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Alien Sex: 19 Tales by the Masters of Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy

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Slip into something a little more comfortable with this unusual and fascinating collection of 19 hormonally-charged tales involving sex and the alien--married or otherwise. Some of the genre's greatest writers contemplate the planet-moving encounters between humans and aliens while pondering the eternal question--what kind of relationship are humans really looking for? Slip into something a little more comfortable with this unusual and fascinating collection of 19 hormonally-charged tales involving sex and the alien--married or otherwise. Some of the genre's greatest writers contemplate the planet-moving encounters between humans and aliens while pondering the eternal question--what kind of relationship are humans really looking for?


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Slip into something a little more comfortable with this unusual and fascinating collection of 19 hormonally-charged tales involving sex and the alien--married or otherwise. Some of the genre's greatest writers contemplate the planet-moving encounters between humans and aliens while pondering the eternal question--what kind of relationship are humans really looking for? Slip into something a little more comfortable with this unusual and fascinating collection of 19 hormonally-charged tales involving sex and the alien--married or otherwise. Some of the genre's greatest writers contemplate the planet-moving encounters between humans and aliens while pondering the eternal question--what kind of relationship are humans really looking for?

30 review for Alien Sex: 19 Tales by the Masters of Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sheila

    I was gonna give this collection 2 stars ("it was okay"), but Connie Willis' story, called "All My Darling Daughters" (which gets 5 horrified but awestruck stars from me), was so brilliant that I'm bumping this to 3 on the strength of that story alone. I'm so glad I got to read it, even though it was traumatizing. I expected these stories to be darker, but most were more weird fiction or sci-fi. Nothing wrong with those genres, but I wanted more horror. I've never read Connie Willis before, though I was gonna give this collection 2 stars ("it was okay"), but Connie Willis' story, called "All My Darling Daughters" (which gets 5 horrified but awestruck stars from me), was so brilliant that I'm bumping this to 3 on the strength of that story alone. I'm so glad I got to read it, even though it was traumatizing. I expected these stories to be darker, but most were more weird fiction or sci-fi. Nothing wrong with those genres, but I wanted more horror. I've never read Connie Willis before, though she's been on my to-read list for ages. After her story, I think I'll try to fit her in soon. Her story was harrowing, shocking, sad--and so poignant. Amazing. There were a couple other stories I enjoyed also: "The Jamesburg Incubus" by Scott Baker, and "When the Fathers Go" by Bruce Mcallister, as well as "The First Time" by K. W. Jeter.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rand

    These 19 works by different, well-regarded authors were edited/selected by Ellen Datlow, who wrote a general preface for the collection. She also wrote individual introductions for each piece. Many of these works were published elsewhere originally. Datlow was once an editor for Omni and while there turned down two of the stories that she selected for her book. Some of the stories here were published in the ill-fated New Dimensions 13, a SF anthology which was deemed too controversial by the pub These 19 works by different, well-regarded authors were edited/selected by Ellen Datlow, who wrote a general preface for the collection. She also wrote individual introductions for each piece. Many of these works were published elsewhere originally. Datlow was once an editor for Omni and while there turned down two of the stories that she selected for her book. Some of the stories here were published in the ill-fated New Dimensions 13, a SF anthology which was deemed too controversial by the publisher at the last minute—the entire print run, save for a few review copies, was pulped. As such, New Dimensions 13 remains a curious footnote in the history of Science Fiction. In her general intro, Datlow also mentions how her book is not the first of its kind. Before it came three anthologies: Strange Bedfellows: Sex and Science Fiction (1972), Eros in Orbit (1973), The Shape of Sex to Come (1978), and the 1960 collection Strange Relations by Philip José Farmer. William Gibson provides the foreword "Strange Attractors," in which he asks how one goes about writing about the alienness of sex against the global backdrop of AIDS. The contents are as follows: Leigh Kennedy wrote Her Furry Face, a story about chimp-human love that would make Jane Goodall wet. Rick Wilber's War Bride is an alien invasion piece inspired by the US's involvement with Subic Bay. Harlan Ellison's How's the Night Life on Cissalda? uses the many-worlds hypothesis to explore the interplay between love and disgust. It's rather funny to boot. Scott Baker's The Jamesburg Incubus turns traditional ideas of magic and social conformity into a new level of symbiotic love. One of the more sexy/plausible stories in this book. Larry Niven's Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex began as a joke about xenofertility told at parties. At the urging of many eager listeners, Niven codified his thoughts on the matter of Superman's reproductive capabilities into this essay. (As this one began on Usenet, it continues to live freely online. You may read it here.) K. W. Jeter's The First Time is a disturbing story about a young, unsuspecting boy's somewhat-unwilling initiation into the ranks of manhood. Philip José Farmer's The Jungle Rot Kid on the Nod is a literary mash-up in which the story of Tarzan is told by William S. Burroughs instead of Edgar Rice. It's funny, if you know of the Cities of the Red Night or Interzone or even if you just enjoy irreverency in general. (Note that this same exercise is repeated in Mark Leach's Cutting Up Two Burroughs) Lisa Tuttle's Husbands is a feminist triptych centered upon the idea that the gender divide is actually something more. In her post-script, Tuttle mentions the influence of the radical feminist Monique Wittig's idea that One is Not Born a Woman. Bruce McAllister's When the Fathers Go is a story about an alien coming in between a human couple. It's centered upon the lies couples tell each other in the event of an affair. Rather interesting if you like reading about the sociological effects of deep space exploration. In his postscript, McAllister states that in a certain sense, his story is a feminist story, although in an entirely different sense, it's not. Edward Bryant's Dancing Chickens was the most disappointing story for me. Datlow rejected this story from Omni and then it was in an anthology that never saw the light of day, all because it is so controversial. It's hardly "normal" but I really didn't see what all the fuss was about. Just another alien invasion story, except with a small side of mild S&M. Pat Cadigan's Roadside Rescue explores a world where humans are servile to inter-dimensional beings who treat them like toys. It's mostly harmless, until you think about it. Geoff Ryman's Omnisexual is a rather trippy tale set in a wholly alien world. Very different and very good. Connie Willis's All My Darling Daughters is ultimately one of the more disturbing tales here. It is framed by two sets of dialogue from The Barretts of Wimpole Street, a 1930 play by Rudolf Besier about Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett and her father. Set in the future on a planet far, far away. Richard Christian Matheson's Arousal is more erotica/horror than SF. Nonetheless, a ripping good yarn about cheaters. Lewis Shiner's Scales is more horror than anything else. Still, there is sex there and aliens in the guise of a certain foul creature of myth which shall remain unnamed here. This story begins as one of the more "normal" ones. Roberta Lannes's Saving the World at the New Moon Motel is one of the more light-hearted stories here. It makes use of desperation and revenge to play upon the idea of what is foreign and alien. James Tiptree Jr.'s And I Awoke And Me Here On the Cold Hill's Side is one of the more serious pieces here. It deals with intergalatic politics and the man's inherent desire to rise above his place of origin, socially. This is one of those stories that is primarily dialogue and contains more allusions to an outside world than actual descriptions thereof, which somewhat matches the narrator's naïveté. One of the few stories which did not wholly satisfy me. Michaela Roessner's Picture Planes is the collection's one poem. It reminded me a little of Perdido Street Station. Pat Murphy's Love and Sex Among the Invertebrates is an after the bomb story about a virgin who makes a singular effort to carry on life, the only way she knows how. Each individual author (with the exceptions of Tiptree and Ellison) provide their own postscript. However intimate your knowledge of the annals of science fiction may be, this collection has a surprise in store for you. See also Datlow's follow-up anthology, Off Limits.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Meagan ✊🏼 Blacklivesmatter ✊🏼Blacktranslivesmatter

