Book Promo And Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

Book Promo

If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. I ALSO WISH TO REMIND OUR READERS THAT IF THEY WANT TO TIP THE BLOGGER WITHOUT SPENDING EXTRA MONEY, CLICKING TO AMAZON THROUGH ONE OF THE BOOK LINKS ON THE RIGHT, WILL GIVE US SOME AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR PURCHASES MADE IN THE NEXT 24HOURS, OR UNTIL YOU CLICK ANOTHER ASSOCIATE’S LINK. PLEASE CONSIDER CLICKING THROUGH ONE OF THOSE LINKS BEFORE SEARCHING FOR THAT SHED, BIG SCREEN TV, GAMING COMPUTER OR CONSERVATORY YOU WISH TO BUY. That helps defray my time cost of about 2 hours a day on the blog, time probably better spent on fiction. ;)*

FROM PATRICK CHILES: BattleSpace.

In space, the Cold War turns hot.

Long before he commanded the Arkangel on its mission to the outer planets, Vladimir Vaschenko was a new cosmonaut defending his country from the high ground of space.

At the height of the Cold War, the United States and Soviet Union were in a race not only to the Moon but for military domination of Earth orbit. Through intricate dances of deception and evasion, with astronauts and cosmonauts doggedly angling for advantages over each other, two top-secret spacecraft clash high above Earth. In a battle that neither side would ever acknowledge, the young Lieutenant Vaschenko and an American adversary known as “Cowboy” would be tested in ways neither man could expect.

In this new adventure set in the world of Frozen Orbit, readers will learn how Vladimir Vaschenko earned his status as a hero cosmonaut, why his exploits remained forever classified, and how he came into possession of a certain piece of beloved English fantasy literature discovered decades later aboard the abandoned Arkangel.

FROM SABRINA CHASE: Sky Tribe (Guardian’s Compact Book 3).

Engineers always find a way!

Jens-Peter Oberacker thought the secret research facility for magical craft would be peaceful and quiet–the perfect place to finish his engineering research paper. He didn’t expect a violent gang of thieves to have their eyes on the ships, or having to escape to save his life. Worse yet, he’s now being blamed for the entire thing!

On the run in the last, badly damaged ship, an unexpected encounter with a housemaid on a mansion rooftop saves him from immediate disaster. But why would she lurk on a roof at night? And where did she learn her utter fearlessness of heights?

Perhaps unwisely, Jens-Peter ignores these questions—and the housemaid’s unexpected knife—desperate to find someone, anyone, who can clear his name. And let him finish his paper…

FROM RON CORRIVEAU: The Least Significant

Catherine and Marcus are meant for each other.

They share a deep bond unknown to them.

But on the night of their engagement, a thief on the run from another world removes the essence of Marcus from his body and takes it over to hide among the people of Earth. With his spirit displaced to another dimension, Marcus waits in a vast emptiness as Catherine joins the authority tracking the thief, hoping to reunite Marcus and his body. As time begins to run out and the thief inches closer to being caught, Catherine learns a truth more fantastic than she could imagine.

FROM C. V. WALTER: Bound to the Alien Engineer.

Mindy’s best friend Molly was a maintenance technician on the Bradbury 12. When Molly went missing, Mindy started looking for answers but all she found were more questions. They were supposed to meet up at Geniuscon, a science fiction convention that attracts people from every walk of life, and she knows Molly’s son Aidan is going to be there. Determined to get in touch with her friend, Mindy tracks down Aidan and meets some of his new friends, the guys cosplaying as big, blue aliens.

The first time he heard her voice, Alvola knew Mindy was the one. It didn’t matter that he couldn’t understand the language or touch her skin, the sound of her voice made his body sing. Determined to meet his mate, Alvola volunteers for the mission to Earth to pick up Aidan and meet with the scientists and engineers that will be their first official contacts with humanity. When Alvola actually meets Mindy in person, his mission becomes to keep her by his side, no matter the cost.

FROM TERRY R. LACY: Savannah 1.0: The Quest for Love.

Dan Mitchel is a lonely guy, plagued with OCD and terminal social awkwardness, at times so severe he seems robotic. Raised by a cold, overbearing mother, he fails at every romantic relationship and resigned himself to growing old alone–until he buys Savannah, a companion-bot, the first one able to pass as human. In many ways, his problems are finally over, but in others they are just beginning. Can a robot teach a man what it means to be human?

