It seems that HG Wells might have been right after all. His invading aliens, given a whole planet of rolling cornfields, lush tropics, arid deserts and blasted tundra to pick from, chose to land in the London hinterland, not far from Woking.
Now, Sam Jordison says, if aliens chose to visit today they would repeat Wells' Martians' preference for the London commuter belt by opting for ... Luton.
As part of a writing initiative run by the council and local ginger group Luton First, which will compile a book of stories about the town, he's written Everyone Is Welcome Here, in which the spacemen do not land in Luton wielding death rays, but perhaps with the intention of buying property or investing in the local economy.
Quoth the Crap Towns website, waxing lyrical on the subject of Luton:
Nothing to inspire or stimulate ... a sense of other-worldly, neglected isolation ... Dreary, concrete and polluted ... wrist-slittingly moribund nightclubs ... anyone who's reasonably educated flees this dumping ground as soon as they can.
But, having thus brought the fair town of Luton to national prominence, Jordison has been to see the jewel of Bedfordshire for himself and has revised his opinion, calling it the most inclusive place in Britain - and this is the reason the aliens would pick it for their new home.
The anthology of stories about Luton will be called Junction 10 and is being launched in London's Savoy Hotel.
"We allowed total freedom of style, topic, characterisation and plot," said Luton First's Tony Edwards.
"The one proviso was that stories should touch on a key aspect of the town in a positive way, with particular reference to Luton as a great place to live, work, learn and have fun."
Proceeds will go to charity. ET will go to Luton, apparently.