“Alien: Out Of The Shadows” by Tim Lebbon, a full-cast production directed by Dirk Maggs – abandoned at 40% in favour of the audiobook version.

I don’t normally listen to full-cast productions but earlier this year, ‘Impact Winter’ showed me just how powerful they could be and I decided to try a few. I picked ‘Alien: out of the shadows’ because it had Rutger Hauer in the cast and because I’ve enjoyed the ‘Alien‘ franchise since I saw Ripley do her thing on the big screen when the movie was released in the UK back in 1979. It was a stunning movie back then, original, suspenseful, serious Science Fiction with a killer plot, incredible visuals and great acting and of course, Ripley, who changed everything. It got me so jumpy that I was certain there was an alien inside the ship’s cat in the final scene.

I listened to the first forty per cent of the book more or less in one go and then real life intervened and I set it down for a while. A while turned into weeks and I realised today that I have no appetite for going back to it so I’m setting it aside.

This is one of those ‘It’s not you, it’s me.’ decisions, that I’m resisting the impulse to apologise for.

There were lots of good things in the first half of the performance. The idea is a good one, fresh enough to give the story a twist while remaining strongly connected to the original story by the presence of both Ripley and a version of Ash (played by Rutger Hauer with chilling dispassion) as well as all those deadly aliens ready to kill everyone. The sound effects are vivid. The acting works.

So why didn’t I listen to the rest?

I got bored and then I got irritated by little things that I’d have ignored if I hadn’t been bored. Despite the twists, the story felt too familiar to be exciting on its own. I found that relying on dialogue and sound effects alone made the re-telling too thin to hold my interest.

That’s when the production decision started to irritate me. All that noisy This-is-exciting,-honest music kept distracting me from the story. I also hated the use of the podcast format. The story is split into ten thirty-minute episodes. Each time I reached a new episode, I had to endure more pointless, over-loud, trying-too-hard, music that interrupted the flow of the story. I don’t see the point of it and it irritated the hell out of me.

When I went back to audible to delete this (free) podcast from my library, I found that there is a (free) audiobook version, so I’ve decided to give it a try.

Hopefully, it will be music free.

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