Tuesday, November 23, 2010

We Have Alien Contact

Well, sort of.... "Alien Contact" is the working title for my reprint short fiction anthology, which has been sold to Night Shade Books for publication as a trade paperback in November 2011.

The purpose of this blog post is to solicit recommendations of "alien contact" stories that were previously published within the last 30 or so years. The oldest story I've listed in the database -- link provided below -- is from 1971. (I know, I know, that's nearly 40 years ago, but, hey, it's Stephen King!) Stories must be a maximum of 40,000 words (novella length). Keep in mind, however, that few novellas will be included in the anthology due to word count limitations. Please, no novels.

I have been gathering stories for this project for quite some time; in fact, I began my initial inquiries more than two years ago. If you have previously responded to my queries regarding this project, then hopefully you will find that your entry(s) is in the database already. The list numbers more than 100 stories -- so please check the database first to see if your story recommendation has been added before entering any data below.

I have far more stories already than I can possibly include in the anthology, so the purpose of this solicitation is to find those uniquely intriguing alien contact stories I may have overlooked. If you are a writer, you are welcome to recommend your own previously published work. As you can see from the current data, a number of authors have personally recommended their own stories to me.

I don't recall any Philip K. Dick stories that concern alien contact, but if you know of one, please comment below and add the story to the database. Thanks in advance.

Here is the link to the current listing: Alien Contact Reprint Story Database.

The listing was initially sorted by author's first name; new entries will be added to the bottom of the list.

If you don't find your recommendation in the existing database: Enter as much information about the story as possible. If all you know is the author and title, that's fine. Regarding the length of the story: if you don't know if it is a novella, novelette, or short story, just mark "short fiction" (this being the generic catch-all for those three categories).

On December 15, the entry form will be removed from this blog post. If you come upon this post on or after December 15, you can always leave a story recommendation within the Comment section below. I'm notified via email whenever a comment is posted to this blog.

(My thanks to John Joseph Adams for laying the groundwork -- at least for me -- for the use of Google Docs to create this response-gathering form and spreadsheet.)

* * * * *

If you want to read the classic "alien contact" stories -- such as Murray Leinster's "First Contact" (the story in which the term "first contact" was originally coined, I believe) or Stanley G. Weinbaum's "A Martian Odyssey," to name but two -- I direct you to The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One, 1929-1964, edited by Robert Silverberg. Or any number of other anthologies of classic SF, because these stories have been widely reprinted over the years, and the volumes are easily obtainable, if not through your local library, then via amazon.com or other secondary markets.

I'm hoping that a collection of contemporary "alien contact" stories will motivate readers new to this material to seek out more such stories, including the classics.


  1. I meant the short story, not the entire novel. Was published in September 1968 issue of Galaxy

  2. Thanks, Michael; I appreciate your suggestion and I will certainly add it to the database listing. I do want to add, however, that I am primarily looking for stories that were published within the past 30, 35 years (or so -- since I did admit above that my oldest story is from 1971).

    - marty

  3. There was one Dick story involving alien contact---Rautavaara's Case, from 1980.

    Then, at the risk of being presumptuous, there was my own Texture Of Other Ways.

  4. Hi, Mark,

    Thanks for your comment and suggestion. The PKD story is already listed in the database. (Perhaps you overlooked it?) As to your own story, I've sent you a private msg requesting a copy, if available.

    Cheers, and thanks again.
    - marty

  5. A story of mine might be of interest. "April 29th" was originally published in the slick men's magazine Razor in Sept 2003, and is now available at this link:

  6. Thanks, Nick, for suggesting your story; I'll be sure to add it to the database list -- and go track down the online version right now.

    - marty