Short fiction from; Jaine Fenn, author of Principles of Angels, Sean Williams, author of the Astropolis series, and Rod Slatter, Lee Gimenez and more. Plus...
An interview with Seeds of Earth author Michael Cobley and an excerpt from his book.
Organic Life. By Justin Ryan Schwan
The day was August eighth, 2656. I was in command of the space vessel V3-943. My crew and I awoke from stasis on August first. There was a beacon from the planet's surface and we were to investigate it on our way back to Earth from our military/exploratory expedition.
We approached a medium-sized planet roughly the size of four Earths. It was an apparent life spawning planet. We could see green and blue and brown through the concave windows of our ship before we entered atmosphere. What appeared to be forest covered roughly half of the world. The remainder of the planet lay in desert. But the sun was blue-white, not yellow. The oceans of this strange world were few and small, and much of the sphere was covered by a strange, nearly transparent haze we took for orange clouds.
Lieutenant Johnson, the ship's geographer, pointed out a large mountain range stretching like a scar north-south along the face of the eastern hemisphere, right of our ship. He reported to me the last beacon originated at the southern foothills of this mountain range—several times the size of the Himalayas. Think, if you can, what the Rockies and Andes would look like if they were one defined range stretching from the northern most parts of Alaska to the tip of Antarctica.
My pilot, Jamie Vasquez, said, “This planet isn't on any of my maps.” She did not speak to me, but to Johnson beside me. Johnson seemed to ignore her. The possibility of coming across an uncharted planet on our way home from a routine, well mapped area of the galaxy was unthinkable. It would have been more likely to wake up and find ourselves thousands of light years off course than to find a mountain suddenly growing out of a desert plain.
“It's not possible,” Johnson finally said. “It's there, you're just missing it.” “The sun is blue,” I said.
“Look for a blue sun with a planet of this size.”
“I did,” she said. “I think we may have been....”
“Blown off track,” Johnson said, but he wasn't agreeing with her. “I'll prove it myself when we come back that we weren't.”