Sunday, January 15, 2017
Alien Tales and Lore by G.J. Gundersen Jr.
Release date: December 24, 2016
Subgenre: Short story collection, folklore
Gundersen's entertaining tales are unashamedly set in a modern age where one is more likely to believe in alien encounters than in the supernatural creatures of old folklore. Odd occurrences are not magical, but are brought about by alien technology. The tales included in this volume are by turns enchanting, surreal, and troubling. But as with all fairy tales and folktales, they offer an insight into human nature. Gundersen updates the tradition for an age of alien contact!
It is not always easy for us to understand alien technology. Alien spacecraft have been spotted countless times in the daylight. But it seems that the spacecraft that features in this story from Southerland could only fly by night.
Perhaps the spacecraft had somehow lost the use of its solar shield, and that is why the first rays of the rising sun caused it to shatter and fall from the sky. Perhaps the object stolen from the spacecraft was a key component, and not a simple drinking vessel as many have supposed. At this stage, we can only guess at the reasons behind what happened. But the facts of the story cannot be disputed.
Bear Anderson had grown up in the small village of Penderreth in Southerland. His parents had worked on a farm there, but Bear had shown a great interest in learning. He had done very well at school, and had won a university scholarship to study mathematics. It was unheard of for anyone from the country around Penderreth to go to university, so Bear became quite a local celebrity, and everyone in Penderreth and beyond called him The Student as a mark of respect.
It was at the end of Bear Anderson’s first year at university, around midsummer time, and he had returned home to Penderreth. While he had been growing up in the village, he had not paid too much attention to the houses there, but when he had gone away to the university, at once he was faced with magnificent-looking buildings of great size and great purpose. At first, he was in awe of the old stone-built ornamented gothic styles. But he quickly developed a passion for focussed minimalist architecture pared down to the essentials of function and form. Bear Anderson had gone as far as taking out a subscription to a modern architecture magazine. And when he was out in new places and saw particularly striking buildings in the minimalist style, he would often comment that they might win the Bäcklund prize. Although Bear was reading mathematics, he hoped to work with the design and construction of such buildings when he had finished his studies.
After his time away, the village seemed small and unimportant, and the buildings plain and squat, and very much alike. And Bear would wander round the village, using long words and foreign phrases, and explaining that he was quite delighted to be at the university, and he was doing admirably, and that it was quite tolerable to be back in Penderreth for the summer, and that at least the weather was pleasant.
It happened that one time, Bear had been at a midsummer party. There had been songs and drinking and dancing, and it had got late, and eventually it had got dark, and soon it was time to go home. The village of Penderreth was quite spread out, and Bear had a couple of miles to walk back along the dark roads to his house. He took out his torch, and set off, but it wasn’t long before he noticed lights in a field alongside the road. And when he looked closer, he saw that an alien spacecraft had landed there.
"How curious," thought Bear Anderson. "It would certainly be interesting to have a look around that alien spacecraft if I can get inside."
He walked over to the spacecraft, he saw that the door was wide open, and he walked right in.
GJ Gundersen Jr has spent most of his life in Britain, and he now lives in a small village in the borders. He enjoys collecting old artworks, especially any featuring aliens. He is a folklorist and storyteller, and Alien Tales and Lore is his first published collection of stories.