My next novel, AMBASSADOR, will soon exist. Kirkus just gave it a starred review. The fantastically retro cover will have… wait for it…


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The book is Middle Grade science fiction. It stars Gabe Sandro Fuentes, who becomes our planetary ambassador to the rest of the galaxy. And I have an advance copy to give away.

Interested? Then tell me what message you would send to alien civilizations.

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In the past we’ve put maps, music, and line drawings of pale, naked humans on board spacecraft before sending them out into the deep. What would you send instead? What would you say?

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The winner will be chosen at random from the comments below, and will receive a signed and inscribed ARC of AMBASSADOR. Note that, unlike the Pioneer spacecraft, this inscription will not include naked doodles. Also note that only the final, finished book will boast holographic foil. The advance copy will not catch and fragment light like Newton’s own prism. Sorry. It will show off the fantastically retro cover design.

Send me your galactic messages. You have until midnight on Monday, May 12th.


  1. Peter Harle says:

    I would send them rubber doggie vomit, so they could recognize the technical sophistication behind its creation, puzzle over its purpose, and decide whether or not they really want to bother making contact with us.

  2. Diane T says:

    Sorry, you’ve caught us at a bad time. We know the place is a mess, but we’d love a visit anyway! Please don’t be fooled by appearances, we’re really very nice.

  3. Heather Frank says:

    We begin with the premise that math is the universal language. And we all know that music is an alien’s preferred form of communication. We can simply translate the letters on our message into number (a=1, b=2, m=13 and so forth.) Now, the alphabet has 26 letters and Modern pianos have 52 white keys. So we label the leftmost two keys as 1 and the rightmost two as 26 and so forth. Using the classic, “we come in peace” we first strike 23 on the piano, or treble clef c and d and continue from there until we have a rather jarring melody. Not that it matters…we could translate “’twas brillig and the slithy toves in this fashion, because the aliens probably don’t have ears. Or language. Perhaps the communicate by savagely biting each other’s legs. Also we probably don’t come in peace, we plan to strip the planet of its natural resources. So the message really does not matter unless we have a common frame of reference. Or as the great Captain Picard said to the Tamarians, “Shaka, when the walls fell.”

  4. Ross Moreno says:

    I would send a range of media so as to cover a great breadth of possible means of communication. A standard greeting and “welcome to our solar system” in a variety of Earth languages in case they vocalize to communicate like we do, a selection of peaceful music from a wide range of time periods in case their language has taken on a more lyrical quality, mathematical formulas and other means to show we have the capacity to think logically, and a selection of stories that cover our most cherished beliefs. All these could also be communicated in different ways; perhaps something vibrates or heats and cools in a morse code in case their language is through touch and not sound. Perhaps even smell would be an avenue of communication for them. The only way to truly begin to communicate would be to work with them retroactively each discovering the language of the other together.

  5. Chelsea says:

    No one told me, so I will tell you.
    When your heart is full to bursting,
    or whatever organ holds your feelings
    allow it to explode.
    tear it into as many pieces as you can.
    Every broken part will heal stronger
    than you can imagine
    and then it can hold

    (poetry is hard, especially when you consider starstuff is writing about starstuff)

  6. Amaya says:

    (I suppose I’m twice posting now.)

    As our young lay silent and still in the darkness, we listen.
    Ears open, eyes open,
    but our hearts are closed.
    Babe! Do you hear what we have become?
    Our march towards the future is a lonely one.
    Can you see what we have done over years?
    We will someday come undone, and-
    Babe, we are possibly alone.

    As we lay silent and still young.
    Our minds open, ears open,
    but our hearts are closed.
    Babe! Do you see what we have done?
    Created excess in a world of none.
    Can you hear the voices calling?
    We will someday fall, and-
    Babe, we are possibly not alone.

    As we lay dying, and silent.
    Our hearts open, eyes open, ears open,
    our minds are one.
    Babe! Do you know that hate only comes from love?
    Helpless to change, but trying.
    Can you feel the stirring in the bottom of the sea?
    We will someday rise, and-
    Babe, we are not alone.

    As we lay silent and still in the darkness, we listen.
    Ears open, eyes open,
    but our hearts are closed.
    Babe! Do you hear what we could have become?
    Our deadly past is not the only one.
    Can you see what we could have done?
    We will someday come undone, and-
    Babe, we are alone.

  7. Jacob says:

    I would just want to let them know in any way possible that our species is a complicated messy lot who are a mixed bag of wonderful and horrible. While I personally would wish only friendship and mutual understanding, there are many who would exploit or damage any kind of relationship we could have in the name of resources and power, and may always view them as an inferior species. I would also tell them of the joys of Chinese Takeout, Guillermo Del Toro, and tabletop gaming.

  8. Bryan says:

    Dear Aliens,

    We are the people of the tiny blue speck. You know, the third one from that medium star over there. The sparkly one.

    We’re not the most sophisticated beings you’ll meet on your interstellar joyride. We have a hard time cooperating. The strongest of us have a bad habit of eating the weakest. Our tiny blue speck is getting a little scuffed and scarred, worn and wasted.

    We do have pretty good imaginations, though. We sing songs and draw pictures and dance and make up games and tell stories. Telling stories is kind of our thing. We constantly make up places (like yours?) and creatures (like you?) just so we can weave a new story out of the pieces.

    We even have a few tales about aliens. Some come with shiny foil covers.

    So, if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by. We probably won’t dazzle you with our science or our governments or our buildings our strength or our beauty. If you want a new story, though, this is the place.

    Love (also not one of our strengths, but we’re working on it),

    The People of the Tiny Blue Speck

  9. EllBeeH says:

    I suggest sending into space a series of earworms–songs that aliens and humans alike could commiserate about when we finally get together. That, and the entire run of Gilmore Girls. There’s enough popculture in that show to bring them pretty much up to speed on everything to be conversant with us. Aliens, you’re welcome.

  10. Christina Maria says:

    I would say to the universal peoples: Hi! We want to be friends. What can we do to help you? We would like to know how to travel through space most efficiently. Additionally, we would like to know how to harness our natural earth energies the most effectively, without hurting our home. Any ideas?

  11. willalex says:

    These are magnificent! Many thanks to all of you. The winner will be announced soon…

  12. willalex says:

    Random chance and cosmic accident has chosen Heather Frank. Thanks to all for playing! Stay tuned for more news and HOLOGRAPHIC FOIL.

    Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.

    – Will

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