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The Bellinghman
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#166 Algis Budrys: Hard Landing

Algis Budrys: Hard Landing

Paperback: 199 pages
Publisher: Questar (Mar 1993)
ISBN-10: 0446362352
ISBN-13: 978-0446362351
Category(ies): SF

An odd one, this one. It looks and feels rather old fashioned, despite that copyright date - the first part could be straight out of the 50s, and its initial setting (a pre-Roswell UFO crash and its aftermath) would have fit right in with that era.

The story, as such, is fairly simple. A 'flying saucer' crewed with aliens who look almost, but not entirely, just like humans, makes a crash landing on the East Coast of the US in the late 1940s. 4 survivors escape, and separate, knowing that they've little chance of rescue, and that their best hope is to hide among the human population. And that's what they do. The book is a reconstruction of the rest of the lives of those survivors.

I rather enjoyed it. The initial old-fashioned feel is deceptive - there are quite modern story telling techniques being used. Seeing the same events from multiple viewpoints leads to the reader reassessing what he thought had happened. The back blurb is probably the worst I've read for ages, combining a misleading idea of the actual story with deep spoilers - I'm glad I didn't actually read it before the book.

An odd, short, experimental mixture of golden-age and post-new-wave.
Tags: books, reviews
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