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Invaders: 22 Tales from the Outer Limits of…
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Invaders: 22 Tales from the Outer Limits of Literature

by Jacob Weisman (Editor)

Other authors: Max Apple (Contributor), Jami Attenberg (Contributor), Amiri Baraka (Contributor), Robert Olen Butler (Contributor), Junot Diaz (Contributor)17 more, Katherine Dunn (Contributor), Julia Elliott (Contributor), Brian Evenson (Contributor), Rivka Galchen (Contributor), Molly Gloss (Contributor), Karen Heuler (Contributor), WP Kinsella (Contributor), J. Robert Lennon (Contributor), Jonathan Lethem (Contributor), Ben Loory (Contributor), Kelly Luce (Contributor), Steven Milhauser (Contributor), Deji Bryce Olukotun (Contributor), Eric Puchner (Contributor), George Saunders (Contributor), Jim Shepard (Contributor), Chris Tarry (Contributor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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This is the book I've been waiting for. While I have long been attracted to science fiction for the ideas of the authors, in so many instances the ideas and plotting come at the expense of "lazy" writing, i.e. where little time has been spent creating a mood or an atmosphere, a character who has no more purpose than to keep the action going, let alone crafting a sentence that "sings." Often after having finished a sci-fi novel I have admired I have thought, "Too bad the author couldn't have teamed up with someone with a more literary sensibility. The one could contribute the ideas, while the other could paint those ideas into masterly prose."

A few authors have been able to commonly do both (interestingly, those that immediately come to mind are all women--Margaret Atwood, Ursula LeGuin, James Tiptree, Jr/Alice Sheldon). But in "Invaders" we have a collection of stories from "literary" writers not normally known for science fiction taking a shot at a one or another sci-fi trope, e.g. an alien encounter, a post-apocalyptic world, a society where the lines between the technological and human have become blurred.

The difference between these stories and most other science fiction stories is apparent. Much is packed into a plot of the conventional sci-fi story. The reader is propelled along by an impulse to know "What happens next?" If one were to sketch out what happens in the stories collected in "Invaders," one who find the lines to be very simple. For instance, Molly Gloss' contribution is of a shepherd who discovers an alien who has been regularly visiting the backcountry where she tends her herd. Nothing much happens between them. But that's not from whence pleasure in reading the story comes. It comes, rather, in the whole pastorally elegiac tone in which she enwraps the encounter. Likewise, Katherine Dunn writes of a lonely woman who has invested in robots to serve as her sexual companions. But her story ultimately becomes a meditation on the complications of intimacy--bringing a different sensibility to the premise than, say, a Robert Heinlein would bring to it.

For the most part, the stories contained in "Invaders" are all satisfying, although I felt W.P. Kinsella's story of a professional sports mascot who was actually an alien NOT in disguise felt more like a throwaway, and Amiri Baraka's contribution ended so abruptly I honestly thought the book was missing a couple of pages. I'd gladly recommend this book to others, especially those who ordinarily shun science fiction as not worth their time. ( )
  kvrfan | Aug 19, 2016 |
You know when lit fic writers try their hand at genre, although of course their story appears in a lit fic venue not a genre one, and everyone goes on how astonishlingly inventive it is but genre fans just shake their heads sadly because they’ve seen it all before… Well, if that ever happened, and I suspect it hasn’t done for a number of decades, there’s enough proof in Invaders to demonstrate that science fiction and fantasy are now so prevalent that an author doesn’t need to be steeped in genre from the age of thirteen in order to write good genre. Which is not say every story in Invaders works, either as lit fic or as genre fic. But the anthology sets out to prove a point, and it does that pretty well. I read the book to review for Interzone. ( )
  iansales | Mar 15, 2016 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Weisman, JacobEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Apple, MaxContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Attenberg, JamiContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baraka, AmiriContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Butler, Robert OlenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Diaz, JunotContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dunn, KatherineContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Elliott, JuliaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Evenson, BrianContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Galchen, RivkaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gloss, MollyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Heuler, KarenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kinsella, WPContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lennon, J. RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lethem, JonathanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Loory, BenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Luce, KellyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Milhauser, StevenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Olukotun, Deji BryceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Puchner, EricContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Saunders, GeorgeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shepard, JimContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tarry, ChrisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fujita, GoroCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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