***

“I may be terminated over Monday’s incident.”

They had watched both Schwarzenegger movies, and he’d explained that a “terminator” was a killer robot. She had enjoyed both of them, but had cheered for the terminators, calling herself “Team Robot.” He’d found it funny, and cheered with her. But it was her only reference to the word, so she looked confused as she asked, “They’re going to kill you?”

FROM CELIA HAYES: Lone Star Sons: Being The Entertaining and Mostly If not Always True Adventures of Texas Ranger Jim Reade and his Blood Brother Delaware Scout Toby Shaw in the Time of the Republic of Texas

The time – 1842
The place – the Republic of Texas, a place threatened and besieged on all frontiers!
Jim Reade lay on his back in the desert dust, incuriously seeing that ominous shadow circle, lower and lower until every finger-like dark feather became distinct against the burning sky . . . He hurt in every bone, from his head to his fingertips, and all the way to his booted toes. . .the sun had blazed on his exposed face and hands for many hours, and there was a mass of congealed blood which had oozed from his forehead, running back into his sweat-matted hair.
Jim Reade, a volunteer Texas Ranger, is the sole survivor of an ambush in the contested Nueces Strip. Rescued by Indian scout, Toby Shaw, the two young men join forces in pursuit of a mysterious wagon carrying a treasure in silver and gold – a treasure with a curse upon it!
Sworn blood-brothers, Jim and Toby meet with other challenges and mysteries, including a trove of documents sought after by spies of three nations, a girl vanished in the midst of a vicious feud between two families, a den of murderous robbers on the Opelousas Trace … and a tiny baby left an orphan in the desert!
Lone Star Sons – the classic Wild West rides again, in this collection of adventures intended for younger readers by the author of the Adelsverein Trilogy.

FROM CEDAR SANDERSON: The Case of the Perambulating Hatrack.

She was trouble, and from the moment she sailed into his office in search of a PI, Soldagh Dennessey was caught in her wake.

In a city where the streets started mean and went worse, Soldagh had carved a relatively solitary existence out between the goblins in their dens of minty iniquity, and the gnomes who’d snitch on their own mothers for rent money. Rough as it was, he’d come from worse family, and had no intention of going back.

As the case grows tangled and terrifying, Soldagh is starting to suspect the past he’s been avoiding lies at the bleeding heart of the matter. And only the few friendships he’s made and an unexpected ally might be enough to save them now…

AND IN CASE YOU’VE BEEN LIVING UNDER A ROCK. (AND YES, NEW STUFF SOON, BUT WE’RE A MONTH FROM SIGNING FOR A NEW PLACE, PROBABLY SIX WEEKS FROM HAVING THIS READY TO GO ON THE MARKET, AND THINGS ARE SYMULTANEOUSLY GOING TOO SLOW AND TOO FAST. (AND I STILL HAVE TO TRAIN DRAGON)).

FROM SARAH HOYT: Other Rhodes (Rhodes Mysteries Book 1).

Lily Gilden has a half-crazed cyborg in her airlock who thinks he’s Nick Rhodes,
a fictional 20th Century detective. If she doesn’t report him for destruction,
she’s guilty of a capital crime.

But with her husband missing, she’ll use every clue the cyborg holds,
and his detective abilities, to solve the crime her husband was investigating
when he disappeared.

With the help of a journalist who is more than he seems,
Lily will risk everything to plunge into the interstellar underworld
and bring the love of her life home!

ALSO FROM SARAH A. HOYT (THAT CHICK DON’T KNOW WHEN TO SHUT UP): Barbarella.

The Siren of Space returns for a series of all-new adventures by a dynamic new creative team! Multi-award winning author SARAH HOYT and rising star artist MADIBEK MUSABEKOV are at the controls as Barbarella leaves space dock on a new mission fraught with unseen layers of danger, duplicity and perhaps a dose of romance! Camelot is home to the rich and powerful class seeking escape from an increasingly crowded and decaying galactic empire. Desperate clandestine transmissions from an enslaved underclass bring Barbarella to investigate, uncovering secrets that lead to more secrets—and the distinct possibility that someone knew she was coming. High concept sci-fi meets the greatest aspects of the human soul in a series that will reveal wonders that both terrify and delight, plus covers by fan-favorites LUCIO PARILLO, DERRICK CHEW, BRIAN BOLLAND and more!

