The Ethnographer’s Gift
Described as odd but horrific, an alien ethnographer collects death moments for his study. One autumn morning he starts to show Chloe … Published in Breach #10
From The Ethnographer’s Gift:
“This is one of my favourites,” she was answered. “Did you see the look on the girls’ faces?”
“Yes, I did,” Chloe said coldly. She didn’t like what she watched. It worried and frightened her.
“Why are you showing me this?” Chloe asked. She was visibly upset by what she saw. She crossed her arms as if to give herself a reassuring hug.
But her companion went on, sounding more excited. “They really loved each other very much. They were just like any family. They just got lost in the heat and the boredom.”
“They’re really dead now?” Chloe asked.
See my interview with Breach magazine on their webpage:
Journey to the Stars
A man’s dream of meeting the lights he has seen in the sky, of journeying with them, turns to nightmare when he finally gets what he wants…
From Journey to the Stars:
Tom chased aliens like others chased storms. He chased them for the same reasons too. He met a group once, or rather, their paths crossed. Wild eyes and messy hair, they were more excited the closer they got to their storm. They obviously lived for it. He wasn’t all that different from them. He was just as excited, just as wild eyed, just as crazed the closer he got.
On that occasion he watched them peel away to intercept the storm. They didn’t understand why Tom didn’t follow as the storm tracked west, but he wasn’t interested in any terrestrial meteorological event. He was after what, or who, was hiding behind it. He knew something was there. Just like the storm chasers followed their leads, Tom followed his.
There were lots of leads to pick up on. Short wave radio was his favourite. It was awash in theorists, or conspiracists, and chasers like himself. And it was immediate. There was no delay in uploading files, no hours wasted in trolling websites or following endless paths with keywords for breadcrumbs.
Tom prided himself in reading between the lines, in seeing relevant data in observations that the person on air didn’t even see. He was also adept at picking out the plants, the hoaxers, paid by the government or whoever, to redirect the gaze, to sew some confusion. There was that place in America, what they called ‘Area 51’, now there was a conspiracy, just not the one a lot of people believed. Classic redirection, simple, but effective. If you get people looking in one place, they aren’t looking where they should be.
Failure to Communicate
We can’t even communicate with dolphins, an intelligent mammal from our own planet. How on earth (or off it) could we talk to alien life? This short story explores what might happen when we try.
From Failure to Communicate:
The ship arrived on a Tuesday. Everybody would remember where they were, and what they were doing, the moment they looked up and saw it. First contact. We were no longer alone. It sat in a low orbit, silently circling our blue green planet. Its size made it visible to the naked eye, day and night. It seemed to come from nowhere, totally undetected, and it circled.
Hours turned into days, days into weeks, fear and excitement warped into fear and confusion. We all waited, watching as the huge silver disk slid over our homes. The welcome signs of the newagers began to fade. The doomsdayers grew bored in their bunkers. Militaries scrambled and then grew restless. The International Space Station readied to evacuate. And then just watched and waited.
An alien caught in the web of life, forgetting who he was (The Bardo) … an asteroid hurtling to the planet and its settlers evacuating (Earth Story) …