As you are no doubt aware I edit Futures, Nature‘s weekly foray into the many worlds of science fiction. This week’s example is a disturbing tale of computer love – just the thing for Alan Turing’s centenary year – and comes from Grace Tang, who in real life is a graduate student at Stanford. This is Ms Tang’s début appearance in Futures, and I hope there’ll be more.
I write, however, concerning a different Tang entirely, and that’s virologist Dr Julian Tang, who first deluged me with a story when he was working in Hong Kong, whence he moved to Singapore. I use the word ‘deluge’ advisedly. Julian has, over the years, submitted literally dozens of stories, and despite my best efforts to keep them out, I have published ten of them – assuredly (I haven’t counted) more than any other single author, even Professor Trellis of North Wales – and I shall soon publish Julian’s eleventh. The first story Julian sent that I actually published was called From Mars with Love, back in November, 2008.
Julian is a one-man volcano of imagination: I tend to reject his stories not because they’re no good (very far from the truth) but because I want to give everyone else a chance. If I asked him, I expect he could fill the column single handed. I have long thought it a shame that I am practically the sole reader of most of his fiction, so for some years I have been egging him to publish his mighty oeuvre in a small anthology, so that others could also enjoy it.
This oeuvre has finally hatched, and you can now buy it from Amazon and presumably all other good retail outlets. In it you’ll find much that Julian first aired in Nature – but much else, besides. From Mars With Love and other Short Stories contains no fewer than fifty-four bite-sized brain bombs. That’s one for every week of the year, with two left over for spares. His fiction often seems light – fun and frolicsome – but if you stop to think about it, a darker edge often emerges. I recommend From Mars With Love and other Short Stories without reservation, hesitation, or deviation.