“Where is everybody?” Nobel Prize–winning physicist Enrico Fermi once asked after a discussion about the possibility of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. To sum up the Fermi Paradox, if the billions of stars in our galaxy have planets with intelligent life on them, why hasn’t anyone visited us?
But maybe they have, and we just haven’t noticed—and that’s the way they want it. And if they are here in secret, why are they here? Are they tourists? Anthropologists, perhaps? Or journalists sending stories back about the quaint habits of the primitives? Or maybe the extraterrestrial equivalent of hunters or fishermen? (Any odd disappearances in your neighborhood lately?) An enemy already within the gates? Or a refugee seeking sanctuary? Gourmets looking for exotic foreign food? Alien criminals hiding out? Alien cops looking for those alien criminals? No missionaries—at least not yet—and there doesn’t seem to be a Galactic Peace Corps. They might happen to look close enough to human to pass, or they might be masters of disguise. Or they might be so incomprehensibly different that we don’t even notice that they’re here.
The secret visitors are revealed by such luminaries as Larry Niven, Poul Anderson, Spider Robinson, Neil Gaiman, and more. And if any alien visitors want to check out the local natives’ speculations herein, feel free. Please pay with local currency, of course.
Praise for previous anthologies edited by Hank Davis:
About Time Troopers:
"The editors’ mastery of the military SF and time travel subgenres is evident in their thoughtful selections. Fans of literate speculative fiction will hope for more from these experts."—Publishers Weekly
Cosmic Corsairs: “Who doesn’t like space pirates? (Well, their victims I guess, but that’s beside the point.) . . . Hank Davis has a fine sense for choosing a wide mix of stories, and this book is no exception. No story is like another, yet they manage to form a whole greater than the parts. From sapient ships to piratical sibling rivalry, pirate detectives to ingenious captives seeking freedom, from alien biology to orbital mechanics, the stories share some of the same elements—pragmatic thinking, moral complexity, loyalty, and betrayal. Definitely a fun one.”—Analog
In Space No One Can Hear You Scream: “[T]he 13 tales in this collection blend sf with horror to demonstrate the resiliency of both genres . . . offers strong tales by the genre’s best storytellers.” —Library Journal
“[F]irst-rate science fiction, demonstrating how short stories can still entertain.” —The Galveston County Daily News
A Cosmic Christmas 2 You:
“This creative and sprightly Christmas science fiction anthology spins in some surprising directions. . . . A satisfying read for cold winter evenings . . . a great stocking stuffer for SF fans.” —Publishers Weekly
As Time Goes By:
“As Time Goes By . . . does an excellent job of exploring not only romance through time travel—relationships enabled or imperiled by voyaging through time—but the intrinsic romance of time travel itself. . . . The range of styles and approaches is as wide as the authors' sensibilities and periods might suggest . . . full of entertaining and poignant stories . . . ” —Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, IntergalacticMedicineShow.com
Praise for previous anthologies edited by Sean CW Korsgaard:
About Worlds Long Lost:
“Editors Christopher Ruocchio and Sean CW Korsgaard have given fans of this venerable genre something special… Worlds Long Lost definitely has something for everyone who loves a touch of the crawling chaos.” —The Wall Street Journal
"Ruocchio (the Sun Eater series) and Korsgaard bring together 14 mind-bending and often disturbing tales of ancient extraterrestrial civilizations throughout the universe...Full of creepy flights of imagination and thought-provoking science, this will be a hit with fans of first contact sci-fi.”—Publisher's Weekly
“Ruocchio and Korsgaard have shown themselves to have the taste and the discernment of master vintners, going through the grapevine of the science fiction genre to find the sweetest berries. Worlds Long Lost is no mere vinegar, but the finest vintage you can find today. If science fiction were wine, this anthology sparkles, both like champagne, and like the stars in the heavens.” —Warped Factor
“Readers are treated to tales of wonder and horror of ancient alien civilizations, from mischievous youngsters to curses of long-lost gods… For readers looking to escape to another galaxy, prepare to be rocketed to Worlds Long Lost.” —Portland Book Review
"Fourteen new stories involving the discovery of ancient alien artifacts, on Earth or elsewhere in the universe, appear in this anthology. The pieces range from intellectual puzzles to tales of adventure, with a fair amount of horror thrown into the mix." —Tangent Online
“Worlds Long Lost delivers on its promise to take you out of this world.” —Upstream Reviews
About the Author
Hank Davis is Senior Editor at Baen Books. He served in the Army in Vietnam and has had stories in Analog Science Fiction,The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and anthologies If and Orbit.
