The Alien Encyclopedia version 7 released!

I pondered for a second whether to finish posting the Alien³ essay first, but version 7 is ready for release, so why artificially delay it? Thanks to real life interfering with my time, it’s late enough as it is.

This release is special for two reasons. First, I finally got around to designing a completely new unique cover. This cover was created in accordance with the redesign of this website, sporting what I jokingly call the “Apple look”. I am very happy with it, and I hope you like it, too. However, this does not diminish the greatness of the cover artwork I was allowed to use for earlier version, so a round of a most sincere “Thank you, you’re awesome!” goes out to Rado Javor, the creator of the artwork. Visit his deviantart page for more visual goodness!

The other reason is that with version 7, I start tackling possibly the biggest story arc in the Expanded Universe, the Earth War trilogy. This version contains complete coverage of the first part known as “Outbreak” or “Earth Hive”, depending on whether you read the comic or the novel version of it. I’ve always been fascinated by the epic scope of the story, so I’m very excited to finally see it enter the Alien Encyclopedia.

Before I send you off to the download page, I want to address two things. First, I want to thank Frans Hattingh, who, as always, did the proofreadinf for this version. I couldn’t ask for a better man to do this job. Y’know, it’s not awesome enough that he’s always been willing to help without hestitation. The nicest person on the planet would not do if she or he weren’t a good proofreading. Fortunately, Frans is exactly that and better. So, again, from the bottom of my heart: Thank you!

Okay, last topic: I decided to remove the earlier releases of the Encyclopedia from the download page. The reason is simple: What’s the point? Accordingly, I renamed the page to “Download”.

‘Nuff said. Head to “Download” and enjoy the new version of the Alien Encyclopedia” Next: Nightmare Asylum.

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The Dragon’s Advocate: A Case for Alien³ (part 1)

Your honor, I want to open my defense of today’s client, the movie Alien³, with a recap on its public perception: Alien³, according to many fans, is the movie where the series jumped the shark. Long story short: A RottenTomatoes rating of 44% and an IMDb rating of 6.4 (as of 2015). The sum-up quotes on RottenTomatoes include statements like: „Too conceptually disjointed to live in the imagination after it’s over, like its predecessors.“ Or: „Flashy, flawed sequel that doesn’t deliver the chills of the first or the thrills of the second “ And: „Good acting has salvaged many a poor script in the past, but not here.“ Negative reactions from fans can be summed up in „Wait, they kill off Newt and Hicks in the first five minutes of the movie without them even waking up from hypersleep? Are you kidding me?“ and „Great, it’s just Alien all over again. Some guys with no weapons against a single Xenomorph.“ I will concentrate on their reactions because they form the popular opinion about this movie. However, one word out to the critics: „Flashy“? Really? Have you seen the movie at all? Even Helen Keller could have seen that this movie may be anything, but not „flashy“ (Sorry about the Helen Keller thing… got lost in the moment).

  1. No happy endings (obviously)

The fan quotes show that the movie was doomed before it even got into cinemas. And for this, you don’t even have to tackle Alien³’s troubled production history. The reason is simple. Just two words: Failed expectations. Yes, this movie has indeed a knack for disappointing audience’s expectations. I mean, after the end of Aliens, who wouldn’t expect new adventures with Ripley, Hicks and Newt? A romantic relationship between Ripley and Hicks was hinted at during Aliens, so this would be something one might think that it would be tackled in the third movie. But really, is this something you’d like to have seen being further developed? Another cookie cutter romance plot? A marriage? And this is a great way to show what the Alien movie are all about: There are no happy endings in Alien movies. You should have got that by now. People die. This isn’t Star Wars. If anything, it is „anti-Star Wars“. Ships don’t fly like fighter jets, there are no princesses and victory celebrations with cuddly bears. I love Star Wars, but if you want Star Wars, go watch Star Wars. There you can be sure that Luke, Leia and Han live to see another day. If you watch an Alien movie you have to take the possibility into consideration that the captain of the ship may die midway through, Spock turns out to be a killer android and only one person makes it out alive. That was just the first Alien movie. And it doesn’t end here. You have to deal with the fact that the hero wakes up in a time where all his friends and family are dead (including her own daughter). People lose their friends by friendly fire, have to live with the fact that they are now in the hands of an organism that prolong their suffering by impregnating them with their children or blow themselves up to buy you time to escape. What where you expecting at this point? Granted, further events involving Hicks and Newt were a possibility. But nothing more. A possibility. Characters you have grown to like die in Alien movies. In 1991, that was hardly a new thing. That’s also life, by the way. Why not appreciate that Alien³ took a bold turn and created an atmosphere where it was impossible to foretell what would happen next? You know, like in the first movie, where you couldn’t tell who was the protagonist until the climax. And that, excluding the gross simplification of the second fan reaction concerning the plot, is about the only thing Alien³ has in common with Alien.

