Footfall (1985) by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

Footfall1I originally had all these great ideas for making fun of reviewing my latest Niven-Pournelle Hugo-nominated disaster read, the main one being that I was going to list every single character intro in this 100-and-some-odd number cast, a la Ross Putman @femscriptintros, just to demonstrate how ridiculous and sexist these guys are at character descriptions.

Example:

She was about Jeanette’s age, and she would have been pretty if she’d washed her face and put on some lipstick. She was frowning heavily as she drank coffee. (loc. 415).

It would’ve made for a long post, as some of those character descriptions get, er, lingering, but I was up for it.

But then, BUT THEN, I discovered this: Continue reading

Learning the World (2005) by Ken MacLeod

LearningtheWorld1Little Green Men are so Roswell.

Bugs have dominated the sci-fi alien landscape throughout its long history, from Wells’ spindly invaders to Clement’s didactic caterpillars to the Heinlein/Haldeman/Card &Scalzi spectrum of buggers. It’s a natural fit: with those extra articulated legs and absent the puppy dog eyes, bugs really are Earth’s other. With the exception of sci-fi’s obsession with busty cat ladies, mammalian aliens don’t appear as often as bug aliens, for to put fur and whiskers on an alien might run the risk of Disneyfied anthropomorphizing at worse, Petting Zoo People at best, and almost always something dumb and unimaginative, like NivPourn’s stomping elephants; rarely ever Tepper’s eerie horselike foxen.

But while bats get page time in the horror and supernatural romance subgenres, this is the first time I’ve ever encountered actual, literal Alien Space Bats. Continue reading