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Alien Contact Paperback – November 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597802816
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597802819
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,171,036 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Author of CORTEZ ON JUPITER, HIGH AZTECH, SMOKING MIRROR BLUES, "The Frankenstein Penis," and other acts of creative outrage.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Friesel Jr. on June 25, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Marty Halpern presents us with an anthology of science fiction short stories predicated on (what else?) *alien first contact*. I was looking for an anthology like this. In my desperation for such a thing, I decided to start a rumor that John Joseph Adams (currently my favorite anthologist) was going to create such an anthology. And to this, JJA replied via Twitter that Halpern had already done this. So I immediately rushed out and bought it.

Overall? I liked it very much; many stories I loved, and a few I could do without. That said, composite rating of all short stories: an even *3.5*

Individual story reviews:

» "The Thought War" by Paul McAuley : Doesn't align well with *my* idea of what a "first contact" story is, but it fits with a modified view of that trope within the genre. It has a few moments, and the style works pretty well. 3.5 of 5

» "How to Talk to Girls at Parties" by Neil Gaiman : Another one that doesn't align with my idea of a "first contact" story, but is a great story just the same. Though Gaiman gives us what is more like an extended metaphor for our relationships with the opposite sex [1] than with an alternate species. Quaint and sentimental and not *overly* cloying. 4 of 5

» "Face Value" by Karen Joy Fowler : This is more like what I was looking for in a first contact story, albeit another one that uses inter-sex and/or romantic friction as the anvil for the theme's hammer blows. That said: this is a wonderfully crafted tale. 5 of 5

» "The Road Not Taken" by Harry Turtledove : A quirky take on the first contact theme; I enjoyed some of the inversions, not to mention the way he explored the non-linear nature of technological development (as alluded to in the title).
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Matthew T. Carpenter on December 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
My copy has not yet arrived but I am posting this table of contents for potential buyers. I wish Amazon would do this for all collections and anthologies. Pretty impressive list of authors. I will amend this review after I've read the book.

Marty Halpern -- "Introduction: Beginnings..."
Paul McAuley -- "The Thought War"
Neil Gaiman -- "How to Talk to Girls at Parties"
Karen Joy Fowler -- "Face Value"
Harry Turtledove -- "The Road Not Taken"
George Alec Effinger -- "The Aliens Who Knew, I Mean, Everything"
Stephen King -- "I Am the Doorway"
Pat Murphy -- "Recycling Strategies for the Inner City"
Mike Resnick -- "The 43 Antarean Dynasties"
Orson Scott Card -- "The Gold Bug"
Bruce McAllister -- "Kin"
Ernest Hogan -- "Guerrilla Mural of a Siren's Song"
Pat Cadigan -- "Angel"
Ursula K. Le Guin -- "The First Contact with the Gorgonids"
Adam-Troy Castro -- "Sunday Night Yams at Minnie and Earl's"
Michael Swanwick -- "A Midwinter's Tale"
Mark W. Tiedemann -- "Texture of Other Ways"
Cory Doctorow -- "To Go Boldly"-
Elizabeth Moon -- "If Nudity Offends You"
Nancy Kress -- "Laws of Survival"
Jack Skillingstead -- "What You Are About to See"
Robert Silverberg -- "Amanda and the Alien"
Jeffrey Ford -- "Exo-Skeleton Town"
Molly Gloss -- "Lambing Season"
Bruce Sterling -- "Swarm"
Charles Stross -- "MAXO Signals"
Stephen Baxter -- "Last Contact"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By W Boudville HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
The editor came up with the nifty idea of bringing together First Contact short stories from the last 30 years. Tales too young to be the classics, and perhaps have fallen through the cracks of going out of print. Typically, most of the stories in this book came out in various scifi magazines of limited circulations.

Of these, I was pleased to see that the editor saw fit to include Turtledove's "Road Less Taken".

[Warning: Plot spoilers!!!]

We all know of the conventional storylines where a civilisation, human or otherwise, achieves a high level of ground based technology, before making spaceships. But Turtledove posited something quite novel. What if an alien civilisation was at the level of the Conquistadors, with the corresponding rapacious ethics. And they stumbled upon a hyperdrive that was possible with that technology. That is the premise; the deux ex machina. Turtledove laid out that this would totally short circuit any scientific development. No computers; no germ theory; no weapons beyond the blunderbuss and the like. The aliens then go conquering. Until they come to 21st century Earth. Landing at UCLA. They kill the human diplomats who go to greet them, and are then taken down by US soldiers. Humans decipher the hyperdrive. The story ends here. But was the launching pad for a series of his stories that alas did not make it into an entire book. The sheer audacity of the plot shows Turtledove at his best. He truly found a mindbender.

The other stories in Alien Contact are certainly good, but none as memorable as this.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
These are entertaining and surprising, usually ending in unexpected situations. Love the ironies and styles. I am taking it slowly so i can enjoy the stories fully. I have read 5 of them and have not been diisappointed.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was terrible! Truly and completely a waste of time and money for everyone involved. From the readers who suffered through it to the publishers who put it in print. I would venture to say that the guy who pitched the idea and selected the stories is rich because he could probably sell refrigerators to Eskimos. This is a collection of the worst writing of the genre. There were a couple of stories (only two) that were worth the read but the rest were so bad, the good stories were overshadowed. One was of a boy and an assassin and the other was of an invading alien armada who still used oil lamps and flintlock rifles (?) and mistakenly invaded Earth, thinking mankind inferior because of lack of space travel.

There is so much better sci-fi out there...come to think of it, anything is better than this, so please look elsewhere for a better read.

My apologies for not remembering the titles of the stories I thought were well done. Overall the book was so bad I don't even want to look through the Kindle to find them.
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