Looking for Life

A Collection of Science Fiction Short Stories

Fiction - Science Fiction
214 Pages
Reviewed on 07/27/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

As a youngster growing up in the cobbled streets of Stockport, UK, Clayton Graham read a lot of Science Fiction. He loved the ‘old school’ masters such as HG Wells, Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov and John Wyndham. As he left those formative years behind, he penned short stories when he could find a rare quiet moment amidst life’s usual distractions.
He settled in Victoria, Australia, in 1982. A retired aerospace engineer who worked in structural design and research, Clayton has always had an interest in Science Fiction and where it places humankind within a universe we are only just starting to understand.
Clayton loves animals, including well behaved pets, and all the natural world, and is a member of Australian Geographic.
Combining future science with the paranormal is his passion. ‘Milijun’, his first novel, was published in 2016. Second novel, ‘Saving Paludis’, was published in 2018 and won a Readers’ Favorite International Award. The stories are light years from each other, but share the future adventures of mankind in an expansive universe as a common theme.
The sequel to Milijun, entitled Amidst Alien Stars was published in December 2019.

In between novels Clayton has published ‘Silently in the Night’ and ‘Looking for Life’, two collections of short stories where, among many other adventures, you can sympathize with a doomed husband, connect with an altruistic robot, explore an isolated Scottish isle and touch down on a far-flung asteroid.
He hopes you can share the journeys.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Eduardo Aduna for Readers' Favorite

Looking for Life: A Collection of Science Fiction Short Stories by Clayton Graham is a must-read for all science fiction fans out there. Reminiscent of those anthologies and short stories that propelled the golden age of science fiction, Clayton Graham’s elegant and engaging writing style as well as his grasp of a scene and environment makes every short story an entire adventure in itself.

Clayton Graham has elegantly crafted a superb collection of short stories, where every word matters, and none is wasted. It is not easy to incorporate twists and turns in the small number of words allocated to each story but Graham manages to build solid stories and deliver fulfilling endings. From Verne to Shelley, Asimov, and Bradbury, science fiction has primarily dealt with imagination coupled with two extremes; hope and horror. Graham manages to capture the terrors of the fantastic while sprinkling in the persistent and enduring feeling of hope that underlies the actual journey of the human race.

The author’s exploration of fear and how each impacts behavior, both in mundane and fantastic environments, puts into perspective current real-life situations. Most people look at an anthology of science fiction short stories as something they can breeze through, some light reading on a slow day. However, the impact of each story is enough to make me pause and ruminate afterward, my own imagination soaring starting at the point where the author left off. Each story in Looking for Life is just the tip of the iceberg, a snapshot of unique individual universes ripe for exploration.

K.C. Finn

Looking for Life: A Collection of Science Fiction Short Stories spans many different themes and ideas within the science fiction sub-genre and was penned by author Clayton Graham. Comprised of seventeen distinctly different stories with their own powerful messages, this enthralling collection delivers both human and alien characters in all manner of interesting predicaments. From a truly unique spin on the old fashioned alien invasion trope to visions of Earth’s terrible future and some entertaining dabbles with time travel, this collection pays homage to traditional science fiction, but elevates it to the action-packed and high-concept modern standards which we now expect.

Author Clayton Graham offers a collection of stories that will certainly warm the hearts of classic science fiction fans, but the real charm of the work is in how the themes resonate with the modern world, and that the characters have real relatable depths to them. My favorite story of the collection was The Special Friend, in which I really found myself absorbed by Edward and his relationship with the bizarre and enigmatic Floppy Rabbit. I enjoyed the fairy-tale quality of this story, and indeed every tale in the collection takes on a different genre approach, from time travel calamity to dystopian adventure. Throughout the pages, Graham’s prose is sharp and clean to read, with dialogue-driven story sections that move the plot forward and characterize the new faces that we meet very well. Overall, I would recommend Looking For Life to any reader seeking good quality science fiction bites to enjoy in their breaktimes.

Joel R. Dennstedt

Purists often prefer the original designation, science fiction, for books like Looking for Life by Clayton Graham, but the less definitive, more contemporary label, speculative fiction, best describes the wonderfully engaging work proffered herein. The very best creations in this unique genre, no matter the designation, occupy themselves with the psychology of ‘human being’ rather than the accoutrements of war, technical toy-making, or scientific theory. While these highly intriguing elements of necessity clothe most imaginative stories of speculative fiction, the spirit of great science fiction is best found when exploring the foundation of life itself, whether alien or human, robotic or organic. This means telling living stories and in this glorious genre telling them with a twist.

Clayton Graham tells living stories and in his latest collection, Looking for Life, once again he tells them with a twist. Like the special secret friend of one little boy, the friend perceived as one floppy rabbit, calling down from space. Or like the alien animal collected to repopulate Earth’s barren devastation due to mass extinction, who turns out to be not just intelligent, but ‘chosen’. Or like the fellow member of a spaceship crew who lets himself be adopted by a planet, only to find himself repopulating the world with others who will certainly drive him mad. These are all stories of hypnotic speculation dressed in easily discarded clothing, provided only for some context amidst eager speculation while the reader tries to guess what might be coming next. Most often, ‘next’ comes with a delightful twist. Something to make the reader sigh, then remember why it is he loves science fiction.