There’s something hilarious in the accounts of alien abductions by “UFOs” that proliferated decades ago following the infamous Roswell incident. Yet it should be no surprise that many Americans continue to credit these reports even after the US government’s recently released study on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. After all, millions believe the most absurd nonsense about the lopsided result of the 2020 presidential election and other fantasies propagated by the defeated candidate. So, it’s fitting that a science fiction author might tackle the subject with humor. Peter Cawdron does that in Alien Space Tentacle Porn, and the book is a surprising contrast with his other work. But it’s one of the least successful efforts in his long-running series of standalone novels about First Contact.
Centuries of alien abductions
The conceit on which Cawdron builds his tale is straightforward. Extraterrestrials have, indeed, arrived on Earth, and in fact have been here for centuries. From time to time, it seems, there have been alien abductions. But the aliens hide behind the absurd reports of anal penetration and other silliness that no one with any sense could possibly believe. These reports, it would seem, constitute “Alien Space Tentacle Porn.” And Cawdron unaccountably writes as though the novel is about pornography in general, introducing the term in a “Synopsis” at the beginning and commenting on it at length in “About this book” at the end.
No tentacles on these aliens
But the story itself is suspenseful and amusing. Joe Connors wakes up in a 1950s hospital suffering from temporary amnesia. He is haunted by an image of a “naked man running through Central Park yelling something about alien space tentacles.” But it’s not the 1950s anymore. It’s the present day. Joe really has encountered aliens. And the aliens have human form, with no tentacles in sight, whatever their true nature might be. In fact, the two aliens he deals with, Sharon and Mark, appear to be perfectly normal, even attractive human beings.
Somehow, Joe’s unsolicited adventure with Mark and Sharon ends up capturing the attention of DARPA. Just in case you’re unaware, that’s the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency—the Feds, in other words. The Pentagon. There’s torture involved. And it seems that Joe’s mission is to convince them that there really aren’t any aliens around.
Of course, all this comes to light in the course of a roller-coaster tale full of twists and turns and surprises. It’s funny. But in the final analysis it’s hard to make much sense of what seems to be a statement about pornography.
Alien Space Tentacle Porn (First Contact #8) by Peter Cawdron (2015) 166 pages ★★★★☆
For more reading
This is one of the novels in Peter Cawdron’s insightful First Contact book series.
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- The ultimate guide to the all-time best science fiction novels
- Great sci-fi novels reviewed: my top 10 (plus 100 runners-up)
- The five best First Contact novels
- Seven new science fiction authors worth reading
- The top 10 dystopian novels reviewed here
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