How to Live on Other Planets: A Handbook for Aspiring Aliens

16 March 2015

How to Live on Other Planets: A Handbook for Aspiring Aliens explores the immigrant experience in a science fiction setting, with exciting fiction and poetry from some of the genre’s best writers. A diverse book, it comprises writers from the US, Canada, Hungary, India, Laos, New Zealand, Malaysia, Ukraine, Switzerland, South Africa, the Philippines and the UK.

HTLOOP-COVER-front

In these pages, you’ll find Sturgeon winner Sarah Pinsker’s robot grandmother, James Tiptree, Jr., Award winner Nisi Shawl’s prison planet and Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Award winner Ken Liu’s space- and time-spanning story of different kinds of ghosts. You’ll find Bryan Thao Worra’s Cthulhic poetry, and Pinckney Benedict’s sad, whimsical tale of genocide. You’ll travel to Frankfurt, to the moon, to Mars, to the underworld, to unnamed alien planets, under the ocean, through clusters of asteroids. You’ll land on the fourth planet from the star Deneb, and an alternate universe version of Earth, and a world of Jesuses.

This is not a textbook. You will not find here polemics on immigration policy or colonialism. The most compelling fiction articulates the unsaid, the unbearable, and the incomprehensible; these stories say things about the immigration experience that a lecture never could. The purpose of this book is, first and foremost, to entertain the casual and the sophisticated reader, but its genesis is a response to the question: Who do we become when we live with the unfamiliar?

 

Table of Contents:

  • Dean Francis Alfar, “Ohkti”
  • Celia Lisset Alvarez, “Malibu Barbie Moves to Mars”
  • RJ Astruc, “A Believer’s Guide to Azagarth”
  • Lisa Bao, “like father, like daughter”
  • Pinckney Benedict, “Zog-19: A Scientific Romance”
  • Lisa Bolekaja, “The Saltwater African”
  • Mary Buchinger, “Transplanted”
  • Zen Cho, “The Four Generations of Chang E”
  • Tina Connolly, “Turning the Apples”
  • Indrapramit Das, “muo-ka’s Child”
  • Tom Doyle, “The Floating Otherworld”
  • Peg Duthie, “With Light-Years Come Heaviness”
  • Thomas Greene, “Zero Bar”
  • Benjamin S. Grossberg, “The Space Traveler’s Husband,” “The Space Traveler and the Promised Planet” and “The Space Traveler and Boston”
  • Minal Hajratwala, “The Unicorn at the Racetrack”
  • Julie Bloss Kelsey, “tongue lashing” and “the itch of new skin”
  • Rose Lemberg, “The Three Immigrations”
  • Ken Liu, “Ghost Days”
  • Alex Dally MacFarlane, “Found”
  • Anil Menon, “Into The Night”
  • Joanne Merriam, “Little Ambushes”
  • Mary Anne Mohanraj, “Jump Space”
  • Daniel José Older, “Phantom Overload”
  • Abbey Mei Otis, “Blood, Blood”
  • Sarah Pinsker, “The Low Hum of Her”
  • Elyss G. Punsalan, “Ashland”
  • Benjamin Rosenbaum, “The Guy Who Worked For Money”
  • Erica L. Satifka, “Sea Changes”
  • Nisi Shawl, “In Colors Everywhere”
  • Lewis Shiner, “Primes”
  • Marge Simon, “South”
  • Sonya Taaffe, “Di Vayse Pave”
  • Bogi Takács, “The Tiny English-Hungarian Phrasebook For Visiting Extraterrestrials”
  • Bryan Thao Worra, “Dead End In December” and “The Deep Ones”
  • Deborah Walker, “Speed of Love”
  • Nick Wood, “Azania”

 

What People Are Saying About How to Live on Other Planets:

Suffice it to say, the stories and poems in this collection are, for the most part, exceptional at addressing a related theme and in exploring the social effects of immigration and alienation. Collected together, they make for a memorable themed anthology.

