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How to Take Pictures of Alpha Centauri Children

Bruce McAllister's short stories have appeared over the years in the science fiction field's major publications and in many "year's best" volumes. His career-spanning collection of science fiction stories is The Girl Who Loved Animals; his most recent novel is the Locus-recommended The Village Sang to the Sea: A Memoir of Magic.

l. Establish trust between yourself and the child. Let the child smell you.
2. Get down on the child's level, but not too close.
3. Bring with you something the child wants. A piece of kerlu jerky, or a simple toy.
4. Dangle what you've brought in front of the camera.
5. Mispronounce a word or two in the child's language or make other strange noises to elicit different facial expressions.
6. If the child's exoskeleton is really dark, underexpose.
7. Have patience. Every Tau Ceti child is different. Some are violent.
8. Don't wear anything you wouldn't want a talon or fang to go through.
9. Reward the child with what you've brought. Watch your fingers.
10. Practice, practice, practice.
11. Be up on your shots.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, January 11th, 2018

Author Comments

I've often wondered where children actually come from and seem not to be alone in this.

- Bruce McAllister
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