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Wergen: The Alien Love War Paperback – November 9, 2021
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The Wergens: a highly sophisticated alien race biochemically infatuated with humans. They crave us, they need us, while we need their technology.
Humanity does what it always does. We exploit them. Until, that is, the Wergens find a way to circumvent their addiction...
From the towering skyscrapers of Earth to the methane lakes of Titan, from the ice-plains of Pluto to distant alien gas giants with steel-crushing gravity, Wergen: The Alien Love War explores personal stories of unrequited love set against the cosmic backdrop of the conflict between the two species.
Mercurio D. Rivera's Wergen stories have wowed readers and critics alike. Now, for the first time, the full arc of the human/Wergen relations is revealed: the conflict, cooperation, love, betrayal, and more.
"Mindblowing hard science fiction" - N.K. Jemisin, Hugo Award Winning Author
"Rivera gradually introduces a surprising level of ambivalence and complexity. What initially seems benevolent becomes quite the opposite, before evolving again. There are twists followed by more twists, heightening a powerful sense of alienation and menace. The conceptual and ethical switchbacks... are dizzying." - Tor.com
"Fascinating and satisfying... exploring the nature of love. Is love something deeply spiritual or simply the result of chemical reactions in the brain?" - The Fix
"The mystery of love's origins and endings are universal for humans and aliens alike, something that transcends mere biochemistry." - Tangent Online
"Rivera has shown great invention here and written something that will touch you deeply." - SF Revu
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- Publisher : Newcon Press (November 9, 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 278 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1914953010
- ISBN-13 : 978-1914953019
- Item Weight : 12.9 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.83 x 0.63 x 8.27 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,925,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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That theme: Humanity's first contact with an advanced and humanoid alien species known as the Wergen.
If you want to avoid spoilers, please stop reading now. You are advised to buy the book. Come back to this review later, after you've read it.
So, with that out of the way, the Wergen have two defining characteristics. First, they are human-like, by which I mean that they are not much more intelligent than we are, they are of roughly human stature, they live and die much as humans do, and their manner of reproduction, though strange, is not much stranger than the reproductive habits of certain insects. The second characteristic is that they deeply and selflessly love humanity. This love -- which is, I might add, Platonic -- is so profound that the Wergen all become besotted fools in the presence of humans; everything they do is slavish; their manner is entirely saccharine. Spend a few days in the company of Wergen, and you will surely come to despise them.
But, to the reader, the Wergen seem rather endearing. At first. They're like love-struck puppies.
The first few stories make one think about the nature of aesthetics -- is it truly universal? Do they indeed love us because they find our form graceful? If so, why not the tiger or the mantis? Why do they seem to love the deformed? How would they react to humans on video?
Another thing that comes to mind is rationality. Advanced species in science fiction are typically hyper-rational and superior, rarely even condescending to a human level. Humans -- less than perfectly rational at the best of times -- are frequently portrayed as toddlers on the galactic stage: Flighty, unpredictable, frequently a danger to themselves and others, and ultimately to be handled either delicately or very brutally. But the Wergen... well... let's just say that the Wergen are perhaps the most emotional and least rational advanced species in SF literature. They make humans look like paragons of detached rationality.
All of this is explained, because there's a dark twist, and it's laid out in one of the stories that is original to this collection. It's not the inevitable human-Wergen war. You could have seen that one coming a mile away, from the very first story, or even just from this review. No, it's that...
...Really, stop reading here if you want to avoid the spoliation of the entire book...
It's that the Wergen are shape-shifters, and they've got a very complicated evolutionary strategy to go with their remarkably pliant physical phenotype. Suffice it to say that they must, necessarily, wreak havoc on every advanced species they come into contact with. (Fortunately those encounters are apparently not too frequent.)
This forces one to think about whether such a thing is truly possible. Would such a strategy, which must be costly from an evolutionary perspective, be conserved if thousands of years pass between every instance of its employment? And what does it say about the nature of genetics itself, that such an advanced society is quite literally a slave to its genes?
There's much more I could say. This is a thought-provoking and fascinating book. And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention what an excellent writer Rivera is. He knows how to write a story that moves along at a good pace, he shows rather than tells, and his prose is never phony or pretentious.
You should buy this book.
Be prepared to encounter: ice plains, water walls, helium rain, planetary antibodies, alien sensations and your own responses. And, of course, perplexing questions that arise regarding aspects of love--innocent and unwholesome, welcome and unwelcome, human and alien.
Adjust your biorhythm to a new magnetic sphere, sit back with a warm cup of sap, and enjoy.