Laura Miller on the first fictional aliens in the New Yorker SF issue. With a special illustration (above) by Edward Gorey, from War of the Worlds.
So many good things there… click on the Alien above to go see.
Interestingly, she begins with an account of how the suggestion of even an alien microbe can excite the scientific community, and ends with the War of the Worlds’ climactic conclusion—the aliens die due to a lack of immunity to our diseases.
For all their diversity, these creatures tend to fall into one of two groups: those we can live with and those we can’t.
Can we live?