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. A COMMISSION IS EARNED FROM EACH PURCHASE.*Note that I haven’t read most of these books (my reading is eclectic and “craving led”,) and apply the usual cautions to buying. I reserve the right not to run any submission, if cover, blurb or anything else made me decide not to, at my sole discretion.– SAH


Bob did the neighborly thing, and helped out some folks with a problem. You know it can’t be that easy, right? Things get a little sporty when it comes to how people want to reward him for his actions. Come see how Bob deals with notoriety.

FROM MARK PIGGOT: Corsair and the Sky Pirates

A brilliant inventor… A prolific writer…

A chance meeting between Nikola Tesla and Jules Verne catapulted the world into a new kind of power. Using meteor fragments from a comet named Uriel, they created a world powered not by combustion but by steam. The incredible inventions that followed launched the world into an industrial revolution ahead of its time… a steampunk revolution.

While Tesla’s inventions were designed to ease people’s day-to-day burdens, Thomas Edison’s ERP Corporation used their power and influence to ensure people paid for their modern miracles.

One man brought hope to the people as he pursued Tesla’s dream of invention for the everyday person. His exploits were legendary, his crew infamous, and his airship a vision of the future . . . Corsair and the Sky Pirates!

BY CHARLES ALDEN SELTZER, REVIVED BY D. JASON FLEMING: Last Hope Ranch (annotated): The Classic Pulp Western

When Ned Templin rode out of the desert to the Last Hope Ranch, Lisbeth Stanton was grateful, because he saved her from having to kill a man. But when Templin told her he was staying, and that he was an outlaw, and that a posse was on his trail looking to hang him for murder, her opinion changed a little.

And it kept changing, for Templin was an enigma, with secrets and motivations she never could have guessed. And, it turned out, so was her father, whom she had been with her whole life but never really known. Between Sheriff Norton and his posse, and Blaisdell’s Raiders, secrets would out, and bullets would fly, at the Last Hope Ranch!

    This iktaPOP Media edition includes a new introduction giving genre and historical context to the novel.


Even among the lawyers of his elite firm, Anatole Drake has a well-earned reputation for ruthless ambition. For this he will sacrifice everything, even the love of the beautiful Gwen Marina. But when his defense of an infamous cult leader ends in violence and scandal, he finds himself on the brink of ruin. In desperation, he turns to dark forces and unwittingly summons Raum, an ancient demon of near limitless power and hostility.
With Raum’s powers his to command, Drake takes control of his life, raining revenge on those who have wronged him. But as success exceeds beyond even his many ambitions, a dangerous cult pursues the secrets of his newfound abilities. Worse, the furious demon, chafing at his subjugation to a human’s whims, plots against him, seeking vengeance for this indignity.
Only Gwen stands by his side, unaware of the darkness consuming him. But as Drake slips further down the road to damnation, will her loyalties be toward the man she loved… or will Raum open her eyes to his true nature, seducing her to a new and darker allegiance?
With events spiraling out of control, innocent lives become the currency in this battle between malevolent beings, both human and demonic.
Be careful what you wish for…

FROM HOLLY CHISM: The Schrödinger Paradox: Cataclysm

The end is coming.

Unlucky jerk Tom Beadle was on watch at NASA when the collision alert sounded: a new asteroid, bigger than the dino-killer, headed for Earth. Big problem, but that’s why we have NASA, right? Except, after decades of budget cuts, NASA has no way to shove it off course. That job has to be contracted out. Will the private sector company his best friend from college works at succeed where the government option failed? Might be best to have a backup plan, just in case…

FROM MARY CATELLI: Magic And Secrets

Tales of Wonder and Magic

A woman, sent to a far off duchy, finds a mysterious wolf haunting the forest, and learns there are secrets no one even suspects.

Playing with props for amateur theatricals has more consequences than any of those doing it dream. . . act with care.

A king’s tyranny sends a woman searching desperately for a legend of lions, there being no other hope.

FROM LEIGH KIMMEL: The Shadow over Leningrad

In Stalin’s Soviet Union, Tikhon Grigoriev lives a precarious life. He knows too much. He’s seen too much. A single misstep could destroy him, and if he stumbles, he will take his family down with him. With Leningrad besieged by Nazi armies, the danger has only increased.

He’s not a man who wants to come to the notice of those in high places. But when he solved a murder that seemed supernatural, impossible, he attracted the attention of Leningrad’s First Party Secretary.

