Friday, September 26, 2008

Mom’s Space Library in Scott Edelman’s “Mom, the Martians, and Me” (2002)

A clever short story in which the owner of a small-town newspaper tries to convince a police officer that his mother, who is obsessed with UFOs and believes her husband was abducted by aliens, was kidnapped by little green men, “Mom, the Martians, and Me” (2002), by Scott Edelman, has a cool passage describing how Mom turned her bedroom into an astronomical museum and space library:
With Dad gone, the bedroom that they had shared for years was transformed into a makeshift astronomical museum. Star maps covered every available inch of wall space, even hiding the bay window that had once cast light over their twin beds. A floor-to-ceiling mosaic of the surface of Mars as seen from space filled one wall of the room, looming like a giant unblinking eye. Mom had planted a silver pushpin where she was sure he was being kept.

Odd books were everywhere. She’d always been an avid reader, but only of nonfiction. She could not stand made-up lives. Science fiction distressed her most of all. It had nothing to do with real life, she said. Now, she might as well have been living in a science fiction novel, for the library she’d built to wall off the world was so fantastic as to make any fiction, however wild, seem mundane by comparison. Until Mom went strange and I lost her, I had not realized that there were so many first-person accounts by people who claimed to have been scooped up by spacecraft and later returned. On the bulging shelves next to these grew scrapbooks of clippings from supermarket gossip rags, stories telling of women who had been impregnated by Martians, teenagers who had been stolen as youths and returned middle-aged, and old men whose end-stage colon cancer had been cured by the touch of alien fingers.

Children’s small windup toys decorated her end table, rocket ships and alien robots that were sometimes left scattered on the floor where I would trip over them. The area around her bed became littered with badly printed newsletters which purported to tell the truth about a government conspiracy to hide from the public the secrets of crashed alien crafts and their inhabitants. ...
Mom, the Martians, and Me” was published in Mars Probes (2002), an anthology edited by Peter Crowther.

Scott Edelman maintains his own website at

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