Back | Next


* * *

by Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Imagine a day when humans have colonized the stars—discovering thousands, even millions, of worlds filled with life—alien beings, alien cultures, alien geographies—some habitable, others not. For much of their existence, humans have engaged in contests—feats of strength, feats of intelligence, tests of mettle and more. What would it be like to engage in such games on an intergalactic scale? That’s the concept behind Galactic Games.

On the occasion of yet another Olympics, when athletes from around our world gather for such competitions, this anthology presents twenty stories of sport and contest in various settings—from Earth to space, with competitors ranging from human to alien. Most of the games will be familiar. Others will be strange or reinvented in some way. Some are Olympic sports, some are not. Some are less sports than games, in fact, but all involve facing challenges like the protagonists have never faced before at the risk of grave consequences for themselves and/or others. Sometimes the humans win, sometimes they lose. And sometimes the games are just a distraction. From athletes to soldiers to politicians, referees, officials and cheerleaders, the characters inhabiting these stories live tales of excitement and challenge in many forms.

For those of us who may never actually attend, let alone compete, in an Olympic competition, this is a chance to engage our imaginations and experience it for ourselves. The stories are presented mixed together, not divided by category, the better to recreate perhaps the experience of multi-event gatherings like the Olympics which many of them represent. People can read it like they often watch the Olympics—working their way through in order or picking favorite sports and skipping around as the mood strikes them. After all, books are meant to be enjoyed and the stories are independent, so let the games begin! There should be something for every mood, every interest, from some of the top authors working today and in the past, along with new and upcoming writers as well. We ask only that you enjoy the ride. Root for your favorites. Boo your least favored. But enjoy the tension, the twists and turns and adrenaline rushes that make good sporting events much like good storytelling—an edge-of-your-seat experience of anticipation with a few surprises perhaps. These twenty stories should leave you wanting more each time you finish one. And I hope you’ll find something to cheer in all of them.

Welcome to the future. Welcome to Galactic Games.

—Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Ottawa, KS

April 2015

Back | Next