Book Smugglers Publishing First Contact Smugglerific Cover

A Smugglerific Cover: The Merger by Sunil Patel

In which we reveal the cover for The Merger: A Romantic Comedy of Intergalactic Business Negotiations, Indecipherable Emotions, and Pizza by Sunil Patel

Today we are most delighted to unveil the first official cover of Book Smugglers Publishing’s First Contact season of short stories.

Without further ado, BEHOLD! The smugglerific cover!

The Merger (final cover)

About the Story

Paresh and Sita are a loving married couple who share a (mostly) pleasant and uneventful life. That is, if you don’t count Sita’s cooking experiments with turkey chili pizza (don’t ask). All that changes one evening, when Paresh is approached by a gelatinous, horned blob-alien from outer space who makes a lucrative offer that Paresh and Sita literally cannot refuse (or else the world is, well, kaput).

Caught between a rock and a hard place, the couple learns that business negotiations with alien corporations are not so different from negotiations on Earth. And one should always, always read the fine print before agreeing to a merger.

A Word From Your Friendly Neighborhood Editors (and Book Smugglers)

We received The Merger and immediately fell in love with it. Well, we did after we finished laughing hysterically at the sly, business merger-inspired humor (a type of humor that truly is universal, if you’ll pardon the pun). We immediately were drawn to The Merger because of its zany humor and its excellent, traditional approach to the “First Contact” prompt; we fell in love with The Merger because of its truly awesome characters.

Paresh and Sita are the protagonists and heart of this tale, and we love the relationship between the married couple. There’s a careful balance in this story between absurdity and earnestness, and a lot of that balance is due to the genuine love between these characters. The absurdity, of course, comes from a screechy-voiced blob extraterrestrial whose emotions (and body parts) are indecipherable.

For all of these reasons, we knew we immediately had to acquire this fantastic, resonant, hilarious short story.

And we dearly hope you enjoy The Merger as much as we do!


About the Author

Sunil Patel

Sunil Patel is a Bay Area fiction writer and playwright who has written about everything from ghostly cows to talking beer. His plays have been performed at San Francisco Theater Pub and San Francisco Olympians Festival, and his fiction has appeared in Saturday Night Reader, Fireside Magazine, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, and Flash Fiction Online, and is forthcoming in Fantastic Stories of the Imagination and Genius Loci: Tales of the Spirit of Place. Plus, he reviews books for Lightspeed. His favorite things to consume include nachos, milkshakes, and narrative. Find out more at, where you can watch his plays, or follow him @ghostwritingcow. His Twitter has been described as “engaging,” “exclamatory,” and “crispy, crunchy, peanut buttery.”

About the Artist

The Merger (final art)

Melanie Cook is an illustrator, concept artist and writer. She has produced storyboards for the likes of Ridley Scott Associates and concept art for the award-winning short film Payload and the science fiction project Restoration. Her current projects include The Tyger and the forthcoming webcomic The Death of Negative Man. You can find her on Twitter, Tumblr or her personal website.


How to Get the Story

The Merger will be available on June 23, 2015. You’ll be able to read the short story in full for free here on The Book Smugglers, but we’ll also have a DRM-free ebook (EPUB, MOBI, AZK) that contains the story as well as a Q&A, essay from the author, and exclusive deleted scenes available for purchase on all major ebook retail sites.

Preorder the Ebook Today
Kindle US | Kindle UK | Kobo | Google Play | Smashwords

Coming Soon
B&N | iBooks

Need a copy *right* now? Want to read it *today*? You can buy it directly from us!

Buy eBook

And read The Merger for free online on June 23, 2015.


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