In Lesley L. Smith’s “Ke’s Symphony,” a family of aliens, refugees who escaped a disaster on their own world, is welcomed with both friendship and fear on the planet that took them in.
“Ke’s Symphony” appears in The Golden Door, a collection of stories showing the impact on people when they’re treated as “the other,” whether they’re immigrants to a country, a group of targeted within their own country, or something else besides. The title refers to Emma Lazarus’s welcoming words inscribed on the plaque on Statue of Liberty, “I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Tales of mistreatment of “the other” abound in historical or religious writings from around the world and through all time. But there are also plenty of examples of people helping each other, caring for one another, learning about each other. Sometimes in big ways, sometimes in small—but they all add up.
Find The Golden Door
The natives were protesting when we entered the spaceport. The buzz of their voices increased to a roar as we approached. They held thin flimsy screens with words on them and yelled. A lot.
My small translator machine told me the messages said, “Go home, aliens!” “We don’t want your kind here!” “The gods only made two genders!” “The only good alien is a dead alien!” and worse. I did not understand how anyone could be so unnurturing.
We were with a group of about a hundred refugees from our planet, Kenziri. Our planet was dying. It broke my heart. It broke the hearts of all our people. But there was nothing we could do to save it. If our species was going to survive, we had to disperse to other planets like airborne seeds dancing on the wind. We had to hope we could take root somewhere new.
—from “Ke’s Symphony” in The Golden Door by Lesley L. Smith
Lesley L. Smith has published nine science fiction novels including The Quantum Cop, A Jack By Any Other Name, and Conservation of Luck. Her short fiction has been published in various venues including “Analog Science Fiction and Fact,” “Daily Science Fiction,” and “Fiction River.“ She has a Ph.D. in Physics and an MFA in Creative Writing.
She’s an active member of the Science Fiction/Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW).
She is also a founder and editor of the speculative fiction ezine Electric Spec.