Discovering a New Science Fiction Writer

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is a digest of speculative fiction tales that I have enjoyed reading for years.  In addition to the great new fiction by established names in the genre, it also features excellent book reviews and essays.  The greatest part of the now-bi-monthly publication is the chance to discover storytellers that I have not previously read or heard of before. It happened again in the recent September/October 2011 issue with the shortstory "Overtaken" by Karl Bunker.

The tale is simple yet quite amazing in its execution.  It is basically a conversation between two spaceships -- the Artificial Intelligence of the "Aotea," carrying a human crew in hibernation, and the mysterious "Rejoindre," a sentient, far-advanced ship that is actually a new evolutionary stage of humankind.  The "Aotea" has been on a centuries-long mission to seek a new planet for humans to inhabit, and the "Rejoindre" has been sent out to bring them back, because presumably a physical world in which to live is no longer necessary.  Before making a decision, "Aotea" tells "Rejoindre" a story.  The choice "Aotea" makes at the end after gauging the reaction of "Rejoindre" will no doubt spark discussion and debate, as all great science fiction should.  I thought it was one of the most powerful and thoughtprovoking pieces of fiction I've read in a long time.

Bunker has written a few other short tales that can be found in various magazines and anthologies.  Visit his Web site at http://www.karlbunker.com/ for a complete list, as well as links to reviews.  He also has a blog with updates on his new writing.  There are enough good stories that I look forward to an eventual compilation of his work in one volume.  I also eagerly await any longer stories he may have in the works. 

Reading "Overtaken" was a delight, but the greater joy was in the realization that I may have stumbled upon a great new writer whose best work may still be on the horizon, waiting to be found.  I can't wait to read more of what his imagination will unleash.

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