Countless stories have been written about this first meeting, this first established contact between aliens and human beings. Who are they? Where are they from? What do they look like? And more importantly, will they come in peace or war?
This unique collection of short stories deals with that imagined first contact. It gathers both well known writers in the field as well as lesser known authors whose work nevertheless speak for themselves. Are all meetings successful? It ultimately depends on how we define success.
In Poul Anderson's "Green Thumb," for example, man has successfully colonized a planet that they had thought uninhabited. But is it really devoid of sentient life? Or maybe man was just incapable of seeing them in their form?
The same selective perception can be seen in Marion Zimmer Bradley's "The Wind People." An explorer ship landed on an Earth-like planet. In the months that they stayed there, they had not met with any native beings. One pregnant crew member who knew that her child would not survive the trip in space decided to stay behind and raise her son on the planet. In her years of living there, she could sense some kind of presence--there one moment, gone the next. Was she going mad, or were there, in fact, native inhabitants on the planet that she had colonized by herself? Indeed, it can be frustrating, on both humanity's and the alien's side, if somehow, there is no contact made, despite much effort at communication.
This unique collection of stories show that our fascination with aliens already started decades ago, when the possibility of conquering space was first entertained. These tales, published in the 1950s, reflected the anxiety and excitement of the times at meeting our neighbor in space. Until made real, this idea of a first contact will continue to fascinate the imagination not only of SF writers, but of anyone in general who is convinced that we are not alone in the universe.