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A New Space Exploration Story Collection

August 25, 2022 by in On Books


Well, it’s here! The science fiction anthology Brave New Worlds is now available for purchase. 

Since I received my author copy, I’ve been reading a story each day, growing prouder by the minute to be among the 15 amazing writers featured in its pages. In fact, although I originally planned to shamelessly promote my short story “On Sacrifice” in this post, what I really want to do now is tell you how great the other stories in the anthology are.

(But OK, a quick plug for mine: A teenager is pressured by her father to leave Earth for a life she doesn’t want aboard a generation ship. As they visit a moon with mysterious extinct lifeforms, she attempts to take back control of her future.)

Here are just a few of the other thought-provoking stories:

“Soon May the Weatherman Come”

by British Fantasy Award and Lambda Literary Award winner Chaz Brenchley

Many stories about space exploration concentrate on strange new alien life, but this warm, ruggedly wise tale about a traveling Weatherman and his teenage crew spends just as much time on the unique human culture that has sprung up on a frontier planet.  

The planet is a place where many children are “decanted rather than born” and later sent out to foster communities when they come of age. On his way to deliver some of these teenagers to their new homes, the Weatherman spots an emergency – a malfunctioning weather machine that is the sole source of a community’s power and water – and detours to fix it.  

I enjoyed the puzzle of figuring out what was wrong with the machine, especially the surprise twist at the end. I loved the story’s lyrical, yet unassuming language. But what has stayed with me most in the days since I finished reading it is the uniqueness of the Weatherman’s relationship with his young charges and the strength of his character. As a mother facing a house full of children who are growing up all too quickly, I found much to admire and emulate in him – in his manner of loving without clinging, challenging without judging, accepting the fact that they would one day leave him for the greater world as a victory instead of a loss.


by Australian author and journalist Jack Nicholls

“Transub-Stan-Tiation” is one of those wonderful stories that manages to be both funny and deep, a story that had me laughing out loud one moment and pondering philosophical questions about the meaning of self the next.

It starts with a computer glitch that sends 89 copies of the same scientist to settle a new planet. Almost immediately, the various versions of the psychologist named Stan begin to differentiate themselves, but they don’t have the technical skills to survive on their own. Because the computer used up all its feedstock to print them, at least one will have to sacrifice himself so that the computer can use his organic material to print some of the other settlers stuck in the queue.

All of the Stans agree this sacrifice is the right choice, but when one specific Stan is randomly selected to die for the collective, things get … messy. I loved the mix of light and dark themes, the story’s exploration of how we all confabulate, lie to ourselves, and go to extreme lengths to survive.

“The Long, Long Fall of Josiah Eddy”

by writer and physicist Ian Tregillis, author of the Milkweed Triptych and Alchemy Wars Trilogy

I adore stories that combine science and religion. Not surprisingly, then, I was intrigued by Tregillis’ story about a disillusioned spaceship chaplain named Josiah who volunteers for a likely-fatal, solo mission that just might save the remaining crew.

On his way to the surface of a new potential home planet, Josiah hears a voice. Is it God or an alien? Is he going crazy or talking to a malfunctioning, snarky AI? I was kept guessing until the end, with its ironic and perfectly beautiful last lines. If you’re interested in looking at traditional Biblical concepts like Eden, The Fall and flaming swords in a new, disturbing light, this story is for you.

Want to check these and other stories out yourself? Brave New Worlds, edited by S.C. Butler and Joshua Palmatier, is available for purchase from Amazon, Barnes and Noble or direct from the publisher, Zombies Need Brains.


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