Sean CW Korsgaard is a US Army veteran, award-winning photojournalist and freelance reporter, and an assistant editor and media relations manager at Baen Books.
As a reporter, he’s had over fifteen hundred articles published across dozens of newspapers in Virginia over the past seven years, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Daily Press, and nationally, in outlets ranging from The New York Times to io9 to VFW Magazine, and most recently, as a columnist for Analog Science Fiction & Fact. His work has seen him interview two U.S. Presidents, walk the grounds of Auschwitz beside Holocaust survivors, party with Swedish metal bands, get caught in the thick of riots, and even be attacked by a shark. He was a finalist for the Baen Fantasy Adventure Award and Writers of the Future, and recently saw the publication of his first anthology, Worlds Long Lost, and his first published short story, “Black Box.”
A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, Sean lives in Richmond, Virginia, with his wife and son, and is always looking for his next great adventure and his next big byline.
Poul Anderson (1926–2001) was one of the most prolific and popular writers in science fiction. He won the Hugo Award seven times and the Nebula Award three times, as well as many other awards, notably including the Grand Master Award of the Science Fiction Writers of America for a lifetime of distinguished achievement.
With a degree in physics and a wide knowledge of other fields of science, as well as a passion for history and mythology, he was noted for building stories on a solid foundation of real science, as well as for being one of the most skilled creators of fast-paced adventure stories. He was author of more than one hundred science fiction and fantasy novels and story collections, and several hundred short stories, as well as historical novels, mysteries, and nonfiction books.
He wrote several series, notably the Technic Civilization novels and stories, the Psychotechnic League series, the Harvest of Stars novels, and his Time Patrol series, along with novels such as The High Crusade, Three Hearts and Three Lions, and The Broken Sword.
Anthony Boucher (1911–1968) began publishing stories in 1941. His first published story was “Snulbug,” which was published in Unknown Worlds, and he was a regular contributor to that magazine and to Astounding Science Fiction for the next two decades.
As a writer and reviewer Anthony Boucher had a considerable effect on science fiction, but it was as cofounder (with J. Francis McComas) and longtime editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, which he edited until his retirement in 1958, that he really became a seminal influence on the field. Founded in 1949, F&SF soon became a showcase for the most literate and sophisticated work being done in the field, and Boucher earned himself a secure place in the pantheon of science fiction’s greatest editors.
Boucher wrote one science fiction novel—Rocket to the Morgue, under the pseudonym of H.H. Holmes—but as a writer he is best remembered for wry and ironic stories such as “The Quest for St. Aquin,” “Barrier,” “Snul-bug,” and “The Compleat Werewolf.”
He also had a separate and very successful career as a writer and critic in the mystery genre, and was a recipient of the prestigious Edgar Allen Poe Award of the Mystery Writers of America, and became the namesake for the Boucher Award.
Steve Diamond is a horror, fantasy, and science fiction author for Baen Books, Wordfire Press, Gallant Knight Games, and numerous small publications. He is the author of Residue, a YA supernatural thriller, a collection of short fiction, What Hellhounds Dream, and his most recent work is a dark fantasy/horror novel cowritten with Larry Correia, Servants of War. He is also the cohost of the writing advice podcast, The WriterDojo. Steve lives in Utah with his wife and two kids.
Neil Gaiman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of books, short stories, films and graphic novels for adults and children.
Some of his most notable titles include the novels The Graveyard Book (the first book to ever win both the Newbery and Carnegie medals), the Vertigo comic book series Sandman, American Gods, and the UK’s National Book Award 2013 Book of the Year, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. His latest collection of short stories, Trigger Warning, was an immediate New York Times bestseller and was named a NYT Editors’ Choice.
