Enemy Mine–The Nebula and Hugo Award winner that inspired the 20th Century Fox motion picture starring Dennis Quaid and Lou Gossett, Jr. The story of a. Sweeping the major American novella awards, Barry B. Longyear’s Enemy Mine certainly caught the genre’s eye when it was published in. Author Barry Longyear reported at a convention that the studio insisted on According to this thread on the Enemy Mine discussion board.
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The only other novella of the year with a respectable run of reprints in anthologies four times since original publication, compared to eleven for “Enemy Mine” is Hugo nominee “The Moon Goddess and the Son”by Donald Kingsbury; I don’t recall ever reading it.
The only other novella to feature on both Hugo and Nebula shortlists for the awards made in was “The Battle of the Abaco Reefs” by Hilbert Schenk, which I also have not read and which seems not to have been republished since, er, Actually I read Ken MacLeod’s Cosmonaut Keep even more recently, but his intelligent saurs are from Earth and friendly rather than being hostile alien lizards.
Longyear’s local inspiration here is certainly Gene L. Coon’s Star Trek episode “Arena”which was inspired by Frederic Brown’s short story with the same title, but replaced Brown’s spherical alien with a reptilian Gorn. Unlike in either version of “Arena”, however, the human and alien are not doomed to fight to the death. Instead, longgear are forced to combine forces against their harsh environment.
Oddly enough there may be a precedent in another s sf story, A. Information on this point welcomed. I tracked down The War Against The Rull and it seems rather different – the human and his unlikely partner are very different in size and ability, and united in their desire to evade the very present Rull, rather than equally matched and marooned far from anywhere.
The special twist to “Enemy Mine” is that Jeriba Shigan, the alien Drac, who it turns out is hermaphrodite and pregnant, dies giving birth to a child, who is then brought up by Varry Davidge, the human, until they are both rescued. Meanwhile the interstellar war has ended in an uneasy peace.
The two are returned to their respective home civilisations, but Davidge has learnt too much respect for the Drac culture to fit in back home; he journeys to the Drac planet to rescue the child, Zammis, and they settle down together building a community for inter-species understanding on the planet where Davidge first met Jeriga Shigan and where Zammis was born.
I guess that the reason “Enemy Mine” is not generally regarded as a piece of classic sf is minne that the aliens are brary alien enough. Even before I had come across Hell in the Pacific as a possible source, it was pretty obvious to me that the situation of the two characters is lnogyear a WW2 setting, and that the Drac culture is based on Western perceptions of contemporary human East Asia the respect for ancestors, hierachical society, etc.
When you set them beside other extraterrestrials ofsuch as George R. Martin’s “Sandkings” or most of all Ridley Eney Alienit becomes clear that the Drac are just Asians in rubber suits.
Ironically I find “Enemy Mine” most successful when it is most human.
Enemy Mine (Enemy Mine) by Barry B Longyear
Davidge’s confusion about how to treat the newborn alien must resonate with any human parent who has looked down at a small pink loud thing in their arms and wondered what on earth to do with it. And the central message of the story, that the other guys are probably not evil, only different, is unfortunately at least as relevant today as it was during the fading years of Jimmy Carter’s presidency when it was first published.
The next review in this series will be of Connie Willis’ story, “Even the Queen”. Other winners of Hugos: The Fountains of Paradise novel by Arthur C. Clarke; “Sandkings” novelette by George R.
Enemy Mine (novella)
Other winners of Nebulas: Front page About this site My Weblog. Send me an email or fill in this form. Longyear, Enemy Mine Vonda N. McIntyre, Dreamsnake George Mann barey.