Picks and Pans Review: Alien Sex

updated 07/30/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/30/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

edited by Ellen Datlow

You have to love that title. And when this collection of 19 science-fiction and fantasy stories stays true to its premise of interspecies coupling, it's quite entertaining.

In Harlan Ellison's wickedly witty "How's the Night Life on Cissalda," a tempo-naut (time-and-space traveler) returns to Earth from a parallel universe locked in an, urn, embrace with a creature so lovable that it and its kind quickly bring the entire planet to its knees. Rick Wilber's "War Bride" puts a nice twist on the idea of romance with occupying forces. Here the conquest is of an ex-pro basketball player; when his blue-skinned lover and the rest of the race she belongs to, the Pashi, blast off in the morning, they're leaving only rubble behind. Connie Willis's "All My Darling Daughters" presents the amusing rantings of a randy outer-space college coed, written in an engaging Clockwork Orange-like style.

Datlow, a former fiction editor at Omni magazine, strays too often from the premise. Some stories here lack sex. others lack aliens, and many are merely stylistic exercises. Then again, a book titled Non-Alien Abstract Celibacy wouldn't have had much of a future. (Dutlon, $ 18.95)

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