Jul 9, 2012
Alex Dally MacFarlane

Aliens: Recent Encounters

So this is exciting:

I’ve sold an anthology, Aliens: Recent Encounters, to Sean Wallace at Prime Books for a June 2013 release.

It will be a reprint anthology – as such, I am currently open for reprint suggestions and submissions. Read on for more information.


Under the countless billions of stars in the universe, what forms will alien life take? How will they live? And what will happen when we meet them?

Aliens: Recent Encounters collects answers to these questions from some of today’s best science fiction writers. From first encounters to life alongside aliens – and stories of the aliens’ own lives – here are many futures: violent and peaceful, star-spanning and personal. Only one thing is certain: alien life will defy our expectations.


I am interested in stories that are exciting, thoughtful – and, most of all, imaginative. As a reader, I am often frustrated by how human-like or dull aliens are. Show me something unexpected and wonderful.

Things I am not interested in: stories that use aliens as a shallow analog of racism and race relations here on Earth.

I believe that the narrow focus of some previous science fiction anthologies actively harms the genre and the people within it. I am therefore very interested in hearing about stories by people of every gender, race, sexual orientation, religion and nationality.

Please send suggestions of stories about aliens (published after 2000) or submissions of your own published stories (no more than 3) to aliensanthology at gmail dot com. Please let me know when and where the stories were published. Stories under 10,000 words are preferred. Payment will be on acceptance, at 1 cent per word, as well as 2 contributor copies. I need to receive suggestions/submissions by 15 October. Replies will be sent by 30 November.

I also welcome suggestions in the comments here.


  • Oops! Embarrassing as it is to admit a case of temporal confusion, the submission I sent earlier this evening originally appeared in 2012, rather than in 2011 (as I accidentally stated in the cover letter).

    All the best with this anthology,

    M. David Blake

    • Not a problem.

  • […] SFWA member Alex Dally MacFarlane will edit reprint SF anthology ALIENS: RECENT ENCOUNTERS (Prime Books). […]

  • I am interested in submitting a short story I wrote, but it has not been previously published. It seems you are looking only for reprints. Am I reading this wrong? Are original pieces of fiction welcome? Please let me know. Thanks.

    • The anthology is reprints only.

  • I have a published story. It’s a first encounter type with the aliens being a bit tricky. Does this sound suitable?

    • It sounds like it fits the guidelines. Send it in.

  • […] Aliens: Recent Encounters (reprints only) – October 15 […]

  • I have some published first-contact poems (narrative). Would you consider them?

    • The anthology is prose only.

  • Sonia Lyris’s “It might be Sunlight” would be perfect for this, and really deserves to be anthologized. It is a masterfully written short story. Shortly after graduating from college, when I used to have housemates, I once read this story aloud to them, and some of them were so moved that they actually cried. I have kept my battered copy of Issac Asimov’s magazine, in which it was printed about 15 years ago. Occasionally read this story aloud to others, because it is so well crafted. It richly deserves to be resurrected.

  • I know of one great short story about an encounter with an alien: “It might be sunlight” by Sonia Orin Lyris. It’s thoughtful, captivating and a has a great ending.
    I believe it meets all your requirements except one: It was published BEFORE year 2000. It was published in 1993 in Asimov’s SF Magazine. Would you consider it?

    • Unfortunately 1993 is too early for this anthology, but thank you for recommending it anyway! I might try to track it down out of curiosity. :>

      • If you do, I’m sure you won’t be dissapointed.

  • Hi,

    I submitted one of my short stories that was published in Daily Science Fiction last year. Just wondering if it was received? The story’s title is “Exit Interview”.


  • I’d like to recommend Luc Reid’s ‘Outcasts on Earth’ series of linked flash, published at the Daily Cabal.

  • […] Alex Dally MacFarlane is still reading for a reprint anthology she’s editing for Prime Books: Aliens: Recent Encounters.  From the guidelines: […]

  • “How to Make Friends in Seventh Grade” by Nick Poniatowski (originally published in Strange Horizons)

  • I have a story called ‘In Ring’ that was published in an anthology called ‘Extinct Doesn’t Mean Forever’. It would fit in with the first contact in a way that might provide a change of pace for the anthology; it involves an alien first contact with a species that we meet only as a long-dead civilization, through the eyes of the Professor in charge of the excavation’s daughter and an artifact which he gives to her.

    • If you send a copy of the story to the submission email address, I can take a look at it.

  • Hi! I was just wondering if you take multiple submissions.

    • Yes, I’ll look at up to 3 stories.

  • Oh dear. I meant to send in a story I had published this year, but I see I’ve missed the deadline by a couple of days. May I send that to you now, or is your deadline firm?

    • Send it in.

  • Thanks for your flexibility! It’s been sent.

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Out now!

"...the 33 stories that MacFarlane has gathered for this volume dazzle with the virtuosity of their contributors’ talents."

- Publishers Weekly: STARRED REVIEW

"Works from around the world, some in translation, provide an invaluable snapshot of this moment in the genre as well as some tremendously enjoyable reading."

- Publishers Weekly: Best Books of 2014

"The stories range widely in scope and form — from prose poems to metafiction — to capture a dynamic, forward-thinking genre that plays with history, myth and science."

- The Washington Post: Think science fiction is dominated by men? Think again.

"...ground-breaking and superbly conceived..."

- Nina Allan: Strange Horizons: 2014 In Review

Aliens: Recent Encounters

"...this [anthology] blew us away more than any other. Mostly because of the sheer volume of greatness contained in these 32 stories... These are classic stories of alien encounters, from some of the best science fiction writers working today."

- io9.com Best Books of 2013

Short Stories