Shadows in the Sun by Chad Oliver
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Oliver's odd little novella is far from being a classic, but it is certainly more original than many more acclaimed sf stories. Anthropologist Ellery finds the small Texas town of Jefferson Springs is not all it should be. None of the residents have been there longer than 15 years, and all seem peculiarly ornery. They go through the motions of being alive, until Ellery discovers they have quite another kind of life. These are not invaders - they are colonising aliens, and upon discovery they invite Ellery to join them in a sort of reverse colonising process. This leads to a will he/won't he climax in which the protagonist defers to the author, who imposes a cop-out ending as a form of meta-narrative - Oliver's experience as an anthropologist is one of brooding pessimism, here disguised as getting the girl by not getting the galaxy.