There have been quite a few science fiction stories that deal with the idea of an alien dictatorship
of the earth, (benevolent, malevolent and all shades between) most notably Arthur C Clarkes' Childhood's
End. His classic much copied motif of giant alien spacecraft subduing the world by the simple expedient
of their overwhelming size is present and correct in Sideslip, a curious novel in which a hard boiled
detective is translated from our Earth to a parallel dimension where aliens have assumed control of the
The aliens are not Martians, but come from much further afield, so there is only one sparse reason for
the inclusion of this novel here, and a frustrating one at that, for it is a clever idea that goes nowhere.
Ron Archer is a private eye based in New York, but a sudden barely registered feeling of dislocation takes
him in a single uninterrupted step to a New York radically different to the one he is used to. People are
dressed in a bizarre mix of fashions and colours, architecture has changed and the polluting fumes are
gone, as has the usual choking traffic, replaced by vehicles that hum by on some inexplicable motive power.
Much to his amazement, Archer discovers that he is in a parallel dimension with some very weird differences,
not least that an aged Adolf Hitler is alive and well and living in New York where he has set himself up
as a firebrand politician. The reason for Hitler's continued existence becomes readily apparent, for
Archer learns that in 1938, on the very night of the Orson Welles radio broadcast, real aliens descended
on the Earth and with overwhelming power at their disposal, imposed a world wide dictatorship. On the
surface, it pretends to be benevolent, but in truth the aliens are imperialists with their own sinister
agenda. Archer and the reader are thrust into a bewildering world of competing interests and various
resistance organisations, none of whom are particularly without sin or their own ulterior motives. The
mix of hard boiled detective story and science fiction never adds up to a very appetising whole and
Archer's way with the ladies extends to the aliens in a very tired "teach me this Earth thing called
love" sort of way. A definite curiosity, but not one I can heartily recommend.
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