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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Aliens: Vasquez by V Castro

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One of the most iconic characters in Aliens, other than Ripley and Hicks, has to be the marine smart gunner Jenette Vasquez – there is a reason why the classic line of “Lets Rock!” is so widely known.

V Castro‘s book Aliens: Vasquez expands on Vasquez, giving greater insight into her background.  However, given most of us already know the end of her story in Aliens, this book is firmly focused on the Vasquez family.  The first quarter of Aliens: Vasquez is dedicated to Jenette, including a brief synopsis of her final moments.  The remainder of the story focuses on her twin children, Ramon and Leticia.

This is a book that is deeply embedded within Latin American culture, giving a unique flavour to Aliens whilst remaining true to the character of Vasquez and bringing her beliefs and language to fore, which adds distinct texture to the story.

V Castro has written a Vasquez story that we never knew that was needed, expanding on a single character and creating a futuristic portrayal of the rich Latin American culture in the Aliens universe.  However, the story remains accessible to anyone not already familiar with Aliens.

Aliens: Vasquez takes place over approximately fifty years, incorporating Vasquez’s childhood, her training and life in the marines followed by her children’s childhood and their eventual encounters with the Xenomorphs (not much of a spoiler, given it’s in the title and has one on the cover)

Jenette’s children Leticia and Ramon are fascinating characters.  They are quite different and their individual motivations work well within the structure of the story.  We are given chapters exploring both of the children (as well as their mother), but it is Leticia who is the principal character in this story.

Make no mistake, this is an Aliens story and there are dozens of subtle nods to Aliens film throughout the text, but these do not eclipse the story.  Jenette’s meeting Drake, and their subsequent friendship, was particularly well done – adding greater background to their companionship and yet being respectful to the characters in the film.

The pacing is blindingly fast.  However, there is a tendency to skip over some moments and jump forward in time, giving little chance for the characters to breathe or to expand on the background, other than what is essential to the plot.  Readers are introduced to fascinating characters for a chapter, only for them to be never mentioned again.  Castro has done well to cover as much as she can within the constraints of the book’s word-limit.

Ultimately, this is a book that I really wanted more from.  What we have is absolutely fantastic.  Jenette’s cultural heritage adds some much-needed texture to the character, so she is no longer just the ‘smart gunner’, which synchronises wonderfully with the overarching story.  However, the necessities of the story and constraints of the word-limit means that sometimes characters are left underexplored.

Hopefully, there will be a sequel, as this is a story that really needs more.

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Peter Ray Allison
Peter Ray Allisonhttp://www.peterallison.net
Science Fiction: the final frontier. These are the articles of the freelance journalist Peter Ray Allison. His continuing mission: to explore strange new realms of fiction, to seek out new genres and new visions of the future, to boldly geek where no one has geeked before.

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One of the most iconic characters in Aliens, other than Ripley and Hicks, has to be the marine smart gunner Jenette Vasquez - there is a reason why the classic line of “Lets Rock!” is so widely known. V Castro's book Aliens: Vasquez expands on...Aliens: Vasquez by V Castro