First, let me send a big Thank You! to AvPGalaxy.net for posting about my blog. You’re great! I welcome all new visitors with a new lengthy behind-the-scenes article, this time about one of Dark Horse’s new novels, No Exit.
No Exit is an odd book. It is half corporate espionage, half action fest, half splatter thriller (Yay, mathematics!). Its moodswings are irritating to the point where in one moment, you think you read bleak character study, only to turn into a rather upbeat sci-fi adventure in a matter of lines. What is, however the most odd think about the novel is its place in the overall timeline of the Alien universe.
At first glance, you might think that things are clear-cut. The back cover already states that the „alien threat has been subdued“, which suggests that the novel ist set some time after the Earth War., but not too long after since Weyland-Yutani still exists. However, as you proceed, things get strange, and I’m not even referring to the haphazard plot. New technology is introduced, animals become extinct and resurface, and even the Big Deletion can’t fix everything. What follows is a collection of the core issues:
- New technology exists that far surpasses anything we know from the Aliens universe. For instance, we have holosuits, holoprojectors worn by a person to project an outfit of their liking on their body. We have plasma weapons. And we have a torus field, which is basically a forcefield used to block access…which is deactivated by throwing two tiny orbs into it. In an interview on AvPGalaxy.net, the author stated that outside interference had „mutated“ the world he worked in, which would explain this one as well as the next one.
- Kramm, due to his 30-year long sleep does not know cats and dogs. Frances then implies that they have been extinct at a time during Earth’s history and then were reintroduced. However, as the best bet is that No Exit takes places not terribly long after Earth War, this raises some continuity issues. What would Jones and Murphy’s dog have to say about this? I’ll come back to this later.
- As I already said, Weyland-Yutani still exists during No Exit. This actually limits the timeframe in which this story can take place. It has to play after Earth War, since Aliens are known to the public, but it also has to take place some decades before Alien Resurrection, as Wren explains in the Special Edition that Weyland-Yutani has ceased to exist at least four decades ago when removing Gediman’s approximate age.
Now that you know about the main problems, I’ll present some possible scenarios.
- Scenario 1: No Exit takes place after Alien Resurrection.
This scenario would both explain the advanced technology and the extinction of cats and dogs. The problem lies with Weyland-Yutani. It still exists in full prime during No Exit, which contradicts Alien Resurrection. Now, I was willing to pass on Alien Ressurection’s dismissal of the entire Expanded Universe set after Alien³, but only because it practically would have broken half of the Alien canon. However, Alien Resurrection is still one of the movies and therefore, A-Canon, and since No Exit gives us no direct confirmation that it is set after Alien Resurrection, I think this is rather unlikely. Also, the tech shown in Resurrection is clearly not THAT advanced. To come back to Weyland-Yutani, it COULD be that they reemerged, but for them to again bloom in their full glory like they do in No Exit, the story would have to take place WAY after Alien Resurrection. Again, apart from some advanced technology, there is no evidence that this is the case. But: It is a possibility.
- Scenario 2: No Exit takes place after the Big Deletion
I could give this one a pass from the get-go because the Big Deletion was set up in an Aliens vs. Predator source. I admire its attempt to fix the Alien Resurrection dismissal, but as Scott Middlebrook has already stated, it creates a set of new problems, too. But let’s indulge in this for a second.
As you may remember, the Big Deletion was an event that has thrown back humanity into the stone age, thanks to a replicating computer virus. AvP: Thrill of the Hunt shows humanity slowly getting back on its feet some hundred years later. Now, regarding No Exit, this scenario has two merits. First, it would explain the aggressive business ethics of the corporations and second, Weyland-Yutani still may exist. However, there are some major problems here. First, the new technology could not exist, let alone Kramm going to hypersleep for thirty years. Second, civilization seems to be pretty intact and widely spread across the galaxy. By the way, a wildcard in both of these scenarios would be the existence of the Colonial Marines. Have they dissolved into nothing during the Big Deletion? Possibly. Do they still exist when the USM takes over? I don’t know.
- Scenario 3: No Exit takes place after the Earth War.
I consider this to be the most likely scenario, and it will also be the one I incorporate into the Encyclopedia. First, there is mention of the alien threat having been subdued, which would refer to mankinds retaking of Earth and the infested colonies after the War. Weyland-Yutani still exists and is thriving, and it would seem reasonable for them to employ a cleaner like Kramm immediately after the war to secure their property. The elimination of the alien threat would also conincide with the employment of Berserker squad as dated in Scott Middlebrook’s timeline. Extrapolating the date for the story in No Exit would place it in 2232, not too long before the Xenogenesis comics, where we get to see some rather advanced technology.
A problem that remains is that Kramm does not know cats and dogs. It would stand to reason that their kinds had been wiped out during the Earth War, and it is possible that Kramm has grown up on a distant colony. But in this scenario, Kramm would have been born around thirty years before the War and lived during the lifetime of Jones and Murphy’s dog. The salvage team from Aliens is not exactly stunned when they discover Jones, suggesting that cats were not that uncommon or even forgotten. Murphy’s dog also proves that cats and dogs reached the outer colonies. The dog was also not very old, suggesting that there still would have to be a sufficient number of them to reproduce in the lifetime of Kramm. Asking whether Murphy’s dog had been brought to Fury 161 in a cryotube or was a leftover of a tradition of guard do on Fury 161 doesn’t really change much about the dates and circumstances.
So, there you have it. I’m strongly inclined to tend towards Scenario 3, if only for the fact that the Big Deletion is from AvP and therefore irrelevant to this project, and we thread way to far into unknown territory by placing it decades or even centuries after Alien Resurrection. The latter would also be a rather cheap way to incorporate EREYTHING, but I still consider it a distant second in regards to probability. So what do you think? Am I right? Am I wrong? Tell me!