Day in and day out, UFO technicians trot in sleepy, naked humans, subject them to all manner of probing, and then tuck them back into their beds. But what happens when one of those Grey aliens looks at a human with something more than cold, scientific interest? What happens when a Grey finds himself falling for one of the very humans he's helped to abduct?
Rose Williams, the romantic center of Emy Bitner's Trying Human, has a fairly ordinary life as a police file clerk, with a fairly ordinary boyfriend. In fact, the major oddity in Rose's life is that she occasionally sleepwalks and wakes up with a torrential nosebleed. But just as her boyfriend, Roger, is hired away for a mysterious new job in New Mexico, Rose seeks out a therapist to deal with her sleepwalking — and discovers that the reason for her nosebleeds might be more extraterrestrial than physiological. Soon, Rose is actually remembering her nocturnal visits to the alien mothership, and her close encounters with Hue, the universe's friendliest Grey.
Meanwhile, Roger is getting less than comfy in his new job. He's apparently become one of the Men in Black, and has dealings with EBE1, Hue's none-too-friendly progenitor who was apparently the Roswell alien. In flashbacks, we witness EBE1's initial contact with — and capture by — the human race, in an underground lab where he bonded with a young military translator named Phillis — a woman who looks strikingly like Rose, and soon begins to haunt Rose's mind. And EBE1 would be less than pleased to learn of Hue's dalliances with Rose.
But Hue isn't the only extraterrestrial looking for love among the Earth people. The Reptoids, who share ship space with the Greys, have developed something called the Trying Human chip, which allows them to appear human. Most Reptoids use it to catch themselves a easy human treat, but Longus, a Reptoid maintenance worker living in New York, has been using his chip to engage in a sweet affair with Don, a shy young man just coming out of his shell. And once Hue gets his hands on a Trying Human chip, he's free to visit Rose in the light of day, although she isn't exactly thrilled that the alien who experimented on her is showing up on her doorstep.
Trying Human is a sometimes goofy take on alien romance, featuring a scorned mad scientist, a scheming and lovelorn Woman in Black, and aliens on both the hedonistic and utterly repressed ends of the spectrum. And amidst all the lovestruck ETs, Bitner has left us with some fine mysteries. Why does Rose look just like Phillis, and what happened to Phillis all those years ago? Why are the Greys experimenting on humans? Why are the Reptoids helping the shadowy MIB agency build train tunnels underground? And is Hue, with all of his romantic notions, really that different from the cold EBE1?
Occasionally NSFW for nudity.