Among his numerous literary awards are the Newbery and Carnegie medals, and the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, and Will Eisner awards.
Zenna Henderson (1917–1983) published her first science fiction story, “Come On, Wagon!,” in the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in December 1951 and was quickly singled out for praise by Sam Merwyn in an essay celebrating what was then seen as a new boom of women science fiction writers. In 1959, her long story “Captivity” received a Hugo nomination.
She is most widely remembered for “The People,” a series of stories first published between 1952 and 1980 about a group of humanoid aliens stranded on Earth who represent our better selves. Along with Pilgrimage: The Book of the People (1961) and The People: No Different Flesh (1966), Henderson’s short fiction is collected in The Anything Box (1965) and Holding Wonder (1971). The People, a made-for-TV movie based on her series of the same name and starring Kim Darby and William Shatner, was released in 1972. Ingathering: The Complete People Stories (1995), including previously uncollected material, was published after Henderson’s death in Tucson at the age of sixty-five.
Nina Kiriki Hoffman has sold novels, juvenile and media tie-in books, short story collections, and more than two hundred short stories over the past forty years.
Her first solo novel, The Thread That Binds the Bones, won the Bram Stoker Award for first novel; her second novel, The Silent Strength of Stones, was a finalist for the Nebula and World Fantasy Awards. A Red Heart of Memories (part of her Matt Black series), nominated for a World Fantasy Award, was followed by sequel Past the Size of Dreaming.
Much of her work to date is short fiction, including “Matt Black” novella “Unmasking,” nominated for a World Fantasy Award, and “Matt Black” novelette “Home for Christmas,” which was nominated for the Nebula, World Fantasy, and Sturgeon awards.
In addition to writing, Hoffman has taught, worked part-time at a B. Dalton bookstore, and done production work on The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. An accomplished fiddle player, she has played regularly at various granges near her home in Eugene, Oregon.
Richard Matheson (1926–2013) served with the U.S. Army in Europe during World War II, graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri, and was the author of many classic novels and short stories. He wrote in a variety of genres including terror, fantasy, horror, paranormal, suspense, science fiction and western.
His short stories appeared in magazines as diverse as Playboy, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Galaxy, Detective Story, Weird Tales, Western Stories, Stag and For Men Only. His novels, meanwhile, often blended science fiction and fantasy, be it the post-apocalyptic vampires of I Am Legend or the exploration of the afterlife in What Dreams May Come.
In addition to books, he wrote prolifically for television (including The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, Star Trek) and numerous feature films. Many of Matheson’s novels and stories have been made into movies including I Am Legend, Somewhere in Time, and The Shrinking Man, and he worked with filmmakers ranging from Roger Corman to Steven Spielberg.
His many awards include the World Fantasy and Bram Stoker Awards for Lifetime Achievement, the Hugo Award, Edgar Award, Spur Award for Best Western Novel, and Writer’s Guild awards. Matheson received the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 1984, the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Horror Writers Association in 1991, and the Science Fiction Hall of Fame inducted him in 2010.
Larry Niven is known as an author for his hard science fiction, using big, but authentic scientific concepts and theoretical physics. His Known Space series is one of the most popular “future history” sagas in SF and includes the epic novel Ringworld, one of the few novels to have won both the Hugo and Nebula awards, as well as the Locus and Ditmar awards, and which is recognized as a milestone in modern science fiction.
Niven also often includes elements of detective fiction and adventure stories. His fantasy includes his The Magic Goes Away series, which utilizes an exhaustible resource, called mana, to make magic a non-renewable resource. Niven created an alien species, the Kzin, which were featured in a series of collections, the Man-Kzin Wars. He co-authored a number of novels with Jerry Pournelle. In fact, much of his writing since the 1970s has been in collaboration, particularly with Pournelle, Steven Barnes, Brenda Cooper, or Edward M. Lerner. His Beowulf’s Children, co-authored with Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes, was a New York Times bestseller.
