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Saucer Country vol 1: Run

Saucer Country vol 1: Run back

Paul Cornell & Ryan Kelly


Page 45 Review by Dominique

There’s a lot going on in this story; we start out on the eve of an historic announcement as Arcadia Alvarado, governor of New Mexico is about to declare her intention to run for the presidency of the United States of America. Were she to win it would be the double whammy of first female president and first Hispanic president. So quite a big deal then.

So, when she and her “I still love you but we’re just no good for each other” ex go for a drive out in the middle of the New Mexico desert and awake with vague memories of bright lights and bobble-headed grey creatures a number of problems present themselves. Firstly, UFO believer is not a good look for a Presidential candidate so there is no way any of this can get out. Secondly, the memories are fragmented, inaccessible; it’s impossible to know what really happened. Thirdly, something the aliens said makes it impossible for Arcadia to ignore the whole incident, much as she might like to.

“You are us. You belong to us. Soon you will all know that.”

That right there is what the Americans refer to as a Clear and Present Danger and Arcadia isn’t about to let it slide. In fact it has made her more determined than ever to win the Presidential race so that she can use her position to defend the U.S.A from the alien threat. Oooookay.

If the X-Files taught us anything it’s that wherever there are flying saucers there are conspiracies, shadowy agencies, half-truths and lies hidden in plain sight. And so we have in this book government agencies, academic groups, aerospace engineers and plain old conspiracy nuts with various takes on the situation. There’s even a Harvard scientist who is being visited by the couple engraved on the Voyager space probe. (They, apparently, are helping him out with knowledge obtained at the outer rim of our solar system. Or possibly he’s just mental)

What the Cornell has done well is blend all these (sometimes hackneyed) elements together, turning some of them on their head so that we end up with an interesting set of conspiracies-within-conspiracies which should give the story legs.

On the other hand the pacing lets this first volume down somewhat; we go from roadside mystery to full on race-to-the-Whitehouse-to-stop-the-aliens so quickly that it feels like all set-up with no time to breath. The parts of the story which touch on more “real-worldy” issues feel a bit clunky too. The “I’m an illegal alien, we’re all aliens in this land” stuff sits a bit awkwardly and the alien probing as rape theme, while being a pretty pertinent point, is hammered without much subtlety. Nevertheless, if you love a conspiracy and a bit of political shenanigans you will probably get a kick out of Saucer Country, especially as in the later volumes we will (presumably?) get to see The Whitehouse vs The Aliens.
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