Daily Archives: December 6, 2013

Perception

There is point of view and then there is point of view.

I recently read Alaric Albertsson’s first fiction book, Perception. For those who don’t know me, I am a sucker for first contact stories, and that’s what Perception is… sort of.

The aliens have arrived on Earth, but they have not made contact with the humans.  There has been no “Take me to your leader” moment, no “We are here to help you” moment, not even a “Submit or die” moment.

The aliens have arrived – but no one knows what they want.

And that’s all right, because while that is the inciting incident of the story, it is not really what the story is about.

There is a post-apocalyptic feel to Perceptions.  It is set in modern times and in some places it reminds me of Pat Frank’s 1959 novel Alas, Babylon as the characters deal with the aftermath of an attack:  modern life starts to unravel – no phone, no electricity, no running water – and so do the people who depend on those things.

There is no big battle:  the battles in this story are between the characters – and within the characters – as their perceptions about themselves and each other are challenged.

(I’m not a big fan of battle scenes where the smoke clears and only the hero and (maybe) his love interest are left standing:  internal conflict for the win!)

And then there are the aliens themselves.

They are actually non-human.  As in, not humanoid, not “humans with bumps on their heads,” but true aliens with motivations and thought processes that are also alien.  The characters cannot figure out what the aliens want because the aliens simply do not see things the way we do:  they have a different perception of life on Earth – an outsider’s point of view.

And from their point of view…

Like I said: there is point of view and then there is point of view.

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