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Alien Contact

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  219 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Are we alone? From War of the Worlds to Invasion of the Body Snatchers, ET to Close Encounters, creators of science fiction have always eagerly speculated on just how the story of alien contact would play out. Editor Marty Halpern has gathered together some of the best stories of the last 30 years, by today's most exciting genre writers, weaving a tapestry that covers a br ...more
ebook, 485 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Night Shade Books
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Jan 22, 2012 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rob by: John Joseph Adams
Marty Halpern presents us with an anthology of science fiction short stories predicated on (what else?) alien first contact. I was looking for an anthology like this. In my desperation for such a thing, I decided to start a rumor that John Joseph Adams (currently my favorite anthologist) was going to create such an anthology. And to this, JJA replied that Halpern had already done this. So I immediately rushed out and bought it.

Overall? I liked it very much; many stories I loved, and a few I coul
I'm not normally much for short story collections, but something about this book just spoke to me, so I couldn't resist taking the chance to read it, especially after seeing such a stellar (if you'll encuse the pun) list of contributing authors. Neil Gaiman, Ursula K LeGuin, Stephen King, and yet more. There's all kinds of talent evident in this collection, and I'll say right off the bat that this is a book that no sci-fi fan should really be without.

The stories contained within the book's pages
Dec 09, 2011 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An anthology is a bit like a buffet. You’ll find dishes you’re familiar with, those you usually avoid and lurking in between, the dodgy, odd looking stuff you’re not willing to try, but do anyway and either discover a new favourite or spend the rest of the night nursing a rebellious tummy.

With its impressive list of authors, ‘Alien Contact’ looked very appetising. Odd stuff would lurk in the corners, no doubt, but the appeal of such well-known names as Stephen Baxter, Orson Scott Card, Cory Doc
Oct 15, 2016 G.G. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paperback-owned
This is a hard book to review. While some stories are good, it takes me forever to push myself to start a new story after I finished each one. I haven't finished this book. If I ever continue I will update my review but as of now, I just can't get into it anymore.


The Thought War by Paul McAuley: Interesting concept about zombies and invasion yet, maybe if the story had been longer I would have appreciated it more. As is, even though it was short, it felt long with parts that I felt like
A nice mix of stories.
3.5 stars
Michael Drakich
Oct 04, 2014 Michael Drakich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's always a lot to sort through a collection of shorts and give an appropriate rating. The twenty-six stories in this book yielded an average rating of 3.73 stars, which, when rounded, would give me an average of 4 stars. Here's the thing though. I rated eight stories at five stars. Such a high number of five star stories might move me up, but then there was one other detail. None of the stories struck me as a true gem among them all. A classic worthy of rereading time and again. As a result m ...more
Reading “Alien Contact, ” the 2011 anthology of short stories, edited by Marty Halpern, I was hoping to find among its 26 stories a few with plausible plots that confront head-on the immense problems first contact by humans with alien species would engender. The writers in these 469 pages range from the well-known such as Stephen King, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Robert Silverberg to the lesser-known.
I passed over the BEM (bug-eyed monster) stories and the stories in which everyone (amazingly and c
Oct 01, 2015 Peter rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A collection of stories centering on, surprisingly enough, Alien Contact.

The usual mixed bag, although I will say I was somewhat disappointed on the whole. I was hoping to read interesting first contact tales, and there were a few of those, but also a few where aliens had been known about for some time and maybe it was one individual person's contact with aliens, but they were commonplace to the society as a whole. And, frankly, most of the aliens weren't especially inventive or, well... alien.
Jun 29, 2012 Shane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Thought War - Paul McAuley 4/5
How to Talk to Girls at Parties 4/5
Face Value - Karen Joy Fowler 2/5
The Road Not Taken - Harry Turtledove 5/5
The Aliens Who Knew, I Mean, Everything 4/5
I Am the Doorway - Stephen King 3/5
Recycling Strategies for the Inner City - Pat Murphy 3/5
The 43 Antarean Dynasties - Mike Resnick 5/5
The Gold Bug - Orson Scott Card 5/5
Kin - Bruce McAllister 5/5
Guerrilla Mural of a Sirens Song 1/5
Angel - Pat Cadigan 4/5
The First Contact with the Gorgonids - Ursula K LE Guin 3/5
Feb 03, 2013 Miranda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection would probably put some readers off just with its title. Though I am a sci-fi fan, I'm sometimes put off by abduction stories and such, myself. However, the list of authors who contributed to Alien Contact includes Ursula Le Guin, Stephen King, Karen Joy Fowler, Orson Scott Card, Cory Doctorow, Neil Gaiman, and Nancy Kress, so I had to check it out. I'm glad that I did.
Though Stephen King's "I Am the Doorway" was a disappointing 'meh,' there were plenty of gems to make up for it
Sep 21, 2015 Danni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, science-fiction
An eclectic, varied mix of short fiction featuring humans meeting aliens (and aliens meeting humans). Some are first contact, but not all, and this collection introduces aliens of all different types, from kind to greedy to bloodthirsty. I found all of the stories enthralling, from both well-known writers and authors I have never heard of. Some stories are more hard sci-fi with advanced technology and space travel, while others are gentler fantasy with unknown creatures.