    I think this was much more radical, ground breaking and interesting during the time of its original release. My problem with this collection was that not all the stories were about aliens (9 out of the 15 I read were about aliens.) The stories that weren't about aliens involved mostly taboo desires which isn't the same as exploring alien sex themes. Some of the stories included the "strangeness" of sex which, I guess, I was supposed to equate to being similar to how strange an encounter with an I think this was much more radical, ground breaking and interesting during the time of its original release. My problem with this collection was that not all the stories were about aliens (9 out of the 15 I read were about aliens.) The stories that weren't about aliens involved mostly taboo desires which isn't the same as exploring alien sex themes. Some of the stories included the "strangeness" of sex which, I guess, I was supposed to equate to being similar to how strange an encounter with an alien would be. I definitely expected more from this collection. BUT I will definitely read the next collection to see if it is any better since that collection includes different writers. I'd like to see how they handled the theme. I skipped 4 stories ("THE JUNGLE ROT KID ON THE NOD", "OMNISEXUAL", "SCALES" and "ALL MY DARLING DAUGHTERS"). There were only 3 stories I actually loved ("WHEN THE FATHERS GO", "AND I AWOKE AND FOUND ME HERE ON THE COLD HILL’S SIDE" and "PICTURE PLANES"). The middle of the road stories were the "WAR BRIDE", "DANCING CHICKENS", "ROADSIDE RESCUE", "SAVING THE WORLD AT THE NEW MOON MOTEL" and "LOVE AND SEX AMONG THE INVERTEBRATES". The rest of the stories had some really cool ideas but the way they were executed was not to my liking. They just didn't resonate with or grab me.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Genevra Littlejohn

    This book isn't erotic for a moment. What it is, is believable and unsettling--sex is a weird thing, after all, even when it's with a member of your own species, and the stories in this anthology make no move to tone down the weirdness. The unpleasant(and very well-written)story "All My Darling Daughters," a story about what you'll allow to be done to others in the attempt to keep it from being done to you, is probably what stuck with me the most; I haven't read it in a couple of years, but somet This book isn't erotic for a moment. What it is, is believable and unsettling--sex is a weird thing, after all, even when it's with a member of your own species, and the stories in this anthology make no move to tone down the weirdness. The unpleasant(and very well-written)story "All My Darling Daughters," a story about what you'll allow to be done to others in the attempt to keep it from being done to you, is probably what stuck with me the most; I haven't read it in a couple of years, but sometimes it comes bubbling to the top of my head anyway. Very recommended for people who like dark but intelligent SF.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Anastasia

    Datlow has compiled a series of science fiction works centered around love, science, and alien life. Most of the works will shock you, disgust you, and offend you, but most will be worth it. Her Furry Face, Leigh Kennedy - ★★ Reminiscent of Michael Crichton’s The Congo with sign language speaking marsupials, we are introduced to a sad, confused main character who seems to be understood only by his furry faced companion. War Bride, Rick Wilber - ★★★ In a very concise story, Wilber details the rever Datlow has compiled a series of science fiction works centered around love, science, and alien life. Most of the works will shock you, disgust you, and offend you, but most will be worth it. Her Furry Face, Leigh Kennedy - ★★ Reminiscent of Michael Crichton’s The Congo with sign language speaking marsupials, we are introduced to a sad, confused main character who seems to be understood only by his furry faced companion. War Bride, Rick Wilber - ★★★ In a very concise story, Wilber details the reverse of an alien invasion. How’s the Night Life on Cassalda?, Harlan Ellison - ★★★★ Sex with an alien sounds like a good time, but could you do it forever? The Jamesburg Incubus, Scott Baker - ★★★ St. Jacques is a high school languages teacher, what happens when his naughty school girl fantasies end up becoming real? Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex, Larry Niven - ★★★★★ A very practical look at the physical facts of Superman sex. He’s a superhuman, he’s an alien, he’s faster than a speeding bullet, and poor, poor Lois Lane is only human. The First Time, K.W. Jeter - ★★ A short coming-of-age story, however, the sex isn’t as expected, it might not even be sex at all. The Jungle Rot Kid on the Nod, Philip Jose Farmer - ★★ A very abstract story told through the eyes of the “real” Tarzan. Husbands, Lisa Tuttle - ★★ A life without men. Is gender something we’re born into, or something we learn? When the Fathers Go, Bruce McAllister - ★★ When future men leave to explore the depths of space they come back liars. Everything out of there mouths is a lie, except for the time his lie shows up on the doorstep. Is it what he says it is, or is it another lie? Dancing Chickens, Edward Bryant - ★★★ What do aliens plan to do with humans when they attack? Roadside Rescue, Pat Cadigan - ★★★ How do we know sex with an alien will be like sex with a human. What if it feeds off our emotion instead? Omnisexual, Geoff Ryman - ★★ An abstract view of sex and the world around you. All My Darling Daughters, Connie Willis - ★★★★★ A feisty college girl learns the ins and outs of sex (with certain furry creatures) and has to deal with roommate drama. Arousal, Richard Christian Matheson - ★★★★ A demon passes as a human and transfers powers through arousal. Scales, Lewis Shiner - ★★★★★ A tale of a modern Lilith. Saving the World at the New Mood Motel, Roberta Lannes - ★★★ A short rendezvous at a lone truck stop. And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill’s Side, James Tiptree, Jr. - ★★ Aliens are now populating the planet, what would a soldier from the front have to say in regards to this takeover? Picture Planes, Michaela Roessner - ★★★★★ Short, written in concise lines of free verse. Paints a clear picture of the sexual relationship with two odd creatures. Love and Sex Among the Invertebrates, Pat Murphy - ★★★★ Humans have finally become extinct, one researcher creates the creatures that are going to evolve to take our place.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tyler J Gray

