Title: How’s the Night Life on Cissalda?
Author: Harlan Ellison
In: Alien Sex (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Aliens, Lust, Science fiction
Dates read: 22nd September 2019
Format: Short story
5th sentence, 74th page: Capote’s voice instantly dropped three octaves.
The creatures of Cissalda just want someone to love. Again and again and again. In the most intensive of ways. There’s a fairly high chance that they’ll just love their partners to death…
This is so completely disturbed. And I LOVED it. There was this wonderfully sassy, sarcastic and fun voice to the narration of this story. One that helped make this feel a little less disturbed, and a little more plausible. It was still incredibly disturbed, and I still felt slightly dirty for even reading it. But I also loved that it had me laughing out loud because it was truly out there.
Sex seems to be an incredibly potent topic, one that “makes the world go round”. Alright, it kind of does, because without it, we wouldn’t have the next generation… but it’s still a kind of difficult topic to approach. I read a lot of sex stories in my romances, but they’re about romance and the ideal which is completely unrealistic. This tale on the other hand was about pure, unadulterated lust. An alien race arriving on earth, and literally sexing its inhabitants to death. Lust and sex do have their downfalls…
This short story felt like a bit of a warning about how we let sex and lust take over our lives. The one person who isn’t going to succumb to the carnal death slated to the others doesn’t because he told the truth. In doing so, he betrayed his lover from Cissalda, which is probably bad, but I kind of like that he survives because he told the truth. Even if it means he’s about to die alone and abandoned…