01/11/2009. Contributed by Rod MacDonald
pub: Audio Text Tapes. 3 CDs 224 mins. Price: regular price: $23.99 (US), CD sale: $19.99 (US). ISBN: 9-781-8-8461-287-9) read by: Tom Dheere and Vanessa Hart.
check out website: www.audiotexttapes.net/aliensrule.htm
A collection of three CDs with three unabridged short stories, all with the common theme of humans being the underdog under alien occupation.
Be prepared, this makes for listening of a somewhat depressing kind because all three stories situate humans at a disadvantage against aliens. However, the stories are thoughtful and illuminating. In every clash of culture, as history has demonstrated time after time, the exchange is always unequal. Think only of the Spanish invasion of Central and South America where dramatically differing cultures opposed each other! Within a short space of time, the Aztec and Inca civilisations were wiped out, populations were virtually exterminated and new regimes established themselves for centuries to the disadvantage of former occupants. These stories give an idea of what it is like to be on the losing side. It doesn't really matter if the opposing victorious culture is Spanish or alien because to native South Americans what could have been more alien than Conquistadors. The results are just the same!
'How Music Begins', a very good story by James Van Pelt, concerns itself with alien abduction of ordinary people in a junior high school band. It's up to the band director to keep everyone together in a new and frightening environment which is also strangely familiar.
'Okonaggan Falls' by Carolyn Ives Gillman was just too depressing for me and this wasn't helped by the dreary nasal tone of the narrator. It's a matter of ethnic cleansing and aliens are relocating people. A housewife puts up resistance, not forcibly with guns and bullets but with peaceful persistence.
Finally, 'Laws Of Survival' from Nancy Kress took us to an unusual aspect of alien domination. A dog trainer no less! An alien interest in the canine species had unforeseen consequences for the life or death of the human trainer. A very intriguing thought in that most alien encounter stories involve humans but very few authors consider how aliens might react to other domesticated life-forms on Earth such as dogs, cats or even budgerigars. This was my favourite of the three stories.
In due consideration, compared to some other products of a similar nature, $20 for three CDs is not terribly great value. These stories have a particular theme and you will either like or dislike them. Nonetheless, they are all professionally produced and they are available via the website no doubt in time for Christmas purchases.
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