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The two missions of the USS Sephora: Conjecture in the Alien Encyclopedia

We know that the fate of the Sulaco was something that was not addressed in the Alien movies. This changed when the Nintendo DS game Aliens: Infestation was released in 2011. In the game, the Sulaco is located by the Colonial Marines who send a contingent of soldiers to investigate. The ship that transports the marines to the Sulaco and serves as a base of operations is a sister ship of the Sulaco, the USS Sephora. The plot of the game takes place six weeks after the movie Aliens. At the end of the game, the Sulaco is damaged by an explosion and left drifting in space while the Sephora retreats from the scene.

Now, the game was marketed as a side story to a bigger game project which would be released in 2013, namely Aliens: Colonial Marines. In this game, the USS Sephora carries marines to investigate the Sulaco, which has been located by the Colonial Marines. However, this story takes place 17 weeks after the movie Aliens, features an entirely different cast of characters (including a new commanding officer) and contains not a single reference to an earlier mission of Sephora to the Sulaco. In this game, both the Sulaco and the Sephora are destroyed early during the story campaign. Aliens: Colonial Marines is also explicitly sanctioned as official canon while such a statement had never been made about Aliens: Infestation.

Several questions arise: What is the official story? Is only Colonial Marines official canon because of its status as being sanctioned by Fox as such? And if not, how in Earth’s name can the two missions be reconciled into one cohesive timeline? Is there a case of mass amnesia among the marines in Colonial Marines which made them forget about the events of Infestation? Why would the USCM headquarters send the same ship twice, with the bonus question of why the corps seemingly exchanged the entire crew?

The easy solution (which has also been adopted by some sources) would be to say that Infestation has never happened and declare the story as an alternate version of the official story in Colonial Marines. The whole problem of reconciling the two stories would disappear. But I tried to do it anyways. To be blunt: My conjecture is that both stories have happened, and I have good reasons for it.

The basic idea is as follows: There WAS a first mission of the Sephora, but it was covered up due to the questionable nature of the actions by the marines involved and powerful influence exerted by Weyland-Yutani and its allies within the USCM corps. And there are hints that make this interpretation work. First, at one point, the Sephora‘s CO, Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Steele uncovers Weyland-Yutani and its allies working behind the scenes: He says: “I have been doing some research into this Xenomorph situation.[…]It seems that the Weyland-Yutani corporation and its military backers have a keen interest in these creatures[…]But not in destroying them… Rather using them as bio-weapons[…]” He then decides to go rogue to stop the corporation: “It’s off the books, completely black. If we are caught it could mean hanging at Camp Orrinpaul.” Weyland-Yutani is shown to have a great influence on the USCM, even managing to take over the Sulaco under the pretense of contract work. Later, Company representative Sean Davis even tries to pull rank on the marines by stating that the Xenomorph cargo is basically military property: “[…]that cargo is technically Weyland-Yutani property, who is, as you know [sic] a military contractor, which means you would actually be destroying UAAC property, which I don’t think, under the circumstances, is the best career move you could make at this time…” There are more quotes supporting my conjecture, but I will stop here.

So, we have enough circumstantial evidence for both the influence of Weyland-Yutani over the Colonial Marines and, despite doing the right thing, the treason the marines on the Sephora commit by working against Weyland-Yutani’s interests. We don’t KNOW what happens to the Sephora‘s crew after the game ends, but under the circumstances, there are enough indicators to support my conjecture. A probable outcome MIGHT indeed have been that the Company managed to silence everyone in the knowledge about its hand in the mission. Under the pressure, the USCM corps MIGHT have been forced to incarcerate or execute the first crew of the Sephora.