He has also written for the DC Comics character Green Lantern, including in his stories hard science fiction concepts such as universal entropy and the redshift effect, which are unusual in comic books, as is his “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex,” a memorable if not-quite-serious essay on Superman and the problems of his having a sex life.
He has received the Nebula Award, five Hugos, four Locus Awards, two Ditmars, the Prometheus, and the Robert A. Heinlein Award, among other honors. Most recently, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have presented him with the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award, given for Lifetime Achievement in the field. He lives in Chatsworth, California.
Lester del Rey (1915–1993) was a man of multiple talents, a writer not just of SF and fantasy but of many other forms of more mundane fiction, as well as many nonfiction books. He was editor of many SF magazines, from the early 1950s to the late 1960s, an authors’ agent, a book reviewer, and probably most influentially, an editor, with his wife, Judy-Lynn del Rey, at Del Rey books for over two decades. (Incidentally, Del Rey Books, one of the strongest SF lines in the late twentieth century, was named for the lady, not Lester.)
In person, he was a superb, if controversial, speaker, an energetic debater, and if he didn’t have the entire history of SF and fantasy stored in his head, anything left out was probably unimportant.
Lester del Rey was diminutive in physical stature, but a titan in his influence on SF and fantasy or, to put it another way, a master of the genre—and the Science Fiction Writers of America made it official, awarding him the Grand Master Award for a lifetime of distinguished service to the field, an obvious and inevitable honor.
Spider Robinson began writing professionally in 1972, and since then, he has won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, three Hugo Awards, a Nebula Award, and countless other international and regional awards. Most of his thirty-six books are still in print, in ten languages. His short work has appeared in magazines around the planet, from Omni and Analog to Xhurnal Izobretatel i Rationalizator (Moscow), and in numerous anthologies. The Usenet newsgroup alt.callahans and its many internet offshoots, inspired by his Callahan’s Place series, for many years constituted one of the largest non-porn networks in cyberspace.
In 2006 he became the only writer ever to collaborate on a novel with First Grandmaster of Science Fiction Robert A. Heinlein, posthumously completing Variable Star. That same year the Library of Congress invited him to Washington D.C. to be a guest of the First Lady at the White House for the National Book Festival. In 2008 he won the Robert A. Heinlein Award for Lifetime Excellence in Literature.
Spider was regular book reviewer for Galaxy, Analog and New Destinies magazines for nearly a decade, and contributes occasional book reviews to The Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper, for which he wrote a regular Op-Ed column from 1996–2004.
James H. Schmitz (1911–1981) was born in Hamburg, Germany, to American parents. Aside from several trips to the USA, he lived in Germany until 1938, when the outbreak of WWII prompted his family to move to America. He sold his first story, “Greenface,” to the now-legendary magazine Unknown Worlds shortly before Pearl Harbor. By the time it was published, he was flying with the Army Air Corps in the South Pacific.
In 1949, he began publishing his Agents of Vega series in Astounding (later Analog), and was one of that magazine’s most popular contributors over the next three decades, introducing Telzey Amberdon and Trigger Argee, the heroines of his Federation of the Hub series. He was a master of space opera adventure, notably represented in his classic novel, The Witches of Karres, but also demonstrated in many other novels and shorter works.
Michael Shaara (1928–1988) was an American writer of science fiction, sports fiction, and historical fiction. He was born to Italian immigrant parents (the family name was originally spelled Sciarra, which in Italian is pronounced the same way) in Jersey City, New Jersey, graduated from Rutgers University in 1951, and served as a sergeant in the 82nd Airborne division prior to the Korean War.
Before Shaara began selling science fiction stories to fiction magazines in the 1950s, he was an amateur boxer and police officer. Shaara was an early pioneer of military science fiction, with his most iconic short story, “Soldier Boy,” serving as an early work of the subgenre, and lending its name to a later collection of his short genre fiction.
He later taught literature at Florida State University while continuing to write fiction. The stress of this and his smoking caused him to have a heart attack at the early age of thirty-six; from which he fully recovered. His novel about the Battle of Gettysburg, The Killer Angels, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1975.
