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THE LOVELY UGLY
Carol Emshwiller

Carol Emshwiller tells us that “PS Publishers in England is doing a sort of ‘Ace double’ collection of my short stories. One side will be my antiwar stories and the other my regular tales.” In her latest story for Asimov’s, Carol explores the divide between the alien and the human and in the process spins a deeply disturbing tale about who, exactly, is . . .

We knew they were on their way long before they got here. Several years ago we saw the speck moving toward us.We said, Oh, no, not more smart people . . . if people they are . . . if smart . . . (but they do have to be fairly intelligent to get here in the first place) . . . but we’re already full up. There are limits to how big a population a world can hold comfortably, and so that everybody has fun.
We were watching from the trees when they landed. They took us for creatures both ignorant and wild.We played into that role, howling and jumping up and down. Our hooting was really our laughing. They looked so funny we couldn’t help it so we hooted to cover it up.
Then we glided out from the trees and moved closer to the clearing where they had set up camp. That was a clearing we had prepared for them ahead of time. Plenty long enough for their lander. From our experiences with space flight we knew the exact dimensions they would need.We also knew they’d like it near a stream.We picked a little stream, not suitable for navigation.We didn’t realize until they’d landed and we saw who they were, that they’d need a path before they could reach the water.
We pretended to get tamer and tamer.We pretended to accept their gifts of beads and bracelets. Couldn’t they see those would just hold us down?
And they brought what they call dogs. They use them for all sorts of things, including warning them that we’re about to glide in.

Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine: 30th Anniversary Anthology

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"A truly extraordinary sampler of tales.... Every piece in this superlative collection is a nugget of pure science fiction gold."

-Publishers Weekly, starred review

This anniversary anthology presented in chronological order showcases 30 years of excellent stories published in the legendary magazine, Asimov’s Science Fiction. Asimov’s Science Fiction was founded in 1977. As one of science fiction’s most influential and prolific writers, Isaac Asimov wanted to provide a home for new SF writers—a new magazine for young writers could break into. Asimov’s Science Fiction remains that home, as well as the publisher of some of the field’s best known authors.

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