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FROM CYN BAGLEY: Tiny Joe and the Green Knight Terraforming Co.: Cases 1-3
Most customers are extremely satisfied with the job “The Green Knight Terraforming Co.” does to refurbish their planets. However when there are customer complaints, then the human Joe called Tiny is the person who solves those problems.
Joe’s backup muscle, Donald is there for the occasional times when Joe touches before he looks. Joe, Donald, and the lab animals troubleshoot those problems that need a delicate touch with a hammer. There is a one hundred percent guarantee that this group can fix any customer problem– or fix the customer.
A collection of short stories
FROM JULIE PASCAL: Traditional by Accident.
Can you say yes, if it’s impossible to say no?The encroaching Solaran empire has gobbled up Svana’s world. Svana fled her planet with the first wave of refugees, swept up with members of a different clan. Space is vast and she finds herself on a space station, alone, waiting hopelessly for her own family to arrive to save her. Thomas is from her world and similarly adrift. He offers to save her, and it’s an offer that Svana can’t refuse, but that doesn’t mean that letting him save her is the right thing to do.
Unless, perhaps, they can somehow save each other.
FROM MARGARET BALL: A Tapestry of Fire.
Thalia Kostis is a budding magician (depending on how you define it), but she has a theoretical mathematician’s grasp on socialization and people skills. When pressed into spying on a rival magician’s company retreat to find out where kidnapped coders are being held, she expected things to go completely sideways.
She didn’t expect to end up mistaken for her rival’s fiancee…
Now she has to juggle her own impending wedding, her cover, her magic, and company politics that might turn out deadlier than anyone expected!
FROM BLAKE SMITH: The Hartington Inheritance.
Almira Hartington was heir to the largest fortune in the galaxy, amassed by her father during his time as a director of the Andromeda Company. But when Sir Josiah commits suicide, Almira discovers that she and her siblings are penniless. All three of them must learn to work if they wish to eat, and are quickly scattered to the far reaches of the universe. Almira stubbornly remains on-planet, determined to remain respectable despite the sneers of her former friends.
Sir Percy Wallingham pities the new Lady Hartington. But the lady’s family will take care of her, surely? It’s only after he encounters Almira in her new circumstances that he realizes the extent of her troubles and is determined to help her if he can. He doesn’t know that a scandal is brewing around Sir Josiah’s death and Almira’s exile from society. But it could cost him his life, and the lady he has come to love.
FROM LAURA MONTGOMERY: Manx Prize.
Charlotte Fisher lives under colliding skies.
It’s the second half of the twenty-first century, and mankind has reached Earth orbit but not much farther. Orbital debris is a by-product of the industrial activity, and it’s dangerous both to everyone up there and the bottom lines of the corporations offering a prize to get rid of it. Charlotte heads up a team chasing the Manx Prize for the first successful, controlled de-orbit of a dead satellite. To win, she and her team must out-think and out-engineer a cheating competitor, dodge a collusive regulator, and withstand the temptations offered by a large and powerful seastead.
The sky’s not the limit. It’s the challenge.
If you like hard science fiction, impossible odds, and a touch of romance, you’ll love Laura Montgomery’s Manx Prize. Buy Manx Prize to join the race for space today!
FROM MACKEY CHANDLER: Family Law.
People love easily. Look at most of your relatives or coworkers. How lovable are they? Really? Yet most have mates and children. The vast majority are still invited to family gatherings and their relatives will speak to them.
Many have pets to which they are devoted. Some even call them their fur-babies. Is your dog or cat or parakeet property or family? Not in law but in your heart? Can a pet really love you back? Or is it a different affection? Are you not kind to those who feed and shelter you? But what if your dog could talk back? Would your cat speak to you kindly?
How much more complicated might it be if we meet really intelligent species not human? How would we treat these ‘people’ in feathers or fur? Perhaps a more difficult question is: How would they treat us? Are we that lovable?
When society and the law decide these sort of questions must be answered it is usually because someone disapproves of your choices. Today it may be a cat named in a will or a contest for custody of a dog. People are usually happy living the way they want until conflict is forced upon them.