So, we explained how the Sephora crew in Colonial Marines is an entirely different one and also oblivious of the Sephora‘s first mission. But why is there a second mission of the Sephora? Well, the USCM corps MIGHT have been tired of being pushed around by Weyland-Yutani. Maybe, even some heads rolled on the highest echelons. And Hicks’ distress call (which, as Stasis Interrupted reveals, was not sent immediately after the events of Aliens, but much later) MIGHT have been a message that the Colonial Marines could not ignore in good conscience, Wey-Yu’s influence over the USCM be damned. So, the corps sends another contingent, and the reason why it is Sephora they’re sending MIGHT be to send a message to Weyland-Yutani that they have been pushed too far and that, now, the USCM pushes back.

So here we have a working solution how the two stories MIGHT be reconciled, and I used it for the Alien Encyclopedia. Again, make no mistake: This is purely my conjecture how things might have worked, and I marked it as such. I’m not trying to rewrite Alien history. I’m merely offering a possible solution. If you’re so inclined, read this as a case study for the power of the “might” (no pun intended).

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5 Things you have to consider when writing an Encyclopedia

I’m not gonna lie: Working on version 7 of the Encyclopedia was particularly challenging, for many reasons. These reasons, however, were just extremes of issues that are representative for working on such a project. After 4 years, I thought it would be fun to write about what exactly these challenges are, not least for the cathartic effect it may have for me.

1. Be prepared to write about the same things over and over again

An encyclopedia is not a novel and, therefore, has no linear structure, meaning that almost nobody will read an encyclopedia from beginning to end. Encyclopedias are basically databases created for references, and where themes overlap, the same information is bound to be filed in several places. Writing an entry about Ellen Ripley means you will have to write about the events concerning her in other entries. This can be very tedious, of course, and can make you feel as if you will never finish the update and do the same thing over and over again until the end of time, just like Sysiphos. Be prepared for it. You WILL eventually reach the top of the mountain.

2. You have to unleash your inner OCD

Of course, you also have to develop an obsession with details. This is actually a great thing 80 percent of the time. You see relevant media in a whole new light. Novel that might otherwise be mediocre suddenly get exciting because it contains this or that reference you can incorporate in the Encyclopedia. However, this is also a magnet for tediousness. Back when there was the Project Prometheus website, and I was cataloging dozens of planets differing from each other only in a non-descript scientific classification as a name and its distance from Earth. But trust me: The feeling you get once you look back at all the trivia you assembled is AWESOME. Realizing that all of it contributes to larger and more complete and detailed picture of a fictional universe is worth it.

3. You also have to keep your inner OCD in check

Attention to detail is great and all. But you also have to be ready to hit the emergency break when things get absurd. On at least one occasion, I had to delete several small entries because they have become so arbitrary that there was no value to be gained. It was something like “Module 1.0: The entry on the Health section on the Project Prometheus website containing the introduction for the subject.” Yeah, it can get that crazy. Not because the information was irrelevant (I wrote entries for the David 8 subsite, which were unique on the site), but because the entry name was so arbitrary. So arbitrary, in fact, that there were several “Module 1.0” on the website. This is where you have to step back and ask yourself: “Does the Encyclopedia really need this?”

4. Ask someone to proofread it

You think you’re diligent? You think no spelling error can get past you? Think again. Once you have let it proofread, you will be astonished by the amount of stuff you missed even after repeated readings. That’s not because you suck at spelling, it’s because you wrote the damn thing. You need another perspective on the document, someone with a bit more distance to it. Sounds esoteric? I agree, but only until you will have experienced the truth of it. This, of course, does not apply only to encyclopedia projects, but every document of a certain scope – be it your own novel, your letter of application or your dissertation. But this does not make it a less valid thing to consider when writing an encyclopedia.

P.S. See how there were a few spelling mistakes right here in this article for the first few hours? Fitting, huh?

