First Contact (Summer 2015)
With the goal of discovering the best voices in speculative fiction from across the world, Book Smugglers Publishing publishes original short fiction featuring subversive, feminist, and diverse perspectives.
Book Smugglers Publishing’s Summer 2015 theme is First Contact, and comprises four original short stories for the sagacious reader.
Application for the Delegation of First Contact: Questionnaire, Part B.
Written by Kathrin Köhler
I am a 2013 graduate of the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop. I live in Madison, WI where I attended college as a returning adult student and currently drive cab (where every day is filled with First Contacts of sorts). I was a child immigrant to the US, and as such, I often find myself writing about places in-between, exploring what it means to belong. Other interests of mine include how narrative creates reality, how we internalize social power structures, and how we interact with and view nature. In short, I’m interested in why we create the distinctions we create (e.g. me/not me, human/animal, relevant/insignificant, etc).
My speculative and literary poems have appeared in Interfictions, Stone Telling, and Strange Horizons, among other fine places.I have a short story forthcoming in Lakeside Circus.
Written by Sunil Patel
Cover art by Melanie Cook
Paresh and Sita are a loving married couple who share a (mostly) pleasant and uneventful life. That is, if you don’t count Sita’s cooking experiments with turkey chili pizza (don’t ask). All that changes one evening, when Paresh is approached by a gelatinous, horned blob-alien from outer space who makes a lucrative offer that Paresh and Sita literally cannot refuse (or else the world is, well, kaput).
Caught between a rock and a hard place, the couple learns that business negotiations with alien corporations are not so different from negotiations on Earth. And one should always, always read the fine print before agreeing to a merger.
And read The Merger for free online NOW.
Sunil Patel, a Bay Area fiction writer and playwright who has written about everything from ghostly cows to talking beer. His plays have been performed at San Francisco Theater Pub and San Francisco Olympians Festival, and his fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Genius Loci: Tales of the Spirit of Place, Saturday Night Reader, and Fireside. When he is not writing, he is consuming stories in all forms in order to extract their secrets and put them to use. Plus, he reviews books for Lightspeed. Find out more at ghostwritingcow.com, where you can watch his plays, or follow him @ghostwritingcow. His Twitter has been described as “engaging,” “exclamatory,” and “crispy, crunchy, peanut buttery.”
Written by A. E. Ash
Cover art by Yasmin Khudari
Entry number 3333. Vanguard Station Reckoning. All systems stable. Nothing new to report.
It’s been nine years since the war started; nine years since she has received acknowledgement or contact from anyone. Marooned alone on proto-colony planet Hestia, aging xeno-geologist Jyothi Agarwal still continues her routine transmissions in the hopes that someone, somewhere, is listening.
Then one day, out of nowhere, a brilliant light illuminates Hestia and something falls from the sky.
In the west, he wakes up in pain and alone. There is light everywhere. A new sense of weight. A broken body. Words. Knowing. And he realizes that against all odds, he is inexplicably alive.
On a planet far removed from everything, the last human and a fallen star find companionship in each other–and perhaps something more. Something beautiful, shining, lasting. Something luminous.
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Add the short story on Goodreads HERE.
And read Luminous for free online NOW.
A.E. Ash is a human citizen of the third planet from Sol and is a lifelong nerd, a friend to all felines, a sometimes-gamer, a squee-prone blogger, a mooncalf, but not a baker or candlestick maker. And nobody said anything–ANYTHING–about butcher. She writes weird poetry and miscellaneous speculative fiction: sci-fi, fantasy, space opera, even urban fantasy and romancy things are all mixed up in her writerly brain. Her abode is allegedly located in the United States where she lives with her superhero husband and their completely NOT nefarious kittycats who do nothing at all to help them achieve world domination. You can find her on Twitter as @dogmycatzindeed or check out her blog here: https://aeashwrites.wordpress.com/.
The Vishakanya’s Choice
Written by Roshani Chokshi
Cover art by M. Sereno
“Did we have a choice? An honest one. A real Choice.”
Who would you be if you had a choice? What would you do?
Early in her life, Sudha’s fate was divined to be a lonely, fruitless future of young widowhood. So, it was considered a blessing when she was brought to the Hastinapur harem to become a vishakanya–a weapon, an assassin, a poison maiden whose very touch is toxic.
Sudha has never had a choice, has never known anything except the cold beauty of the harem’s stone walls.
After years of living in isolation with her vishakanya sisters, Sudha is given her first mission: to end the life of a great man. Someone who, unlike her, leads a life full of glittering Choices fit for an emperor.
In their fateful encounter, a vishakanya meets a conqueror and a weapon creates a legend.
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Add the short story on Goodreads
And read The Vishakanya’s Choice for free online NOW
Her unpublished manuscript was a 2014 Daphne du Maurier finalist and she was a finalist in the 2014 Katha Fictions Contest. Her debut novel THE BRIDE OF DUSK AND GLASS, a re-envisioning of the Hades and Persephone myth in the context of Indian mythology, is forthcoming from St. Martin’s Press. She studies law by day and writes fantasy by night.
All stories are available for free in their entirety on The Book Smugglers and are available as ebooks (apart from Application for the Delegation of First Contact: Questionnaire, Part B.) for sale via several online retailers and directly from The Book Smugglers. Each ebook contains the full story and a Q&A, as well as an essay from the author on writing the retelling, elaborating on the themes explored in their tale.