So when a plot of land grows vegetables of unusual size and vigor, and anyone who eats them goes mad, who should be called upon to solve the mystery but Tikhon Grigoriev. However, these secrets could get him far worse than a bullet in the head. For during the White Nights the boundaries between worlds grow thin, and in some of those worlds humanity can have no place.

FROM SARAH A. HOYT: Barbarella: The Center Cannot Hold #3

Having met the Innumerable and joined their cause against the Architects, Barbarella must clandestinely return to the home of the Architects in order to retrieve Vix, left behind when Barbarella was extracted by an agent of the Innumerable. See? We’ve come full circle! As is often the case, it’s not what you see that’s the danger, it’s what you can’t see, and Barbarella sees plenty of that wherever she sees an Architect. And lest we forget, there is the small matter of the Unnamable out there…

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: MOON

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

  1. “How are you feeling?”

    “Oh, I’ll survive but I can’t believe that he’d bite me there!”.

    “Sigh. That’s what happens when you “moon” a werewolf.”

    [Yes, I just had to go there. Big Crazy Grin]

  2. I was getting ready to make an attempt at writing a review of the latest Barbarella, when the comment in the Amazon review box threw me into a strange train of thought. It asked what did I use the product for? I immediately went to strange areas of use for an e-book and need to settle my brain down.

  3. The rest of the week was the usual school day, but Deborah…wanted to spend time with Sayuri and I. More than just lunch, more than just classwork, more than just makeup practice…Deborah was wanting to hang out with us. And, I did everything that I could to make sure she could hang out with us.

    Sayuri shared stories of being a fan of the Takarazuka Review, including our trip to Tokyo for the Sailor Moon show. Minus the aonyōbō and dropped chandelier, of course-but she did needle me about it. My stories were of the various conventions I’d been to, with some quiet editing as I had only been to one as Adelaide. And, Deborah’s contribution was dancing competitions, the behind-the-scenes drama of her being a part of several Irish youth dance troupes.

    By Wednesday, it had become oddly formalized. We would hide out somewhere, using the chocolate-smuggling network to pick out a location, and spend as much time as possible before Sayuri had to get her ride, then Deborah, then me. This was about an hour or so, but it seemed longer because we were having fun.

    I think that both Deborah and Sayuri were enjoying it more because they were having fun.

    That Friday, as we were waiting for Deborah’s cab to arrive, Deborah turned to look at me and said, “I’m…happy, aren’t I?”

    “Are you?” I asked, wondering where this was coming from.

    The harness on Deborah started to twitch again, uncertain…and then, as I was watching Deborah pulled back on it. She took control of it for a moment, calmed it down for a second, and her expression was pained…but controlled. “I…am,” she replied, her voice soft in shock. “I am,” her voice began to rise, and then, she started to laugh. “I am! I’m happy!”

    She looks at me and smiles, and it is wonderful. Then, her expression drops. “Now, I’m sad. But…this is good, I can be happy and sad. It means I can be both.”

  4. This particular prompt fits this guy best of anyone!

    “Sloppy, sloppy, little mortal.”

    Damn. Maximilian thought he’d done everything right and the demon hadn’t seen him. He used his powers to slip from shadow to shadow like he always did, yet the disguised demon sent him flying with a gust of wind right when he moved in for the decapitating blow. Thankfully the enchantments on his cloak softened the blow and he was able to get back on his feet without too much trouble.

    “I do hope your Order has trained you in the art of fair play they so claim to value.” the monster said in a mocking tone, conjuring up a fireball and launching it at the exorcist.

    Maximilian’s response was a single word: “Mondschild!”

    A wall of moonlight appeared before the hunter, intercepting the hellfire and sending it off to the sides. Maximilian still had to hold himself steady as the unholy heat surged past him but it gave him the opening to put another bit of the lunar magic he learned from Dona Alicia to use: “Mondlicht!”

    A beam of pale light erupted from his fingertips, which the demon countered with a barrier of his own. Still, Maximilian hadn’t expected to land a fatal blow with it. Rather he was using it as a means to return to the shadows and close the distance between him and his target. A sneak attack was out of the question at this point but he was far more sure of his ability to dispatch the unholy creature with his sword than he was with his sorcery.

