Alien Contact

Edited by Marty Halpern

Authors by Order of Appearance: Paul McAuley, Neil Gaiman, Karen Joy Fowler, Harry Turtledove, George Alec Effinger, Stephen King, Pat Murphey, Mike Resnick, Orson Scott Card, Bruce McAllister, Ernest Hogan, Pat Cadigan, Ursula K. LeGuin, Adam-Troy Castro, Michael Swanstck, Mark W. Tiedemann, Cory Doctorow, Elizabeth Moon, Nancy Kress, Jack Skillingstead, Robert Silverberg, Jeffrey Ford, Molly Gloss, Bruce Sterling, Charles Stross, & Stephen Baxter

Twenty-six fantastic stories about alien contact are stuffed into this anthology. From humor to romance to suspense each author finds their own world with aliens. Not only are all of the stories completely different, but all of them are worth multiple reads, and say something about the human condition. What I really enjoyed about this anthology, was that all of the stories are fairly recent. Especially with science fiction, I simply didn’t have much exposure to anything written by talented living authors. On a cute note, each story ends with a tiny alien head. All in all, this collection really blew me away and is my new favorite anthology. Simply put: awesome content, awesome authors, lots of awesomeness.

I would highly recommend this to anyone.

Nibble from Effinger’s story: “To hear a nup talk, he had a direct line to some categorical imperative that spelled everything out in terms that were unflinchingly black and white. Hollyhocks were the best flower.”

My Rating: 10 out of 10 glowing green apples

I received a free paper copy of this book from the First Reads program via Goodreads.


Good Omens

By Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

As a light humorous read, Good Omens was fantastic. All of the characters, minus the rag-tag group of 11 year olds, were interesting to read about and developed the plot nicely. The book itself really only takes five days, which is retrospectively surprising for how much happens. The book also has some interesting theological ideas attached to it, although nothing terribly original. Watching Aziraphale, an angel, being not so angelic, and Crowley, a demon, being almost a nice guy, and the two interacting with each other is rather interesting. These two characters certainly made the book for me, although having the anti-christ named Adam was lovely as well. The footnotes are also rather amusing, and add another dimension to the book. The only major downside of this novel was the ending. It ties up a little too neatly and easily, and just isn’t as great as the rest of the novel.

Terry Pratchett is on my to-read list currently as I haven’t read anything just by him. Gaiman on the other hand, I’m rather well acquainted with. I felt that his individual works, like Anansi Boys or the Sandman series, developed protagonists much more fully. As amusing as the Good Omens characters are, they still feel very two dimensional.

Overall I would recommend it as an introduction to either of the authors, or as a fun read on a dark and stormy night.

My Rating: 8 out of 10 shiny red apples