—Shaun Duke, How to Live on Other Planets edited by Joanne Merriam, Strange Horizons, 27 April 2015

This collection explores the immigrant experience in a science fiction setting, with exciting fiction and poetry from some of the genre’s best writers (including DARK MATTER faves Lisa Bolekaja, Nisi Shawl and Daniel José Older to name just a few). DARK MATTERS was wildly enthused…

Dark Matters Talks To Joanne Merriam About “How to Live on Other Planets”, Dark Matters, 27 April 2015

All of these stories have previously appeared in major genre magazines or other anthologies, so serious science fiction fans will have encountered at least some of these stories before. However, the book is still worth buying, and the gnomes highly recommend it to both serious fans of the genre and newcomers to science fiction.

Rating: 5 Gnomes out of 5

—Jennifer Mitchell, Review: How to Live on Other Planets: A Handbook for Aspiring Aliens, Gnome Reviews, 15 April 2015

should make you smile

—Cory Doctorow, Links: Immigrant experience science fiction; principal calls FBI over flag-tossing; Sriracha doesn’t want trademarks, Boing Boing, 13 February 2015

 

Contributor Bios:

Dean Francis Alfar is a fictionist, playwright and the publisher of the Philippine Speculative Fiction annuals, beginning with the first volume in 2005.  His fiction has appeared in The Time Traveler’s Almanac, The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror, Strange Horizons, Rabid Transit: Menagerie, The Apex Book of World SF, and the Exotic Gothic anthologies, among others.    His books include a novel, Salamanca, and two collections of short fiction, The Kite of Stars and other stories and How to Traverse Terra Incognita.

Celia Lisset Alvarez holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Miami and teaches at Our Lady of Lourdes Academy. Her debut collection of poetry, Shapeshifting (Spire Press, 2006), was the recipient of the 2005 Spire Press Poetry Award. A second collection, The Stones (Finishing Line Press, 2006) followed that same year. Other work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals and anthologies. Born in Madrid of Cuban parents en route to the United States, she grew up in Miami, where she lives with her husband, Cuban-American literary scholar and fellow poet Rafael Miguel Montes.

RJ Astruc lives in New Zealand and has written two novels: Harmonica + Gig and A Festival of Skeletons. RJ’s short stories have appeared in many magazines including Strange Horizons, Daily Science Fiction, ASIM, Aurealis and Midnight Echo, as well as the short story collection Signs Over the Pacific and Other Stories (Upper Rubber Boot Books, 2013).

Lisa Bao is Chinese, Canadian, and American to various degrees. She studies linguistics and computer science at Swarthmore College. Her poetry has previously been published in Strange Horizons and Eye to the Telescope.

Pinckney Benedict grew up in rural West Virginia. He has published a novel and three collections of short fiction, the most recent of which is Miracle Boy and Other Stories. His work has been published in, among other magazines and anthologies, Esquire, Zoetrope: All-Story, the O. Henry Award series, the Pushcart Prize series, the Best New Stories from the South series, Apocalypse Now: Poems and Prose from the End of Days, The Ecco Anthology of Contemporary American Short Fiction, and The Oxford Book of the American Short Story. Benedict serves as a professor in the MFA program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Octavia E. Butler Scholar Lisa Bolekaja is a graduate of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Workshop, an affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association, and a member of the Carl Brandon Society. She co-hosts a screenwriting podcast called “Hilliard Guess’ Screenwriters Rant Room” and her work has appeared in “Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History” (Crossed Genres Publishing), as well as “The WisCon Chronicles: Volume 8” (Aqueduct Press). Her story “Don’t Dig Too Deep” will be in the upcoming Red Volume, an anthology of speculative fiction produced by her Clarion 2012 class with all proceeds going to support the Clarion Foundation.

Mary Buchinger is the author of Aerialist (Gold Wake Press, 2015; shortlisted for the May Swenson Poetry Award, the OSU Press/The Journal Wheeler Prize for Poetry and the Perugia Press Prize). Her poems have appeared in AGNI, Cortland Review, DIAGRAM, Fifth Wednesday, Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry, The Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere. She is Associate Professor of English and Communication Studies at MCPHS University in Boston, Massachusetts. You can find her at yellowdogriver.blogspot.com.