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: WOBBLE

28 thoughts on “Book Promo And Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

  1. “We’ve destabilized their society. Knocked out all their comm. Hit the supply lines. They’re nothing but a bunch of isolated factions. Why do now our troops make it make from any of them?”

    “Sir, there have been transmissions from those isolated factions. Several, but they all say the same thing.”

    “Transmissions? How? Didn’t we put an end to that.Bugger. What do the transmissions say?”

    “The minotaurs say to tell you, “We bulls may wobble, but we will NOT fall down.””

    “Arrrgh.”

      1. “Webbles Wobble But Won’t Fall Down”.

        It was about a type of toys. 😀

  2. And at the moment, watching the news and waiting is very frustrating. Just don’t know what to do about any of it.

    The other shoe will fall. I don’t know when. I don’t know how, but, I do not see how it could not, now. Not with the administration actively criminalizing dissent.

  3. The whole situation gave Aaron the collie-wobbles; something about it was off. He was told to go to a certain corner at two o’clock in the morning where a certain party would meet him. The certain party was only vaguely described as “tall, blonde, and intense.”
    Tall and blonde (and presumably female) are easy enough to spot in the broad daylight, but intense doesn’t exactly leap out at a person immediately. Well, there was his Army buddy who always checked over her cards when she’d given up on a game of solitaire; that’s an intense, alpha kind of thing to do. But she was neither tall nor (last he knew) blonde, and hopefully wasn’t wandering around city streets at 2am.
    His personal ruminations were brought to a halt by the sight of someone purposefully striding down Independence Boulevard toward the corner of Second Street. One might even say intensely striding.

  4. I’ve been drunk before. It takes a lot with my biology to get me drunk, but it’s possible. But, wobbly? Never happened. But, the street thugs that I was trying to lure in wouldn’t understand what subtle was, so a certain blatancy was needed. A slightly clockwise sway that I hoped wasn’t on some kind of patterned schedule that they could read with cheap pattern-tracking software. A foot slipping out slightly-not a lot, just not quite a solid footing on occasion. Occasional mutter of random thoughts bubbling to the surface, with the occasional idea provided by Izanami for my muttering.

    If it was possible for a tactical AI to have a sense of humor, Izanami’s choices for muttering suggestions was proof of this.

    I was about to give this up and just sort of slouch for the nearest dive bar to try again in an hour or two when I could hear a soft warning queuing in the interface. Text message on cheap disposable glasses at seven o’clock even, Izanami noted. No encryption, just a number but detected motion from the receiving phone before it disconnected. Sound indicators of three to five adult males at eleven and five o’clock even, two to three ahead and two behind. Possible box trap. She helpfully threw up indicators in my field of view and added more details.

    I didn’t smile, that would have blown this, but I let my next little stagger confirm the placement of the flick-stick hidden up my left sleeve and check the swing of my jacket for a quick draw of my guns. This was going to be embarrassing if they weren’t the crew I was trying to find.

    When the first of them came out of the alleyway in front of me to my left, I didn’t smile how I wanted to. If I did, I knew I would have a toothy half-snarl of joy at just seeing the cheap vat-leather boots alone. Something that would warn even the street idiots that the drunk they were about to rumble wasn’t. Ah, showtime, I subbed back to Izanami. I could feel the change in chemistry, pulse rising as I got ready to rumble as we got ready for the fight.

      1. The three boots that came around had the usual suspects of a tunnel gang-cheap gaudy jumpsuits clearly from a public printer, nice and baggy for hiding all sorts of improvised weapons, face tats that were to look “edgy” but showed up as “taudry,” and that gangster strut designed to make it clear that you’d better do what I want, spam, or we’ll peel you open like a ration tin. The boss, clearly, was in the middle as his boots were “merely” cheap vat-leather, not cheap vat-leather.

        Nothing new here, nothing I hadn’t seen in a hundred different habitats, a dozen different worlds, and it was so childish as to make me want to laugh.

        Still had to be careful. The straw boss of this band of free-lance socialists had to talk before I had any kind of fun, and it would be embarrassing to be killed by these idiots. Even temporarily. I staggered to a halt in front of the group of three and Izanami was already queuing up sensor data on the two behind me. No guns, they have clubs and knives. The leader appears to have a improvised taser, Izanami reported and I considered my next move.

