14 Replies to “The Scent of Their Arrival”

  1. Very nice review here from Colin Harvey, author and regular reviewer for Strange Horizons:

    Mercurio D. Rivera returns with ‘The Scent of Their Arrival.’ Few writers in SF depict aliens quite as alien as Rivera does, as demonstrated in ‘Longing for Langalana,’ which won the Interzone Reader’s poll of 2006 for Best Story. This time an orbiting spaceship poses a mystery for aliens who communicate by scent rather than sound, in a genre-blurring story that ends IZ214 on a high note.


  2. Very kind comments by Gareth D. Jones at Whispers of Wickedness:

    I was blown away by Mercurio D. Rivera’s The Scent of Their Arrival; it’s the finest story I’ve read for some time. A pair of alien scientists are attempting to decode a transmission from an orbiting spacecraft. The nuances of their culture and details of their physiology make them an intriguing pair and a story about them would have been interesting by itself. The transmission, which they can’t understand, is from a human, telling of the invasion and decimation of Earth by a trans-dimensional species called the Reviled. It’s a harrowing tale and again could have stood on its own. The culmination of the two tales, although I guessed the ending before it arrived, was stunning in its emotional impact. I shall have to read it again.


  3. A mention on the Asimov’s message board by voracious reader StevenLP who I recall put ‘Langalana’ on his list of faves for 2006:

    “I read the January issues of Asimovs, F&SF and Interzone at the beginning of the month; all had at least one stand-out story (Asimov’s had Tanith Lee’s ”The Beautiful and Damned’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald’; F&SF had John Kessels ‘Pride and Prometheus’ and Interzone had Mercurio D. Rivera’s ‘The Scent of their Arrival’)….”


  4. More reviews. Eamonn Murphy of SFCrowsnest writes:

    My favourite tale was ‘The Scent Of Their Arrival’ by Mercurio D. Rivera which packed in a lot of ideas and the best aliens I’ve read about since Asimov’s ‘The Gods Themselves’. A good SF story might tell of Earth being invaded by aliens from another dimension. A better one might tell of man’s attempts to flee in starships. This one does all that but also tells of the ship’s arrival at a distant planet and its attempts to negotiate with a very different race. Told from the point of view of an alien couple who communicate by scent the whole thing was marvellous. The ending is like a kick in the guts. Wonderful.

    Read the rest of his reviews of the stories in this issue of IZ at:


  5. Some generous comments by Sam Tomaino at SFRevu:

    The fiction concludes with a brilliant novelette by Mercurio D. Rivera, “The Scent of Their Arrival”. The inhabitants of another planet wonder why communications from a ship orbiting their planet have been unsuccessful. The problem is that their race communicates by scent. We see the messages from the ship and they are from a future Earth which has been invaded by a race of vampire-like beings. Further, this planet appears to be ruled by inhabitants who are either “supernatualists” or “naturalists”. They cooperate and share power. The story of both Earth and this planet develops in an exciting way with a great finish. This story will be on my Hugo Award short list for next year.

    Read the rest of his reviews of this issue’s stories at:

  6. Nick Gevers writes in the March 2008 issue of :

    Interzone for February is fairly impressive, particularly its closing story, “The Scent of Their Arrival” by Mercurio D. Rivera. Here, planetbound aliens whose system of speech relies on smell consider with puzzlement a message coded within a broadcast from a starship recently arrived in orbit. They have not encountered other intelligent beings before, and do not recognize the sounds made by the human speaker as meaningful content; as they gradually piece a partly correct picture together, a truly horrible irony unfolds, in which can be perceived the downfall of not one but many civilizations. This is a cogently nasty tale, a bit redundant here and there, but decidedly chilling.


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