All Seated on the Ground
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All Seated on the Ground

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  486 ratings  ·  72 reviews
The aliens have landed! The aliens have landed! But instead of shooting death rays, taking over the planet and carrying off Earthwomen, they've just been standing there for months on end, glaring like a disapproving relative. And now it's nearly Christmas, and the commission assigned to establish communications is at their wits' end. They've resorted to taking the aliens t...more
Hardcover, 126 pages
Published November 26th 2007 by Subterranean Press (first published January 1st 2007)
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Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Oh my gosh, I have no idea what story some of these other reviewers were reading. This is a pretty short work and I had to take a nap in the middle of it. No, seriously, I had to--I was totally falling asleep.

Here are a few reasons you might want to read this:
1. You know every Christmas carol and know all the lyrics.
2. You go apeshit over choral music.
3. You really enjoy reading about humans trying to communicate with aliens...and can deal with when you're reading about Christ...more
Dec 27, 2010 Jon rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jon by: Jamie
I read the electronic version via the Asimov's website:

Probably rates a 3.5, but like Connie Willis, I love Christmas and singing in very large choirs. Combining the two, especially with Handel's Hallelujah Chorus, is priceless.

And as Aunt Judith and the Altairi reminded me: ‘A prompt handwritten note expressing gratitude is the only proper form of thanks.' I'll be posting those notes to friends and family today.

Highly recommended, especially during thi...more
Fiction. Aliens have finally landed on earth, but they've been parked in the middle of Denver University campus for nine months now and have yet to say a thing. They just stand there, glaring.

This Christmas novella is classic Connie Willis, complete with bombastic religious figure, a committee that can't get anything done because they're all doing their own thing, a character who can't get a full sentence out without being interrupted, an obligatory romance, and a deconstruction of winter holida...more
Connie Willis loves Christmas "and its accompanying frivolity and nonsense", and this 2008 Hugo Award winner for Best Novella is a nice addition to her collection of Christmas fiction. It's available free online on Asimov's website here:

It's a quick, amusing read, with Willis's trademark comedic setup: a budding romance between two quietly competent individuals surrounded by chaos. Don't get too worked up over the mystery of why the aliens won'...more
When Connie Willis is on, she on. I adored this book/novella where aliens land in Denver, and the expression on their faces is one of permanent disdain. They don't talk, don't seem to react to anything, and no one can figure out what to do with them. Until they are taken to a mall at Christmas time, and all simultaneously sit down. It takes awhile, but it seems they responded to the lyrics in Christmas carol. Is this how best to communicate with them? Our heroine, a newspaper reporter, and a cho...more
May 07, 2008 Hallie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: sf
It's very lightweight, compared to many other CW books, and might have been better as part of an anthology than as a stand-alone (expensive) book. But I still found it a lot of fun. The disapproving aliens were a hoot.
This is a delightful book, a very quick read and will be especially enjoyed by all choir and chorus singers. And anybody who has worked with scientists and been ignored.
This novella is a quick read, adorable and fun.

It flirts with the idea of romance, but like her prior works Bellwether and Passage, Ms. Willis holds courtship strictly to the background of the main character's research. Yes, research -- Ms. Willis has heroines that do research. The puzzle is simple and many readers will figure out elements of the central mystery long before the various revelations. The heart of this book is how fully Ms. Willis captures the experience of trying to explain somet...more
What a silly and profound story. Like the Doomsday Book, this story has to do with people in the here and now trying desperately to understand an alien culture (whether separated by time or species). This time, aliens have landed on Earth and are acting strangely. Not menacingly, just in a way that the people on Earth can't understand. Willis' books--at least those I have read--seem fictional (or rather, science-fictional) accounts of trying to understand another culture, in which everything see...more
Loved. LOVED. Willis is always brilliant but here we have aliens, communication issues and Christmas choirs, with bonus! protagonists named Calvin and Meg. Holiday mayhem that will make even the Grinchiest giggle.
Really great and entertaining short story! Read it here online:
Janice (Janicu)

This is a small hardcover novella and at 126 pages it's a very quick read. The jacket blurb says that the author is "a huge fan of the holidays and their accompanying frivolity and nonsense, and has written a marvelous array of Christmas stories". This is one of them. The story starts off in Denver where a space ship has landed on the Denver University campus, and six aliens have gotten out. Instead of doing anything expected like trying to take over the w...more
I usually love Connie Willis´ novels and short stories, but I got to confess her very frantic madcap comedy takes seem to not work as well for me as they do for most people. At least the short takes, which seem more crowded and claustrophobic that the novel length. This is one of those madcap comedy, and maybe it felt a little bit crowded, there seems to be a common theme of Willis where plot advances by people just not being willing to listen ( I get it, but sometimes yelling to make sure you a...more
Feb 25, 2014 Frank rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Frank by: my wife
A very enjoyable Christmas story about aliens and two people's attempt to communicate with them through music. A humorous romantic mystery novelette that makes for some nice light tongue-in-cheek reading.
Will not appeal to everyone, but at 126 pages is a short read to pass the time.
Okay, a bit of nonsense, but a lot of fun!
Alice Parrish
A fun quick little read about an alien invasion. Cute story, well put together without much detail. Probably best read at Christmas time the overarching message of the story is one of hope....and happy endings.
Aliens, Christmas, romance, and humor...Willis in top screwball-comedy mode.
Apr 11, 2012 David rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
After reading four books of Connie Willis, it is clear that she excels at two types of books: long, epic novels (Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog) and very short novellas/novellettes (All About Emily and this book). This is a charming Christmas-time story of aliens landing nothing but stare. Then during a Christmas carol, when the words say, "all seated on the ground"...they sit down. So begins a trial and error period of trying to figure out why some songs work for communicatio...more
Shawn Thrasher
Not my favorite Connie Willis of all time, but still a fun read - quirky, muddles and befuddles, chatty characters, a meandering plot that twists back and forth. Her glaring aliens are exactly the kind of aliens only Connie Willis could create. She's absolutely genius at writing about large groups of people and their interactions (choirs, bell chorus, history departments), and All Seated on the Ground is a definitely trademark Willis.
This is my new favorite Christmas science fiction story.

