Aliens: Infiltrator by Weston Ochse, Narrated by Bronson Pinchot

I don’t know when–or even if–I’ll have a chance to play Aliens: Fireteam, but listening to the audiobook for Weston Ochse’s Aliens: Infiltrator certainly sets the stage for a fascinating and original action/horror gaming experience. If I never get around to playing the game, it won’t be for lack of interest, and it certainly won’t be due to this book disappointing me.
The protagonist, Dr. Hoenikker, serves as a cipher of sorts, the lens through which we experience the introduction to the Weyland-Yutani scientific facility. While there’s ample character development across the board, Hoenikker being the newest member of the scientific team provides us with a great opportunity to experience everything through a fresh set of eyes. With his military experience, Ochse does a fantastic job bringing the supporting cast of characters to life, particularly the former Colonial Marines on staff at Pala Station.
With Murphy’s Law in full effect, Dr. Hoenikker joins the crew of Pala Station just as an infiltrator begins a campaign of corporate espionage. As with the real world, this relatively small trouble of spying and theft escalates in a cascade effect that explodes into an utter nightmare by the conclusion. Laboratory experiments go horribly wrong, communication breaks down, and everything falls apart.
Experimenting with what we’ve come to think of as the black goo from the Alien prequel films from Ridley Scott, we encounter some interesting and dangerous creatures produced from the local fauna, potentially more deadly than the Xenomorphs we’ve all come to know and love. This being an Alien novel, of course, there are Xenomorphs in the mix, and we get further exposure to how the black goo can modify the outcome of the genesis taking place.
Bronson Pinchot’s narration is sufficiently skilled that the characters almost always sound distinctly separate and discernable as individual actors in the narrative playing out. I especially enjoyed the performance for Rawlings, who I couldn’t help but picture as an African American Matthew McConaughey. The only instances where Pinchot’s narration failed was concerning female characters, but I’ve heard worse over time.

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