Zen Cho was born and raised in Malaysia, and now lives in London. Her short story collection Spirits Abroad was published in summer 2014. Her short fiction has appeared most recently in anthologies End of the Road from Solaris Books, Love in Penang from Fixi Novo, and The Alchemy Press Book of Urban Mythic. She was a 2013 finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

Tina Connolly’s stories have appeared in Lightspeed, Tor.com, Strange Horizons, Rich Horton’s Unplugged: Year’s Best Online SF and URB’s Apocalypse Now: Poems and Prose from the End of Days. Her books include the Nebula-nominated fantasy Ironskin (Tor, 2012) and its sequel Copperhead.

Indrapramit Das is a writer and artist from Kolkata, India. His fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Asimov’s and Apex Magazine, as well as anthologies The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection (St. Martin’s Press), Aliens: Recent Encounters (Prime Books) and Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond (Rosarium Publishing). His short story “The Widow and the Xir” is available as an ebook from URB. He is a grateful graduate of the 2012 Clarion West Writers Workshop and a recipient of the Octavia E. Butler Scholarship Award to attend the former. He completed his MFA at the University of British Columbia.

Tor Books published Tom Doyle’s first novel, American Craftsmen, in 2014. His novelette “While Ireland Holds These Graves” won third place in the Writers of the Future contest, and his novelette “The Wizard of Macatawa” (Paradox #11) won the WSFA Small Press Award. His stories have also appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Futurismic, and several other magazines. Paper Golem published his short fiction collection, The Wizard of Macatawa and Other Stories.

Peg Duthie is a Taiwanese Texan resident of Tennessee. She is the author of Measured Extravagance (Upper Rubber Boot, 2012), and there’s more about her at www.NashPanache.com.

Tom Greene was born in Texas, grew up as a biracial Anglo/Latino science nerd, then moved to New England to study British Literature. He works as a full-time English professor and part-time lecturer on vampire literature. Recent publications include short stories in Analog, Polluto and Strange Horizons. He lives in Salem, Massachusetts with his wife and two cats.

Benjamin S. Grossberg is the author of Space Traveler (University of Tampa Press, 2014), Sweet Core Orchard (University of Tampa, 2009, winner of the 2008 Tampa Review Prize and a Lambda Literary Award), Underwater Lengths in a Single Breath (Ashland Poetry Press, 2007).  His poems have appeared in many venues including the Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry anthologies.  He teaches creative writing at The University of Hartford.

Minal Hajratwala has inhabited San Francisco, New Zealand, Michigan, Bangalore, and several other earth sites. Her nonfiction epic, Leaving India: My Family’s Journey from Five Villages to Five Continents, won four literary awards. She is the editor of Out! Stories from the New Queer India and creatrix of a one-woman performance extravaganza, Avatars: Gods for a New Millennium. Her poetry collection Bountiful Instructions for Enlightenment is forthcoming in 2014. Educated at Stanford and Columbia, she was a 2010-11 Fulbright-Nehru Senior Scholar. She is a writing coach and co-founder of The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective, publishing innovative poetry from India, and can be found at www.minalhajratwala.com.

Julie Bloss Kelsey started writing scifaiku in 2009, after the birth of her third child. Her short science fiction poems have since appeared in Scifaikuest, Seven by Twenty, microcosms, Eye to the Telescope, and other publications. She won the Dwarf Stars Award in 2011 for her poem “Comet.” Julie lives in Maryland with her husband, kids, and an ever-changing assortment of pets. Connect with her on Twitter (@MamaJoules).

Rose Lemberg was born in Ukraine, and lived in subarctic Russia before immigrating to Israel with her family in 1990. She moved countries again in 2001, this time to the US, for graduate school. She officially became an immigrant in 2010, after living in the US for 9 years as a nonresident alien. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Apex, and other venues. For more information, visit roselemberg.net.

An author and translator of speculative fiction, as well as a lawyer and programmer, Ken Liu is a winner of the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy awards. His fiction has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov’s, Analog, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and Strange Horizons, among other places. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts. His debut novel, The Grace of Kings, the first in a fantasy series, will be published by Simon & Schuster’s new genre fiction imprint in 2015, along with a collection of short stories. He’s online at http://kenliu.name.

