Timothy Rice

Roadside Picnic

A flawed assumption -- that an alien race would be psychologically human.

Rating: 3/5 – Interesting premise, but lacking follow through.

Roadside Picnic is a decent novel with a unique idea for a little-considered first contact scenario: what if they’re so advanced that we’re completely beneath the alien’s notice?

While this premise is interesting enough, the execution was lacking. The idea is only half-heartedly examined and is thus lacking almost all depth. The characters are not engaging enough to carry the story on their own, and generated almost no emotional investment in the story.

I want my first contact stories to challenge my assumptions about the fundamental nature of humanity and force me to expand my ideas about what could be possible. Roadside Picnic began to do that, but stopped far short of completion. Nevertheless, it is an entertaining enough surface level read with just enough of a thesis to keep me engaged and earn a 3 star rating.

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