Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color, a science fiction anthology edited by Nisi Shawl, and I’ll be sharing an extract with you all a little further down.
About the book:
“There’s nothing new under the sun, but there are new suns,” proclaimed Octavia E. Butler.
New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color showcases emerging and seasoned writers of many races telling stories filled with shocking delights, powerful visions of the familiar made strange. Between this book’s covers burn tales of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and their indefinable overlappings. These are authors aware of our many possible pasts and futures, authors freed of stereotypes and clichés, ready to dazzle you with their daring genius.
Unexpected brilliance shines forth from every page.
Includes stories by Kathleen Alcala, Minsoo Kang, Anil Menon, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Alex Jennings, Alberto Yanez, Steven Barnes, Jaymee Goh, Karin Lowachee, E. Lily Yu, Andrea Hairston, Tobias Buckell, Hiromi Goto, Rebecca Roanhorse, Indrapramit Das, Chinelo Onwualu and Darcie Little Badger.
Click the link below to order your copy:
THE GALACTIC TOURIST INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX Tobias S. Buckell
When GalactIcs arrIved at JFK they often reeked of ammonia, sulfur, and something else that Tavi could never quite put a finger on. He was used to it all after several years of shuttling them through the outer tanks and waiting for their gear to spit ozone and adapt to Earth’s air. He would load luggage, specialized environmental adaptation equipment, and crosscheck the being’s needs, itinerary, and sightseeing goals.
What he wasn’t expecting this time was for a four hundred pound, octopus-like creature to open the door of his cab a thousand feet over the new Brooklyn Bridge, filling the cab with an explosion of cold, screaming air, and lighting the dash up with alarms. He also definitely wasn’t expecting the alien to scream “Look at those spires!” through a speaker that translated for it. So, for a long moment after the alien jumped out of the cab, Tavi just kept flying straight ahead, frozen in shock at the controls. This couldn’t be happening. Not to him. Not in his broken down old cab he’d been barely keeping going, and with a re-up on the Manhattan license due soon.
* * *
To fly Into Manhattan you needed a permit. That was the first thing he panicked about, because he’d recently let it lapse for a bit. The New York Tourism Bureau hadn’t just fined him, but suspended him for three months. Tavi had limped along on some odd jobs; tank cleaning at the airport, scrubbing out the backs of the cabs when they came back after a run to the island, and other muck work. But no, all his licenses were up to date. And he knew that it was a horrible thing to worry about as he circled the water near the bridge; he should be worrying about his passenger. Maybe this alien was able to withstand long falls, Tavi thought. Maybe. But it wasn’t coming up.
He had a contact card somewhere in the dash screen’s memory. He tapped, calling the alien. “Please answer. Please.” But it did not pick up. What did he know about the alien? It looked like some octopus-type thing. What did that mean? They shouldn’t have even been walking around, so it had to have been wearing an exoskeleton of some kind. Could that have protected it? Tavi circled the water once more. He had to call this in. But then the police would start hassling him about past mistakes. Somehow this would be his fault. He would lose his permit to fly into Manhattan. And it was Manhattan that the aliens loved above all else.
This was the “real” American experience, even though most of it was heavily built up with zones for varying kinds of aliens. Methane breathers in the Garment District, the buildings capped with translucent covers and an alien atmosphere. Hydrogen types were all north of Central Park. He found the sheer number of shops fun to browse, but few of them sold anything of use to humans. In the beginning, a lot of researchers and scientists had rushed there to buy what the Galactics were selling, sure they could reverse engineer what they found. Turned out it was a lot of cheap alien stuff that purported to be made in Earth but wasn’t.
Last year some government agency purchased a “real” human sports car that could be shipped back to the home planet of your choice. It had an engine inside that seemed to be some kind of antigravity device that got everyone really excited. It exploded when they cracked the casing, taking out several city blocks. When confronted about it, the tall, furry, sauropod-like aliens that had several other models in their windows on Broadway shrugged and said it wasn’t made by them, they just shipped them to Earth to sell. But Galactics packed the city buying that shit when they weren’t slouching beside the lakes in Central Park.
If Tavi couldn’t get to Manhattan, he didn’t have a job. With a groan, Tavi tapped 9-1-1. There were going to be a lot of questions. He was going to be in it up to his neck. But if he took off, they’d have his transponder on file. Then he’d look guilty.
With a faint clenching in his stomach, Tavi prepared for his day to go wrong…