Looking For Life by Clayton Graham.
A Collection of Science Fiction Short Stories.
5 Stars: Science Fiction with the Paranormal.
…Readers’ Favorite Finalist 2021
…Literary Titan Book Award 2021
…Author Shout Top Pick 2021
Strap in, turn down the lights, and enter worlds that will stretch your imagination to the full…
From a stranded alien comedian to the darkest depths of the human psyche; from a mind-blowing galactic adventure to clandestine extraterrestrial behaviour on Earth. They’re all here in this spell-binding collection of short stories to keep you guessing at every turn.
With tales of alien invasion, deep space mystery, time travel, and dystopian future Earths, this is a collection which takes inspiration from the much respected ‘old masters’ of Science Fiction. Here be new realms to explore—can you cross the void and challenge your dreams?
Explore Looking for Life and escape to strange and wonderful new worlds. From the author of Milijun, Amidst Alien Stars, Saving Paludis, and Silently in the Night.
‘Clayton Graham’s book will have you excited, scared, sad, agitated, happy, and feel all sorts of things as you move from one story to the next.’ Aaron
‘I can recommend this book if you’re in for some Sci-fi that you can’t put down and want to start reading again!’ Dan
‘Graham knows how to keep his readers entertained and thrilled. Fantastic collection.’ Alex P
5 Stars: Science Fiction with the Paranormal
I have been privileged to have read Science Fiction Author Clayton Graham’s books, and have come to appreciate his skilled storytelling, and out of this world imagination. Graham has a unique way of interlacing Science Fiction with the Paranormal. “Looking for Life” is on par with what I have come to expect from Clayton Graham’s books. I think you will really enjoy this enthralling story collection.
Let me give you an excerpt/synopsis of each short story and let you decide.
WAITING FOR WATER: Farming is now futuristic. The government can send in a seeding drone to help with rainfall metrics. I quote from a government letter: “Failure to trigger the seeding, or failure of triggered seeding to produce rain, will unfortunately result in cancellation of your management permit and you will be required to leave your holding forthwith, as it will be deemed unsustainable.” How will this work out for Karl and Maria Kerr?
LOOKING FOR LIFE: “Now Charlie,” Alexander said, “you may wonder why you have been awoken at this particular point in time. I don’t know when it is—it could be a hundred or a thousand years from when I made this recording. Little matter. Your on-board Looking for Life computer is keeping Earth time.” Fantom decided to answer. “It’s plus 150 years.” Predictably, the image before him never flinched. “The fact is, your ship has detected life on a nearby planet. And you are now zeroing in on that life. Everything has been automated.” Alexander leaned further into the screen. “But once you hit that planet, Charlie, you are in charge. You go out there and explore, and capture something living for us.”
THE COMEDIAN: The story of a stranded alien who seeks the sound of applause, by any means. Will he survive in a strange new world?
THE SCORCHED GARDEN: Jay and Debb Svenson were the new pioneers. They were stretching the limits of man’s expertise to the farthest reaches of the solar system. Living a dream that few others shared. Will their groundbreaking new home survive, or will their new lives fall victim to Earth’s interplanetary wars?
MOTHER: A family of roo-dependant beings discover a terrible secret, after an alien artifact arrives by the river. Will they unearth their real purpose in life?
DESPERATE TIMES: Phil convinced himself he was in complete command even though this was the first manned time travel mission; the first with a human payload. Technically nothing could go wrong. Historically, socially, physically, there was lots of scope for error. But he could always return of his own free will, which was really good to know.
DAVE AND GOLIATH: Ulcon’s two moons were up, casting ghostly light over the expanse of the chilled plain. There was no sign of Goliath. Stars were out in their thousands. Was one of them the cargo ship? Dave sincerely hopes so.
THE SPECIAL FRIEND: Floppy’s burrow was on the moon. It was quite a long burrow with a large cave at the end. The cave was lit from above by strips of lights that ran its entire length. The walls were smooth, not cave-like at all. Most surprising of all, there were three other Floppy Rabbits operating strange machines.
EXCERPT FROM ‘AMIDST ALIEN STARS’: Helena said, “I know we have provided the hybrids for the aliens. I know they are supposed to be an improvement on both our races. I even think I understand how they will use them to explore the galaxy without fear of physical or mental degradation.” She turned her face towards Jason, and he saw such a loss of future hope, such despair, that he felt his own strength and beliefs beginning to crumble under an assault of uncertainty. “But I don’t know how the women fit in, even how you and your mother fit in. Have they finished with us? Are we eventually to be discarded once the hybrids are free of the tanks? Will we meet them, see our own offspring? And what happens then?” She put her head in her hands. “Will they want more hybrids from us? Will we ever see Earth again?”
THE DECADY ALIEN: Jan smiled and gestured him inside. “A brief briefing, I think.” Once inside, she closed the door, and they sat opposite each other across a low table. The cubicle, like all the station’s single quarters, was small: no more than three metres by four. The bunk currently lay snugly against the ceiling but could be lowered to just above the table when needed. A cream self-cleaning carpet ran from wall to wall, and several miniature oil paintings hung slothfully from an aluminum picture rail, as if unsure that the artificial gravity was sufficient to keep them in position. The bathroom was communal and situated further down the corridor, the quarters only being intended for temporary visits. One small window gave Jan a view to the stars and the endless, black sky. Karl managed a smile. “How’s my favorite veterinary for extraterrestrials?”
