Cowboys and Aliens by Joan D. Vinge
Rating: two stars
I will start off by saying that I’ve never seen the movie before reading this book. Nor have I ever heard of it before stumbling upon the cover. Yes because to be honest it was the cover and the title that lead me to buy this book. I will not compare the book to the movie in this review (that will be hard to do since I’ve never seen the movie) but I will treat is as a book but bear in mind that everything that I say is for what I read and not the movie.
As I was just saying, it’s a novelization of a movie. Usually I tend to dislike novelization because they are not as good as the movie or they are badly written. Well, for this one I was partly wrong. The writing style is okay. I have nothing to really say on it except that it was perhaps a little dull during the descriptions.
It is the story of a man who wakes up wounded and without any memories. The only thing he has left is a metal manacle on his wrist. He ends up in a town where the local sheriff recognizes him as a wanted man. As he is thrown in prison, aliens attack the town and kidnap some of the townsfolks. Along with the town businessman, the man has to search for the aliens and his memory.
The plot was weak. By that I mean that it was cliché and easy. What I mean by that is that there was nothing new or spectacular. There was everything a stereotyped Western has (cowboys, Native Americans, gold, a sheriff, a romance) and mixed it up with cliché Sci-Fi plot elements (aliens looking like demons, spaceships, Earth’s conquest, and kidnappings). I will say the first forth of this book was really good but the rest was a succession of “I knew it would happen”.
The worst part is that I love the lead character’s storyline. I thought it would be very interesting to see him get back his memory and being accused of the worst crimes on Earth while trying to get back what he lost. He was why I gave two stars to this book and not one. But let’s be serious, his romance with an alien is RIDICULOUS! Seriously, he met her two days ago and suddenly he’s ready to die for her while having memories of his past lover? How is any of that logical on an emotional scale?
Talking about ridiculous, gold hunting aliens? Just no. Because of course, aliens would be drawn to Earth because of gold, like conquistadors invaded America…. Why does it always have to be gold? Where there are cowboys gold is never really far in literature and movies. It’s just boring to read something that has already been dealt with dozens of times before….
Talking about recurring subjects, Native Americans appear in this story a bit like the Doctor in London. You just know they are going to be here and not in their best suit. It would not matter if they were not there, they don’t bring anything new to the plot.
To be honest this book didn’t made me want to see the movie, on the contrary it just made me recoil from anything mixing cowboys and aliens. I think that they just don’t mix well because they both have so many clichés that together they make an abundance of it quite boring.