I am a big fan of Robert J. Sawyer and consider him the best scifi writer available right now. This book fall in his middle of the road efforts (I give it 3 1/2 stars). Having read such excellent works such as the Neanderthal series, Calculating G-d, Mindscan and Factoring Humanity, I was a little bit disappointed by this one which is more a like a scifi version of a John Grisham courtroom novel.
A group of aliens lands on Earth and their ship needs repairs for them to leave. Little is known about them or their actual intentions. In the meantime a popular TV personality is murdered apparently by one of the aliens. The LA District Attorney decides to prosecute the accussed alien calling for the death penalty. An aide to the President tries to help the alien and hires one of the top criminal lawyers who had experience working on the OJ Simpson trial.
The book then turns into a courtroom drama with many pages devoted to boring court procedures (note: it worked real well in Mindscan but this approach falls short in this novel). You expect the other aliens to revolt but they all seem ambivilent to the whole situation.
Not to give away the ending but the case is somewhat solved similar to an episode of the original Star Trek series (no doubt, Sawyer got his idea from it since he constantly reference Star Trek throughout the book).
I definately would not recommend starting with this book if you are new to Sawyer but if, like me, you want to read all his works then you should definately read this.
Editor John Campbell once challenged his writers, "Write me a story about an organism that thinks as well as a man, but not like a man". In "Illegal Alien", celebrated Canadian sci-fi author Robert J Sawyer has risen to the challenge and created the Tosoks, a technologically advanced non-humanoid alien species complete with personal foibles, taboos, culture, language and religious beliefs, even thinking patterns and behaviour that reflect both that culture and the physical constraints … more
I first got on this blog to discuss my first passion which is books. Since I have gotten on I find that books are only a piece of this blog and I can discuss just about anything that comes to mind. It … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
The trial of an alien accused of murdering an Earthman. The accused is a crewman of a damaged spaceship which landed on Earth, and the victim was a scientist sent to talk to them. Evidence reveals the ship was on a mission to destroy Earth, but some crewmen rebelled against the order.