        “Hey, connie,” the leader grinned, starting his threat spiel and reached into his jump-suit to pull out the taser. Before his hand fully got around the taser, the flick-stick dropped into my left hand and it was fully extended before the steel ball at the end connected with one of the guys on the left. He yelped in pain around a broken jaw, the leader’s arm jumped out of the jumpsuit before he even got the taser out, and I stepped into the crowd as the guy on the left’s feet slipped out and tangled up the leader’s feet. I pivoted on the ball of my right foot and brought the flick-stick around to take the third guy at the knees, I could hear the kneecap tear and him scream in pain as he fell down onto the leader, tangling him up even more.

  5. “Quebec?” said Miloš. “How does Atlantis’s greatest navigator aim for Madeira and end up in *Quebec*?”

    “Simply enough,” said Alessandra. “He forgot about that little wobble in Earth’s axis. He was reckoning from Vega, not Polaris.”

    Khamvraal scowled. “Go off-planet for a few millennia, and they change *everything* on you…”

  6. How crazy was the early 21st century? They had a moon wobble but nobody noticed it amidst the political turmoil, social media censorship and conflicts over gender pronouns.

  7. “Wobble, eh?” said the shopkeeper as he peered over his glasses at the lady with a cat under each arm.
    “Yeah, we have it in stock. 2 year old vintage stuff in pints! None of yer 12oz knock-offs here. Doubles as paint remover. You got yer ration book?”

  8. She felt herself wobble. If she fell, her mother would rage at her getting up, but she could not fear that. Not with the rage distorting Julian’s face, making him look exactly like —
    He whipped around and grabbed her arm. His grip was not gentle, but he eased her to a bench she had not seen. She tried to breathe deeply. She did not think she would fall, but her heart still hammered. Julian was so furious.
    “And look at what you did to my betrothed! When she is already injured! She could have been badly hurt by your folly!”

  9. Heh, this one made me think of my own first world ever created…

    “C’mon, Noah! Haul ass!” the black-armored warrior growled, waving for his charge to follow him. He could feel a disapproving glare from further back in the escape tunnel but since the situation was too dire for him to get a warning zap he ignored it. He’d known the young emperor since childhood and his liege had come to expect this kind of banter from his bodyguard.

    “S-Sorry, Blaze,” Noah panted, clearly not used to the weight of his silver armor but managing to keep up respectably nevertheless.

    “Eh, I’m less worried about you than about Chancellor Prissy-Pants…aw, shit!” the knight hissed, hearing a slopping noise and raising one hand for the emperor to stop while reaching for his sword with the other.

    Sure enough, a tower of wobbling green slime was lurching its way towards the duo. Blaze let out several more vulgarities that he was glad that the chancellor wasn’t there to hear. This kind of muck was the last thing they needed with the traitorous duke’s forces rampaging through the palace. That was the issue, of course, since even a big slime like that was no match for the best damn swordsman in the Empire!

    True to his nickname, the Imperial Knight’s foreign, curved sword erupted with flames upon drawing it, the magical fire casting eerie shadows over his fanged grin. True, he wouldn’t get any blood out of this critter but there would be plenty of time to sate that particular thirst against the duke’s forces later. For now he’d sear that monster dry and leapt into battle with one of his favorite shouts for the occasion: “EAT SHIT AND DIE!”

    Blaze crossed the distance in a flash, the creature sloshing backwards as it recoiled from the fiery sword. It was too slow to avoid the initial assault, losing a significant amount of mass to the flames. Unfortunately the monster got a fair bit of muck on the knight, slowing his movement down before he received an unexpected bonus. House Pendragon’s powerful strain of Time Magic ran particularly strong in Noah, who used a spell to offset the slime’s movement penalties.

    Another frenzy of slashes and the monster was gone, yet Blaze swore again when lightning flashed behind him. Had the duke’s men caught up already?! He whirled around, his furious expression showing his vampiric heritage, and bit back another oath. It was worse than the duke’s men, it was Chancellor Prissy-Pants.

    “Eat…that and die, Sir Blaze? Really?” a lithe elf sniffed, sparks dissipating from her fingertips. “And do watch your back. Such sloppiness for His Majesty’s protector is inexcusable.”

    “Less lecturing, more hauling ass, Violet!” the knight hissed, too irritated to bother with formalities – not that he did anyway, even if it meant paying for them with a shock when he finally pushed Her Ladyship too far. “Do you want Torcuil’s goons to get us?!”