What if the furry fellow in question has his own law? And is quite articulate in explaining his choices. Can a Human adopt such an alien? Can such an intelligent alien adopt a human? Should they?
Of course if the furry alien in question is smart enough to fly spaceships, and happens to be similar in size and disposition to a mature Grizzly bear, wisdom calls for a certain delicacy in telling him no…
The “April” series of books works from an earlier time toward merging with the “Family Law” series.
FROM DAVE FREER: A Mankind Witch.
To the North of the Holy Roman Empire are the pagan Norse-lands. It is here that Prince Manfred of Brittany, and Erik, his Icelandic bodyguard, must venture in the dead of winter to a mountainous land of trolls and ice to find a stolen pagan relic, the arm-ring of Odin, something so magical that it should not be possible to move it beyond its wards, let alone take it away. It is gone, and unless it is recovered before Yuletide and the re-affirmation of truce-oaths, a new Viking age will be born. King Vorenbras will lead his berserkers in an orgy of killing, rapine, looting and destruction, across the Empire’s unguarded North-Western flank.
Princess Signy is the King’s older stepsister, and everyone believes her to be the thief, a witch and a murderess. Everyone, that is, but Cair, her stable-thrall, a man plucked from the ocean, with a hidden past. Cair doesn’t believe in witches or magic, let alone that Signy could steal and murder. If he has to drag the foremost knight of the age, and his deadly bodyguard kicking and screaming though the entire Norse nine worlds to prove it and free her, he’d do it. No Kobold, dwarf, or troll is going to stop him, or his scepticism. Not the wild hunt. Not even a Grendel. He doesn’t believe in this superstitious rubbish. He’s a man of science and learning, and he’s used that to fake his way into being feared as a magic worker. But for Signy, he’ll be all of mankind’s witches.
He’ll have to be, because that’s what it’ll take to defeat the dark magical forces which are marshalled against them.
FROM MICHAEL HOOTEN: We Are All Enlisted
Peter Wright joined the Navy thinking that he could do his time in a nice, quiet billet somewhere on Earth. The Navy had other ideas. When the asteroid miners claimed their independence, Peter finds himself getting sent to space on a warship headed straight into the combat zone. He has to get used to everything: zero gravity, standing watch, and being the only Earth-born in his crew. And he has to be ready for the biggest battle the solar system has ever seen.
FROM J. L. CURTIS: April Fool.
Sean ‘Mac’ McCampbell just wants to keep his head down, avoid the riots, and finish his Linguistics PhD before his GI Bill runs out. But when the professors are promoting insurrection and the cops won’t contain the violence, Mac finds trouble won’t leave the people and places he loves alone.
There’s only so much hurt you can inflict on a man before he decides to do something about it.
The Long March is about to get a real surprise on April first!
FROM JEFF DUNTEMANN: Dreamhealer.
By day, Larry Kettelkamp keeps ancient PDP-8 computers alive in a collapsing industrial bakery. By night he wages war on nightmares, and has been waging that war for thirty years. As a young man, Larry discovered that he could enter other peoples’ nightmares, end them, and then vaccinate the dreamers against that nightmare with an ancient symbol that alters the relationship between the two hemispheres of the brain.
For nightmares are not random concoctions of our dreaming imaginations. Strange creatures called archons living in the subtle realms of the collective unconscious craft horrifying dreams to drop into sleeping minds, and then feast on the terror those dreams evoke. This scheme goes back 15,000 years, to the dawn of human history. It was created by a sort of super-archon who claims to be the Demiurge of ancient Persian myth.
Once Larry learns how to destroy archons instead of merely banishing them from dreams, this architect of all nightmares hunts Larry down and demands that Larry stop destroying the monster’s archon servants. Thus begins an escalating conflict that draws in a bored title-search agent, a witch and a lightworker, two teenage prodigies, a modern-day cult practicing ancient Persian death magick, dream mechas a quarter-mile high, and a very very large number of dogs.
Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.
So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.
We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.
If you have questions, feel free to ask.
Your writing prompt this week is: ILLUSTRIOUS