cover image Alien Archives

Alien Archives

Robert Silverberg. Three Rooms, $16 trade paper (404p) ISBN 978-1-941110-80-5

Reaching back to the beginning of his career, SFWA Grand Master Silverberg collects 18 stories featuring alien encounters, some fond and some fearful. From the light humor of a flight attendant dealing with a group of aliens and their complaints (“En Route to Earth”) to the psychodrama of an abused child using his anger with his father to strike a blow against the entities who rule a conquered Earth (“Beauty in the Night”), Silverberg delves into the human heart as revealed by alien eyes. The discoveries are sometimes left to the reader, as when a biologist of Native American ancestry struggles to decide whether his mission is to study or to exterminate a herd of alien grazers (“Sundance”). Perhaps most revealing for longtime fans are the forewords that detail Silverberg’s dealings (courteous and/or contentious) with other famous SF writers and editors such as Harlan Ellison and Frederik Pohl, along with glimpses of the era when stories were commissioned for previously purchased magazine cover illustrations. Silverberg fans and readers interested in the history of SF will find this worthwhile. (Nov.)