    “They will have the devil’s time getting past the traps I activated.” the chancellor replied with an icy smirk. “And indeed, we will discuss your endless vulgarity – at length – once we’re safe.”

    Noah, for his part, chuckled before turning to the duo. No matter how dire the situation the clash between the rough and tumble dhampire knight and prim and proper elf chancellor was enough to lighten any situation, even the first time Airgead Palace had fallen in centuries. It didn’t take him long to recompose himself and issue orders, however. “Let’s not waste any more time. Has your father alerted his forces, Violet?”

    “Of course, Your Majesty.” Violet responded, her unshakeable cool returning.

    “Then you two lead the way.” he said, casting a brief glance backwards. He never would have thought that the two-bit bully from the Empire’s most prestigious academy would ever cause him this much trouble. Did he know someday that his family would make a play for the throne and want to take down his rival, the Crown Prince, early? Who could say? Now wasn’t the time to reflect on the past, of course. Noah would have to reclaim the his family’s home and honor or die trying. He owed his father that much.

  10. The Dzanibekov effect could really ruin your day if you were an inexperienced stationmaster, Clara Aleph mused. Someone had decided to unload some heavy cargo into one bay of the station-ring and not the opposite end, or someone was cheating on their mass balance sheets. Now the entire ring station had a slight, but disastrous wobble to it. It had already flipped once – the unstable top would flip again in a nearly random interval, flinging the interior contents everywhere.

    A space station should at least *pretend* to be stationary, she growled, lining up the docking reticle as panic and confusion reigned over the radio. If her lander could balance the moment of inertia, it would stop the chaotic flipping, and rescue could proceed, but first she needed to dock to something that could at any moment lurch into her ship.

    (Real thing, and great potential for space disasters. Get yer sci-fi disasters here!)

    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennis_racket_theorem

      There’s a video in this article. I think during the cold war, some Soviet bureaucrat classified the phenomenon, thinking it might apply to the entire Earth (it doesn’t) was unknown (it was pretty well known – no one had to think about it too hard before zero-g environments though) and could be used to flip the planet (not unless you have a planetary-mass-fraction weight to dump on the north pole or something.)

  11. Felix hurried on but, in the doorway, slowed and stopped. Lucie was already in room, moving her hands through the spell. He almost envied her. Her fingers moved without wobble or flaw, and luminous butterflies lifted from her fingers to flit off, and alight on books.
    He laughed. “Finding spell!”

  12. “And I saw you,” said Celestine to Tristan. “You climbed the wall and walked along it by the riverside.”
    Tristan looked at her, unblinking.
    “You did not so much as wobble.” She smiled beneficently. “If half the tales we hear are true, we will need every scrap of your skill.”

  13. “Metaphysician? Is that anything like a physician? We could use any kind of doctor here.”
    I think he was trying to keep his voice even. It still wobbled. I looked down the rows of cots. It brought up memories of photographs, of many such rows, in hospitals of old.
    “Maybe?”

  14. One of the younger kids waved a hand to be called upon. “Why is ‘wobbly’ such an insult?”

    “It’s a long story. Way back in the Twentieth, there was an organization called the Industrial Workers of the World, that was nicknamed the Wobblies. It was based upon a pseudoscience called Marxism that was popular back in those days…”

    Cady suppressed a groan. While discussing the failures of Marxism in its various guises was completely legitimate, Dr. Michaels was a primatologist, and had a tendency to go on about his specialty and its relevance to humanity at every opportunity. And he sometimes ignored the fact that a lot of the various discredited political philosophies were formulated before the development of modern primatology, and in some case before anyone understood the close relationship between humans and the other Hominidae, let alone done any field studies of communities of chimpanzees or bonobos.

  15. “And, enough.” Margaret Cahill’s voice was calm, level, almost neutral as she said it, as the dregs of the news conference on screen were replaced by the abstract Lavalite-like color swirls calculated by her Raspberry Pi. But (as any who knew her well ought to have noticed) that calm neutrality was deceptive and paradoxical — it took just about every drop of the maturity and self-control of her seventy-nine years not to slam the remote down on her polished side table, not to throw it far across the room, not to literally growl as she did.

    “That man is a disgrace to everything he claims to represent and a stain on nearly everything he touches. In all my days I never imagined we’d be cursed with a Wobbly D for president. But there he is, and here we are.”