5. Watch and learn

Your encyclopedia will not be the first. Others have done this before, and they have done a great many things right. Look at their example and learn. Other good ideas: Look at good Wikipedia articles to learn about structuring your entries and get a feel for objective writing. Or do the old-fashioned thing and grab an encyclopedia in book form. This is a good thing to do if you want to write a book-like encyclopedia such as this one instead of opening a Wiki, as it will teach a lot about consistent structuring and systems for presenting information. In any case, it will spare a lot of chaos and confusion in the long run.

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New look!

Visitors of the Encyclopedia’s Facebook may notice that I updated the look there a while ago and promised to redesign the blog’s look in a similar fashion. Now, finally, it followed suit. Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

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The Alien Encyclopedia version 6 released!

Better late than never! I’ll keep things short: I am immensely pleased to able to tell you that version 6 of the Encyclopedia is released and available on the “”Releases” page of this blog! This version adds complete coverage on the Stasis Interrupted DLC for Aliens: Colonial Marines and on the Nintendo DS game Aliens: Infestation, among other things. I’ve also included an essay in the second chapter about continuity and my attempt to reconcile the plots of Colonial Marines and infestation. I will also release the essay on this blog later on.

As already announced on Facebook, version 7 will focus on the Earth War story arc from the comics. This will keep me busy for a while, and real life will surely interfere again, so I can’t tell you yet to what extent coverage in version 7 will be. However, I will do my best to get back to releasing two updates per year, I promise! Further down the road, coverage on Alien: Isolation, the new Titan Books novel trilogy and Steel Egg will be given priority.

What’s left to say? Enjoy the new release! And, of course: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

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Prometheus review (Facebook repost)

The short version is: I REALLY liked the movie, maybe even loved it! Just for the record: I concur with the general buzz about the movie’s strengths. It’s hard not to, because the visuals and atmosphere are really great. However, unlike what seems to be the majority of the fans and press, my enjoyment does not end there. I think it’s best to address what most people don’t like about this movie instead of raving about the good stuff you’ve already heard.

1. “There are some really stupid decisions made by the movie’s characters!”

Yes, there are. Taking off your helmets in any alien environment is grade A stupid. Millburn’s reaction to the black goo and the snake was not smart. I have to admit that my answers to this criticisms are the most subjective, biased ones. Basically, it comes down to this: There was some stupid stuff, but I didn’t mind it because there’s so much cool stuff going on. At least for me, it never got in the way of things. In any case, I also never felt that the stupidity was out-of-character. Holloway was kinda set up to be a hotshot and a jerk. Shaw’s decisions, while not always very clever, were driven by her personality (I refer to the “catching the Engineer helmet inside the storm” scene). And Fifield was, well, Fifield. As a side effect, the characters weren’t as likable as they could have been. But personally, I was not so much interested in the characters as I wanted to see a new intriguing chapter of the Alien universe that expands on the existing stuff and provides new insights. Which brings me to the next complaint…

2. “The movie posed too many questions without delivering any answers! It’s just one big setup for a sequel!“

This one was what probably influenced my expections the most before seeing the movie. It’s also the one that would have crippled my enjoyment the most, since I know Damon Lindelof’s work from LOST, which in my opinion was okay but less than perfect, considering the great setup. Oddly, I was pleasantly surprised. For instance, the movie ended more than three decades of speculations about the origin of the Xenomorph by strongly implying it was a bioweapon created by the Engineers. At least for me, that was one hell of an answer! Was this something completely unexpected? No, but since Matrix Revolutions, I take “not very surprising, but logical and consistent” over “yes, unexpected, but WHAT THE HELL were they thinking!?” anytime. Now, you may say: “Yeah, but if the Engineers want to kill us, why did they create us in the first place?” This is where I see some severe nerd rage about Lindelof’s involvement, insofar that it made the people oversensitive to questions left open by the movie, considering how he handled LOST. But bear in mind that, if anything, this is the BEGINNING of a larger story, NOT the end. When people complain about sequel baits and sequel-mania, I can see where they coming from. However, it’s a problem with modern blockbuster cinema, not a Prometheus-specific issue. I admit that there are loose ends, but would you blame “Star Wars IV: A New Hope” or better “Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes” for its loose ends? Leaving questions unanswered does not a make a movie bad by default, just as answering all questions does not make a movie good by default *cough*Matrix Revolutions*cough*. As far as it concerns me, the sequel baits were rather moderate, at least not in any quantity that it would warrant such criticism, and the movie provided enough answers for me to create the feeling of watching one movie that can stand on its own instead of just the first half of a longer one.

