As a science fiction author, I like to read whenever I get the chance. Not only does it allow me to study other stories to improve my own writing, but it’s fun. Unfortunately, I am super busy. Really. It’s ridiculous. Therefore, it’s difficult for me to finish longer books because my reading time is often so spaced out that sometimes I go a week or two between reading sessions and forget what’s going on in the story. This is a big part of why I love writing shorter books (or serials) like the Ardent Redux Saga. Anything that takes 2 hours or less to read is a win for me. I get a quick read and I don’t have to struggle to remember what’s happening.
As a result, I subscribe to the Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine. I get several short stories and get to read a variety of styles. All delivered right to my mailbox. I get the print version so I can take it with me and read it in my downtime, when I do manage to get some. It’s a nice break from screens too. One day, I hope to be published in the magazine. But, for now at least, I’m still a little too nervous to even apply. Maybe some day.
Anyway… on to the review!
An Alien on Crete by Neal Asher
In the latest edition of Asimov’s, the first short story is by author Neal Asher. Per the bio in the magazine, he has many short stories and twenty-six books.
An Alien on Crete is the story of a man who finds… an alien… on Crete. Seems pretty straight forward… but you know these things aren’t ever quite what they seem.
I really enjoyed Asher’s set up for this short. With a short story you don’t have a lot of time for world building and whatnot, and I feel like he did a really great job conveying the setting and the feelings around what was happening. I also really enjoyed the main character’s reaction to finding the alien. It was believable. That’s not always something you see in these first contact stories.
The story quickly evolves from there as the hero learns more about the alien and why it’s on Earth. Then, the whole thing wraps up very quickly. Almost too quickly in my opinion. I would have liked another 1,000 words or so detailing how the main character came to terms with what he learned from the alien and what it would mean going further. But overall, I thought it was a really enjoyable read.
If you’d like to read part of the story for yourself, you can do that here, for free.
Keeping Science Fiction Short Stories Alive
These days, I believe it’s really important to do what we can to keep these science fiction magazines alive. There used to be several in publication and now there are only a handful, one of them being Asimov’s. You can read more about the history of Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine here. It’s available in both print and digital editions.
If you enjoy science fiction and short stories then I encourage you to support this magazine. Not only do you get the benefit of reading some great stories every other month, but it’s another way for you to discover new authors. You never know when you’re going to find one that will change your view on space travel or touch you in some way. You may even find your next favorite author.
I do feel like I should mention that I’m not getting anything out of promoting the magazine. I just really want to keep these types of magazines alive.