Stephen Hundley was raised in Richmond Hill, Georgia. He is the author of the story collection, The Aliens Will Come to Georgia First (University of North Georgia Press) and the novel, Bomb Island (Hub City Press). His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Cutbank, Carve, The Greensboro Review, and other journals. He holds an MA from Clemson, an MFA from the University of Mississippi, and is currently completing a Ph.D. in English at Florida State University.
The Aliens Will Come to Georgia First is the debut short fiction collection by Stephen Hundley that showcases sixteen bizarre, hard-loving stories set in the foothills, pinelands, low country, and barrier islands of Georgia and a few other places too. Hundley's men and women grapple with death, distant lovers, damaged families as well as sharks, stray dogs, and man-eating tigers, whileexploring questions of belonging and duty to people and place. A man discovers an abandoned child at a flea market. A diver visits a sleeping nuclear bomb just a mile from the beach. A woman prophesizes visitors from the stars. This collection works to make the familiar new, and to introduce fantasy and science fiction spurs to the Southern literary tradition.
In "Settled," winner of the 2019 Larry Brown Short Story Award, a town is evacuated before a planned flood, but some citizens decide to affix pontoons to the bottom of their house and ride out the storm. While the diner is ripped apart for sport by bored deputies, and wild animals flee the woods, a man moves the grave of his son to higher ground and pleads with his estranged wife to leave for safety, but the forces of guilt and grief compel her to stay, even as the feral dogs howl and the helicopters circle and the flood waters prepare to tear it all away. Hundley brings his characters to the breaking point, where the choices are extreme, and there isn't always a clean way out. The forces in this world inflict brutal wounds and leave their victims estranged and confused. All that remains is the connection of homeplace and the forgiveness they offer, or withhold, from the ones they love.
The Aliens Will Come to Georgia First offers an intimate glimpse into a working class and American South populated by men and women who have made themselves acolytes of existential powers-atomic bombs and aliens, the ocean and desperate love. This is a book for dreamers and space cadets, for fighters and providers, for anyone who believes in a connection between the places we come from and the people we become.