Alex Dally MacFarlane is a writer, editor and historian. When not researching narrative maps in the legendary traditions of Alexander III of Macedon, she writes stories, found in Clarkesworld Magazine, Strange Horizons, Heiresses of Russ 2013: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction and other anthologies. She is the editor of Aliens: Recent Encounters (Prime Books, 2013) and The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women (Constable & Robinson, 2014).

Anil Menon’s short stories have appeared in Albedo One, Chiaroscuro, Interzone, Interfictions, LCRW, Sybil’s Garage, Strange Horizons, among other publications. His debut novel The Beast With Nine Billion Feet (Zubaan Books, India) was nominated for the 2010 Parallax Prize and the Vodafone-Crossword award. Along with Vandana Singh, he co-edited Breaking the Bow (Zubaan Books, 2012), an anthology of speculative short fiction inspired by the Ramayana. 

Editor Joanne Merriam is a Nova Scotian writer living in Nashville, Tennessee, and runs Upper Rubber Boot Books. Her writing has appeared in Asimov’s, Escape Pod, On Spec, Pank, Per Contra, Strange Horizons, and The Journal of Unlikely Entomology. Her poetry collection, The Glaze from Breaking, was published by Stride Books in 2005 and was re-issued by URB in 2011. She is also the co-editor, with H. L. Nelson, of Choose Wisely: 35 Women Up To No Good.

Mary Anne Mohanraj wrote Bodies in Motion (a finalist for the Asian American Book Awards and translated into six languages) and nine other titles, most recently The Stars Change (Circlet Press, 2013). Mohanraj received a Breaking Barriers Award from the Chicago Foundation for Women for her work in Asian American arts organizing, and has also won an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship. Mohanraj is Clinical Assistant Professor of fiction and literature and Associate Director of Asian and Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois.  She serves as Executive Director of DesiLit.

Daniel José Older is the author of the upcoming Young Adult novel Shadowshaper (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2015) and the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series, which begins in January 2015 with Half-Resurrection Blues from Penguin’s Roc imprint. Publishers Weekly hailed him as a “rising star of the genre” after the publication of his debut ghost noir collection, Salsa Nocturna. He co-edited the anthology Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History and guest-edited the music issue of Crossed Genres. His short stories and essays have appeared in Tor.com, Salon, BuzzFeed, the New Haven Review, PANK, Apex and Strange Horizons and the anthologies Subversion and Mothership: Tales Of Afrofuturism And Beyond. Daniel’s band Ghost Star gigs regularly around New York and he facilitates workshops on storytelling from an anti-oppressive power analysis. You can find his thoughts on writing, read dispatches from his decade-long career as an NYC paramedic and hear his music at ghoststar.net and @djolder on Twitter.

Abbey Mei Otis likes people and art forms on the margins. She studied creative writing at Oberlin College and is a graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop. She has taught poetry in the DC public schools with the DC Creative Writing Workshop, and is now a fellow at the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas.

Sarah Pinsker is a writer and musician living in Baltimore, Maryland. Her fiction has been published in Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and the Long Hidden anthology, among others. Her novelette “In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind,” was nominated for the Nebula and won the 2014 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award.

Manila-based Elyss G. Punsalan runs her own video production company. Some of her fiction can be found in the anthologies Philippine Speculative Fiction (Volumes 3, 6, and 9), Philippine Genre Stories, A Time for Dragons, HORROR: Filipino Fiction for Young Adults, and the webzine Bewildering Stories. At one point in her life, she produced and hosted the monthly Filipino audio fiction site Pakinggan Pilipinas (pakingganpilipinas.blogspot.com).

Benjamin Rosenbaum lives near Basel, Switzerland with his wife and children. His stories have been published in Nature, Harper’s, F&SF, Asimov’s, McSweeney’s, and Strange Horizons, translated into 23 languages, and nominated for Hugo, Nebula, BSFA, Locus, World Fantasy, and Sturgeon Awards. He has collaborated with artist Ethan Ham on several art/literary hybrids. Find out more at www.benjaminrosenbaum.com.

Erica L. Satifka’s fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld Magazine, Daily Science Fiction, Ideomancer, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet and the Greek magazine supplement εννέα. She lives in Portland, Oregon. Visit her online at www.ericasatifka.com.
 
