Connie Willis: The Road to Roswell (Hardcover, 2023, Del Rey) 4 stars

When Francie arrives in Roswell, New Mexico, for her college roommate’s UFO-themed wedding—complete with a …

A entertaining cast of characters trying to help an alien do .... something.

4 stars

A delightful read, full of the usual hi jinks that Connie Willis usually puts her characters through in this journey around Roswell with a (real) alien to try to figure out what it / he(?) wants to do.

At the start, the main character, Francie, wants to attend the wedding of her best friend to a UFO-fanatic being held at, of course, Roswell, if only to persuade her to call it off. But she then gets kidnapped by a real alien that looks like a tumbleweed. Forced to drive around the surround countryside, she then forced to pick up a hitchhiker, a UFO conspiracist, a gambling old lady and then the owner of a trailer-vehicle when they discover the alien at the wrong time.

They eventually call the alien Indy (on account of its ability to extend whip-like appendages to enormous distances) and work out that it is looking for something, but can't figure out where it wants to go to find it. Their attitudes also change from trying to get away to trying to help it. Along the way, they end up in Vegas. It is there that Francie eventually figures out (based on earlier clues in the story) what Indy is looking for. But her discovery is interrupted when the government intervenes, and now it is up to Francie and the group to get Indy to where he really needs to go before the close encounter turns into a full scale interplanetary crisis.

Written in Willis's usual style, the book is full of fun characters, like the UFO conspiracist that, despite the sight and behaviour of the alien in front of him, still believes that he will be personally probed, and that Indy wants to invade the Earth. The other characters are also interesting and have hidden sides that are eventually revealed that will help Francie and Indy in the end. And Francie also gets to save her friend from her wedding.