Alex Shvartsman is the author of Kakistocracy (2023), The Middling Affliction (2022), and Eridani’s Crown (2019) fantasy novels. Over 120 of his short stories have appeared in Analog, Nature, Strange Horizons, Fireside, Weird Tales, Galaxy’s Edge, and many other venues. He won the WSFA Small Press Award for Short Fiction in 2014 and was a three-time finalist for the Canopus Award for Excellence in Interstellar Fiction.
Alex’s translations from Russian have appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Clarkesworld, Tor.com, Asimov’s, Apex, Strange Horizons, and elsewhere.
He’s the editor of the Unidentified Funny Objects series of humorous SF/F, as well as a variety of other anthologies, including The Cackle of Cthulhu (Baen), Humanity 2.0 (Arc Manor), and Funny Science Fiction (UFO). For five years he edited Future Science Fiction Digest, a magazine that focused on international fiction.
His website is www.alexshvartsman.com and his Twitter handle is @AShvartsman.
Robert Silverberg sold his first SF story, “Gorgon Planet,” before he was out of his teens, to the British magazine Nebula. Two years later, his first SF novel, a juvenile, Revolt on Alpha C, followed. Decades later, his total SF titles, according to his semi-official website, stands at 82 SF novels and 457 short stories. Early on, he won a Hugo Award for most promising new writer—rarely have the Hugo voters been so perceptive.
Toward the end of the 1960s and continuing into the 1970s, he wrote a string of novels much darker in tone and deeper in characterization than his work of the 1950s, such as the novels Nightwings, Dying Inside, The Book of Skulls, and many others. He took occasional sabbaticals from writing to later return with new works, such as the Majipoor series. His most recent novels include The Alien Years, The Longest Way Home, and a new trilogy of Majipoor novels, and he has edited three big collections: Legends and Legends II (fantasy) and Far Horizons (SF).
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame inducted him in 1999. In 2004, the Science Fiction Writers of America presented him with the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award. For more information see his “quasi-official” website at www.majipoor.com, heroically maintained by Jon Davis (no relation).
Allen Steele is a science fiction writer with twenty-three novels and eight collections of short fiction to his credit. His works have been translated worldwide and have received the Hugo, Locus, and Seiun awards, and have been nominated for the Nebula, Sturgeon, and Sidewise Awards. He is also a recipient of the Robert A. Heinlein Award.
His first published story, “Live from the Mars Hotel,” was published in 1988, and his first novel, Orbital Decay, was published in 1989. His best-known work is the Coyote series—Coyote, Coyote Rising, Coyote Frontier, Coyote Horizon, and Coyote Destiny—and the associative novels set in the same universe: Spindrift, Galaxy Blues, and Hex. His novella “The Death Of Captain Future” received the Hugo Award, as did his novella “ ‘ . . . Where Angels Fear to Tread,’ ” and his novelette, “The Emperor of Mars.”
A graduate of New England College and the University of Missouri, he is a former journalist, and once spent a brief tenure as a Washington correspondent. He was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, and lives in western Massachusetts with his wife Linda and their dogs.
Theodore Sturgeon (1918–1985) was considered one of the most influential writers of the so-called “Golden Age” of science fiction, though he wrote well into the 1970s. He was particularly appreciated for his prose style, his attention to character, and his treatment of important social issues such as sex, war, and difference. Sturgeon’s stories such as “It,” “Microcosmic God,” “Killdozer,” “Bianca’s Hands,” “Maturity,” “The Other Man,” and the brilliant “Baby Is Three”—which was eventually expanded into Sturgeon’s most famous novel, More Than Human—helped to expand the boundaries of the SF story, and push it in the direction of artistic maturity.
Best known as a science fiction writer, he also wrote horror, fantasy, comedy, westerns, and historical fiction, as well as two popular Star Trek scripts, “Amok Time” and “Shore Leave.” His influence extended beyond even genre fiction, seen everywhere from the Grateful Dead to Stan Lee, and his work presaged the invention of Velcro, the discovery of the double helix in DNA, and Sturgeon’s Law (“ninety percent of everything is crap”). He was an extensive reviewer and teacher of science fiction. For his lifetime of work, he was awarded a World Fantasy Achievement Award, and was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2000.