Nisi Shawl’s collection Filter House was a 2009 James Tiptree, Jr., Award winner; her stories have been published in Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror and both volumes of the Dark Matter series.  She was the 2011 Guest of Honor at the feminist SF convention WisCon and a 2014 co-Guest of Honor for the Science Fiction Research Association.  She co-authored the renowned Writing the Other: A Practical Approach with Cynthia Ward, and co-edited the nonfiction anthology Strange Matings: Science Fiction, Feminism, African American Voices, and Octavia E. Butler.  Shawl’s Belgian Congo steampunk novel Everfair is forthcoming in 2015 from Tor Books.  Her website is www.nisishawl.com.

Lewis Shiner’s latest novel is Dark Tangos (Subterranean Press, 2011). Previous novels include Frontera and Deserted Cities of the Heart, both Nebula Award finalists, and the World Fantasy Award-winning Glimpses. He’s also published four short story collections, journalism, and comics. Virtually all of his work is available for free download at www.fictionliberationfront.net.

Marge Simon’s works appear in Strange Horizons, Niteblade, DailySF Magazine, Pedestal Magazine, Dreams & Nightmares and other places. She edits a column for the HWA Newsletter and serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees.  She has won the Strange Horizons Readers Choice Award, the Bram Stoker Award™(2008, 2012 & 2013), the Rhysling Award and the Dwarf Stars Award. Collections: Like Birds in the Rain, Unearthly Delights, The Mad Hattery, Vampires, Zombies & Wanton Souls, and Dangerous Dreams. Find her at www.margesimon.com.

Sonya Taaffe’s short fiction and poetry can be found in the collections Postcards from the Province of Hyphens (Prime Books), Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books), and A Mayse-Bikhl (Papaveria Press), and in anthologies including Aliens: Recent Encounters, Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction, The Moment of Change: An Anthology of Feminist Speculative Poetry, People of the Book: A Decade of Jewish Science Fiction & Fantasy, The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, The Alchemy of Stars: Rhysling Award Winners Showcase, and The Best of Not One of Us. She is currently senior poetry editor at Strange Horizons; she holds master’s degrees in Classics from Brandeis and Yale and once named a Kuiper belt object. She lives in Somerville with her husband and two cats.

Bogi Takács is a Hungarian Jewish author, a psycholinguist and a popular-science journalist. E writes both speculative fiction and poetry, and eir works have been published or are forthcoming in a variety of venues like Strange Horizons, Apex and GigaNotoSaurus, among others. E is online at www.prezzey.net.

Deborah Walker grew up in the most English town in England, but she soon high-tailed it down to London, where she now lives with her partner, Chris, and her two young children. Find Deborah in the British Museum trawling the past for future inspiration or on her blog: deborahwalkersbibliography.blogspot.com. Her stories have appeared in Nature’s Futures, Cosmos, Daily Science Fiction and The Year’s Best SF 18.

A South African clinical psychologist, Nick Wood has short stories in AfroSF, Interzone, Infinity Plus, PostScripts, Redstone Science Fiction and the Newcon Press anthology, Subterfuge, amongst other publications. His YA speculative novel, The stone chameleon, was published in South Africa. Nick has completed an MA in Creative Writing (SF & Fantasy) through Middlesex University, London and is currently training clinical psychologists in Hertfordshire, England. He can be found: @nick45wood or nickwood.frogwrite.co.nz.

Bryan Thao Worra is an award-winning Lao-American writer. An NEA Fellow in literature, he is a professional member of the Horror Writer Association and the Science Fiction Poetry Association. His work appears internationally, including in Innsmouth Free Press, Tales of the Unanticipated, Illumen, Astropoetica, Outsiders Within, Dark Wisdom, and Mad Poets of Terra. He is the author of the books of speculative poetry On the Other Side of the Eye, Barrow, and Demonstra. Visit him online at thaoworra.blogspot.com.

 

Stories and poems from the book available online:

Entry filed under: Anthology, Fiction, Poetry. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Doing an AMA! Choose Wisely: 35 Women Up To No Good


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