THE VISITOR: John Allan McClean sat snoring in his favorite chair. The glow from a single- bar electric heater warmed his feet. A retired miner from Broken Hill, Mac, as he used to be known, now lived a life of solitude. His old weatherboard was, for all intents and purposes, a hermitage; a bastion against the onslaughts of frenetic humankind and their infernal technologies.
TRIAL BY CONFESSION: Their voices soared into his confused mind like scouting vultures, eventually to settle amidst his memories, squawking and stabbing sharp beaks into his defenseless subconscious. He had to remember. He had to. It was now or never. His head swam with a message, something from the past, something from a crowded room. The subconscious mind is my data-bank for everything. It stores my beliefs, my memories, my skills. Everything that I have ever seen, done, or thought is held there. All I have to do is remember.
THE WHISPER OF WAVES: Tomas was working as a scientist and a researcher for the government. Or had been until the world grew cold. He was tall and angular, his once-short blond hair growing longer, it seemed, by the minute; his face covered by an itchy growth that drove him crazy. The cave was his home. There was no other. The generator provided power, and when it died, he would die with it. In addition to his bed, there was a table, a single chair, a refrigerator and freezer, a small oven and microwave, a chemical toilet that was past its use-by date, and very little else. On a small stand, in one corner of the cave, an audio and video intercom link to the surface stood neglected, as defunct as a hailstone in a heatwave.
OTHERS OF OUR KIND: For seventeen ship-days, the sphere led them a dance through the chosen star’s system until it eventually reached its destination. They arrived in orbit around an inner planet that lay bathed in mellow sunshine. The sphere hovered nearby and seemed to be saying: The next move is up to you. Below them, the new world apparently waited with open arms for the newcomer’s attention. Somewhere down there, Sean thought, there are intelligent aliens. The thought induced strange feelings: excitement, fear of the unknown, even hope—all mishmashed together in a cocktail of conflicting emotions.
WORTHY OF CONSIDERATION: They had found her and put her in a residential group home, and there she had remained until she was seventeen. She hadn’t minded it, mostly because it was there that she developed what she called her powers. For the most part, the other kids gave her a wide berth, especially when she started telling them about their inner secrets. It had been fun for a while, until she had gotten bored. And it was then that the Department picked her up.
BIRDS OF A FEATHER: Duane came to a green door. A black circle with a short, vertical line running up from the top was painted on the upper panel. It looked like an inverted helium balloon, the tether climbing up into the sky. He looked at the lock. This door was hand operated, unlike the one leading to the galley. Should I open it, or leave things as they are? The sounds inside seemed to answer, but they were dull and distant and meaningless, and perhaps not to be believed. He hesitated, finger poised over the door button, weighing whether to open the door. He was on his way back to Earth, safe and ready to join his family. On the other side of the door was an unknown quantity: something that could prove to be his Achilles’ heel, something untenable.
THE WEAK SHALL INHERIT: Standing, Chanuk moved over to the rail and looked at the water below. The reflections of the moons danced on the ever-changing surface of the ocean, and flickering patterns of untold fantasies gently invaded the metallic drabness of the floating city. His heart soared at the beauty of it all. The Corlens were a proud people, and Chanuk, in his own way, was very proud of them. Looking out over the glistening sea, he made out a dark shape on the horizon. That would be Tarn, their next stop on the harvesting journey. Tarn was an island that the Corlens had devoted to fruit growing, and was the last but one call on this trip. Far below deck, in the bowels of the floating city, the holds were already full of grains, frozen vegetables, dried fruit, sugar, spices, and other delicacies—all that they required for food during the coming year. As far back as history was written, the Corlens had never eaten creature flesh, though lore had it that they had once done so in the primordial ages before the floods.
I Encourage You To Read “Looking for Life”: I have read, and given 5 Stars, to Graham’s books “Milijun”, “Amidst Alien Stars”, “Saving Paludis” and “Silently in the Night”. Graham grew up on the cobbled streets of Stockport, UK and settled in Victoria, Australia, in 1982.
Editorial Review (Book Marketing Global Network).
Paperback: 273 Pages
Publisher: Independently Published (July 27, 2020)
Science Fiction Short Stories (Anthologies).
About The Author: As a youngster growing up in the cobbled streets of Stockport, UK, Clayton Graham read a lot of science fiction. He loved the ‘old-school’ masters such as HG Wells, Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov and John Wyndham. As he left those formative years behind, he penned short stories when he could find a rare quiet moment amidst life’s usual distractions.
He settled in Victoria, Australia, in 1982. A retired aerospace engineer who worked in structural design and research, Clayton has always had an interest in science fiction and where it places humankind within a universe we are only just starting to understand.
Clayton loves animals, including well behaved pets, and all the natural world, and is a member of Australian Geographic.
Combining future science with the paranormal is his passion. Milijun, his first novel, was published in 2016. Second novel, Saving Paludis, was published in 2018. They are light years from each other, but share the future adventures of mankind in an expansive universe as a common theme.
The sequel to Milijun, entitled Amidst Alien Stars was released on December 1 2019.
In between novels Clayton has published Silently in the Night and Looking for Life, two collections of short stories where, among many other adventures, you can sympathize with a doomed husband, connect with an altruistic robot, explore an isolated Scottish isle and touch down on a far-flung asteroid.
He hopes you can share the journeys.
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