    The demon clearly expected Maximilian to go for another sneak attack and was surprised when a jagged array of black energy erupted at his feet before another one crashed down on his head, leaving him stunned and bleeding. Not one to let the advantage slip away Maximilian launched into a flurry of sword strikes before the demon could recover before lowering his sword, its curved blade glowing with white light. The exorcist’s final strike, a crescent-shaped wave of purifying energy, struck home and the demon fell to the ground dead, its human features twisting into its grotesque true form. His mission accomplished, Maximilain severed the demon’s head and put it in his bag. Unfortunately for this hellspawn his opponent actually was as well-versed in dueling as he was in assassination. It was simply easier and more efficient to deal with demons using the latter than it was using the former.

  5. “How’d you get here? It’s the Harvest Moon.”

    Greg tossed a plastic bottle to his cousin. “Not anymore.” He grinned. “MPF 80 moonscreen.”

  6. Dear Lillian, soon I hope to take you on a Carribbean cruise, where we can hold hands on a soft summer’s evening and watch that old Jamaican moon. Why that old Jamaican will be mooning us, I have no idea.

    Brain Donors

  7. “Ah,” said Ava, “but what does it mean when the moon is blue?”
    Charlotte-Rose giggled.
    “It means that someone colored the air in order to distract you,” said Delia. “No magic can reach the moon. And blue air does nothing.”
    Charlotte-Rose rolled her eyes and pushed open the kitchen door.

  8. The brightness of the moon
    Calls softly down to me.
    The dimness of the sun
    Is clear for all to see.

    The simple fairies dance,
    Like bees upon the dew.
    The moonlight shows them bright,
    As never Sun would do!

    The Sun hides secret things
    All muffled where they stood
    The Moon peels back the veil
    To show us all that’s good.

  9. “Really?”
    “Hey, it’s a tourist bar named the Lunatic Express, in Selene City. What did you expect? The food’s still good.”
    “You expect me to order pressed hams with a straight face?”
    “If you want to enjoy the best ham & grilled cheese off earth, you’re gonna have to order.”

    1. Is this a take on Dennys’ Moons Over my Hammy? (Yes, it’s a real dish).

      1. My daughter loved that sandwich when she was a kid, but we always had to order it for her. She just couldn’t make herself say it.

  10. It was a full moon and we were far enough from the port city and the wash out caused by its city lights you could read a book without a light it was so bright. By my side was my trusty secretary and confidant Sheryl. It was a warm night and most of the others of this exploration party were sleeping in their tents. Sheryl and I were joined by Ndamikin our trusty guide. We were sipping a little nightcap before we two would joined the others in slumber. When suddenly the quiet of the night was broken by a mournful cry.
    “What was that?” I inquired.
    “It is the cry of the ‘Lost Emgouri tribe'” our guide replied.
    “Oh it sounded dreadfully sad” Sheryl opined.
    “Yes it is very sad” he replied, shaking his head.
    Suddenly it sounded as if it were getting closer.
    “They sound as if their are getting closer, they are not dangerous are they?” Sheryl asked.
    “No, just lost” he replied again.
    “I don’t recognize the language” I said.
    “It is the old tongue, only spoken by the elders and scholars” he explained.
    “My they are very loud aren’t they” Sheryl said as another cry resounded through the jungle.
    ‘What does it mean?” I curiously asked.
    “It is a sad mournful cry that is for sure” Sheryl added.
    “It loosely translates to, ‘Where the hell are we?'” he stated.
    Then he yelled something back that seemed to quiet the jungle.
    What did you say to them?” Sheryl asked.
    “I told them to buy a bloody compass” he replied.

  11. “Delbert, you done with the labels for our latest batch o’ whiskey?” called Clem.

    “Here ya are, rightcheer!” said Delbert proudly, handing Clem a sheaf of papers.

    “Dang, Delbert! Why’s there a picture of a paws-steer-ee-or on these labels?”

    “Well, Clem, ya said it was called Moonlight Moonshine!”

    “Dang, Delbert…”

  12. Dr. David Cambridge always thought Epsilon Colony was aptly named, with a binary sun and three moons. Dawn and dusk were astonishingly beautiful, though nobody ventured outside during the interval. On the odd occasion when all three moons were visible at night, people got a little goofy. Nobody knew why.

  13. In the 40th century, a very confused star-pilot looked at the pack of recently re-awakened humans, who were all in various states of utterly losing control over their amusement.
    “What? What’s so funny? All I said was, that’s no moon.”

    1. Oh, that’s delightful! I wonder if one would call that John Crichton Syndrome or Harry Dresden Syndrome – one is constantly compelled to make pop culture jokes, but nothing and no one around you understands them.

