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A Few Words About
Early in November 1997, Amy Corley, my publicist at Ace Science
Fiction, asked me to put together a few comments about
Illegal Alien in my own words.
Here's what I had to say:
Illegal Alien is a courtroom drama with an
It's set in the present day. An alien starship from Alpha
Centauri the nearest star system to our own arrives at
Earth with seven beings on board. They are welcomed with open
arms, and tour the world accompanied by an international
entourage of scientists, including Cletus Calhoun, whose
down-home charm has made his PBS astronomy series Great
Balls of Fire! an international hit. But when Calhoun is
brutally murdered, suspicion falls on one of the aliens.
Who has jurisdiction over an alien being? Can an alien get a
fair trial from a human jury? Is an alien mentally competant, by
human standards, to stand trial? If the alien is found guilty,
should the death penalty be invoked? And what will the
consequences for Earth be if the alien is convicted?
A prominent African-American civil rights attorney is retained to
defend the alien. The "trial of the Centauri" is even bigger
than O. J. Simpson's "trial of the century," and the courtroom
pyrotechnics are hopefully every bit as riveting. Along the way,
my book gently explores racism in the courts and the nature of
Illegal Alien should appeal not just to
science-fiction fans, but also to fans of mystery fiction I've
won both the top American award in SF (the
Nebula), and the top Canadian award in
mystery fiction (the
Arthur Ellis Award), so I've got a pretty
good idea how to keep both audiences happy.
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