I think Connie Willis writes nearly perfect Christmas stories – not too sentimental, not too cynical, a touch of romance and a lot of humour!
All Seated On The Ground is one of my favourites, about uncomunicative aliens, authority figures who don’t listen (this is a common theme), church choirs and christmas carols.
I’d always said that if and when the aliens actually landed, it would be a let-down. I mean, after War of the Worlds, Close Encounters, and E.T., there was no way they could live up to the image in the public’s mind, good or bad.
I’d also said that they would look nothing like the aliens of the movies, and that they would not have come to A) kill us, B) take over our planet and enslave us, C) save us from ourselves à la The Day the Earth Stood Still, or D) have sex with Earthwomen. I mean, I realize it’s hard to find someone nice, but would aliens really come thousands of light-years just to find a date? Plus, it seemed just as likely they’d be attracted to wart hogs. Or yucca. Or air-conditioning units.
I’ve also always thought A) and B) were highly unlikely since imperialist invader types would probably be too busy invading their next-door neighbors and being invaded by other invader types to have time to go after an out-of-the-way place like Earth, and as to C), I’m wary of people or aliens who say they’ve come to save you, as witness Reverend Thresher. And it seemed to me that aliens who were capable of building the spaceships necessary to cross all those light-years would necessarily have complex civilizations and therefore motives for coming more complicated than merely incinerating Washington or phoning home.
What had never occurred to me was that the aliens would arrive, and we still wouldn’t know what those motives were after almost nine months of talking to them.
Read the rest of this story here.
Books I have reviewed by Connie Willis: Uncharted Territory