"the [science fiction] writer should be able to convince the reader (and himself) that the wonders he is describing really can come true...and that gets tricky when you take a good, hard look at the world around you."
It's a little difficult to describe what is happening in Doorways in the Sand. It describes a near future in which contact has been made with a larger civilization encompassing many planets and races. Circumstances arise in which it becomes necessary for alien cops to keep an eye on certain people on earth - difficult, considering the fact that these aliens are not remotely human.
My other favorite alien from this book is Dr. Mrmm'mrm'mlrr (pronounced just like it looks) who is a sentient (and telepathic) psychotherapist plant who practices assault therapy on his patients.
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