I highly enjoyed this co
Jan 09, 2012 Robyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A couple of stories in this anthology were home runs - I couldn't believe they were over so soon. I really wanted more. Others were eye rollers, but I finished them anyway. One was so bad I didn't finish it, which is really saying something about a story that couldn't have been 20 pages long. Most fell in between along a spectrum of awesome and not awesome. I'm glad I found this book though, because it introduced me to a couple of new authors I'll be looking for again (I don't have the book with ...more
There were a few good stories here. What put me off was I bought the e-book and since it had no contents links I was unable to peruse story titles or jump between them as I like do with short story collections. So, when I hit a story half way in that I wasn't fussed on, it became a right pain flicking forward through virtual pages hunting for the next story. The result was that I became annoyed, closed the book and haven't been inclined to open it since.
David V.
Dec 30, 2011 David V. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Editor is my cousin whom I haven't seen in many years since he and his family moved to California when we were kids.
Really enjoyed this book, and not just because of the familial relationship. I'd never read any of these stories before. Even if you're not a science fiction fan, you'll like this because it tells more about us than "them." Some are funny and make you laugh out loud, some are sad, others just make you go "hmmmm."
Yuki Shimmyo
Authors: Paul McAuley, Ernest Hogan, Pat Cadigan, URSULA K. Le GUIN, Adam-Troy Castro, Michael Swanwick, Mark W. Tiedemann, Cory Doctorow, Elizabeth Moon, Nancy Kress, Jack Skillingstead, NEIL GAIMAN, Robert Silverberg, Jeffrey Ford, Molly Gloss, Bruce Sterling, Charles Stross, Stephen Baxter, Karen Joy Fowler, Harry Turtledove, George Alec Effinger, Stephen King, Pat Murphy, Orson Scott Card, Bruce McAllister
Jan 17, 2016 Beverly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthology
I really enjoyed this book of short stories about aliens and our contact with them. There was only one out of the entire book that I didn't like at all and it was only 4 or 5 pages long so it was just a blip!! I was surprised that the one story by Stephen King was one that I'd never read and Orson Scott Card's short story included Ender Wiggins. If you enjoy science fiction and short stories, this is a great read.
Nov 13, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Very good compilation of sci fi short stories all with a theme of alien contact. One of the things I love about reading a compilation is being exposed to authors I've never read before. For this one I of course jumped right in to read my favorites-Gaiman, LeGuin, Fowler, Turtledove, King, Scott Card and Sterling, but the big surprise for me was discovering Bruce McAllister and his story "Kin". Will absolutely read more by him.
Aug 07, 2016 Larry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A terrific collection of sci fi dealing with some type of alien contact. Not all of the stories in this wonderful collection are the best, in my opinion. But there are enough great stories to make it a fast read. What I love most is the different styles of writing and story telling. This would be a great addition to a personal library because you will want to re-read it again.
This is a terrific anthology, I would highly recommend it.

I really enjoyed this anthology, it has a good mix of serious and amusing, dark and happy tales.

You can catch my more detailed review on this one over at Dragon Page or in the podcast.
Sep 01, 2016 Lynnet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid set of stories, although it begins with a series of overanthologized stories that left me concerned there wouldn't be anything new. I particularly enjoyed The First Contact with the Gorgonids by Ursula K. Le Guin; The Aliens Who Knew, I Mean, Everything by George Alec Effinger; Texture of Other Ways by Mark W. Tiedemann; and Swarm by Bruce Sterling.
Dec 09, 2011 Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
thank you Goodreads for this fantastic anthology! I LOVED it! I don't often read scifi (unless you count HPLovecraft) but this was a terrific collection of stories. I will probably reread this one on a regular basis.
Rob Brantseg
Apr 04, 2015 Rob Brantseg rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Favorite stories:

A Midwinter's Tale - Michael Swanwick
Swarm - Bruce Sterling
Kin - Bruce McAllister
Face Value - Karen Joy Fowler
Laws of Survival - Nancy Kress
Texture of Other Ways - Mark W. Tiedemann
MAXO Signals - Charles Stross
I Am the Doorway - Stephen King
Jul 04, 2011 Luanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alien Contact is a great collection of stories about alien contact. A variety of authors were chosen giving the book a wide range of views of contact (Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Ursula LeGuin). Great gift for any scifi reader.
Marty Halpern
Feb 14, 2012 Marty Halpern rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
I've rated this book at five stars, with the caveat that I'm the book's editor: after working on this baby for three years, I think it deserves a noteworthy place on my GR bookshelf, dontcha think?
Fred Hughes
This was a nice collection of stories. Some swerved into the Fantasy genre but most were straight forward Science Fiction.

Well done
Melissa Derr
Jan 18, 2012 Melissa Derr rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loving this book!!! The array of stories is mind-boggling. I love the diversity. Definitely recommend for the science fiction lovers out there!
Jan 07, 2013 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
lots of stories, a few that weren't very good, a few that were totally delightful, and a majority of pretty OK ones.
Nov 28, 2011 Albert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I won this book on Goodreads. Thank you! It is an excellent collection of scifi "first alien contact" stories. Discovered some great (new to me) authors.
Swervey rated it it was amazing
Jun 15, 2016
Candace rated it liked it
Aug 05, 2016
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“Occasionally I glanced at the big blue cradle of civilization hanging in the sky, remembered for the fiftieth or sixtieth or one hundredth time that none of this had any right to be happening, and reminded myself for the fiftieth or sixtieth or one hundredth time that the only sane response was to continue carrying the tune.” 1 likes
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