    Colette Bringhurst, twelve precocious years old next Saturday, looked up from her tablet, a constant companion already in a way most people twice her age were only beginning to learn if at all. “But Grandma, did you see the news conference last week, on the election audit in Arizona?? Karen Fann straight-up rocks!”

    (Young Miss Bringhurst was the nightmare of all revolutionary progressives given substance — skeptical, thoughtful, aggressive in pursuit of her own best approximation of the truth. Most of all able to suffer fools gladly and gravely, then at her private leisure laugh the flayed flesh from their lying bones.)

    But before “Granny Maggie” could answer, someone else spoke. “Mama, I do understand you’re frustrated and angry. Maybe you even have a right to be, I still don’t know. But I don’t think anyone should make fun of a man who’s in some kind of medical trouble, that no-one really could have known before the election.” Cecile Bringhurst’s voice held the soothing tones of a peacemaker and moderator grown ever more weary of trying to find (or create) a middle ground between ever more polarized extremes. (And who, unwelcome as the growing knowledge was, secretly suspected moderation itself was — wrong.)

    The smile on her mother’s face was wry and acidic, but not bitter. “Colette, if you would, search on International Workers of the World crossref Wobbly, and tell us briefly what you find.” And picked up the glass of sherry to her right, took a small and grateful sip of that, as if to say, no talk, now, just wait…

    (And twenty-odd seconds later…)

    “Industrial Workers of the World, Grandma. Founded in 1905, seen by most of the big unions as ‘too radical’ — socialist, syndicalist, anarchist — looks like they want to be The One Big Union and replace ‘capitalism and wage labor’ with ‘industrial democracy’ — sounds a lot like Bernie Sanders meets David Friedman, which is crazy enough for anyone, where the workers buy out all the factories and the union runs eveything by committee. Not really any anarcho-syndicalism at all, then, just some dumb goofy Commie scam where the IWW really owns and runs everything, and its bosses are the commissars.”

    And her book-report manner dropped. “Did I give you a good summary, Gran?”

    “Pretty much, Colette, except for ‘the laughingstock of the world’ — hardly any one ever took them seriously. Why d’you think they called ’em ‘Wobblies’ in the first place?”

    Her grandchild raised one eyebrow and shrugged. “Idealists?” she asked, with a whole planet-ful of sly contempt for the contradictions and infirmities of all ‘revolutionary workers unite’ schemes, what her father called “the best system of human government ever imagined, except for all the others.”

    “So you see, Cecile, it’s not a crack on his slowly being more and more shy a double handful of marbles, or how a stiff wind of 4 MPH can blow him right over like a leaf on the sidewalk. It’s the crazy century-stale leftist hogwash I am objecting to, under any label, and will continue doing, as your nightly conversation with your own nearest loved ones must echo.”

    While Colette, listening with one ear, was back to choosing which of the fifty open windows on her machine she’d bring up next. Just The News? Uncover DC? Revolver? Redstate? Or just for laughs and intel, maybe Complicit News Network?

    While her mother felt that slow-growing but ever more inescapable tension, in her body and in her life. Now and still.

    All of her life, she’d tried to take the middle road, to be the steady central voice of reason and understanding and compromise, be the attractor of what would best next come. And done pretty darn well at it, too.

    But both her mother and her daughter were showing her more and more every day that perhaps her strategy had an expiration date. No matter how much you are used to steering right down the center of the channel, some day may come when the river in front of you forks. And you can only choose one way.

  16. The ten thousand mile long banner was readable from the edge of the solar system: “Welcome to Honest Hank’s affordable used satellite and space habitat Emporium. Honest Hank’s money back guarantee behind every sale! Time tested reinvested and refurbished. They may wiggle, they may wobble, but they won’t fall down!”

  17. Professor Snit stormed into the lab shouting, “What’s it doing now?”
    Terry, in a rather awestruck voice, replied “It’s wobbling.”
    “It can’t be wobbling, it’s clamped in place. Did you loosen the clamps?” Snit demanded.
    “Nope, power is all the way up on all of them, Professor.” Dan said. “We’ve checked them ten times.” “Oh, and it has started to hum.”
    “It’s inert metal. It can’t hum.” snarled Snit.
    “I can’t help that, it’s humming. Terry thinks it’s ‘Old Man River’, I think it is probably a Sousa march” said Dan.

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