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by Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Well, I guess that you probably know

by now—I was one who wanted to fly.

I wanted to ride on that arrow of fire right up into heaven.

And I wanted to go for every man,

every child, every mother of children,

I wanted to carry the dreams of all people right up to the stars.

—Flying For Me, John Denver

Those lyrics, written in tribute to the fallen astronauts of the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion in the mid-1980s, probably sum up a lot of our feelings about going to space. I wanted to go then. Even after the disasters, I still want to go now. It’s one of my greatest dreams, and one that actually seems more and more possible every day given the increasing privatization of space flight.

And I wanted to go with NASA. See, I’m a huge NASA fan. It broke my heart when the public lost interest and funding was cut. Some predicted the death of NASA, but somehow they’ve carried on with plans for manned missions to Mars and more. And I’d give anything to go. Even if it meant I couldn’t return. What about you?

Space travel, to me, is still the incredible dream it always was, and so the ideas for many of my science fiction stories have been born. The idea for this anthology was inspired by asking what will space travel look like in an age no longer dominated by NASA. With not only other governments taking increasing roles but also corporations and private citizens, how will that change things? What new ships, opportunities and mission goals might we see?

Mission: Tomorrow features eighteen stories by talented authors, many you may have heard of before, imagining such missions. Near future or not so near, all take place in and around our solar system. Some involve alien encounters, others involve missions gone wrong, and still others take place back on Earth itself. From Pluto to Mercury and even the Kuiper Belt, we cover a broad spectrum. Most of the stories are serious, but a couple are humorous, and I hope they’ll all inspire you to dream, regardless.

What would it be like if you could go up there? What awaits us out there? Who wouldn’t still like to find out? I know I would. So welcome aboard a journey that imagines the possibilities. I hope you enjoy Mission: Tomorrow as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

To infinity and beyond, as Buzz Lightyear might say. Three . . . Two . . . One . . . Blastoff!

Bryan Thomas Schmidt,


Ottawa, Kansas

September 2014

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