      1. Well, this one was a person innocently making a “cultural reference” that his listeners know but he doesn’t know.

      2. Totally John Crichton Syndrome, and now I need to see if I can tweek my story to make sure that is something that one of the characters can title it. 😀

        (I also made a crack about “three popes named John”, have simple John, and John Paul, and then I had to make up a Pope. My husband pointed out that I could use other Apostle’s names. … like paul. So, 20th century geeks are melting down about “pope John Paul” and will mistype as “Jean Paul” forever.)

        1. You missed pope John Luke….
          Which of course geeks will make Jean Luc….
          I know, its as bad as hoisted on your own Picard….

            1. Well, it sure sounds like a Lombard name…

              The surname is actually Yorkshire, and originally was Ringrose or Ring-the-rose. Which is probably a fact no elementary school child should find out.

              Ringan is one of the alternate spellings for St. Ninian (Scottish), and Rigo was a nickname of Bl. Henry of Treviso (Italian).

              And of course popes can take whatever name they want, as a reign name. Everybody else can just complain.

  14. The moon shone over the room. Such lights as the lamps shed did not lend color to the gray scene.
    Well it was that Maximiana preferred a full report to one in part. Theobold bowed.
    “The house had some signs that a person, or more than one, entered in secret.”

  15. “Might as well go down and learn the news,” said Adam. “It might take a few hours, but it’s not like we should set out in all haste.”
    Rosaleen scowled.
    “Inns are a day’s journey apart for good reason,” said Amy. “It is afternoon. And unwise to travel by moonlight.”

  16. Like two glowing moons.
    Or eyes.
    Marcus threw himself aside, behind a towering tree, and trembled there. Necromancers were not the only danger. But the eyes ahead of them, and the necromancer behind, the blue butterfly wings darting impossibly smoothly through the forest.
    A snarl rose, and a creature lunged forward. Dark. Shaggy. Enormous enough that a hand, or a paw, rose through the air to throw down the necromancer to the dirt.
    More sounds followed. Marcus crept off, trying to not listen. The creature was so bestial it would smell out his path.
    If it care. He crept onward.

    1. Will we ever get to “throw money at you” for Marcus’ complete story? 😉

      1. It’s in progress. I even work on it separately from the vignettes. But it’s going to be big.

          1. Yes. That’s how I chase off ideas that do not belong in Marcus’s story.

            And the Muse is having Ideas about a Scheme and has planned out six more stories in which I have more or less a notion of the main plan and where I can plop ideas.

            But Marcus is going to have his story here.

            (It’s more likely that Rosaleen will have her story published this year. The manuscripts are about the same word count now but she’s much closer to the end.)

  17. Thank you so much for the promo!

    At 62, I’m late to the game, but it’s been amazing having my first novel published. I hope I have many more, and I hope I never lose the joy in seeing it happen each time.

  18. The magical, immaterial tide crept slowly but almost visibly across the floor of the hayloft. And to the two watching it, most magically indeed.

    “Magnificent, isn’t it?” said Emilie to her twin sister. “Here we are at last, after all the fuss and bother. And ridiculous delay.” (What she’d said really began with “Magnifique, n’est-ce pas?” — but of course they were now at long last actually here in Provence.) She held up her glass, full of “sparkling wine” not “true Champagne” but still quite good. Held it so she could look through its bubbly golden filter at the silvery brilliance of the new-risen full Moon. “Too bad we can’t somehow drink-in its light, too.” Took a slow and lingering sip, anyway, thereby inviting Lucille to do the same. Which she did; then resumed looking east through the open door of the moon-bright loft.

    Which was also their ‘hotel’ room, their Heaven-sent blessed refuge after a Keystone Kops cascade of missed connections and screw-ups by people on both sides of the Atlantic and a few mid-flight. (“My brother has a nice little place for rent at his farm outside of town. But it’s in a converted set of stalls in a barn that’s still being used, so tourists don’t take to it much.” “Hey, we’re two girls from a farm town in Ohio, Jean-Pierre, not fashionistas from Frisco, if it’s nice it sounds great to me.” Thus, their unfancy moonlit snack-picnic. Wine and cheese, perfected.)

    “Magnificent, for sure, Emilie. So big and bright. Closer than usual, what they call a ‘supermoon’.” A sip. “But in another way… it looks farther away than ever.” A note so very like melancholy in her voice, most unusual for Lucille. Evident enough, even in her careful almost-schoolgirl French.

