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In this alternate history, the Roman Empire survives and discovers America, inciting a clash of warriors, worlds and gods.
The Aliens have landed, but far from being the beginning of a new golden era, as is so often envisioned by science fiction, the encounter proves to be a massive disappointment. The initial meeting happens just the way Hollywood B-movies have always envisioned it, right down to the hubcap shaped flying saucer landing on the front lawn of the White House. The aliens look just like us. They talk just like us. They even have flying saucers filled with antiquated human technologies, like punch card-operated mainframes. The reality of aliens is so banal that their existence triggers a series of suicides throughout America's UFOlogists. The story of their arrival is told through the eyes Brian Johnson, a literature professor whose life is turned upside down when one of the aliens subsumes his wife's identity. As Johnson is confronted with increasingly disorienting losses of time, he is soon forced to confront the fact that identity, memory, and even reality may be more fluid than humans have ever imagined. After the Saucers Landed is a masterpiece of slipstream, a genre defined by cognitive dissonance. As such, it is anything but a straightforward narrative. Douglas Lain tells the story of humanity's first contact with an alien race in a non-linear fashion, through a rapid series of increasingly disorienting jumps to imply a loss of time in a manner similar to that of Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five or Christopher Nolan’s film Memento. That can make the book a challenging read at times, but the gambit ultimately proves very satisfying. The Google generation will love the way Lain litters his novel with references calculated to send readers running to Wikipedia. Set in the sixties and seventies, the book drops references to art, B-movie cinema, literature, along with sixties and seventies culture on almost every page. Meanwhile, readers of vintage science fiction will find Lain's writing style familiar ground, resembling the simpler, more sincere narrative voice of the masters of the golden age of science fiction like Isaac Asimov, Alfred Bester, and E. E. Smith.