Category Archives: Alien

Review: The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

The Kaiju Preservation Society is ridiculously fun. It’s easy to imagine author John Scalzi grinning like a maniac as he was writing this. It’s short, breezy, interesting, and hilarious.

A miserable young man is stuck schlepping around New York City, working for food delivery apps, so when he’s given the opportunity to work for an “animal rights organization” he jumps at the chance, despite the number of strange hoops he must jump through.

There are kaiju (godzilla-sized monsters), and of course, things end up going very wrong.

Recommendation: Read it! Read it now! There’s a lot of heavy stuff out there, and it’s nice to have a relaxing palate cleanser like this book.

Review: Drunk on All Your Strange New Words by Eddie Robson

I’m a big fan of humorous, character-driven books about alien languages (we all have our kinks) and Drunk on All Your Strange New Words checks all the boxes. It’s even an intriguing murder mystery, which gives it extra points.

A young woman is specially trained to communicate telepathically with an alien species that has been on Earth long enough to have their own embassy. The trick to this communication is that it makes the human involved essentially drunk, and after a while, they can’t focus on anything because they’re too busy singing or spinning in their chairs or something.

The protagonist is pretty good at her job, not especially concerned with the rules, and when a dead body hits the floor, is in completely over her head while being thrown into the stew of interstellar politics.

Oddly, I recently reviewed another book with a spunky female protagonist who’s in a unique situation that allows her to privately listen to aliens: Axiom’s End. That’s more of a First Contact adventure (and recommended).

Recommendation: Read it. It’s engaging and fun.

Review: Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor

A giant spaceship lands in the waters offshore of Lagos, the most populous city in Nigeria, and things get out of control immediately. Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor is more about the writhing, hustling world of Nigeria, and the arrival of aliens is a great way to see that in action. It’s very well-written, fast-paced, fascinating, and intense. It does not, however, make me want to visit Lagos.

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Review: Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward

Dragon’s Egg is a fun, clever look at life evolving on the surface of a neutron star, where one hour of human time is the equivalent of hundreds of years on the alien star.

While the extreme physics of the story may be accurate, Dragon’s Egg contains some of the most stilted dialogue I’ve come across in a long time, especially in the beginning. I found myself thinking that author Robert L. Forward must have talked to a human woman at some point in his life, but if so, that knowledge did not find its way to his book.

However, this is not a story you read for its character development. Dragon’s Egg is all about examining an alien race evolving on a sphere with a gravity of 67 billion Gs, and living at a million times the speed of humans. The story is most believable when it’s dealing with aliens, and it’s still a fun ride.

Recommendation: Get it at the library. Power through the first chapter and you’ll be fine.

Review: Strata by Terry Pratchett

Fantasy author Terry Pratchett is famous for his Discworld series, comprised of over forty books taking place on a round, flat world perched on the back of four giant elephants who stand on the shell of a enormous space-faring sea turtle.

But before fantasy-trope-skewering Discworld, Pratchett wrote Strata, a science fiction book that explored the idea of how a flat, round world would actually work. Many of the ideas in Strata appear in the Discworld books.

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