    Something like a chill passsed through Emilie, despite the warm Provencal almost-night. Because in that way they shared, even as fraternal twins, it was obvious what she meant: what they’d talked about on their interminable (seeming) plane ride here. Subsonic plane ride. In a world that did not see Americans riding to orbit anymore, except on Russian rockets. That had not seen them, or anyone else, walk on the Moon except those few brief times, in a handful of years come and gone before the two were even born, far less able to watch “LIVE FROM THE MOON” as we explored.

    “It’s a failure of nerve, Emilie, not a failure of technology, or even of organization. We’re too scared to reach, somehow. We’ve gotten accustomed to a ‘safety’ that never was, never will be. Only takes someone to pick up the tools that exist, the know-how that’s only gotten better and stronger over all those years. Pick ’em up, and start in to work.”

    Lucille’s voice was quiet and intense, in her own native language and Ohio accent. As if she’d shifted from being a high-school graduate on her and her sister’s dream vacation between the grind of high school and opening horizons (allegedly!) of college, into someone far older and more driven. A way they’d also shared, so often, all their lives. (“You mean everyone’s not like that??”)

    Hard, to be driven by something you barely half understood, that everyone else thought (and believed) you to be too young for by far. Only a little easier, if you shared it with the one other person most like you.

    Hard to wait, even when everyone was telling you you ought and must.

    With an internal jolt, Emilie’s world shifted too — or rather more like split. It wasn’t quite as if she was (also) on the Moon, looking back at herself on Earth, in Aix-en-Provence; it was more as if the viewpoint or camera lens had “pulled focus” back from her, here, like that famous shot from “Gone With the Wind” — to the farm, the town, the countryside, the province, the nation, the continent, the hemisphere — all alongside where she sat. One book had called it the Overview Effect; later, others tagged it “cosmic perspective.”

    But mostly it was as if that Moon was pulling on her like the ocean, like its drive for the tides; the deep ocean of her being rousing from its so commonly accustomed (and widely socially-approved) rest, to… something.

    And it was as if the words were and were not hers, as she said, even more quietly than Lucille had just spoken, “So if not us, who? If not now, when will someone understand, and then next do? You know we’ve kept saying how we could take a year off, together, before college — except we both can’t figure out what we’d do with that year off, or find anything worthwhile in the old shopworn freshman-year… stuff. Even if we fail, even if we flop, if we just waste that year, we’ll have done a lot more than so many others do on the same plan. At worst we’d be able to tell ourselves, through all the childish boring-ass ‘finding yourself’ freshman-era chaff — we did try.”

    “Tu es pleine folle, ma soeur.”
    (“You’re flat-out nuts, sister” …low and reverent.)

    There was a moment of moonlit quiet; and a slow, soft smile began to rise and shine brightly, widely, on Lucille Westenra’s face. “I was thinking we could begin with a one-stage sounding rocket; you know, a suborbital right straight up and back down again. Ought to be re-usuable, at least in the original design. Tilt the tail fins before you leave the atmosphere, spin stabilize it in vacuum so no reaction-control system, pop out some more fins on the top to stabilize it on the way down. Tilt both sets of fins oppositely for more drag. Light the rocket near the ground again to land, most of the slowing-down done by the air. Learn how to do that along with getting our rocket to fly.”

    And having begun as they meant to go on, they did. Till the Moon had set.

    “Methane and oxygen. Meth is the cheapest hydrocarbon; hydrogen is more expensive, made from it by steam-methane reforming, though our upper stage might ought to use it, liquid hydrogen is an awesome coolant and so very re-entry friendly. But we might want to start with RP-1 kerosene and oxygen for our very first. And most hypergolics kinda give me the creeps.”

    “Not got so much money, us or our family. But we could talk to that David Cauldwell, for starters; and see how venturesome those ‘venture capital’ guys really are, when you can talk specifics and distinction-of-product.”

    “Inside-out aerospike engine. Except put a conventional bell-nozzle engine inside the ‘plug’ in the center, might as well. Would help if you’re going backwards in air and want to start your rocket anyway, too.”

    “Goddard didn’t have an industry or a ‘team’ and he did it, so what’s our excuse? We ought to be able to hire some old codger of a mostly or totally retired rocket man, to tell us when we’re re-inventing the Edsel instead of inventing the Edison bulb.”

    “Let’s drink to this, now: We’ll have a picnic like this again, up there.”

    twenty-three years later

    “Westernesse 6703, est. eight minutes from landing, all nominal, over.”

    “West 6703, copy nominal, proceed to Farlook Base, out.”

    Lucille smiled. “Pretty silly now, to say ‘over’ on a full-duplex digital spread-spectrum link. Except people still can’t talk and listen at the same time, much.”