    1- Her Furry Face by Leigh Kennedy- 4.25 stars 2- War Bride by Rick Wilber- 5 stars 3- How's the Night Life on Cissalda? by Harlan Ellison- 2 stars 4- The Jamesburg Incubus by Scott Baker- 4.25 stars 5- Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex by Larry Niven- 3 stars 6- The First Time by K.W. Jeter- 2 stars 7- The Jungle Rot Kid on the Nod by Philip Jose Farmer- 1 star 8- Husbands by Lisa Tuttle- 4.25 stars 9- When the Fathers Go by Bruce McAllister- 2 stars 10- Dancing Chickens by Edward Bryant- 3.5 stars 11- Road 1- Her Furry Face by Leigh Kennedy- 4.25 stars 2- War Bride by Rick Wilber- 5 stars 3- How's the Night Life on Cissalda? by Harlan Ellison- 2 stars 4- The Jamesburg Incubus by Scott Baker- 4.25 stars 5- Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex by Larry Niven- 3 stars 6- The First Time by K.W. Jeter- 2 stars 7- The Jungle Rot Kid on the Nod by Philip Jose Farmer- 1 star 8- Husbands by Lisa Tuttle- 4.25 stars 9- When the Fathers Go by Bruce McAllister- 2 stars 10- Dancing Chickens by Edward Bryant- 3.5 stars 11- Roadside Rescue by Pat Cadigan- 4.5 stars 12- Omnisexual by Geoff Ryman- 3.5 stars 13- All My Darling Daughters by Connie Willis- 5 stars 14- Arousal by Richard Christian Matheson- 3 stars 15- Scales by Lewis Shiner- 4 stars 16- Saving the World at the New Moon Motel by Roberta Lannes- 3.25 stars 17- And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill's Side by James Tiptree Jr.- 3.25 stars 18- Picture Planes by Michaela Roessner- 4.5 stars 19- Love and Sex Among the Invertebrates by Pat Murphy- 4.25 stars Avg- 3.5 Mixed bag sure but the ones I liked were rather thought-provoking and i'm really glad I read them. I enjoyed more than I didn't. Weird and thought-provoking are good words for this anthology.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn F.

    Anthology. A few stories I couldn't finish. There were a few stinkers and a few great stories. The average rating is 3.28 stars. I always round up so it'll show as 4. 1. Her Furry Face by Leigh Kennedy. A sicko justifying his perversion. I'm glad the author didn't make this reciprocal. 3 stars 2. War Bride by Rick Wilber. A sad story about a used man trying to save himself. 3 stars. 3. How's the Night Life on Cissalda? by Harlan Ellison. Pretty bad story, with not just constant descriptions of pe Anthology. A few stories I couldn't finish. There were a few stinkers and a few great stories. The average rating is 3.28 stars. I always round up so it'll show as 4. 1. Her Furry Face by Leigh Kennedy. A sicko justifying his perversion. I'm glad the author didn't make this reciprocal. 3 stars 2. War Bride by Rick Wilber. A sad story about a used man trying to save himself. 3 stars. 3. How's the Night Life on Cissalda? by Harlan Ellison. Pretty bad story, with not just constant descriptions of people getting f**ked but a couple of mention that men, women, and "children" were getting f**ked by this little aliens. What is it with sci-fi and pedophilia!? I think the author was trying to come across as humorous and failed. 1 star 4. The Jamesburg Incubus by Scott Baker. Through a mold, a teacher is made into the most boring incubus ever! The author threw in a kind of time travel that left things maybe happening but maybe not. I was confused and just stopped reading this story. No rating because I didn't finish it. 5. Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex by Larry Niven. A really clever story about how sex between Superman and a human is impossible. The afterward where he describes how the story originated and that he became an expert on Superman sex was wonderful. 5 stars 6. The First Time by K.W. Jeter. I don't know what in the heck this story was. (view spoiler)[Do the men kill weekend after weekend with willing victims? Did the boy think he would be doing his own murder and felt that the men had spoiled this for him by finding a victim for him? (hide spoiler)] I'm confused. This was a sick story. 2 stars 7. The Jungle Rot Kid of the Nod by Philip Jose Farmer. Okay, what the frick was this. It was written almost in pig latin and even when speeches were done it wouldn't convert to regular speech. I only made it to page two of this short story and gave up. No rating because I didn't finish it. 8. Husbands by Lisa Tuttle. A woman talks about 2 past husbands as if they were animals, (both of them in the first story, and just the husband in the second). Then she talks about a man she sees at work. Then the story switches to some kind of future without men but women can still have children naturally - whatever that means in this story. Then the first women somehow creates a man but he has a flipper and can jump over backwards (fish? dolphin?). I'm confused. I don't know if this is a story about the relationship between men and women or how women may not think they need men but they do or I don't know! Confusing!! 2 stars. 9. When the Fathers Go by Bruce McAllister. Okay, if Jory is a liar, what is the truth. Is there a son? Is there a lover? Is there an alien? I was very confused (again). 2 stars 10. Dancing Chickens by Edward Bryant. Weird! The author says he was inspired about a friend's visits to grandma and the Al Pacino movie Cruising. I can see the parallels. Disturbing, memorable. 3-1/2 stars. 11. Roadside Rescue by Pat Cadigan. With the title of this anthology, you would think I should know what I'm getting. But this was another strange one. I felt sorry for the driver/navigator. 3 stars. 12. Omnisexual by Geoff Ryman. Okay, another freaky story. Both the male and female are giving birth to birds, one goes down his throat, he's covered in bumps that he scratches and out pops stuff. She calls herself a book. He talks about tasting his scrotum tearing. That's just the first couple of pages. Too strange for me. No rating because I didn't finish it. 13. All my Darling Daughters by Connie Willis. Wow! This story starts out with rich girl teenage angst and then moves on to something really deep and very sad. 5 stars. 14. Arousal by Richard Christian Matheson. A woman has a sexual encounter that leaves her open. Really short story. 3 stars. 15. Scales by Lewis Shiner. A scary story about a husband's betrayal and the wife hopefully saving her daughter from a predator. Really good story. 4 stars. 16. Saving the World at the New Moon Motel by Roberta Lannes. A jilted wife finds comfort from a stranger with extras. Cute story. 4 stars. 17. And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill's Side by James Tiptree, Jr. A really sad story about when aliens come to Earth and a human's need to mate lead to catastrophic problems. 3-1/2 stars. 18. Picture Planes by Michaela Roessner. Written almost like a poem, about abuse and escape. 3-1/2 stars. 19. Love and Sex Among the Invertebrates by Pat Murphy. A sad story about a scientist who tries to create new life before humans die out. Loved it. 5 stars.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Arlena Dean

