Aliens: The Anthropology of Science Fiction

By George E. Slusser; Eric S. Rabkin | Go to book overview

10
Aliens in the Supermarket: Science Fiction and Fantasy for "Inquiring Minds"

George R. Guffey

The scene is Jacksonville, Florida. Lydia Stalnaker, a divorced mother of two, is taken aboard an alien spaceship and examined by extraterrestrials with large heads. When they have finished their physical examination of the woman, they tell her that she will receive seven powers from God. On returning to her home, Lydia grows more and more disturbed over her experience. She at first believes that she is going insane, and she begins to pray to God for guidance. Eventually, an investigator for the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization of Berkeley, California, hears of Lydia's experience. This researcher, Dr. James Harder, puts Lydia under hypnosis. From the hypnotized woman, he learns that the aliens were "angels from God," whose primary goal was to warn the inhabitants of Earth of an impending disaster. To be evacuated from Earth before this terrible event comes to pass, the inhabitants of our planet must first begin to obey the Ten Commandments. On learning that she is indeed sane and that the aliens who had contacted her were on a mission of mercy, Lydia decides to "bear witness" to the message of the aliens by performing cures in the name of God. For the next eleven years, she cures the unfortunate who suffer diseases ranging from common arthritis to terminal cancer. Here, her story ends.

To those of us who read a great deal of science fiction, this story is, of course, so simplistic that it may at first seem undeserving of additional comment. Even so, please allow me to point out a few facts about the story that will, I think, begin to indicate why I feel that it and other stories like it deserve additional consideration. First of all, my paraphrase of the story is nearly as long as the published

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