Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Book Review: Illegal Alien

This weekend I tore through "Illegal Alien" by Robert J Sawyer. Sawyer is one of those authors where I can recommend absolutely everything they've done. This one is no exception.

An alien craft comes to Earth, orbits once inside the atmosphere, and lands in the ocean. Their ship was damaged and they need some help repairing it. In exchange, we get any technology that's developed in the process of making the damaged part. But it's going to take us two years to get the job finished. In the meantime there's some disused dorms at a major university that can serve as their home on Earth.

Originally, we only met the one alien. As emissary we chose sort of a southern, good ol' boy version of Carl Sagan who stays in the dorms with them when not filming his TV series. After a year and change the emissary turns up dead. His leg sliced off, ribs torn open, and body parts missing. Since most of the aliens were at a lecture and security was tight around the building, the main suspect is that first alien who landed in the ocean.

The DA wants to run for Governor so he's pushing the case. The federal government wants the case dismissed because they want good relations with the aliens. Being an election year, they can't really interfere with a murder trial at the state level. But a leading civil rights lawyer can take the trial in exchange for a small percentage of the profits from any tech developed from the alien tech.

Amid all this they have to deal with people who think the aliens are devils and black preachers who insist that the death penalty be pursued for the alien to show that black murders aren't treated worse than aliens.

It's a good book that flowed well, read easy, and was engaging enough to keep me up late reading it.

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