Life Beyond Us

Life Beyond Us - Front Cover - Official

What would life be like if it evolved in a cold ocean beneath an impenetrable shell of ice? Or on a world whose haze obscured any view of the universe beyond? Is there a common template for life, or can we expect to find preciously fragile silicon creatures drifting in seas of liquid nitrogen? How would finding alien life change our society?

Life Beyond Us, a new anthology by the European Astrobiology Institute and Laksa Media, depicts the timeless quest for finding alien life in 27 science fiction stories and 27 science essays, aiming to imagine, inspire and illuminate.

A brilliant addition to any university, school or home library. Coming on April 22, 2023.

SF STORIES BY: Eugen Bacon, Gregory Benford, Renan Bernardo, Jana Bianchi, Tobias S. Buckell, Eric Choi, Julie E. Czerneda, Tessa Fisher, Simone Heller, Valentin D. Ivanov, Mary Robinette Kowal, Lisa Jenny Krieg (translated by Simone Heller), Geoffrey A. Landis, Rich Larson, Liu Yang (translated by Ladon Gao), Lucie Lukačovičová, Premee Mohamed, G. David Nordley, Malka Older, Deji Bryce Olukotun, Tomáš Petrásek, Brian Rappatta, Arula Ratnakar, D.A. Xiaolin Spires, Bogi Takács, Peter Watts, and B. Zelkovich.

SCIENCE ESSAYS BY: Jacques Arnould, William Bains, José A. Caballero, Dimitra Demertzi, Martina Dimoska, Tessa Fisher, Dennis Höning, Valentin D. Ivanov, Fabian Klenner, Nina Kopacz, Geoffrey A. Landis, Natuschka Lee, Ania Losiak, Stephen Francis Mann, Connor Martini, Tony Milligan, Philippe Nauny, Julie Nováková, Erik Persson, Tomáš Petrásek, Joanna Piotrowska, Giovanni Poggiali, Amedeo Romagnolo, Stefano Sandrelli, Floris van der Tak, Jan Toman, Sheri Wells-Jensen, and Raymond M. Wheeler


FOREWORD BY: Julie Nováková

AFTERWORDS BY: Wolf D. Geppert; Lucas K. Law & Susan Forest

LIFE BEYOND US has been published on April 22, 2023! If you are interested in reviewing the book, please contact Julie Nováková (julie.novakova at for an electronic advance reading copy.

Reader reviews and ratings: Goodreads page of Life Beyond Us

This book has been edited by Julie Nováková (EAI), in collaboration with Lucas K. Law and Susan Forest from Laksa Media.


To celebrate the World Teachers Day, we have just released the first of the freely available educational materials built on our Life Beyond Us anthology of astrobiology-focused stories and essays. While the resources are connected to the topics present in the book, it is also possible to use as standalone resources entirely without the anthology. The first set of classroom activities revolves around planetary protection – a topic more relevant than ever, not only due to plans for crewed Mars missions!

You can download the brochure here as a pdf. Have a look at the discussion prompts and exercises for high school pupils as well as university students. The activities will work best in a smaller class, but can be adapted e.g. as essay assignments for large university classes where an activity such as a class debate would not work. We are publishing the resources under Creative Commons, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, which means that you are free to share and adapt the materials (non-commercially and under the same license), as long as you give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license and indicate whether any changes have been made. So – any teachers can modify the resources to best fit the needs of their class, and then share them with others again!

As the academic year continues, we are going to release materials for more and more of astrobiology-related topics, such as major evolutionary transitions, spectroscopy and its role in life detection, hypothetical exotic solvents for life, and more.

We are hoping to bring astrobiology closer to classrooms both in high schools and universities. It is a field not just asking attractive (and important) ‘Big Questions’ about the universe and life, but it also has a number of immediate practical relevancies, which we hope to highlight in these educational materials.

We’ll be looking forward to hear your feedback and experience with them!


Julie is an evolutionary biologist by study, active in science education and outreach, one of the many founding members of the EAI, co-leader of the EAI outreach working group, and acclaimed author, editor and translator of speculative fiction. She edited or co-edited four anthologies so far in three different languages (English: Dreams From Beyond: Anthology of Czech Speculative Fiction; Strangest of All: Anthology of Astrobiological Science Fiction; Czech: Terra nullius; Filipino: Haka, co-edited with Jaroslav Olša, Jr.). Her stories and translations appeared in Clarkesworld, Asimov’s, Analog,, F&SF and elsewhere, and she occasionally publishes nonfiction in Clarkesworld and Analog.

Lucas is a Malaysian-born editor and author who divides his time and heart between Calgary and Qualicum Beach. He edits Laksa Media’s award-winning anthology series (with Susan Forest—Strangers Among Us, The Sum of Us, Shades Within Us, Seasons Between Us—and with Derwin Mak, Where the Stars Rise). When he is not editing, writing, or reading, he is a corporate and non-profit organization consultant in business planning and development. Lucas is a life member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta.

Susan is the author of (Canadian SF&F) Aurora Award-winning Bursts of Fire, as well as over 25 internationally-published short stories. She edits an award-winning anthology series (Strangers Among Us, The Sum of Us, Shades Within Us, Seasons Between Us) for Laksa Media, and has appeared at many local and international writing conventions. The second novel of her seven-volume Addicted to Heaven series, Flights of Marigold, is available now. Susan is the past Secretary for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

Laksa Media Groups Inc. publishes inspiring and hopeful social issue-related fiction and non-fiction. We have published speculative fiction anthologies on mental health, caregiving, migrations, ageism, discriminations, and cultural identities. Our tagline is ‘Help Us Change the World, One Book at a Time.’ The charitable causes dear to our hearts are literacy, education, public libraries, elder care, mental health, affordable housing, and prevention of abuse or bullying.

We would like to thank all the backers of the LIFE BEYOND US project on Kickstarter; without you, creating the anthology wouldn’t have been possible! Thank you, Aris Alissandrakis, B. Abrams, B. Hightower, Ben Henley, Bendrix, Fred C. Moulton, Jaroslav Medek, Jennifer Hudak, Konstantin Chterev, Laura Loolaid, Libluini, Marco Brieden, Marek “Fangorn” Has., Markus Thierstein, Martin Schröder, Matthew Reece-Ford, Max Kaehn, ondrej.urban, Rae Streets, Raul Castro, Robert Boyle, Robert Lau, Sagan Y, Sarah Liberman, Tara K, Tim Gatewood, tuttleturtle, and all others (who did not opt to be included here, but deserve the same huge thanks).