I have been obsessed with First Contact stories lately.  I just purchased the Alien quadrilogy (yes, there were apparently 4) on Blu-Ray** just so I could watch it over ski week.  

Sadly, it’s now also a fitting way to remember Bill Paxton from Aliens (and more recently from his work on Season 1 of Agents of Shield.)

So when reading, watching or listening to First Contact stories, I am looking for two things:

1) what do the aliens look like and sound like;

2) how do humans respond to the aliens?

So most are humanoid, but not always.

Some communicate telepathically, some verbally, some not at all.

Today’s pick: Columbus Day: Expeditionary Force, Book 1 by Craig Alanson.

Setting: Present Day

Aliens:  Hamster/Rodent-like but also somewhat humanoid.  Can communicate with humans later in the novel (tech assisted speech).

Alien Castes/Species: Not one but three alien races introduced.  The race that attacks Earth, the race that kicks them out, and the superior race that loans the tech.

Encounter: Violent, Earth is a central location two alien races are fighting over.  Human response is to pick sides and train to combat the “enemy” alien species.

I purchased the Audible of this for $2.99 (I have Kindle Unlimited and an Audible account) and it was narrated by the wonderful R.C. Bray.  Really a fantastic listening experience.

This book was laugh out loud funny at times.  In the great tradition of Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, we follow our hero (after his hilarious confrontation with the warrior hamsters) through his space marine training offworld.  The opening hook is fantastic, where our young protagonist is home in his little rural town, and then the aliens crash land there.  He rallies with the locals and hatches a scheme to kidnap an alien.  Wildly improbable, humorous, and entertaining. The description of rural life and habits is charming and a nice contrast to how dramatically his life will change when he goes to offworld to another colony for space military training.

Rating: 5 Blasters

 

ART CREDITS: Amazing art “Close Encounters” by Richard Dorran.  His DeviantArt profile here.  

 

**(Btw, I know pretty much nothing about AV stuff so it was surprisingly challenging to navigate which version to purchase and know whether it would work on my US region Blu Ray player.  Ultimately, it did work, but apparently my Samsung player gave me an error message when I attempted to play Alien, until I stuck a USB key in the front slot.)