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The Aliens of Earth

A collection of stories by

1994 Locus Award for Best Collection (nominee)

Publisher's Weekly
Powerful human emotions and the relationship between the inner self and outer world are the central concerns in a deeply moving story collection by the author of Beggars in Spain . Whether the tale concerns slips through time (''The Price of Oranges,'' ''The Battle of Long Island,'' ''Wild for to Hold''), colonies for the diseased (''Inertia'') or a man receiving calls from a nonexistent house (''Phone Repairs''), the characters are real, their suffering is valid and realistic despite the fantasy context, and the author's insights ring true. The writing is smooth and fluid; the stark, black-and-white illustrations are simplistic but well chosen for mood and impact, adding an extra kick to an already affecting array of works.

BookList - Carl Hays
What consequences would befall an individual, or society as a whole, if science discovered that an occasional purge of our memories would keep us eternally young--as well as destroy our wisdom? Or if you could get rid of the unpleasant people in your life simply by willing them into a dollhouse? Or if cutting off a finger could prevent an accident and save countless lives? Propositions such as these and others equally discomfiting set the tone for Kress' sometimes brilliant and always absorbing second collection of short stories. Her deliberately skewed but skillfully rendered visions encompass a world on the brink of, or long since past, environmental and social collapse. In "Inertia," the quarantined victims of a disfiguring but nonfatal disease discover their affliction also keeps them sane and content, unlike those in the chaotic world outside. "And Wild for to Hold" masterfully alternates perspective between that of Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn, and that of a historian from a distant future to which pivotal historic figures like Boleyn are taken in order to prevent otherwise inevitable bloodshed. In every tale, Kress displays a characteristic penchant for subtle horror that is contained by her mature, original storytelling ability. Easily one of the year's best sf collections.

Kirkus Reviews
Eighteen tales, 1986-93, drawn from various magazines and original anthologies, by the author of the outstanding novels Brain Rose (1989) and Beggars in Spain (p. 190). Kress brings to her stories the same qualities that imbue her novels: a probing intelligence; compassion lit by insights; an agreeably complex approach; an assured, polished style. Thus her short, imaginative pieces both intrigue and satisfy while defying easy characterization: Soldiers from a Revolutionary War that occurred in another reality ("The Battle of Long Island") appear in our own time, and are observed by an Army nurse who may or may not be a victim of child abuse; an elderly man steps through the back of his closet into 1937, changing history for the better-but not in the way he intended; an alien-contact yarn develops into an illustration of the gulfs between individual humans no less than their alien counterparts. Also on the agenda: clairvoyant powers, genetic engineering, journeys to nowhere, miniaturization, games above an ecologically devastated Earth, and others ranging from outright horror to straight-up "inner space" science fiction. Simultaneously disquieting and memorable: stories of great scope, depth, and unobtrusive charm.

Genre: Science Fiction

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