Aliens Among Us edited by Gardner Dozois and Jack Dann
This is another of the themed SF anthologies compiled by Dann and Dozois in recent years. As with the others, unless you have been an avid SF short story readaholic for the last four of five decades, you will certainly find a large number of new and interesting stories here.
The book opens with a powerful and timeless story "The Other Celia" by SF master Theodore Sturgeon, in which the occupier of a cheap hotel room discovers that the resident in the room below his is in fact an alien. That of course sets the scene for the rest of the book in which the world seems to be overwhelmed by non humans disguised as people.
While it is not great, that is a good story and the collection includes a number of similarly enjoyable tales. Ray Nelson's "Eight o'clock in the morning tells of a lizard like race that has come to dominate and eat humans through the power of hypnosis. I also enjoyed the stories from Philip K.Dick, Robert Reed, Michael Shea and Avram Davidson as well as the collaboration between Paul J.McAuley and Kim Newman.
All in all, there are nine very readable stories in here and they are easily worth the price of the book. What is a little frustrating is that there are also six stories which are not really up to scratch. I'd have enjoyed this collection rather more if it had not included stories such as R.A.Lafferty's "Among the Hairy Earthmen" which is little more than an undeveloped idea and a number of dates from a history book.
I'd have rated this book higher if the editors had left out the padding and higher still if they had filled out their allocation of pages with material as good as the books highlights.
You can buy this book from
Six out of ten.
Too much filler
Sturgeon, Theodore: "The Other Celia"
A superb story in which the narrator, a perpetual but largely harmless snoop, discovers that one of his neighbours possesses a spare skin and she changes it each night. Just to see, he steals the spare but without her second skin, she cannot survive and it is too late for him to return it to her. 8/10
McAuley, Paul J. & Newman, Kim: "Residuals"
Nelson, Ray: "Eight o'clock in the Morning"
Dick, Philip K. "Expendable"
Silverberg, Robert: "The Reality Trip"
Reed, Robert: "Decency"
Kornbluth, C.M.: "The Mindworm"
Fintushel, Eliot: "Popeye and Pops Watch the Evening World Report"
Shea, Michael: "The Autopsy"
Davidson, Avram: "Or All the Seas with Oysters"
Cadigan, Pat: "Angel"
Lafferty, R.A.: "Among the Hairy Earthmen"
Tiptree, James Jr. "I'm Too Big But I Love to Play"
Wolfe, Gene: "The Hero as Werwolf"
Duchamp, L.Timmel: "Motherhood, Etc."