A first novel from New Zealand playwright McCarten describes the trouble that ensues when aliens impregnate an entire town. —It was some time on Saturday night after work but before closing time down at the pub that Delia Chapman saw a spaceman.— And that is where all her troubles began. Delia is a 16-year-old factory hand in little Opunake, New Zealand, a star center on the local basketball team, and'she swears—a virgin. But she is definitely pregnant, so her virginity comes under some scrutiny. There is no question, of course, that something is amiss: on the evening that she claims to have been abducted by the aliens, Delia was found wandering about in a highly disoriented state by Phillip Sullivan, the mayor's nephew. Now Phillip, in town for a visit, has become by Delia and begins his own investigation of her claims. Meanwhile, Father O—Brien, the local priest, is asked to help verify the claims of a virgin birth, but Delia explains that she was raped by the aliens (—They don—t do it like we do. It's completely different. They do it with heat waves—). This is unsettling enough. But soon another local girl claims to be carrying an alien baby, and then another, and eventually every girl in town has an alien on the way. Not only that, but strange crop circles appear, along with inexplicably dead livestock. What's going on here? A mammoth hoax? Mass hysteria? Or an actual alien invasion? Anyone who's ever lived in the country can tell you that rural life is not as sedate as it appears, but McCarten's story is like something straight out of a fantasy—and a thoroughly engrossing one at that. Bright, witty, and hilarious: McCarten knows exactly how far he can push the envelope, and he doesn—t let up until the very last minute. More, please.
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