3. “The movie began too ambitious and degenerated into a mere monster flick!”

Okay, first, it’s an Alien movie! Of course, it’s also a monster flick! I bet you would have been pissed if you hadn’t gotten some monster brawling at the end. I also think that the public buzz and, to be fair, Ridley Scott himself greatly exaggerated the preconceptions regarding the movie’s ambitions and, thus, creating expectations for something that I think simply is not there. Yes, of course it is built around fundamental implications regarding the origin of mankind and science vs. faith, but it is first and foremost a sci-fi thriller, and by no means an M. Night Shyamalan flick. I thought that the movie always stayed true to its roots, and I never felt any inconsistencies between different parts of the movie. I also felt that Weyland’s arc, the search for immortality, upheld the level of ambition throughout the movie’s last third. By the way, I thought it was a nice character dynamic between him and David: Weyland created David and made him basically immortal, and David, grateful for his creation, wanted to give his “father” immortality in return.

4. “The biology of the Black Goo is fricking confusing!”

This is one criticism I have to admit I share. I definitely have to create a flipchart for this one!

5. Conclusion

All in all, I admit that, yes, this movie has its faults and I can even understand why people may not like it. For me, Prometheus is a great way of expanding the Alien universe and a treasure trove of information. I prefer a movie that aims high and misses to a mediocre flick that is executed perfectly.

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A Word About… Aliens: Thanatos Encounter

Dealing with Aliens: Thanatos Encounter was a surprisingly satisfying experience. At first, it seemed to have a frustratingly vague and thin storyline, but eventually, it turned out that the game allows a possible interpretation that makes the events much more specific. But let’s start at the beginning…

Aliens: Thanatos Encounter is a video game for the Nintendo Gameboy Color and was released in 2001. It’s a nice little game, transferring the gameplay of the classic Alien Breed (which itself was a shameless Alien ripoff) to the Aliens universe. The story outline is, as I said in the beginning, very vague. The intro tells you this: Marines returning to Earth from a training mission receive a distress beacon from the freighter Thanatos. MOTHER awakes the soldiers, and and they board the Thanatos to see what’s wrong. Xenomorphs, that’s what. That’s the basic setup for the story, and the game doesn’t get any more specific. The game gives no direct reference to when the Thanatos incident is supposed to take place. Yeah, we know Colonial Marines are involved, but that gives a timespan of roughly two centuries.

Let’s take a look at the vehicles and weapons in the game. The intro already shows one hallmark of USCM tech as we saw it in Aliens, the Conestoga-class space transport, though turned upside down in the graphic. The Technical Manual states no introduction date, but says that the Conestoga ships are to be replaced by the Bougainville class in 2180. However, we can’t use the 2180 date as it only marks the beginning of a replacement period with the commission of the first Bougainville ship. How long this period lasted we don’t know, but we can assume that it took several decades to replace the ships. Additionally, the vessel here belongs to a training squad, so the ship could have been used as a training vessel even after the regular Conestogas were sorted out. So, we’re out of luck here.

Shortly after, we get to see a UD-4L Cheyenne dropship. This one is the first hint that narrows down the time frame. According to the Technical Manual, the Cheyenne was specifically built to accommodate a manifest for USCM operations called „Marine 70“, which was enacted at, you already guessed it, at the beginning of the 2170s. Ergo, the game can’t take place earlier that 2170, which rules out the first 70 years of the corps’ existent. But that still leaves us with a huge timespan where it could have taken place. Again, „Marine 70“ gives us a clue.

