Poetry. These condensed, narrative poems all describe initial-contact experiences with alien societies and exoplanetary civilizations, in the form of summary reports from diplomatic missions or expeditionary forces that encounter failures of communication and intent at nearly every venture. Readers will see the shortcomings of our contemporary Terran culture and some of its historical errors reflected in the narrators' ill-fated attempts to achieve rapport with beings they cannot understand—and whom it may be impossible to understand. Whether the doomed relationships can be blamed on the expedition members, on the aliens, or on the inherent physics of our universe may be due to sheer bad luck and unfortunate timing as much as lapses in logic or ethics. Countering every well-intentioned overture, insidious oppressions also take familiar forms in extraterrestrial cultures.
F.J. Bergmann edits poetry for Star*Line, the journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association (sfpoetry.com) and Mobius: The Journal of Social Change (mobiusmagazine.com), and imagines tragedies on or near exoplanets. Recent work appears in Analog, Eye to the Telescope, The Future Fire, Pulp Literature, and a bunch of other places. Author City: MADISON, WI USA