Thursday, March 2, 2017

Invasion Of the Saucer-Men, by Dale Bailey

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(Retro-SF Humor) In the 1950s, teenagers had to be ready to repel alien invasions at any moment, and as a football star, Hank knew he had to be a leader. But it was all so inconvenient. (7,125 words; Time: 23m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

"Invasion Of the Saucer-Men," by (edited by Sheila Williams), appeared in issue 03-04|17, published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: Hank is a great unreliable narrator. Half the fun of this story is figuring out the real truth from what he tells us.

The emotional punch is very, very strong. The hint that there was no ray gun means we see it coming, and that adds a lot of tension to the story.

Con: There’s no payoff. They murdered a bunch of friendly aliens, but then the ship just left and that was it.

It starts as a humor piece but ends as a tragedy. The result is unsatisfying.

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2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. It starts as a humor piece but ends as a tragedy. The result is unsatisfying.

    Yeah, this really bugged me too. It starts off as all "Well of course its up to US TEENS to protect the Earth from aliens," and downplaying everything except hormones, and you're trying to figure out if this is a humor piece where alien invasions are a regular bimonthly occurrence. And then it goes into tragedy. Which... just doesn't work for me; it's this kind of self-serving, tautological statement of "awful people are awful; oblivious people are oblivious".

  2. I think this was very good. It started off as a well-written, kitschy homage to silly SF movies, so tropey you could gag (but oddly satisfying), but then it zags big-time, twisting into a commentary of a whole other kind. You're expecting a cheesy, comforting payoff, but you get something unsettlingly like reality. I like a little of that mixed in with the escapism sometimes.