Oceans under ice and civilizations that have never seen the sun. Life in the most unexpected of places. Biospheres radically different from ours.
Strangest of All, developed in cooperation of the European Astrobiology Institute and scientist and editor Julie Nováková, takes you on a journey to encounter life in the universe, as imagined in SF stories by award-winning authors, and our chances of finding it outside of the Earth, detecting it remotely, learning its limits and more in original nonfiction essays following each story.
Strangest of All was published on May 20, 2021.
The science fiction anthology contains reprint SF stories by G. David Nordley, Geoffrey Landis, Gregory Benford, Tobias S. Buckell, Peter Watts and D. A. Xiaolin Spires, and a bonus story by the editor. Each story is followed not only by the science essay complete with references for readers craving more, but also a couple of ideas for classroom discussions or tasks (best-suited for higher high school grades or undergraduate university students), such as thinking of how to devise a message for a potentially listening alien civilization, bearing in mind what we know of sensory and cognitive differences between species here on Earth. For most of the questions, there is no definitive answer – but all the more curiosity should they elicit.
Strangest of All is the first of major outreach projects coming from the European Astrobiology Institute (EAI). EAI was founded in 2019 with the aims to support interdisciplinary research in Astrobiology across Europe and beyond, disseminate scientific results and promote education and outreach in Astrobiology and related fields by organizing summer schools, supporting the AbGradE forum for graduate students and creating materials such as this book, among other ways. Astrobiology is an exciting and booming scientific field, and science fiction is a perfect tool to bring it closer to people and enable them to imagine the incessant drive of curiosity and the joy of discovery that are at the heart of both science and SF. More such efforts are considered by EAI’s project team “Science Fiction as a tool for Astrobiology Outreach and Education”, which also welcomes new members who are interested in developing similar outreach materials.