The Spaceship Next Door

The Spaceship Next Door

by Gene Doucette
Setting: Massachusetts
Genres: Fiction / Science Fiction / Alien Contact
Published on September 4, 2018
Pages: 368
Format: eBook Source: Library

When a spaceship lands in Sorrow Falls, a lovable and fearless small-town girl is the planet’s only hope for survival

Three years ago, a spaceship landed in an open field in the quiet mill town of Sorrow Falls, Massachusetts. It never opened its doors, and for all that time, the townspeople have wondered why the ship landed there, and what—or who—could be inside.

Then one day a government operative—posing as a journalist—arrives in town, asking questions. He discovers sixteen-year-old Annie Collins, one of the ship’s closest neighbors and a local fixture known throughout the town, who has some of the answers.

As a matter of fact, Annie Collins might be the most important person on the planet. She just doesn’t know it.

What if a spaceship came to a small town and just sat there? For three years? Life would go on except for there being more military men making more traffic and for the campground full of conspiracy theorists across the street.

Annie grew up in this town and knows everyone. She’s the kind of person who people tell things to. She’s met all the celebrities and politicians and journalists who have visited. She knows this new guy isn’t a journalist like he claims to be so she sticks close to see what he’s up to.

About this time people are starting to report seeing – well, no one really wants to say zombies out loud but – people walking around who everyone knows are dead. They seem to be looking for someone. Is this whatever or whoever is in the ship finally making a move?

The dialogue was fun too. The town legend is that a group of religious separatists founded the town when the leader died going over a waterfall.

According to at least half of the legends, what happened next was that Josiah and his Sorrowers came upon a large drop in the river, at dusk. When his followers began heading for the shore, as always, their leader excoriated them for their lack of faith and vowed the Lord would protect them from harm if they only stayed in their canoes. There were doubts, as most of the Sorrowers—while being unswervingly dedicated to their leader—also had a passing familiarity with gravity and its consequences. So they recommended that Josiah go first.

I liked Annie. Her mom is sick. She knows everyone but doesn’t have a lot of really close friends. She caught up in the something that ends up way over her head. She’s trying to hang on and be tough but she’s a teenager. This doesn’t turn into the teenager being so much smarter than the adults. I get annoyed by those stories.

“She was feeling a little light-headed, a lot exhausted, and a tiny bit hungry. She also had to fight the urge to start crying, which really pissed her off. As much as she was aware that this was her body’s normal post-stress reaction, and as much as nobody was going to hold it against the sixteen-year old zombie catnip for freaking out a little, she didn’t want to be that kind of sixteen-year old. She wanted to be the kind that people thought was older than sixteen, who everyone knew, who was never out of her element. Annie spent a pretty long time cultivating the girl who was always going to be okay, and she didn’t want a little thing like the world ending to screw with that image.”

There are a lot of characters to keep track of but they are well written as distinct people so they don’t run together.

This book was fun. It could have been a little faster at first. It took a while to really get into the main part of the story. There were some plot points that were fairly easy to figure out but I thought combining alien first contact and zombies was pretty original.

The Frequency of Aliens is the sequel. It takes place a few years after the events in book 1. The main characters have scattered while going about their lives. I immediately enjoyed this one because while there was a while in the beginning where the plot wasn’t moving quickly because the author had to set up what every one was doing in their lives, I was immediately invested because I already knew all these people.

Annie is in college and that’s really hard when you are the most famous person on Earth and you have a full security detail. People are starting to change from being happy that she saved the world to being very suspicious of her. That doesn’t make a lot of sense. It almost seems orchestrated somehow. At the same time, scientists are disappearing from observatories. It is time to get the gang back together to face another possibly alien incursion.