    Author: Various Authors Published by: Roc Publisher Age Recommended: Adult Reviewed By: Arlena Dean Book Blog For: GMTA Rating: 4 Review: "Alien Sex" by 19 Various Authors was a bit dark anthology, sci-fi and fantasy short-story reads. I picked it because of its title ... yes, I did and I found it somewhat interesting... some of it like nothing I have ever heard of or would think of. Like I have said many times .... to get into the minds of some of these authors...leaving me to say WOW! But any way ea Author: Various Authors Published by: Roc Publisher Age Recommended: Adult Reviewed By: Arlena Dean Book Blog For: GMTA Rating: 4 Review: "Alien Sex" by 19 Various Authors was a bit dark anthology, sci-fi and fantasy short-story reads. I picked it because of its title ... yes, I did and I found it somewhat interesting... some of it like nothing I have ever heard of or would think of. Like I have said many times .... to get into the minds of some of these authors...leaving me to say WOW! But any way each and everyone of these short stories had some type of anthology that was indeed very different than anything I would ever imagine...yes really pushing how one views the idea of sex and gender relationship are meant to be...a lot of it very uncomfortable. Therefore, I will say right up front, this read is not for the weak minded heart at all. So please beware before you pick up "Alien Sex." Be ready for dark area that will be well presented that may shock, disgust and even offend. There are some stories that are funny...now I will leave you to look for those. So, is this what we humans are really looking for? Well, I will let you decide for yourself. I wouldn't say these are bedtime stories for the soft hearted, however, if you are into this type of read... you have come to the right place. There are nineteen different authors and I am sure you may find one that you like. Are these well written... I would have to say Yes, they are... I think the authors did a good job at relaying what ever it was they set out to say to the reader. Did I understand it all... No, but the authors seemed to know what they were trying to say and do. So, be ready for a good read whether it's a anthology, sci-fi and or fantasy. It's all here for you in "Alien Sex."

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kate K. F.

    Anthologies like this one are why I adore reading them, because every story was different and fascinating. This isn't an easy anthology, because each of the stories pushes at the ideas of how sex and gender relationships are meant to. Sometimes that means that the tales go into places that are uncomfortable, but each one is important. I don't want to go into too great detail about any story as I think this is an anthology that should be read. One thing that all of the stories share is a certain Anthologies like this one are why I adore reading them, because every story was different and fascinating. This isn't an easy anthology, because each of the stories pushes at the ideas of how sex and gender relationships are meant to. Sometimes that means that the tales go into places that are uncomfortable, but each one is important. I don't want to go into too great detail about any story as I think this is an anthology that should be read. One thing that all of the stories share is a certain darkness as they press into the ideas of what and how we desire what we do. This is an anthology that I would recommend to anyone who feels like most of the fiction they read is too set in old ways of doing things. Though with a major warning for issues of consent in some of the stories. When it arises, its handled ably but that does make this anthology one that comes with a definite warning.

  10. 4 out of 5

    L.D.

    This anthology has to be one of the most interesting and well complied books I've read recently. The short stories ranged from topic and style, but all were well written, thought provoking, and explored the sensational and dark topic of sexuality. Although the title is called Alien Sex, the theme of all the stories was to examine the darker side of humanity. These stories contain erotic and sensual elements but they are definitely NOT romance nor do they fit in the erotica category. If you are l This anthology has to be one of the most interesting and well complied books I've read recently. The short stories ranged from topic and style, but all were well written, thought provoking, and explored the sensational and dark topic of sexuality. Although the title is called Alien Sex, the theme of all the stories was to examine the darker side of humanity. These stories contain erotic and sensual elements but they are definitely NOT romance nor do they fit in the erotica category. If you are looking for something along the lines of Fifty Shades of Grey or Twilight then these are not the stories for you. If you would like well written literature by some fantastic sci-fi writers who take pride in their art, then you will find great enjoyment with these stories.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Katrine

