WHAT’S THIS SITE ABOUT?
Quite simply: the commercial towing vehicle, Nostromo, as seen in Ridley Scott’s 1979 science fiction horror film, ALIEN.
Back in the late 1990s, The Nostromo Files website was created as a tribute to the film, and specifically, the primary location of most of the film’s events: the commercial towing vehicle USCSS Nostromo.
Of course, it’s not a real vessel, but there are enough touches of reality to the set designs and miniatures to suggest something that might exist in the deepest reaches of space, plying its course with mechanical doggedness.
Enough to capture my imagination for the past 40 years.
The Internet of the late 1990s hosted many terrific sites featuring the horrific alien creature itself, but there were none devoted to the Nostromo.
Finding none…I created one.
The Nostromo Files was originally hosted by the long-defunct Yahoo! Geocities, a flexible website platform allowing the user to create text pages and image galleries. I pulled together all I had collected into a site for fans of science fiction and film production, for model-builders, and for those who enjoyed blueprinting their favorite fictional spacecraft. Citations of source material were important to respect intellectual property rights, to encourage others to financially support the creative talents behind it all, and to help other fans build their own collections.
In addition to the behind-the-scenes production information, the site also approached the fictional vessel as if it were an actual creation functioning within its established universe.
The Nostromo is a character in itself. Its claustrophobic, well-worn interior lends credibility to the film setting, thanks to a talented team of artists, designers, model builders, set decorators, and tradesmen. Viewers of the film are able to readily believe this ship is home to the equally well-worn crew that inhabit it. And when the boogey-man gets loose inside your home, the horror becomes all the more real.
MID-COURSE CHANGES; THEN…
Soon after the turn of the century, the site changed hosts and moved to Sweden.
Over the few years it existed, The Nostromo Files became what I envisioned. Using info about the ship, its design principles, its backstory and its creation as background material, I wrote detailed analyses with specific questions I had about what was shown and imagined on the screen. I was finally able to draw up a set of deck plans when I got my hands on the Halcyon Nostromo kit, a fantastically detailed vinyl and plastic kit produced in the 1990s.
When the Swedish hosting ended, The Nostromo Files passed out of my hands and would have ended altogether except for sites like TheAliensLegacy.org that hosted an archived copy from 2005 to 2012. After that, oblivion.
AND THEN ONE DAY…
On April 28, 2016, The Nostromo Files site was re-started at its new portal on WordPress.com. It includes a blog page.
Since The Nostromo Files‘s original run, 20th Century Fox has recognized its fan market and released more officially-sanctioned Alien products than ever imagined. The exhaustive (and hidden!) special features on the video releases reveal the employment of folks who know what content Alien fans are interested in.
The Nostromo Files is still limited in content to the ship itself. There are many others, besides the official site, covering the films in a grander style. I’m not competing with them.
The following official material was originally used as inspiration in the design of this site, and remains its guiding stars:
- Alien, Dir. Ridley Scott. 20th Century Fox, 1979. Film.
- Alien: The Alien Legacy set, Dir. Ridley Scott. 20th Century Fox, 1979. Film and DVD extras (1999).
- The Book of Alien. Paul Scanlon and Michael Gross; ed. Charles Lippincott. 1979.
- The Aliens Technical Manual, Lee Brimmicombe-Wood, Harper Paperbacks, 1996.
- Alien, novelization by Alan Dean Foster, Warner Books, 1979.
Other reference material is cited on the web pages.
When I wrote the original “Apologia” page in December 1999 (an outline of the site’s guiding principles), there was little response from the Network. But in the past few years as I have involved myself with Alien media sites, I have been amazed at the model builders, science fiction technical fans, movie buffs and others who remember the original The Nostromo Files site. It is humbling to know that the site exceeded its goals.
My low-tech approach to this site is a conscious choice, in its way a tribute to the tech available at the time Alien was created, and to those whose vision and creativity were able to reach beyond those limitations to create an enduring work of art and entertainment.
To navigate the site, use the Overmonitoring Address Matrix (OAM). Once you get into the pages, you will notice the “breadcrumb trail” at the top of each page. It is a type of secondary navigation scheme that reveals your location in the website.
If you would like to hear me ramble about myself and this site’s beginnings, visit the Perfect Organism Podcast website by clicking the image below:
Alien ©1979 is the property of 20th Century Fox Film Corporation.
The Nostromo Files is in no way affiliated with, or sanctioned by 20th Century Fox, its subsidiary companies, or any other entities in association with the motion picture Alien.