“First Galactic Table Tennis Championships” Now Online

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Dec 2014
First Galactic Table Tennis Championships,” by Larry Hodges, is likely the world’s first science fiction table tennis novelette. Published by New Myths Magazine on June 16, 2024, the 10,000-word story has aliens from around the galaxy converging on Beijing for the Championships. The story is online and free to read.

The story takes place about a century in the future and features Li Yi, the #1 woman in the world and a member of the Chinese National Team. She has trained long hours since she was a child. But now she faces her greatest challenge – aliens! Table tennis has spread to the galaxy and alien players now dominate the sport. The best are the giraffe-like Ith, with their dominating champion Egrayu. Their ancestors snatched flying insects out of the air for food. Smacking flying ping-pong balls is second nature for them.

But Earth isn't part of the galactic community, not since the cowboy Americans tried colonizing a moon in the Ith home system, which led to a blockade of Earth. The Chinese hope to reopen trade with the galaxy with "Ping-Pong Diplomacy" – by running the first Galactic Table Tennis Championships in Beijing. Li, her teammate Fan Xin (#1 man in the world), and the American champion Danny See – a literal cowboy – take on aliens of all shapes and sizes, including the seemingly unbeatable Egrayu, as they battle the biggest cash prize in table tennis history, with Open Singles the only event. But Li is drawn into a corrupt conspiracy that will shake the very foundations of honor and sportsmanship. Plus, there's that problem with the Chinese dumplings…

Hodges is a USA Table Tennis Certified National Coach, an ITTF certified coach, and a member of the US Table Tennis Hall of Fame. Twelve of his 21 books are on table tennis, mostly instructional. He’s also a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association, and has sold over 200 short stories and four novels. He’s also had over 2,200 published articles and nearly 2,000 blog entries, mostly on table tennis – his table tennis blog goes up on Mondays. Here’s his bibliography. He joking claims to be the best table tennis player in SFWA and the best science fiction writer in USATT!