(Please note this review is for the novella Enemy Mine, not the novel.)
Sweeping the major American novella awards, Barry B. Longyear’s Enemy Mine certainly caught the genre’s eye when it was published in 1979. A film produced six years later (a film which unfortunately is hindered by poor special effects), the exposure took the story beyond the book world and moved it into the attention of the general public. A tale of confronting Otherness, its treatment in the years since is perhaps a good indication of the novella’s innate integrity.
Opening mid-action—mid-punch even, Enemy Mine begins with a soldier of Earth in hand to hand combat with an alien Drac after their fighter jets have crashed on the surface of an uninhabited planet. Towering tidal waves, scarce food, and little wood for making fire, the harsh living conditions quickly force the two to cooperate or die. Lost at sea, scavenging among the rocks, and language problems all around, the two eventually form an accord that allows for a sense of normalcy to life. But when tragedy strikes, a whole new set of problems must be solved.