Thomas A. Easton, Author . Wildside $32.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-58715-700-4

Set in a near-future America where outer-space aliens are just another fact of life, Easton's (Alien Resonance) latest SF novel wanders uneasily between satire and seriousness. Several decades earlier, six starships, each bearing a different alien race, showed up in the skies of Earth. In the years since, the aliens have basically played tourist, buying our technology and consumer goods, auditing university classes, but giving humanity little in return. Anthropologist Gabriel Croxford has never had anything to do with the visitors from outer space, so he's somewhat taken aback when two different aliens offer him large grants to pursue seemingly innocuous research projects. He's even more upset when the alien whose offer he's turned down apparently firebombs his office and then kidnaps his teaching assistant. To make matters worse, Croxford's wife, who has been delving into repressed memories of early childhood sexual abuse, suddenly decides that she's been raped by aliens. Then, when Croxford asks for evidence, she demands a divorce. Badgering by both traditional flying saucer fanatics and, worst of all, tabloid journalists, is the last straw for our hero. Though Easton's variation on the traditional "aliens among us" theme shows some originality, a rather ruminative and detached protagonist, flat secondary characters and less-than-compelling aliens don't make for much excitement. The abrupt ending leaves little decided or explained. (Sept.)

FYI:Easton is probably best known for his long-running book column in Analog.

Reviewed on: 08/26/2002
Release date: 09/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
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