In one mission, you rescue a scientist who tells you that there is a prototype weapon stored in the living quarters. This weapon turns out to be a Smart Gun. Unfortunately, the section covering the smart gun gives us no introduction date. So, I looked up „Marine 70“ again and was rewarded with another hint.
The article mentions the M56 smart gun as new technology. I quote: „Squads now have two elements: the M56 smart gun team[…]and the rifle team.“ And later: „The M56 is an excellent example of the way in which new technology and concepts have helped increase the tempo of operations.“ This implies that smart gun technology is fairly new, even in 2179 which is the in-universe date of the Technical Manual’s release. Now, Thanatos presents us with a prototype weapon called „smart gun“. This leads to the conclusion that the game has to take place before the movie Aliens, where smart guns are used by regular squads. This further narrows down the time frame to between 2170 and 2179, i.e. the 2170s.

Unfortunately, I found no more clues that would narrow the date down even further. The game gives no indication whether it takes place before Earth War, when no one but a few people knew of the Xenomorph, or after the Earth War, when the Xenomorph had become public knowledge. The Pulse Rifle weapon icon in the HUD is somewhat different in appearance to the M41A1, with a shortened carrying handle that might point to an earlier model, but that could have been merely out of reasons of space, as the „Equip Left“ or „Equip Right“ text had fit into the box with the icon. In the end, the final result is the conjecture that Aliens: Thanatos Encounter takes place in the 2170s.

Perhaps now you can image imagine why this little treasure hunt was an exciting and satisfying experience for me. The fact that many Aliens comics and novels don’t bother to properly date their stories is something that’s been frustrating me since I started thinking about the chronology of the Aliens universe. At first, Aliens: Thanatos Encounter seemed to be another such unpleasantness, but eventually, the game provided me with enough clue to develop a conjecture that narrows it down to a single decade. Considering we started out with a time frame covering the whole existence of the USCM corps, I think this is not a bad end result.

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The Alien Encyclopedia turns 2!

Today is the second birthday of the Alien Encyclopedia, and things have been good for the project in 2013… something which cannot be said about the Aliens franchise. So come with me on a short retrospective about what happened to the Encyclopedia and all things Alien this year!

  1. The MU-TH-UR load

Before we talk about the major Aliens event this year (for better or worse), let’s take a look a tiny bit of catching-up the Encyclopedia had to do at the beginning of the year. By the beginning of 2013, the theatrical release of Prometheus has come and gone, followed by the home media release in October. So, there was a huge hole gaping the Encyclopedia where all the information about the latest movie entry in the franchise should have been.

When version 4 of the Alien Encyclopedia was finally released on March 16, it became obvious why the project had been lagging behind. Version 4 turned out to be the biggest update ever released, with almost 50 pages of new content. Not only did the update cover the movie itself in great detail, it also featured complete coverage on the viral media campaign launched for the movie. I am proud to say that, by version 4, the Alien Encyclopedia had become the definitive guide on all things Prometheus.

  1. Size does matter

With version 4, the Alien Encyclopedia also introduced a new third appendix containing exclusive Alien-related scale charts. I am particularly proud of this one, not only because I think it’s a cool new feature, but also because it would not have been possible without the help of some amazing people who gave their kind permission for using their awesome Alien-related artwork as a basis for the chart graphics. A huge “Thank you!” goes out to Samantha, Mike Brown and Space Jockey!

  1. Oorah to ashes!

Prometheus had now been dealt with, but there was no time to rest THE Aliens-related event of the year, the release of the video game Aliens: Colonial Marines, had taken place, and… well, I guess you know how that turned out. For completion’s sake: The game turned out to be the biggest disappointment of 2013, not only concerning the Aliens franchise, but also the whole gaming scene. The plot was sub-par, the graphics were outdated and the gameplay was nothing to write home about at best, irritating at worst. What little praise was left went to the faithful art design and the excellent score. As if the shortcomings of the game itself wasn’t enough, the release was followed by a shit-storm about the questionable handling of the project by Gearbox and the jarring differences and drop of quality between the demos and the final product.

