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Old 05-14-2008, 08:38 PM   #1
astrodad
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Discuss: First Contact and Aliens by Murray Leinster

Let's talk about the short stories First Contact and Aliens by Murray Leinster


Wikipedia Entry on Murray Leinster


WARNING: This post may contain SPOILERS. Beware!

I recently had a chance to read these two excellent stories of first encounters with sentient non-Earthlings and they were both wonderful, similar, and yet different. What I enjoyed most about them was that they both had a positive, yet realistic outlook of our first contact.

In First Contact, the crews of the two encountered vessels each understand they they must either destroy the other ship, or ensure that there's no way the other ship can discover the home of each race. The crews go back and forth, learning how to communicate, and eventually decide on a solution that prevents them from having to fight.

This story was funny and very human. I really wish there was a way to hear more about what happens to these two intrepid crews. I especially love the last line of the story as it had me laughing for a while!

Aliens also presents a similar situation in that two vessels from two races (human and another called Plumies) meet in space. But in this story, there is actual warring going on, but an interesting twist of fate creates allies of the two races. Though much shorter than First Contact, this story resonates within me because of the reaction of both crews to the actions of a single crew member aboard the human ship. It brings to mind some of the racial issues that were going on during the time it was written.

My only complaint about Aliens was that the romantic aspect of it seems to be thrown in there without any real reason.

I recommend both of these stories to anyone who is looking for a positive first contact story with a retro feel. I got a kick out of hearing the word "tape" associated with modern technology.

Last edited by astrodad; 05-14-2008 at 08:42 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 05-20-2008, 04:46 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by jplumey View Post
Aliens also presents a similar situation in that two vessels from two races (human and another called Plumies) meet in space. But in this story, there is actual warring going on, but an interesting twist of fate creates allies of the two races. Though much shorter than First Contact, this story resonates within me because of the reaction of both crews to the actions of a single crew member aboard the human ship. It brings to mind some of the racial issues that were going on during the time it was written.

My only complaint about Aliens was that the romantic aspect of it seems to be thrown in there without any real reason.

I recommend both of these stories to anyone who is looking for a positive first contact story with a retro feel. I got a kick out of hearing the word "tape" associated with modern technology.
I think I agree about the romantic sub-plot. It didn't really add anything in my opinion, but rather had the feel of something that was added because the author felt it was expected by his audience (or publisher, maybe?).

I've been reading some A.E. Van Voght (sp?) lately, and I have the same reaction you have to "tape" when he gets going about "radiation" -- they evidently believed at the the time that "radiation" would eventually solve all ills. They also seem to think that we'd be viewing everything on "plates." I find the whole thing vaguely amusing. Excellent stories, though.
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