How's the Night Life on Cissalda?

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"How's the Night Life on Cissalda?" is a science fiction short story by Harlan Ellison, first published in 1977, in the first volume of the Zebra Books anthology series "Chrysalis".[1] It was subsequently reprinted in Ellison's 1980 collection Shatterday,[2] in OpZone no. 8 (1980, French language, as "Et comment sont les nuits sur Cissalda?")[3] in the 1990 Ellen Datlow-edited anthology Alien Sex,[4] and, in Italian (as "Vita notturna a Cissalda"), in Fantasex (the 1993 translation into Italian of Alien Sex) and in Idrogeno e idiozia (the 1999 translation into Italian of Shatterday).[5]

Two illustrated versions have been published: one with art by Tom Barber, in Heavy Metal in November 1977;[6] and one with art by Eric White and an adapted script by Faye Perozich, in the Dark Horse Comics-published Harlan Ellison's Dream Corridor, in August 1995.[7]


Disgusting alien monstrosities from another universe are revealed to be the perfect sex partners for humanity, both collectively and individually.


Mike Ashley states that it is "the most audacious sf sex story yet written", and "refreshing and challenging,"[1] while Gary K. Wolfe says it is one of Ellison's "better comic tales"[8] and People called it "wickedly witty".[4] Conversely, Paul Kincaid considers it to be "the single worst story in (Shatterday)", stating that it is proof that "Ellison can't do comedy", and that the humor in "Cissalda" is "broad, crude (not in the sense of being rude but in the sense of being unsophisticated), repetitive and not at all funny,"[9] while Gwyneth Jones describes it as "a one-liner (...) long past its best by date."[10]


  1. ^ a b Gateways to Forever: The Story of the Science-Fiction Magazines, 1970-1980, by Michael Ashley; published 2007 by Liverpool University Press
  2. ^ How's the Night Life on Cissalda?, at the ISFDB; retrieved August 3, 2014
  3. ^ Et comment sont les nuits sur Cissalda ?, at; retrieved August 3, 2014
  4. ^ a b Picks and Pans Review: Alien Sex, at People; published July 30, 1990 (Vol. 34, No. 4); retrieved August 3, 2014
  5. ^ Vita notturna a Cissalda, at; retrieved August 3, 2014
  6. ^ "Barbe" to "Barcus", Reading Room Index to the Comic Art Collection, Special Collections Division, Michigan State University Libraries; published August 29, 2011; retrieved August 3, 2014
  7. ^ Harlan Ellison's Dream Corridor #5, at Dark Horse Comics; retrieved August 3, 2014
  8. ^ Harlan Ellison: The Edge of Forever, by Ellen Weil and Gary K. Wolfe; published 2002 by Ohio State University Press
  9. ^ Featured Review: Shatterday, by Paul Kincaid, at the SF Site; published 2007; retrieved August 3, 2014
  10. ^ Deconstructing the Starships: Science, Fiction and Reality (Chapter 11: Alien Sex, Ellen Datlow's Overview of the SF Orgasm), by Gwyneth A. Jones; published 1999 by Liverpool University Press