  1. This time, it is war

The whole affair prompted me to write a three-part review about the game – the first one of its kind, read it here. However, it was time to put my personal feelings aside and to dive head-first into Colonial Marines coverage for the Encyclopedia. Content was locked in a record time of one month, a writing marathon which would turn out to be an exhausting experience, an experience which would cause me to put the project into hibernation for the months that followed. Fortunately, as I had I was ahead of time, and so I could afford to take the break. On November 16, exactly eight months after the release of the previous update, version 5 was released, which completely covered the Colonial Marines storyline, weapon upgrades and even Xenomorph color schemes. It was another huge update, only barely missing the record set by version 4.

  1. A word of thanks

I know I said it often in the past, but for good reason: I cannot repeat this enough, and so I would like to take the opportunity to send another “Thank you so much!” to Frans Hattingh, the proofreader of the Encyclopedia. He had come on board with version 3 (which did not prevent him from also proofreading version 2 for the release of version 3, which is much appreciated) and has stuck with the project ever since, doing a marvelous job with the juggernauts that were version 4 and 5. Thank you, Frans, and I hope you’ll be there for version 6, too 😉

  1. The year of the… horse?!?

Speaking of which: What has the future in store for the Alien franchise and the Encyclopedia? Well, fore the first time in the history of this project, there’s not a huge Aliens-related project looming on the horizon. Sure, there will be novels and comics in 2014, and there’s another game in the works, Alien: Isolation. However, this game is the only thing comparable to the magnitude of Prometheus and Colonial Marines, but if I am not mistaken, the game hasn’t even been announced yet, let alone given a release date. This leaves me with a bit of breathing space for version 6. With the release of this version, I’ll finally leave LV-426 behind as it will feature complete coverage of the Stasis Interrupted DLC for Colonial Marines, Newt’s Tale and Aliens: Infestation.

What to expect after version 6? Well, originally, I wanted to cover all the new Dark Horse novels before moving on with the comics, but I decided to change priorities. Instead of sticking to the plan of covering the novels and moving on from there, I will instead prioritize future content according to its relevance to the canon, which means that all things related to the Earth War storyline will be next. This way, I will get the important stuff into the Encyclopedia a lot quicker instead of slowing things down with “unimportant” side stories.

As you see, there are some interesting things in store for the Encyclopedia, despite the relatively calm year 2014’s gonna be. I can’t wait to begin coverage on the Earth War, and I hope you’ll stick around for version 6 and beyond!

P.S. A great way to stay up-to-date on all things Alien Encyclopedia and more is its official Facebook page. Go pay a visit here!

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The Alien Encyclopedia version 5 released!

At last, I present you with the newest version of the Alien Encyclopedia! Version 5, dubbed the “Colonial Marines Update”, consists of, you already guessed it, complete coverage of the Aliens: Colonial Marines video game, excluding the Stasis Interrupted DLC, which will be featured in version 6. Say what you will about the game, but it nevertheless adds a huge chunk of Aliens lore to the canon. For instance, you get to know the USCM (and Weyland-Yutani) arsenal of weapons on a scale rivalled only by the Colonial Marines Technical Manual. Other exciting information include new Xenomorph species such as the Spitter and Weyland-Yutani’s post-Aliens attempts to exploit the Derelict.

Initially, I thought this update would be much smaller than the previous, Prometheus-themed version. And regarding the time it took to write the content, it was true. Content was locked only a month after the release of version 4. So why is it released only now? Well, real life, what else? I moved houses in May and took part in a three-month advanced education program. And besides, after the writing spree for version 5, I REALLY needed a break. But I digress. It turned out that the page count of new material in version 5 became only slightly smaller than that for version 4. This version features almost 50 pages of new content, increasing the total page count to over 190. In addition to new and expanded entries, the Encyclopedia now also boasts a new scale chart with all the Xenomorph species introduced in Colonial Marines.

Thanks again go out to Frans Hattingh for proofreading. I actually was quite satisfied with this version after my own first proofreading. Luckily, Frans proved me wrong by doing and amazing job rooting all the mistake I missed. Thank you so much!

So what else is left to say? Go get version 5 on the Releases page! Oh, and don’t forget to visit the AE page on Facebook for the newest update on the Encyclopedia!

P.S.: Fun trivia I just discovered: Version 5 is released exactly eight months after version 4.

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