I always enjoy a good first contact story and this one by Julie Nováková, a relatively new name in the short fiction field I need to keep an eye on, adds something new and refreshing to something familiar in that genre.

In the outer edges of our solar system, Lena and Tomas are observing a planet and they have made contact with an alien race. They are working on establishing a line of communication and figuring out how much information on Earth they want to give these aliens, even though they seem friendly. It is not a story with much action, but instead we get plenty of thoughts and interesting dialogue from Lena and Tomas about their mission, themselves and Earth’s history. During which we slowly as a reader learn more about this future the story is set it. It leads up to something that I wouldn’t quite call a big twist, merely an interesting reveal on the nature of things.

Everything is just masterly well written and a joy to read a story that doesn’t rely on action or conflict to provide a thoughtful and inspiring story.


Read in Forever Magazine, December 2023 Originally published in The Best of World SF: Volume 2
Rating: 4+