    Well, that was certainly a mixed bag! A depressing mixed-bag, as most of these stories are not about sex at all, but rape and sexual assault. Even the usually bright and optimistic (for a given value thereof) Connie Willis delivers a gruesome tale of sexual abuse of underage children. A well-written gruesome tale of sexual abuse of underage children, but even so! The stories that claim to be sex positive are bizarre and bleak, featuring unlikable characters. Intersting, certainly, but not exactl Well, that was certainly a mixed bag! A depressing mixed-bag, as most of these stories are not about sex at all, but rape and sexual assault. Even the usually bright and optimistic (for a given value thereof) Connie Willis delivers a gruesome tale of sexual abuse of underage children. A well-written gruesome tale of sexual abuse of underage children, but even so! The stories that claim to be sex positive are bizarre and bleak, featuring unlikable characters. Intersting, certainly, but not exactly up-beat. And too varied in style to appeal 100% to any given reader. Bleh.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    Don't go into this book expecting erotica or romantic type smut. All the stories in Alien Sex have something to do with sexuality, but are not what I would describe as erotic; this is all speculative fiction. As is to be expected with any collection some stories are much better than others. I really enjoyed a few while I found some other dull. Only a couple really stood out from the others, but I enjoyed the book overall. Don't go into this book expecting erotica or romantic type smut. All the stories in Alien Sex have something to do with sexuality, but are not what I would describe as erotic; this is all speculative fiction. As is to be expected with any collection some stories are much better than others. I really enjoyed a few while I found some other dull. Only a couple really stood out from the others, but I enjoyed the book overall.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn F.

    I read this as part of Alien Sex: 19 Tales by the Masters of Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy A sad story about a used man trying to save himself. 3 stars. I read this as part of Alien Sex: 19 Tales by the Masters of Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy A sad story about a used man trying to save himself. 3 stars.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Josh Hedgepeth

    Alien Sex consists of stories focusing on literal alien sex as well as more mundane taboo forms of sex. This was intriguing, and several of the stories were fun to read. Then there are others that felt unnecessary at best and very problematic at worst. The most problematic story to me was the story that centered on a catholic teacher lusting after his students and the story failing to at least use it to criticize the act. There were other stories that did problematic things but they at least crit Alien Sex consists of stories focusing on literal alien sex as well as more mundane taboo forms of sex. This was intriguing, and several of the stories were fun to read. Then there are others that felt unnecessary at best and very problematic at worst. The most problematic story to me was the story that centered on a catholic teacher lusting after his students and the story failing to at least use it to criticize the act. There were other stories that did problematic things but they at least criticized the acts. Considering it was written in 1990, I thought its handling of gender and sexuality was alright; that is from a queer cis man perspective. I would only recommend this to the extremely curious, and those who don't mind reading some iffy stuff.

  15. 5 out of 5

    ambyr

    Reading this back to back with Fierce Family was an interesting experience that reminded me just how much time has passed (and how much cultural mores have shifted) since 1990. In contrast to the poly and LGBT protagonists of Fierce Family, Alien Sex features an overwhelmingly heteronormative cast. There's one story that suggests aliens might not sort into human gender categories ("Roadside Rescue") and two with LGBT content ("Dancing Chickens," which the author admits draws its understanding of Reading this back to back with Fierce Family was an interesting experience that reminded me just how much time has passed (and how much cultural mores have shifted) since 1990. In contrast to the poly and LGBT protagonists of Fierce Family, Alien Sex features an overwhelmingly heteronormative cast. There's one story that suggests aliens might not sort into human gender categories ("Roadside Rescue") and two with LGBT content ("Dancing Chickens," which the author admits draws its understanding of gay life from the movie Cruising, and "All My Darling Daughters," in which the protagonist thinks of lesbian sex as a thing to do when men aren't available). The rest focus on men, women, and the theoretically unbridgeable gap between them. At times the gender essentialism feels almost quaint. Fierce Family certainly spoke more to how I see the world . . . and yet I can't deny that these are better stories, more strongly written and more likely to linger in my mind. Stand-outs for me include "Her Furry Face" (in which a self-absorbed animal researcher delusionally decides that one of his subjects shares his interest), "The Jamesburg Incubus" (in which a slightly less self-absorbed teacher oddly manages to grow as a person and improve his marriage through becoming an incubus), "Husbands" (more for the strength of its writing than for its content; its musings on whether gender is innate feel very dated now, but I appreciate them as daring for their time), "When the Fathers Go" (which felt like a novella struggling to squash into short story shape but still worked as psychological horror), "All My Darling Daughters" (whose gut-punch ending worked for me despite being almost drowned in made-up slang that never range true to my ears), and "Love and Sex among the Invertebrates." I could have done without "The First Time" (too much body horror for me), "Arousal" (which came across as weirdly slut-slaming in a collection that otherwise does a good job not portraying sex itself as a negative act and instead focusing on the ways people can misuse it), and "Picture Planes" (bad poetry, but at least it was short). And I really wish Datlow had chosen a different Tiptree to include, because I think "And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill’s Side" is one of her weakest stories; I would have voted for "With Delicate Mad Hands" or "Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death." But overall, a very strong collection.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dan Keating

    I saw this collection in a tiny bookstore a year or two ago and bought it, largely because it's called "Alien Sex" and I felt like even if it turned out to be crappy, the novelty of owning such a collection would be worth the few dollars it cost. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be an extremely excellent anthology. Among other things, "Alien Sex" has cemented me as a fan of Ellen Datlow, whose eye for good science fiction has created several other anthologies I've liked quite a bit. High I saw this collection in a tiny bookstore a year or two ago and bought it, largely because it's called "Alien Sex" and I felt like even if it turned out to be crappy, the novelty of owning such a collection would be worth the few dollars it cost. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be an extremely excellent anthology. Among other things, "Alien Sex" has cemented me as a fan of Ellen Datlow, whose eye for good science fiction has created several other anthologies I've liked quite a bit. Highpoints of the collection are Scott Baker's "The Jamesburg Incubus," K.W. Jeter's "The First Time," Connie Willis' "All My Darling Daughters," (the latter two being some of the most disturbing fiction I've ever read), James Tiptree Jr.'s "And I Awoke and Found Me Here On the Cold Hill's Side." That isn't to say the rest aren't good. Larry Niven's infamous essay "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex" humorously explores the mechanics of Superman trying to have sex with a human woman in an academic fashion. Harlan Ellison's "How's the Night Life on Cissalda?" takes the most original and authentically humorous stab at the end of the world since Douglas Adams. Philip Jose Farmer's "The Jungle Rot Kid on the Nod," presents what Tarzan would have looked like had William, not Edgar, Burroughs written it - with predictably chaotic results. Even the collection's less striking stories - such as Pat Cadigan's "Roadside Rescue," Rick Wilber's "War Bride," Lisa Tuttle's "When the Fathers Go," and Lewis Shiner's "Scales" - are solid and entertaining reads, each well worth their time. I definitely recommend picking up a copy.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Delilah