    “Especially since our telemetry is real-time-live. But a few smart people designed this system, now didn’ they?” Emilie did not look up from her NB smartphone app — the idea of a handheld nav-system backup would’ve been insane in the Apollo era, but today? “Maybe supervised by two we know.”

    “Fifty-eight minutes, till GMT midnight and we officially have a lease on 3% of the lunar Farside for the next 50 years. So, you think we should finally open that bottle and drink the toast?”

    “Methode champenoise isn’t supposed to go bad fast, even if it’s not ‘real Champagne’ — but yes, becoming ‘The Women Who Rented the Moon’ ought to be good for some celebratin’.” She paused. “Though I’d rather be known as one of The Women Who Bought the Moon, apologies to Mister Heinlein.”

    “Tu es pleine folle.” With the slow soft smile that launched a thousand spaceships.

    1. I liked that. The notion of people who are capable of doing simply daring to do. And succeeding.

      A while ago, talking to a young guy who was my daughter’s good friend in elementary school, I found out that he absolutely loathes Elon Musk. Wants him to fail at everything. I didn’t get to ask why, but he hangs with a very woke crowd, which might have something to do with it. When he was a kid, he couldn’t stop talking about Musk and Tesla and Space X and how cool it was all going to be. What a sad change.

      1. Good to hear (about the story), not good to hear (about daughter’s old friend) but also not so surprising, these strange days. (One has to wonder if “wokerism” is mostly designed to [1] waste people’s very limited time on insane trivia, and [2] choke out their ability to dream and create; and whether that’s mostly conscious and intentional, or unconscious but effective.)

        Many of the inventions we like to “take for granted” were produced by individuals or at most small teams; it’s just today’s “institutional industrial” model of design tends to make us think the opposite is normal. (Of course lots of dedication required, see Edison’s “1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” etc.) Especially remarkable is the co-invention of assorted things by independent individuals at almost the same time, see e.g. Hall and Heroult and the electric aluminum process, or as Harry Harrison put it in The Daleth Effect (IIRC), “when it’s steamboat time, you steam.”

        Structurally, in writing terms, the Westenra twins exist to be the backstory of Earth’s space commercialization and interstellar drive (yes, they do that later too), for other stories set out among the stars — but they get more and more fascinating to me as time goes on.

        If I had to “explain” them… the best I can do is to say they were born to be a matched pair of “gateway” writers, regularly “muse-mugged” by insistent inspiration; only with rockets (and other flight hardware) instead of words.

        1. I may have a scene where a heroic wizard explains that if he hadn’t devised a way to use that, well, that would not vanish

  19. “Are you nuts? Don’t you expect if Frederich Meier Weisenfreund ever owned an M20, we’d have known of such many, many months ago?”

    “So you’re saying-”

    “Yes. Except I don’t need to say it. Or I already said it. Now begone and never darken my towels again!”

  20. A faint glow through the clouds was enough to show the location of the moon, but not enough to light the docks clearly. Fixx and Passepartout picked their way carefully past coils of rope and crates with labels too faint to read.

    Passepartout picked at Fixx’s sleeve and pointed. A figure sat leaning back against a crate – probably the guard, Fixx surmised. His slumping posture suggested the man had been drinking.

    Just then Passepartout tripped over a loose board and knocked a box of ironware to the ground. The crash could surely have been heard as far as Berkeley Square, but when Fixx turned from hauling his partner to his feet, he saw the figure had not moved. Something here was very wrong…

    Checking to see no one else had arrived at the sound of the crash, Fixx darted over to the silent figure, reached out and felt a handle projecting from the man’s chest. His hand came back covered with blood.

    “We need to get out of here, now!” he hissed. “This man has been murdered. Find a const-”

    “What’s all this, then?” came an unwelcome voice. Fixx hoped Fogg’s influence would be enough to get them out of this mess.

  21. Our house phone setup has five portable handsets. To avoid confusion when using the intercom function, I assigned appropriate names, like “KITCHEN”, etc. The one that resides on the base station is, of course, “NO MOON”.


  22. Beyond the harsh illumination of Slayton Field’s landing light, the lunar surface was illuminated by a pale blue light reflected from the full Earth overhead. Just thinking about it in those terms seemed unnatural, an Alice in Wonderland upending of common sense.

    Hadn’t there been a story somewhere about a pair of worlds that had each called the other “the moon”? Probably a double planet system, but the focus of the story had been on the social systems, not the astrophysics.

Comments are closed.