If the World Ended, Would I Notice?



Author Erika Hammerschmidt presents a collection of short stories mingling science fiction, fantasy and realism, inspired by her experience as a space alien trapped in a human body (or, as her psychiatrist prefers to call her, a person on the autism spectrum).

In this widely varied compendium, people grow on trees. Diplomats from another planet negotiate through sculpture. A sixteen-year-old mutant runs away. A toddler explores the great indoors, then creates a world in a computer. A grandfather plays devil’s advocate. An angel screws up. A genie goes atomic. A nerd is reborn. Two lovers learn to fly. A jewelry box learns to communicate. A time traveler disappears without ever going back in time. A teenager on a starship goes crazy. And the world ends in more ways than one.

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If the World Ended, Would I Notice?: A Short Story Collection by Erika Hammerschmidt


Ever since my story “Furnace” was accepted to the second Machine of Death collection, I’ve been thinking about publishing more short stories. They say the short story is dying out, but that doesn’t make sense, does it? Our attention spans are shortening with every generation. We have less and less time to work reading into our schedules. If anything, modern people should be gobbling up short stories like crazy, and the success of the first Machine of Death collection certainly suggests they are, or at least can be induced to.

If the World Ended, Would I Notice? is a collage of extremely varied short fiction, collected from various temporal and psychological parts of my life as an author. It’s a grab bag that should appeal to the same sort of audience that loves Machine of Death: some stories are fluffy and silly, some dark and violent, some sexy, some just plain over-the-top weird and creative.

There are 14 stories in total, including one novella of 94 pages. Some are fantasy, some are science fiction, some can’t figure out what they are. All have elements of otherworldliness, born of my alien mind.

The cover art is an adaptation of the phase-one painting of my “Earth to Erika” triptych: the painting in which I portray myself disconnected from Earth, having not yet begun to make contact with it. Several of these stories had their roots in my earlier, lonelier life, before John, before the whole author-artist-and-speaker gig. This doesn’t mean they’re all depressing, but it does mean their view of the world is perhaps more alien than anything else I’ve published.

If books had movie-style ratings, this one wouldn’t be G. There’s a fair quantity of swearing, violence and sexual themes, but I wouldn’t say they dominate the book. I’d say the overriding theme of the book is curiosity, and the exploration of the strange. It’s not for children, but it may be for adults who have retained some of the drives of childhood.


Enjoy, and spread the word.

Thanks very much to all who assisted me in creating this book, especially John. You rock like the greatest autistic superhero ever.


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