cover image Not One of Us: Stories of Aliens on Earth

Not One of Us: Stories of Aliens on Earth

Edited by Neil Clarke. Night Shade, $17.99 trade paper (608p) ISBN 978-1-59780-957-3

Collecting 21 stories from the last two decades, this hefty and fascinating theme anthology focuses on one of SF’s major issues: If aliens aren’t just bug-eyed monsters with no more than rape and plunder on their minds, what else—who else—could they be? And, for that matter, what do we mean by us? Readers should savor the stories a few at a time to get the most out of Clarke’s superior selections, all of which are distinctive attempts to grapple with those questions. The short stories frequently make good use of their length to shift perspectives abruptly, putting readers not just in the presence but inside the skins of aliens who might be conquerors, teachers, betrayers, or lovers—or some all-too-human combination. They also aren’t afraid to tackle contemporary political hot topics such as immigration, citizenship, and belonging. Outstanding works by Nancy Kress (“Laws of Survival”), Judith Berman (“The Fear Gun”), and Ted Chiang (“Story of Your Life”) are highlights, but there are no inferior pieces here. This is a fine, thoughtful book. (Nov.)