NESFA Members' Reviews


by Allen Steele

Ace, ISBN 0-441-00460-1, 1997 (1996), 267pp, US$5.99

A book review by Evelyn C. Leeper

Copyright 1998 Evelyn C. Leeper

There is no story in this collection titled "All-American Alien Boy," but the subtitle of the book gives us the answer to the title: "The United States as Science Fiction, Science Fiction as a Journey: A Collection." Who is the "All-American Alien Boy"? It's Steele. But it's also each of us. (Well, some of us are All- American Alien Girls, but you get the idea.)

After all, isn't there something a bit alien in the idea of renting out your body for science ("The Good Rat")? Alien, yes, but also very capitalist and, well, American. Whether it's the shopping mall, the demolition derby, or Rock City, Steele takes something very American, and shows us how alien it is at the same time.

As if that isn't enough, Steele's introductions actually add something to the understanding of the stories. Too many authors, when confronted with the task of introducing their own stories, resort to either a bald description of how they came to write the story, or some brief--preferably humorous--anecdote about it. Steele uses this opportunity to talk about the ideas behind the story--what he thinks about UFO abduction stories, for example.

What this means is that even if you have all the stories from their original publications, this book is still worth getting.

%T      All-American Alien Boy
%A      Allen Steele
%C      New York
%D      1996
%I      Ace
%O      paperback, US$5.99 [1997]
%G      ISBN 0-441-00460-1
%P      267pp

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