Connie Willis writes a hilarious first contact novella, as aliens land on earth and simply stand there, refusing to communicate or vindicate their purpose, defying all efforts of a plethora of human experts to communicate. A new member of the "communications delegation" is beset by a team leader who refuses to listen, a fanatical tele-evangelist, and a variety of odd characters who each have their own bizarre pet theory for how the aliens c...more
Gwyneth Stewart
In this short story by one of my favorite SF authors, aliens finally do land on earth, not to conquer us or to save us. In fact no one can figure out why they've come, because they just stand around glaring at everyone disapprovingly. The committee assigned to try to communicate with them tries everything from pantomime to aromatherapy. The big breakthrough comes at the mall at Christmas, and involves, as you may guess from the title, Christmas carols. A very funny quick read.
It took me a few chapters to get into this one. To the point, really, where I was grumbling about her publishing these tiny stories for money and not really working hard on anything, especially the novel that was supposed to have been published two years ago and where is that, hmm?

But it's Connie Willis, new Connie Willis, so I kept going. And then finally, the magic came. The madcap screwball comedy mystery with classic Connie ending. By the end, I adored it. As it should be.
Clayton Yuen
Connie Willis has a very particular style that I like in all she writes, even in short stories. She brings great detail into the solving of a problem ... I mean lots of detail. In this Christmas adventure dealing with Aliens and communication, Ms Willis brings in dozens and dozens of Christmas songs and verses in an attempt to get an alien reaction .... go figure! I love the detail of all the song verses ... it is amazing.

Five stars for Ms Willis ..... again!
Joanne Moyer
I love Connie Willis and while this book is a bit different from her others that I've read it's still a funny read. Aliens have landed in Denver but they've just been standing around glaring at everyone for 3 months. When the only reaction they've gotten in that time is a response to a Christmas carol everyone is running around trying to figure out why and how to make it happen again. It's a cute seasonal story, but a good read for anytime of the year.
I adore this novella. It has Connie Willis' trademark rapid dialog and screwy situations. A reporter is drafted into a group to try to develop communications with a group of aliens that have landed after months of no results by a stream of 'experts.' The traits of Christmas carols, human response to expressions of disapproval, and the inability of the self-important to listen all play a role. And there is a quiet romance as well.
I enjoyed this book. It's typical of the lesser Willis books. It has a romance, sort of fun and never finished, and a crisis, replete with authoritarian figures that upset everyone and never achieve anything and experts in some area (in this case, choral music) who save the day. It's not a very exciting work of literature and it doesn't approach Passage or The Doomsday Book, but it's fun. It would be a good YA book.
Another solid novella from Connie Willis in which a well meaning and nerdy female teams up with an earnest, well meaning and nerdy male to solve a problem which involves them discussing some large body of media. Still quite good, despite the strong sense of Deja Vu that will affect a Willis fan. Haven't any of Connie's heroines ever heard of Craigslist? I guess it's a good thing they haven't...
Novelita encantadora. Los extraterrestres han desembarcado y solo miran con desaprobación, día tras día, hasta que de pronto se sientan. ¿Qué pasó?
Es una comedia típica de Willis: diálogos, incomprensión, amor a primera vista que se confirma al final, procesos kafkianos, suspenso, éxtasis triunfal, apoteosis. Humor.
Una delicia de novelita, una miniatura de Oveja mansa.
A short book of only 126 pages. I read it in about an hour. When I finished, I found myself smiling. I really enjoyed it. It is about a group of aliens that arrive on earth and don't say anything, just glare at people. The process that the heroine goes through to learn how to communicate with them is quite humorous without being silly. The ending was very satisfying.
Another novella by the wonderful Connie Willis. A complete delight. By sheer chance I read this near Christmas, and I suspect I may end up reading it at that time of year again, as it rather fit that time. Boring aliens, a love story and choral music are a delightful mix! Highly recommend this as a reading "palatte cleanser" between longer reads.
Connie Willis is surely the most under-appreciated science fiction writer writing today. Every work of hers is carefully crafted with interesting characters, humor, thoughtful ideas, and a little romance of course. This is an excellent example of her skill with shorter works. A Must-Read for anyone who loves to read; for sf readers, it's an extra treat.
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Constance Elaine Trimmer Willis is an American science fiction writer. She is one of the most honored science fiction writers of the 1980s and 1990s.

She has won, among other awards, ten Hugo Awards and six Nebula Awards. Willis most recently won a Hugo Award for All Seated on the Ground (August 2008). She was the 2011 recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award from the Science Ficti...more
More about Connie Willis...
Doomsday Book (Oxford Time Travel, #1) To Say Nothing of the Dog (Oxford Time Travel, #2) Blackout All Clear Bellwether

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