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Alien Contact Paperback – November 1, 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Marty Halpern, a 2001 World Fantasy Award Finalist, is the editor of Golden Gryphon Press, legendary in SF circles. He lives in San Jose.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books; 1St Edition edition (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597802816
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597802819
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,003,193 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Kindle Edition
It's always a lot to sort through a collection of shorts and give an appropriate rating. The twenty-six stories in this book yielded an average rating of 3.73 stars, which, when rounded, would give me an average of 4 stars. Here's the thing though. I rated eight stories at five stars. Such a high number of five star stories might move me up, but then there was one other detail. None of the stories struck me as a true gem among them all. A classic worthy of rereading time and again. As a result my four star final rating stuck. Without a lot of detail, here's a quick breakdown on the twenty-six stories.

"The Thought War by Paul McAuley - Interesting twist on zombies, a subject that has been done to death. 5 stars
How To Talk To Girls At Parties by Neil Gaiman - A real interesting premise of all kinds of different aliens visiting Earth to experience it and gathered at a house party. 4 stars
"Face Value by Karen Joy Fowler. An intriguing foray into first contact on an alien world where initial contact is kept to a minimum to limit cultural contamination. 5 stars
The Road Not Taken by Harry Turtledove. A frolicking fun invasion by aliens who have mastered space travel before anything else. 4 stars
The Aliens Who Knew, I Mean, Everything by George Alec Effinger. A healthy dose of comedy mixed into a peaceful invasion of Earth. 5 stars.
I Am The Doorway by Stephen King. A horror themed tale of an alien infestation in a man`s hands. Some incredulity for me. 3 stars
Recycling Strategies For The Inner City by Pat Murphy. It's amazing what you can find lying in the street. A cute story of just such an encounter. 5 stars
The 43 Antarean Dynasties by Mike Resnick. A tale poking fun at tourists. At times, boring. Not a lot to the tale.
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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a collection of first-contact science fiction short stories, referring to humanity's first contact with an extra-terrestrial civilization. Some zonkers here but overall a lot of good stories, and some top authors are included. Well worth the price.

Who can get enough first-contact stories? Not me. I'm not a gushy reviewer and rarely give five stars, but this is a 5-star collection. If you are into this genre, you have to have this story collection.
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