From an Alien Perspective by Jack Petersen

From an Alien Perspective by Jack Petersen
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (57 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

The novella tells of Iadog, who took training on Terra at the university established for not-so-advanced cultures. Back on Dejan, the young crustacean meets up with a former classmate, who has news of importance for his old drinking buddy. Of course, making any sort of technological advance on Dejan, where the priests have held sway for more generations than can be told, takes a bit of finesse. Even worse, if you try to shake up the system, you are liable to meet the Claw before you come close to succeeding.

In the first short story, this version of Earth is saved from the invasion of rapacious balls of energy by Hetzie, whose masterful, if accidental, construct traps the invading force in the laundry line. Her treatment of the captive would be judged inhumane on the invader’s world.

The second short story tells of Phil, poor Phil, he only wanted to be the best crystal farmer he could, but that damn wind.

It’s easy to assume that aliens have the same values and thinking patterns as humans do, but would that actually be the case if our species ever met one of them in person?

“Hetzie and the Speedball” had such witty dialogue. Hetzie’s quiet, solitary existence didn’t seem like it would provide a lot of fodder for the science fiction genre at first, but what she discovered on her property caught my attention. The pacing was strong in this story, and how Hetzie responds to all of the odd things that happen to her made me sorry to reach the final paragraph.

“Iadog” included scenes that jumped around from the past to the present and between the perspectives of more than one character. I found this confusing, especially when it was combined with introducing all of the characters within the space of a chapter or two. It was hard to tell whom was whom. The premise of it was fascinating, but it would have been helpful to read it all in a linear fashion. This tale might have worked better had it been expanded into a full-length novel. There was certainly enough material here do so.

At first I wasn’t sure what to think about “Sodbuster” because the setting appeared to be completely ordinary. Sometimes there is something to be said for holding back certain things from the reader, though, so once I figured out what was happening I was hooked. The conflict in it was so interesting that I looked forward to seeing how it might be resolved in such a short piece. The final scene worked well with everything that was revealed about the main character earlier on.

I’d recommend From an Alien Perspective to anyone who is a fan of otherworldly science fiction.

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