Review: How to Live on Other Planets: A Handbook for Aspiring Aliens

how to liveAuthors: Zen Cho, Ken Liu, Daniel José Older, Nisi Shawl, and many more
Editor: Joanne Merriam
Publisher: Upper Rubber Boot Books
Publication Date: 16 March 2015

This collection contains more than thirty short stories and poems that explore the immigrant experience through the lens of science fiction. The stories take place on Earth, on the moon, on Mars, under the ocean, and on unnamed planets, and feature characters from all over the galaxy.

The gnomes enjoyed all of the short stories and poems within this collection, but some stood out above the others.

In “The Low Hum of Her”, Tania’s father builds an android out of clay and metal to replace her recently deceased grandmother. The android, or “the new Bubbe,” as she’s supposed to call it, looks exactly like the real thing, except for the low hum it emits.

In “Little Ambushes” by Joanne Merriam, a human artist takes an alien into her home to teach him how to paint, and the alien ends up teaching her more than she teaches him.

“The Four Generations of Chang E” by Zen Cho follows four generations of a human family on the moon. The first generation of Chang E moved to the moon after winning a lottery, leaving her descendants to deal with her decision.

“muo ka’s child” by Indrapramit Das follows a human girl, Ziara, who is being raised by an insect-like alien, muo ka, on a distant planet. She doesn’t realize how much she loved her alien mother until muo ka dies.

“Primes” by Lewis Shiner explores the many-worlds theory. Two separate realities come crashing together, combining the people of both realities. They need to decide who gets to continue living their life as before, and who will be cast aside.

All of these stories have previously appeared in major genre magazines or other anthologies, so serious science fiction fans will have encountered at least some of these stories before. However, the book is still worth buying, and the gnomes highly recommend it to both serious fans of the genre and newcomers to science fiction.

Rating: 5 Gnomes out of 5

 

3 thoughts on “Review: How to Live on Other Planets: A Handbook for Aspiring Aliens

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