cover image The Intergalactic Interloper

The Intergalactic Interloper

Delas Heras. Double Six, $2.99 e-book (216p) ASIN B08CDFZZBB

Alien first contact gets the Michel Gondry treatment in Heras’s whimsical slice-of-life debut. In 1995, a spaceship lands in New York City’s East Village aiming to contact Earth’s most promising intelligent life-forms: house cats. But when bookstore clerk Ollie’s cat, Pirate, is kidnapped from his broken-down apartment and worried Ollie spots AxzleProva, the ship’s two-headed, dual-gendered, tortoise-like pilot, fleeing the scene, the aliens’ mission goes off the rails. Ollie is determined to rescue Pirate, but it will take a string of counterabductions, a Santa Muerte ritual, and help from Ollie’s British veterinary student bandmate, a shy Latino building superintendent, and an astrophysicist’s actress daughter to get her back and salvage AxzleProva’s diplomatic mission. Heras charms with simple prose and a wry-but-earnest fondness for working-class New York, but fumbles in writing the internal lives of his female characters, who are disproportionately one dimensional among the expansive cast. Quirky clip art–style illustrations add little to the text, but the story’s deeply personal stakes and warmhearted atmosphere go a long way to make up for the shortcomings. There’s plenty to love in this light, offbeat take on a favorite sci-fi trope. (Self-published)