behind the scenes information on all three vehicles, we will discover here. Production design drawings accompany the information we are afforded alongside photographs of the ships themselves and a look at two of the models used in the film. Page twelve gives us our first technical drawings of the refinery. All of her perspectives are covered here alongside descriptions of every part of her many uses.
Pages fourteen to twenty-three cover the Nostromo herself, from her outer appearance and her hull and engines right up to her inner design and levels. Every aspect of the ship is covered in great detail including the air vents we know the alien will use while hiding from the crew and her feline companion. Everything we wanted to know about what the ship is made of and contains is presented to us here. Pages twenty-four to twenty-nine are devoted to the ship’s lifeboat, the Narcissus. Ripley’s salvation is shown to us here in full, from her hull and exterior design up to her inner workings. Everything from her flight controls up to her crew space and the storage lockers are given the full treatment.
Page thirty introduces us to ‘Aliens‘. As soon as we turn the page, we are granted photographs and storyboard drawings of the alien ship, the power loader and a picture of the ship on set alongside more behind the scenes descriptions of what the filmmakers were aiming for the second time around. Turn the page and we are shown the APC and the dropship alongside the continuing descriptions and memories of the model makers. As we turn over to page thirty-four, we are finally allowed access to the alien ship herself. Containing geological survey images obtained by the inhabitants of Hadleys Hope (More on this later), the exterior and interior of the ship can be viewed along with survey images of the dead space jockey, lying in his chair with a hole the size of a welders tank in his chest. Our dead alien pilot even gets a closeup in these images, giving him even more recognition. We turn to page thirty-eight and here we find the APC. Everything we ever wanted to know about this fantastic drivable craft is here to digest. From her construction, her hull and interior right up to her cannon on top, everything is covered here with in-depth detail.
Pages forty-two to fifty-three are devoted to the U.S.S Sulaco herself. In this section, we are granted a wonderful foldout showing both sides of her design and above technical blueprints. On page forty-seven, we marvel in delight as we are given a whole page devoted to her technical background. Everything is presented to us here and encompasses everything from her manufacture and her artificial intelligence right up to the crew manifest. It is a wonderous addition to this incredible book and one that I marvelled at. Again, for the rest of her time with us, we are given the details of inside her, every deck and department is covered in detail. Pages fifty-three to sixty-four are reserved for the UD-4L utility dropship or ‘Cheyenne’ as she’s more affectionately known as. Every part of this sleek ship is examined here, again both inside and out and her aerodynamics are covered in this section also. Every aspect of her design is gone into in minute detail and is a highlight. Page’s sixty-four and sixty-five are devoted to the Caterpillar P5000 Powerloader. Ripley’s salvation and weapon of choice to combat the alien queen at the climax of the movie are shown here. Page’s sixty-six to eighty-one are reserved for the aforementioned colony of ‘Hadley’s Hope’. This immense structure is presented to us across the pages and no detail is spared from us. Everything from her construction and material used right up to the medical bays and doors are covered here. Page’s eighty-two to eighty-five cover the little-seen vehicle of the Diahotai all-terrain commercial tractor. This vehicle is mainly seen in the special edition of the film. It is the vehicle that Newt and her family are driving in when they discover the alien ship. Again, all her technical details are provided here for us to indulge in.
We now come to ‘Alien 3‘. Again, we are afforded behind the scenes details about what we are about to see alongside production drawings and photographs from the set of the film. We come to page ninety where we discover the Bodenwerke Gemeinschift Type 337 Emergency Escape Vehicle. The EEV is where Ripley is ejected from the disintegrating Sulaco and will become the place where Next and Corporal Dwayne Hicks will meet their ends (Don’t get me started on that one). This vehicle is covered up to page ninety-four and again, all its exterior and interior are covered in detail. Pages ninety-five to one hundred and one are devoted to the colony of the mineral ore mine and refinery planetoid that is Fiorena or Fury 161 as its more affectionately known as. Every level and detail of the penal colony is unveiled from its weather hardened exterior right up to the workings of its foundry where Ripley will meet her demise.
Page one hundred and two is where we discover ‘Alien: Resurrection‘. More details from behind the scenes are presented to the reader alongside, once again, production drawings and photographs of the many sets involved in the making of the film. We are rewarded with the blueprints of the ‘Betty’ from page one hundred and six. The Hawker systems resupply ship that contains the crew is analyzed in great detail here. We then come across the U.S.M Auriga from page one hundred and ten. The United Systems Military medical research vessel is only granted two pages and is kind of skipped over to our bemusement.
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‘Prometheus‘ makes its appearance from page one hundred and twelve. Again, production details and photographs of the vehicles are presented to us but as we turn the page, an incredible two-page photograph of the ship about to enter the atmosphere of the planet is afforded to us. The picture is stunningly beautiful, almost like a painting one could imagine being hung on a wall in our own homes. And now we are presented with the blueprints of the great ship herself. Across the next six pages, we will discover everything we ever wanted to know about the ship and its inner workings and technological abilities. Next up we have the RT01, the RC01and the EUV01 vehicles which are used on the surface of the planet, shuttling the crew to and from the alien ship they will discover. Each has its own uses and differences from the rest and are covered here across six pages.
And finally, we come across ‘Alien: Covenant‘ and its range of vehicles. Again, production details and photographs are awarded to the reader before we come across the blueprints for each ship. First up, we have the Lander craft which will be front and centre for part of the film. The blueprints reveal every nook and cranny the ship has to offer to its crew including the medical bay where the horror will start. Next, we have the Cargo Lifter, a vehicle that does exactly what its name implies. Of course, before the film ends, it will play a vital role in rescuing the survivors of the mission from death by aliens. And now we come across the Covenant herself. The USCSS Covenant is a colonization starship on its way to colonize a planet in the solar system. She will suffer severe damage during a solar storm which will result in the death of her captain while in hypersleep. We are again afforded a nice two page foldout of her specifications alongside every aspect of her design and functionality. We are also allowed to see the blueprints of the Colonist Cryogenic ‘Nursery’ that is contained within her bowels. Nothing is left out.
Graham J. Langridge has done his research well and has produced a book of marvellous quality. I enjoy these kinds of books and can honestly say it is a worthy addition to mine or anybody else’s home library. The discerning film fan wanting to know everything they can about the films they love and enjoy will get a great kick out of the book and that is to the books and authors advantage. As an Alien fan, it is a fantastic read with everything I ever wanted to know about the ships seen in the Alien franchise and this book gave me a great sense of joy to read and to learn from. And it is one deserving of adding to your collection.
Until next time.
“Game over man! Game over!”
Alien: The Blueprints by Graham J. Langridge is published by Titan Books an is available to buy from today. TM & © Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.
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Carl Roberts is a Senior Staff Writer and Books and Literature Correspondent for Future of the Force. He is passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Indiana Jones and Horror movies. Follow him on Twitter @CarlRoberts2 where he uses the force frequently!
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Hardcover: 156 pages
Publisher: Titan Books (UK); 01 edition (24 Sept. 2019)
Product Dimensions: 26.7 x 2.1 x 37 cm
Editor’s Note: All images have been taken from Alien: The Blueprints by Graham Langridge, published by Titan Books and used under authorisation.
Carl Roberts is the News Editor for The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force frequently!