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All Seated on the Ground

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  810 Ratings  ·  91 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 1st 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
Dec 24, 2014 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh Connie Willis! Thank you for a different Christmas experience with this sci-fi story of another stripe.

They landed their spaceship in Denver, in the middle of
the DU campus, and marched---well, actually marched is the
wrong word; the Altairi's method of locomotion is somewhere
between a glide and a waddle---straight up to the front
door of University Hall in classic "Take me to your leader"
And that was it....They just stood there.

The rest of this novella is the tale of how the huma
Dec 27, 2010 Jon rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jon by: Jamie Collins
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
Apr 05, 2016 Kaetrin rated it really liked it
I saw this short story mentioned in a thread where posters were saying it was the best of Connie Willis’ short stories so I looked it up. I couldn’t buy the story on its own because geo restrictions, but I found it was available in a library book as part of The Best of Connie Willis and placed a hold so I could read the story.

Meg Yates is a humour columnist who unexpectedly finds herself on a committee trying to communicate with the six Altairi aliens who arrived on the doorsteps of Denver Unive
Dec 05, 2013 Punk rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jamie Collins
Dec 22, 2010 Jamie Collins rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
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'
Aug 29, 2014 Patti rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those who enjoy short Christmas stories
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
Dec 20, 2014 Banner rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, alien
Lighthearted Christmas story I read today while sitting in Starbucks. While reading this story I entered in my code from the receipt and won a 1/2 lb of Christmas blend coffee. What you may ask does that bit of news about my amazing good fortune have to do with a review of this book? It was my own Christmas miracle! While past results do not guarantee future performances, I'm sure if you read this book something good will happen to you too.
May 07, 2008 Hallie rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 04, 2013 Barbm1020 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 15, 2014 Mel rated it really liked it
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
Mar 22, 2015 Clarice rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
No, I have not been reading this novella since December 16. In fact, I couldn't even finish it. I only read a few pages until I realized that Willis was using the same devise of confused communications that she has used in at least three other novels to drive the plot in this short Christmas-themed novel as well.

This devise worked extraordinarily well in "To Say Nothing of the Dog", (the first Willis novel I read) where a time-traveling historian from the future who is already experiencing memo
Nov 11, 2012 Natalie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Jul 17, 2014 Kaethe rated it it was amazing
A perfect Connie Willis story, with the aliens, and the muddle, and the mundane aspects of middle class modern life in the US, and even more, a really satisfying little puzzle and race to solve it. It well deserved the Hugo. Probably they should just go ahead and issue her one with every new copyright.
I probably should have waited for a few more weeks to read this - or at least waited until it wasn't 80 degrees outside. It makes it hard to get into the Christmas mood.

But I was in the mood for something short and funny, and Connie Willis is reliably witty and amusing.
Luciana Darce
Aug 02, 2016 Luciana Darce rated it it was amazing
Domingo de noite e eis mais uma história em que morri de rir… Aliens chegaram à terra, mas não se mostram capazes de se comunicar e apenas fazem uma expressão de profundo desagrado do tipo ‘desaprovo todas as suas escolhas de vida’. Um grupo de cientistas, incluindo Meg, a narradora, tenta encontrar formas de se comunicar com os aliens, mas nada parece fazer efeito até que, após uma visita ao shopping, com músicas de natal tocando ao fundo, os visitantes demonstram pela primeira vez alguma reaçã ...more
Nov 07, 2014 Rach rated it it was amazing
Different in a good way, but then, it is Connie Willis after all!

Aliens land at DU and do absolutely nothing. Sandra Foster volunteers to be a member of the third governmental committee, a mash-up of various "experts" trying to figure out how to communicate with their extraterrestrial guests. After months of failure, the aliens are taken on a field trip to the mall where they inexplicably react to something. What is the question.

This is one of my favorite "bad day stories". It is short enough t
Dec 09, 2011 Charlene rated it it was amazing
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.
Felipe Guerrero
Dec 18, 2014 Felipe Guerrero rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un misterioso y gracioso libro, me gustó bastante.

Debo decir que entre los libros con temática navideña que buscaba no esperaba encontrarme con un libro en el que aparecieran extraterrestres, eso si que fue una sorpresa.

El libro trata sobre un grupo de extraterrestres que aterrizan y para sorpresa de todos no hacen nada, solo salen de su nave y miran todo y a todos con desaprobación, al pasar los días se crea una comision para tratar de entablar comunicación con ellos pero nada ocurre, no hablan
Dec 17, 2008 Steph rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
Really great and entertaining short story! Read it here online:
Jul 29, 2016 Thomas rated it really liked it
Every so often, I think of authors who I really enjoy reading, realize I haven't heard about any new releases from said authors, and then go on Wikipedia to see if I've missed anything. On good days, this is the case. Last week when I checked in on Connie Willis, I saw that I had missed a couple of her standalone novellas.

All Seated on the Ground is one of her Christmas science fiction stories, this time about visiting aliens who have spent the last nine months standing and glaring at all their
Janice (Janicu)
Jun 28, 2009 Janice (Janicu) rated it liked it

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
Feb 11, 2015 Cindy rated it it was amazing

Readers don't always associate humor with science fiction but Willis has written a light, witty novella combining the two genres. She gently pokes fun at holiday madness, pompous academics, intolerant religious fanatics, and movie portrayals of aliens. If you want a quick novel that happens to be about aliens and Christmas carols, then read this novella.
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 ar ...more
Nov 11, 2015 Cathleen rated it really liked it
My favorite of the Willis novellas I've explored thus far. Love the lighthearted but thoughtful premise of "what if the aliens landed, but they didn't do anything? No demands, no challenge, no actions, no communication -- just take up residence for months and only stare?" How we might react says much more about us.

Then, one day, they suddenly sit in unison, and the fun really begins.
Feb 25, 2014 Frank rated it really liked it
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!
Dec 30, 2015 Eugene rated it really liked it
Great fun. Connie Willis delights. Would probably be five stars, if the romance was a little more compelling. The climax is easily spotted, halfway through, but who cares. It is too much fun.
Steven Cunningham
Read Connie Willis

Since reading Dooms Day, I've enjoyed Ms. Willis books. She doesn't disappoint. I love her humor and wit. Very clever.
Jennifer Kelley
Jan 04, 2015 Jennifer Kelley rated it really liked it
Another winner from one of my favorite authors. An alien first contact story, based around Christmastime. Highly recommended.
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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
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