Back in February I talked about having been invited to submit a short story for a themed anthology which will be released later this year. That anthology has now been announced: it’s PARADOX, to be published by NewCon Press and launched at Loncon in August, and I’m delighted that my story Audiovisionary will be part of it. Click the link to check out the great cover and the full table of contents; there are no less than fifteen original pieces of fiction, and a starry list of authors including Pat Cadigan, Adam Roberts, Paul Cornell, Dr Rachel Armstrong, Adrian Tchaikovsky and Tricia Sullivan.
As for what it’s about: The theme of PARADOX is Fermi’s Paradox, a scientific conundrum which essentially boils down to the following: Given the age and scale of the universe, and the relative youth within it of our own solar system, we know there must exist many more planets similar to our own – that is to say, capable of supporting life – and that they will mostly be a lot older than we are. So the probability is high that intelligent life will have evolved elsewhere, and will have had more time to solve problems like interstellar travel and communications. That being the case, why haven’t we heard from them?
(Or, rather more succinctly: Where is everybody?)
The only requirement set by editor Ian Whates was to write a piece of short fiction that would reflect on, respond to, or in some way be inspired by this. Space science is not my normal stomping ground, nor is short fiction my natural format; but the Fermi problem resonated with an idea I’d already been playing around with, plus I was struggling to get a handle on my next novel and I thought it might be helpful to get my head into something completely different for a while and then come back to it. So I decided to give it a go, and Audiovisionary came out. It’s a real departure for me; I’m looking forward to hearing what readers think, and to the rest of PARADOX.