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All Seated on the Ground Hardcover – November 26, 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Subterranean; First Edition edition (November 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596061618
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596061613
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #541,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Connie Willis is an established author of many science fiction books, including THE DOOMSDAY BOOK, and winner of both the Nebula Award and the Hugo Award for best sf novel.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By R. T. Walker on December 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
When Connie Willis writes humour, you'd best sit somewhere alone to read. You won't be able to explain, otherwise, why you're laughing out loud after only a couple of pages at her description of Meg's Aunt Judith (not just hers; don't we all have one?) whose dour frowning eyes, scowling lip and stony countenance make Meg tremble even more than the aliens whose rigid, condemning countenances are so similar. Well yes, by the way, the aliens have landed but they refuse to say why, where from, or anything else for that matter - they just sort of, well... Glare (much like Aunt Judith).

Willis' plot of the aliens who refuse to communicate is so preposterous (and so refreshingly novel) that it rings true. Like all good mystery writers (and make no mistake, this is a mystery novella despite its SF trappings), she provides the real solution very early in the piece and then lays several trails of red herrings, each of which the reader will follow to its inevitable dead end. Superb duplicity! Along the way is some of the best comic writing of the year: why would aliens abduct female humans for sexual experimentation? Given their reported appearance, why wouldn't they be more attracted to, say, warthogs, ferrets or aloe verae? Not just a funny question, but a good one; I'm going to set up a trip wire near my watermelon tonight.

Typical of Willis, minor characters grab centre stage occasionally and treat us to perfect cameos: Belinda and her classmates who are consumed with knowing if their teacher has fallen in love with Meg rather than why the aliens are acting so strangely at the Mall (yes, I kid you not); or Dr. Wakamura (with a doctorate in perfumology) who insists on spraying the aliens with essence of pizza to initiate communictation.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By J. Fuchs VINE VOICE on February 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Connie Willis is one of my favorite writers and I've been a little bit disappointed lately that she seems to be repeating herself. Here, however, she's taken many of the best elements from past short stories and combined them into something fresh and wonderful.

It's nearly Christmas and the aliens have landed. Far from being a menace, however, or bringing greetings from another planet, the aliens are just standing there and scowling, with a look of "utter, withering disapproval," much like Meg's Aunt Judith, as a group of researchers from scientists to linguists to clergymen, politicians and an aroma expert try, unsuccessfully, to communicate with the aliens. The only thing that seems to get through to the Altairans, as the authorities in Denver, where the aliens have landed, have named them, is certain music, especially Christmas carols. Journalist Meg and seventh grade girls choir teacher, Mr. Ledbetter, believe they have nearly figured out a way to communicate with the aliens, if they can just work out the details before the alien ship takes off or the aliens kill everyone on earth.

This slight volume (less than 126 pages in easy to read print) flies by with laugh out loud funny moments, Christmas cheer, current pop culture references and lots and lots of music. While this should really be part of a Connie Willis short story collection (why, in fact, it wasn't included as part of Willis's recent collection "The Winds of Marble Arch" isn't entirely clear to me), it's nevertheless a fun little reward for loyal Connie Willis fans, as it blends her love of Christmas stories, aliens, romantic comedy, and screwball comedy with the wonderful sense of tolerance she brings to her work.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Esther Schindler TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Connie Willis is one of the funniest authors around, in the SF genre or any other. She always manages to identify human frailties and make us laugh at them, but she is never, never mean. As a result, I'd pick up ANY story she wrote. Heck, I'd read her grocery list.

She also has the gift -- or curse -- of writing great stories that are relatively short. While she's written a few long books (such as Passage and Doomsday Book), she can tell a wonderful short tale, either as short stories or here, as a novella. (I've lost count of the number of times I've given away copies of her Bellwether, which is also low in the page-count department.) Short fiction is great to read (at least, if you have something else to do with your life), but it makes the pages-per-dollar ratio for a book like this a bit dear.

But I _do_ think you should read this one, even if you have to head to the library to make it affordable until a paperback version comes out or this is repackaged into a larger collection. (That's what I did.) Because it is a wonderful example of Willis' writing: the sweet satire, the love story that's obvious to everyone except the protagonist, the appreciation and love of human absurdity. And Christmas. Connie Willis loves Christmas, and she makes even bah-humbug folks like myself appreciate why. (She has a collection of Christmas short stories, and this one would fit right in.
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