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The UFO Files Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 1998
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"Ordinary Aliens"--They came from another galaxy to tell us how to pray! A mirthful romp with a potent punchline!
"Emma Baxter's Boy"--Whatchoo got in that there basement? Lemme take a looky-see..OH MY GOD IT'S A HUNGRY CRITTER..*CRUNCH*...Not much room to roam for a topic that's been addressed previously, but also not a bad story!
"Amid the Walking Wounded"--A man with a massive nosebleed. What is the correllation between the endless flow of crimson from the nasal cavity and the odd dark shapes that lurk in his peripheral vision?? Tightly told and avoids a clearly-defined explanation so the reader can draw his/her conclusions with a smirk!
"Daddy Dearest"--This is the queer cat of the collection because the plot involves a deceased daddy's ashes conversatin' like he was still amongst the living, tormenting his offspring, resulting in the rolls of the eyes and the exhausted sighs...but where do the aliens go? This story isn't parallel to anything else in the book but who cares? It's funny!
The aforementioned tales are the elite; the remainder are all noteworthy. The reason for a 4-star rating rather than a 5-star rating is that the book isn't sufficiently malevolent. I mean to state that not all aliens that wander into rural Idaho or downtown Chicago or the Hot Topic in the Mall of America are saying "Oops, I dropped something" or "Just looking, thanks, no intent to buy..or swipe...or kidnap. Got a food court?"
I do have some favorites in this collection. Unlike Twilight Zone punchline stories – “To Serve Mankind! It’s a cookbook!” – most of these have a twist on the twist. A middle-aged man takes his devoted wife to meet the aliens who abducted him only to discover he wasn’t abducted and he’s not him. When a hungry spaceship arrives on Earth, the little green men beckoning from the open doorway are like those fish that dangle worm-shaped organs to snare prey.
We’re given several explanations of what the abductions are really about (besides filling a flying saucer’s stomach). Many of the tales make you wonder who is the alien and who is more frightened by our first contact, us or THEM? This book contains all great stories by some well-known authors such as Gregory Benford and Alan Dean Foster. I won’t be including a paragraph of which stories to skip in this review. As I said, they’re short, clever, and thought-provoking.
The one about the mild-mannered history teacher who can detect “aliens” by their dead eyes may be a chilling tale about a psychopath or the world’s savior. Probably my favorite is the one where the wounded alien woman comes into a Casablanca-themed Rick’s Bar. She’s saved by a young man who knows all the lines (from the movie). Clever. I also laughed at the berserker alien race whose first encounter with Earthlings is a jolly fat man in a red suit.
Grays, BEMs, ETs, shape-shifters, and gobs of galactic ooze inhabit this story. You’ve been warned.
I never liked the cheerleader anyway.