    I picked this book up at a thrift store when I was barely a teen, and the rest is history. But seriously, it remains to this day one of my favorite bizarre compilations, and I wish there were more like it. I reread it every few years just for the nostalgia of growing up with this and Blue Velvet to light the way into the darkness of sexuality I knew was just below the surface out there. This isn't a dark anthology, it is sci-fi, but it's weird, and I love it. I picked this book up at a thrift store when I was barely a teen, and the rest is history. But seriously, it remains to this day one of my favorite bizarre compilations, and I wish there were more like it. I reread it every few years just for the nostalgia of growing up with this and Blue Velvet to light the way into the darkness of sexuality I knew was just below the surface out there. This isn't a dark anthology, it is sci-fi, but it's weird, and I love it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Remer

    Some of these were great, some were good, a couple were bad, and every single one of them was odd. Considering the title and theme of the anthology that was pretty on point but it made for some interesting reading. A few of the stories that stuck with me most for a variety of reasons are Husbands by Lisa Tuttle, Dancing Chickens by Edward Bryant, When the Fathers Go by Bruce McAllister, and All My Darling Daughters by Connie Willis.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brian Palmer

    None of the stories stood out as being amazing -- in fact, a few I felt compelled to skip over, as they were actually somewhat repellent. Nor is the book nearly as 'exciting' as you might think. But it does tackle a concept that's often left unexplored, and there are some good-quality stories in here. Worth reading, but not worth seeking out. None of the stories stood out as being amazing -- in fact, a few I felt compelled to skip over, as they were actually somewhat repellent. Nor is the book nearly as 'exciting' as you might think. But it does tackle a concept that's often left unexplored, and there are some good-quality stories in here. Worth reading, but not worth seeking out.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    The forward to this was by one of my favorite authors, William Gibson, and I don't know what i expected when I picked it up. It isn't exactly vulgar, maybe a beter title would have been "Alien Gender", but I suspect that wouldn't sell the copies. It was enjoyable short fiction all in all. The forward to this was by one of my favorite authors, William Gibson, and I don't know what i expected when I picked it up. It isn't exactly vulgar, maybe a beter title would have been "Alien Gender", but I suspect that wouldn't sell the copies. It was enjoyable short fiction all in all.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Christa

    Fifty Shades of Green

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bernie Gourley

    Alien Sex is an anthology of 19 works of short fiction that revolve around sex, attempted sex, or sex-like behavior with non-human entities. While the title leads one to believe the book is specifically about sex with aliens from outer space, that’s not the case in all these stories. There are also stories where the object of affection is a lesser primate, an incubus, a new species, and a biologically-modeled robot. As one would expect with life forms from other worlds, the “sexual” act is not a Alien Sex is an anthology of 19 works of short fiction that revolve around sex, attempted sex, or sex-like behavior with non-human entities. While the title leads one to believe the book is specifically about sex with aliens from outer space, that’s not the case in all these stories. There are also stories where the object of affection is a lesser primate, an incubus, a new species, and a biologically-modeled robot. As one would expect with life forms from other worlds, the “sexual” act is not always what we would recognize as sex. (e.g. One planet’s whoopee might be another’s mundane act.) As a last warning about what the book is not, it’s not—on the whole—a collection of sci-fi erotica. A number of the stories probably wouldn’t be arousing to the freakiest of super-freak, and I can only assume weren’t meant to be. While there’s a unifying theme, the works included cover a lot of ground in terms of style and format. It’s not even true to say it’s 19 short stories because there’s one poem and one chapter that reads more like an essay (i.e. lacks a narrative structure.) Some of the works are written in the language, tone, and style of erotica, but others aren’t. A few of them read like thinly-veiled commentary on problems in the author’s own love life—i.e. cheating spouses, feeling a lack of attentiveness, or porn addiction. (Each work has a brief author commentary at the end, and a couple of the authors suggest that what was going on in their own life or those close to them shaped the idea.) While the appeal of the works varied significantly, overall this was a fun and intriguing read. The works included are as follows: 1.) Her Furry Face by Leigh Kennedy A primate handler who is in a waning marriage falls for one of his super-intelligent orangutan students. 2.) War Bride by Rick Wilbur The world is going to end tomorrow unless you’ve been taken as a pet by one of the aliens. 3.) How’s the Night Life on Cissalda by Harlan Ellison A man sent to investigate an alien race becomes inextricably sexually entangled with one of the aliens. Eventually, he’s forcibly separated from the alien—of a race that are apparently thin-skinned—and lives to see the descent of mankind. 4.) The Jamesburg Incubus by Scott Baker A teacher in a Catholic school finds that he can make out-of-body nocturnal visits to some of his more attractive female students. 5.) Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex by Larry Niven This reads more like an essay than a short story. The work delves into the physics of why sex with Superman would be fatal for Lois Lane. 6.) The First Time by K.W. Jeter This is a variation on the old coming of age story in which a young man is taken to a brothel for his first sexual encounter. It’s just that this encounter is of the 3rd kind. 7.) The Jungle Rot Kid on the Nod by Philip José Farmer The premise behind the story is what if William S. Burroughs (author of Naked Lunch) had written the Tarzan stories instead of Edgar Rice Burroughs. In essence, it’s a risqué take on Tarzan. 8.) Husbands by Lisa Tuttle After the extinction of husbands, a woman develops a new species to serve the companion role. 9.) When the Fathers Go by Bruce McAllister A husband confesses to his wife that while she was in stasis waiting for him to come back from interplanetary travel, he sired a child with an alien. Furthermore, the child is coming to live with them. But wait there’s more… 10.) Dancing Chickens by Edward Bryant This story reads more like an overly elaborate joke than a short story. It begins with the question, “What do aliens want?” and ends with a pun punch line. That being said, the lead is an unappealing but intriguing character. 11.) Roadside Rescue by Pat Cadigan A stranded motorist is made an indecent proposal by a chauffeur on behalf of his alien employer. 12.) Omnisexual by Geoff Ryman This is about an intergalactic brothel, but it’s the story in the collection that reads most like literary fiction—meant in both the best and worst possible ways. 13.) All My Darling Daughters by Connie Willis While there are several really good works in this anthology, I’d have to rank this as my favorite—if only by a narrow victory. A sassy, sexually-liberated co-ed has her sex life torn asunder when all the young men come back from break with little, furry creatures in their possession and no interest in the female student body. Besides a neat concept for a story (though it may be implying that men are overwhelmingly rapey), the author does a great job of character development making the lead character both interesting and likable, while juxtaposing her with her apparently goodie two-shoes roommate. 14.) Arousal by Richard Christian Matheson A woman who cheats on her husband with a stranger is cursed with permanent post-coital euphoria that swamps all interest in her family and life in general. 15.) Scales by Lewis Shiner A woman’s husband is having an affair with what she thinks is a student assistant, but who turns out to be a soul-sucking seductress from the netherworld. 16.) Saving the World at the New Moon Hotel by Roberta Lannes A woman waiting for her spouse to meet her at a bar to apologize for his infidelities decides to get a little herself. The man she hooks up with turns out not to be a man at all. 17.) And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill’s Side James Tiptree, Jr. An experienced man offers advice to a newbie to get away before he ends up seduced by the aliens. This story talks about sex, but is about something much broader. 18.) Picture Planes Michaela Roessner This one is a poem about alien sex, rather than a story. It stands alone as the only non-prose entry. 19.) Love and Sex Among the Invertebrates Pat Murphy In a post-apocalyptic world, a dying scientist--who no longer believes in science--creates robots capable of engaging in the act. The creatures she makes are based on a range of real animals which are written about interspersed with the story-line. I’d recommend this book for those who enjoy science fiction. One need not be into erotica to enjoy the stories and, the more one is seeking erotica, the less appeal the book may have. It’s a collection of big name writers in science-fiction, and the anthology’s diversity makes it particularly interesting.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Liz Derrington

