Between the earth and the sky, between the past and the present, between the musical notes and the silence exist universes. Millions of them. The eighth volume of Fiction River presents fourteen universes, all different, all powerful. From a planetary survey ship moored in an alien ocean to a comic book convention near a strange Louisiana town, each of these universes go somewhere familiar and strange at the same time. Come visit the universe of Fiction River, which Amazing Stories called "a worthy heir to the original anthology series of the 60s and 70s."
Table of Contents
“Slow Answer” by Lee Allred
“One-Night Stands for Love and Glory” by David H. Hendrickson
“Lunar Command: Dark Side” by Richard Alan Dickson
“Are We Alone in the Universe?” by Darcy Pattison
“Unsubscribe” by Phaedra Weldon
“The Sun Dial Trail” by Rebecca S.W. Bates
“The Mooring Buoy” by Jamie McNabb
“Slow World” by Steven Mohan, Jr.
“Snake Bi” by Kellen Knolan
“Between the Lines” by Karen L. Abrahamson
“Perfect Notes” by Scott William Carter
“The Space Between Hope and Dreams” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
“The Atlantis Fifty” by Dean Wesley Smith
“Sky in the Ground” by Rob Vagle
WMG Publishing does this wonderful anthology every two months called Fiction River. With Kristine Kathryn Rusch, I am a series editor and about once a year I also edit a volume. Fiction River: Universe Between was right at the beginning of the second year. There are fourteen high-quality stories in this volume. It will be a great introduction into the Fiction River series, if you haven't sampled a volume yet. And you won't regret reading any of the stories in this book. – Dean Wesley Smith
"The Fiction River series is a wonderful mind-expanding read, and the Volume 8 Universe Between collection is a great place to start!"– Astro Guyz
That Space on the Line
Dean Wesley Smith
A sometimes simple, sometimes complex line exists between space and atmosphere, between love and hate, between dark and light, between freedom and slavery, between war and peace. Each one of us has a line in us between good and evil, between Yin and Yang.
In everything, every decision, every vista, there always seems to be a line dividing one part from another, one side from another. Physical lines or belief lines, it doesn't seem to matter.
There always seems to be a line.
To fiction writers, any dividing line, when looked at close enough, magically expands to show universes full of stories.
And thus, the title Universe Between for this Fiction River anthology.
As a writer, I love writing stories in those lines, along those lines, drifting back and forth across those lines between two halves of anything. I find that writing stories showing both sides of a divide can have a power all their own.
And often truth and happiness lies on the line, something our culture here in 2014 has seemed to have sadly forgotten.
So as an editor, when I asked a number of professional fiction writers to give me stories for this anthology, I needed the story to illustrate in one fashion or another a clear line of one form or another. That was their only mandate.
I didn't give restrictions that the story needed to be fantasy or science fiction or mystery. And the writers came through for me with a wide array of great stories covering many genres as is normal for most Fiction River volumes.
But that said, since I invited a lot of science fiction and fantasy writers, science fiction and fantasy are the major genres where most of the stories in this anthology live.
Writing stories that sit on a line between two divergent halves and using a science fiction or fantasy setting allows writers to illustrate human conditions that are happening today, without actually writing about that event and polarizing one side or another.
In a number of these stories, the line between two cultures becomes the focal point. How does one side understand another side when the other side seems completely alien to the other?
Does that sound familiar in our real world today?
Maps of countries, the borders, the lines between countries can be redrawn at will it seems. It happens almost every year in our world and that topic is a central focus in this volume as well.
Sometimes the line is simply a surface, such as the surface of the ocean. The unknowing world on the other side of that surface line can really be amazing and sometimes deadly.
Sometimes the line is time.
Time is the great moving line, always dividing the future from the past. Every day we all fight that moving line in one form or another. But in a few of these stories, that line can be crossed, altered, or expanded in ways that only top professional science fiction writers can do.
So I'm glad you've joined into this journey. Think of this volume as a ship transporting you between the lines, down the lines, across the lines into places and cultures that I hope will entertain you, make you think, and most of all, keep you reading.
So please turn the line, the page, between the end of this introduction and the first story.
See what I mean? There is always a line.
—Dean Wesley Smith
Lincoln City, Oregon
March 8, 2014