Happy Easter everybody! In keeping with my commitment to begin with Forgotten Books, stories that were fresh, wonderful, ripping good reads from years gone by, that, for one reason or another, didn’t get the coverage I felt they deserved, I’ve decided to begin with an obscure novel, Illegal Aliens.
Imagine this plot.
Sadistic alien criminals with nasty intentions land on Earth. The interstellar cops arrive to arrest the renegades and retrieve their starship. Realizing that humanity (a discordant, primitive species) has not only experienced a shocking Close Encounter, it has gotten its hands on enough alien technology to pull itself up and leap out into interstellar space, they throw up a planetary blockade to keep us grounded till we’re “sufficiently evolved.” However, the united powers of Earth manage to build and crew a single starship, sending it through the blockade in a desperate attempt to find and get the attention of the interstellar government with the authority to lift the quarantine and let humanity join the great host of civilizations we now know to be out there and waiting for us.
Sounds fairly straightforward, yes? Perhaps a subtle twist on the standard First Contact stories.
Springing from the demented imaginations of Phil Foglio and Nick Pollotta, it’s anything but. As an example:
Squee was the last known surviving member of his lizardoid race, the rest of his homeworld population having gone on to evolve into a higher species while he was touring the galaxy with Leader Idow. Nowadays, Squee, in a valiant attempt to resurrect his old species, seduced and mated with every egg-laying, cold-blooded female he could find. Current medical theories claimed that such interspecies breedings were impossible. Yet Squee succeeded again and again in impregnating his alien lovers, and they subsequently gave birth to tiny duplicates of Squee–who promptly evolved into a higher species. This bothered the poor lizard no end.
Phil Foglio is now known as the comic writer and artist responsible for Girl Genius, a series of steampunk humor graphic novels, but Illegal Aliens, written in 1989 and released by TSR Games’ house-press, partakes more of his earlier Buck Godot work. Nick Pollotta wrote several supernatural-humor stories reminiscent of Men in Black. Although Illegal Aliens is no longer directly available (used copies sell for $50-$60, a signed mint-condition for $250), it is available for $2.99 on the Kindle through Amazon.com.
Check it out, but don’t read it in public (spontaneous snickers, chuckles, and hoots tends to draw funny looks or the dread question “What are you reading?”). Great literature, it isn’t. But it is great fun.