    When discussing what sex in future and/or distant worlds might look like, it makes sense to tackle issues of consent—how can affirmative consent be established between beings that might struggle to communicate? To put it bluntly, then, there was a lot more rape, and moments of questionable consent, in this collection than I anticipated. Connie Willis’s “All My Darling Daughters” is certainly the most brutal on that point, and I wish I’d known that ahead of time, but in the end I’m not sorry I re When discussing what sex in future and/or distant worlds might look like, it makes sense to tackle issues of consent—how can affirmative consent be established between beings that might struggle to communicate? To put it bluntly, then, there was a lot more rape, and moments of questionable consent, in this collection than I anticipated. Connie Willis’s “All My Darling Daughters” is certainly the most brutal on that point, and I wish I’d known that ahead of time, but in the end I’m not sorry I read it. My favorite story was probably Pat Cadigan’s “Roadside Rescue”—while some of the stories in the collection show their age in occasionally awkward ways, “Roadside Rescue” feels fresh and current. A fascinating collection overall!

  24. 5 out of 5

    David (דוד)

    Average rating: 3.0

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    10/10 Rating anthologies can be hard but this one was fascinating from start to finish. Great diversity in writers, subject matter (takes on the theme), approaches, and tone. Each one was thought provoking and enjoyable.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ghilimei

    Disappointing, definitely not as cool as I expected it to be; I think some of the stories are just plain awful and I say this trying not to offend anybody who might have liked them. To me, most of the stories are just sad and depressing, while others try too hard to be shocking and ended up making me nauseous. With only 7 out of 19 stories worth my time, I give this collection one lone star (maybe one and a half not to be unfair to the ones I actually liked). I only really liked War Bride by Rick Disappointing, definitely not as cool as I expected it to be; I think some of the stories are just plain awful and I say this trying not to offend anybody who might have liked them. To me, most of the stories are just sad and depressing, while others try too hard to be shocking and ended up making me nauseous. With only 7 out of 19 stories worth my time, I give this collection one lone star (maybe one and a half not to be unfair to the ones I actually liked). I only really liked War Bride by Rick Wilber (would have liked it to be a novel or a novella, not such a short story) and When the Fathers Go by Bruce McAllister. Mr. McAllister is clearly much better at this than most of the others authors in this collection as it is a known fact that it can be more difficult to write a really good short story than it is to write a good full length novel. His story was also sad and quite heart-breaking, but it clearly belonged to a superior league of writing. Some other stories I moderately enjoyed reading: The Jamesburg Incubus by Scott Baker is longer, more intricate and overall a nice read, but still not as interesting as I expected given the good reviews it got from other readers. Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex by Larry Niven is a geeky, entertaining little mock-article about what would actually happen if Superman tried to have sex and procreate with a human female (which made me laugh more by actually thinking of the silly, physically-impossible-for-almost-the-same-reasons Twilight sex S. Meyer pushed on her fans). Roadside Rescue by Pat Cadigan is a very interesting tale of inter-species rape without the victim knowing what's actually happening until it's all over. It raises some great question marks about the difference in perception when it comes to love and sex and touches the fetish issue - is it really sex if you're the only one calling it that? Scales by Lewis Shiner is a tale about a family torn apart by a succubus. I quite enjoyed this one as well and it would probably make a good psychological thriller movie. Saving the World at the New Mood Motel by Roberta Lannes is a very light, quite funny tale of alien sex in a very human context.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Raya

