Science fiction as a genre pushes the boundaries of human expectations and experience. Since the beginning, authors have focused on telling new stories beyond the scope of Earth, exploring shocking sights and scary monsters. But although big foes and vast space make for attention-grabbing scenes, small moments and connection make us people. How scary are the monsters really, when you get to know them?
Enough Space for Everyone Else is an anthology published by Bedside Press in 2017. It includes stories from 31 creators that explore the nooks and crannies of life, passing on the large-scale, sweeping focus of much of scifi and instead zeroing in on smaller relatable moments. Lee Black, an editor of the anthology, said in the introduction that he was inspired to “make a book where each piece was distinct from the next not only textually but visually, each change of writer and artist creating new moods, tones, [and] aesthetics”. This anthology does that admirably, with wildly differing styles and voices adding charm and roundedness to the book. The collection is mostly comics but contains a few text-only stories, giving the art breathing room.
This collection of works really does afford room for stories beyond anthologies’ normal scope. Many of the creators are previously unpublished, and their focus and rhythms are unlike the larger publishing houses’ standard structures. Several stories stand out, like the alien artist who creates constellations for smaller beings to admire (Misaligned by Mari Costa); a day for a worker on a space station when everything just plain goes wrong for our hapless everyman (Fourth Shift by JD Laclede); and a wistful glimpse of longing for home when home is inaccessible (Habitus by Ver). There are several other memorable stories too, but it’s no good to spoil them for potential readers who could discover them for themselves.
If you’re interested in acquiring a copy for yourself, you can find more information about this initially-Kickstarted book from the Bedside Press website. With a price tag under $20 USD for a satisfyingly-large black-and-white comic and writing anthology that clocks in at over 217 pages of content, you’re getting your money’s worth. Each story feels fresh in contrast to those around it, all of them pieces in a mosaic that feels united but unique when one focuses in on the details. Some stories are much shorter than one would expect, more character explorations or vignettes, leaving the reader room to imagine what would happen after the last panel or the last sentence closes the story. This anthology returns to the roots of science fiction: exploring space, and finding space where everyone belongs.