OFF LIMITS: Tales of Alien Sex by Ellen--Ed. Datlow

OFF LIMITS: Tales of Alien Sex

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Twenty-one entries, most appearing for the first time, reprising Omni editor Datlow's 1990 anthology, Alien Sex. The best is a reprint: Robert Silverberg's ""The Reality Trip,"" about a shy, unhappy alien hiding out in a servomechanism that looks like a man. He tries to escape the advances of an exuberant hippie who writes hilariously awful poetry, then falls in love with her. Sherry Coldsmith turns in the lyrical ""Lucifer of Blue,"" a story told from the point of view of a prostitute serving the Loyalists in the Spanish Civil War. Here, the alien is a slimy, satanic customer representing fascists or maybe just war. Susan Wade's ""The Tattooist"" concerns a woman who reluctantly tattoos an alien penis--the moral being, no doubt, that all penises are alien. That's the conceit here: Sex itself is what's alien. Unfortunately, though, most of the gathered tales are mediocre: John Kaline's ""Dolly Sodom"" is just a transcribed dream, while Joe Haldeman and Jane Yolen's collaboration, ""Sextraterrestrials,"" is not a story at all but some poetry the two wrote while playing around on the Interact. Other pieces, such as Scott Bradfield's ""The Queen of the Apocalypse,"" show promise but seem unfinished. It's as though Datlow were bored with her smooth productions of the past and wanted a more experimental feel. The result, however, is extremely uneven.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1996
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: St. Martin's