    I had a copy of this book some time ago and over the course of some years, and almost as many moves, it disappeared along with much of my library. (Can I get a moment of silence?) I promptly forgot about it and somehow, it popped into my orbit again. Ordered a copy and I'm glad I did. Ellen Datlow is a legendary editor, and I love her introductions to each story; some were stories that she first encountered while at Omni Magazine, and for one reason or other, slipped through her fingers. Some of I had a copy of this book some time ago and over the course of some years, and almost as many moves, it disappeared along with much of my library. (Can I get a moment of silence?) I promptly forgot about it and somehow, it popped into my orbit again. Ordered a copy and I'm glad I did. Ellen Datlow is a legendary editor, and I love her introductions to each story; some were stories that she first encountered while at Omni Magazine, and for one reason or other, slipped through her fingers. Some of the stories literally deal with sex with aliens (War Bride, How's the Nightlife on Cissalda?, When the Fathers Go), some deal with sex that is weird or unusual (The Jamesburg Incubus, Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex, Roadside Rescue), and some are explicit and unsettling (Her Furry Face, All My Darling Daughters, Dancing Chickens). The only one I found completely uninteresting was Omnisexual because it was more like a junkie's fever dream than a story. My fave was How's the Nightlife on Cissalda? by Harlan Ellison (ALL HAIL HARLAN!) It was weird and funny and just a joy to read. Second fave was The Jungle Rot Kid On the Nod by Philip Jose Farmer. It's a re-telling of some of Tarzan as written by William S. Burroughs, and just for the premise alone, it won my heart. That it had great writing and wit? Bonus. The last story, Love and Sex Among the Invertebrates by Pat Murphy was a fitting end to the collection and was heartbreaking, then hopeful. I applaud Datlow for taking chances and including some of the riskier stories here.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Some clunkers, some gross-outs, and some stars. Best finds: The Jamesburg Incubus has a strange, pleasantly surprising ending for a classic sex-demon tale. When the Fathers Go is trippy while remaining rooted in human emotion and experience. All My Darling Daughters has a shining use of vernacular, manages to do a boarding school setting without getting bogged down in details, and has a horrifying conclusion. Stays with you. Love and Sex Among the Invertebrates is a great ending to the collection. It Some clunkers, some gross-outs, and some stars. Best finds: The Jamesburg Incubus has a strange, pleasantly surprising ending for a classic sex-demon tale. When the Fathers Go is trippy while remaining rooted in human emotion and experience. All My Darling Daughters has a shining use of vernacular, manages to do a boarding school setting without getting bogged down in details, and has a horrifying conclusion. Stays with you. Love and Sex Among the Invertebrates is a great ending to the collection. It tickled my fancy not only because of its whimsical take on evolution and the author's shout-out to the irreplaceable Loren Eiseley, but also because its premise involves a nuclear attack on San Jose, my hometown, which is a recurring nightmare of mine. The protagonist is unusual and expresses her emotions and memories elegantly while relating them to her current actions and experiences. Very fun and I look forward to picking up more of Pat Murphy's books. Clunkers: The Jungle Rot Kid on the Nod: Maybe this means I don't like William Burroughs, since this parody of "Naked Lunch" and Edgar Rice Burroughs' "Tarzan" was unbearable. Husbands adopts a biological view of gender and casts women as incompetent scientists and poor investigators, with a muddled point to boot. Dancing Chickens was just stupid. A dumb idea with no bite.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Stefanie

    Okay, maybe a 2.5. This collection is more *weird* and horrific than anything else, I think. So if you're down for that, and a bit of a historical perspective (it's mostly a collection of stories written in the 80s, with a few older pieces. It's heavily hetero-influenced; that dates it for sure) then this could be worth your time. There were a few standouts: "All My Darling Daughters" by Connie Willis was far and away my favorite. Really hitting the horror note, but so well. "Husbands" by Lisa Tutt Okay, maybe a 2.5. This collection is more *weird* and horrific than anything else, I think. So if you're down for that, and a bit of a historical perspective (it's mostly a collection of stories written in the 80s, with a few older pieces. It's heavily hetero-influenced; that dates it for sure) then this could be worth your time. There were a few standouts: "All My Darling Daughters" by Connie Willis was far and away my favorite. Really hitting the horror note, but so well. "Husbands" by Lisa Tuttle offered an interesting take on evolution, with a sociological overview, while "Love and Sex Among the Invertebrates" by Pat Murphy offered one with a psychological (personal) overview. "And I Awoke And Found Me Here On the Cold Hill's Side" by James Tiptree is a classic for a reason, taking on humanity's potential destructive desire for the other. And boy, while I can't say I necessarily liked "Her Furry Face" by Leigh Kennedy, I sure as hell am going to remember it. Quite a stomach-turner, and it opens the collection! Bold move. I would love to see this concept of "alien sex" updated for modern times. And made, ummmm, sexier. I think I might like it more.

  30. 4 out of 5

    omgreylo

    I was grabbing almost all the Ellen Datlow books I could, and when I got to this title, I thought it would be an interesting take on aliens and sex. Come on, it's intriguing. I didn't read any of the intro, synopsis, etc. Just dove straight into the first story. And I clearly misunderstood the term "alien". I was thinking "outer space". Not "unfamiliar". This first story, Her Furry Face, is about (view spoiler)[this guy who teaches orangutans how to sign, and eventually develops sexual feelings fo I was grabbing almost all the Ellen Datlow books I could, and when I got to this title, I thought it would be an interesting take on aliens and sex. Come on, it's intriguing. I didn't read any of the intro, synopsis, etc. Just dove straight into the first story. And I clearly misunderstood the term "alien". I was thinking "outer space". Not "unfamiliar". This first story, Her Furry Face, is about (view spoiler)[this guy who teaches orangutans how to sign, and eventually develops sexual feelings for one of them. (hide spoiler)] Now, bestiality is not something I completely reject. In Family Guy, the family dog Brian sleeps with a number of human women, one of them being the teenage daughter Meg. And no one said shit about it. I thought it was funny. In this case, it was sort of funny, mostly because it was not what I expected. There are a few hits, but a lot of misses in this anthology. And of course, actual alien sex.

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