Friday, January 18, 2019

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for January 18, 2019

It's time for the weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with yet more best books of 2018 lists and a look ahead at books coming out in 2019, Star Trek Discovery, Outlander, The Orville, Glass, The Punisher, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, Bird Box, Replicas, The Kid Who Would Be King, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Sherrilyn Kenyon's marital and health issues and much more. 

Speculative fiction in general:

Comments on Sherrilyn Kenyon's marital and health issues:

Film and TV:

Comments on Star Trek Discovery and Star Trek in general:

Comments on The Orville:

Comments on Outlander:

Comments on The Punisher

Comments on Glass:

Comments on Captain Marvel and Avengers Endgame

Comments on Black Mirror: Bandersnatch:

Comments on Bird Box:

Comments on Replicas

Comments on The Kid Who Would Be King:


Writing, publishing and promotion:



Classics reviews:


Con and event reports:

Science and technology:

Free online fiction:

Odds and ends: 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Jane Bond by V.R. Tapscott

Release date: December 16, 2018
Subgenre: Adventure Science Fiction, Humor

 About Jane Bond:


Jane Bond was just a simple elementary school librarian.

But then her life got sidetracked by digging up the AI Pilot of a 140 million year old spacecraft.

Now, she's running all over the world looking for spaceship parts, falling in and out of love and trying to keep her friends from thinking she's crazy. Not only that, but the ship she's helping to recover starts sounding more like the Death Star than the Millennium Falcon.

When did life get so complicated?

A fun read with Bond-style gadgets, action, adventure, an alien intelligence for a sidekick and a little romance thrown in for good measure.




It was a perfect azure sky, one of those days when the world stretched on forever. In the distance, across the grass covered plain, you could see the trees of a great forest that stretched from edge to edge, framing the horizon with a line of green. As you swooped in closer, you could see that there was a definite delineation between the forest and the veldt - a deep cleft that looked a mile deep and a mile wide, but was probably quite a bit less. A small river runs through it, a slow lazy river with abundant vegetation and wildlife. The calm of this pastoral scene is marred by a cloud of what appears to be smoke and dust. The sound of shouts. Screams. And breaking from the treeline sprinting away from all this, a lone figure.

Engine noises, cranking over and starting, then a pair of Jeeps burst from the wooded area. Each is full to the brim with shouting, uniformed men waving automatic rifles in the air, every now and then one of them letting off a fusillade of shots. They accelerate across the gap between the forest and the cliff edge. They seem to be upset about something.

The figure comes to a stop at the edge of the cliff, appears to look over its shoulder, and then jumps to certain death hundreds of feet below.

The drop had to be at least 400 feet, and I couldn’t quite see if the green stretch below was trees, moss covered rocks or slimy water. Shouts and gunshots behind me, and one shriek of a bullet past my head made up my mind - I jumped.

As I dropped, my past life flittered through my head - had I remembered to pick up cake frosting at the store? And cat food, dammit, Jandice went through it like it was going out of style but never seemed to get fat. Speaking of fat, I remembered it was my week to drive the car pool to the gym. I glanced at my watch. Looks like I was gonna be late again. The girls were going to be pissed. Again.

My bubble activated and I grimaced as I hit the algae covered water - this was going to be messy. I bobbed back to the surface and braced myself as the bubble dissolved - leaving me standing exactly on the surface of the water. Which of course, one doesn’t stand on the surface of water. I barely had time to close my mouth and eyes before I was back underwater again, this time without benefit of the bubble.

The pool was barely deeper than I was tall, and I hit the bottom with a jarring impact, my head above the surface immediately. I shook my head to clear the water from my hair and squeegeed it from my eyes. Hearing the shouts from above, I started a fast crawl across the surface of the water, knifing through algae, reeds and whatever else might be growing here. My skinsuit would keep me free of anything that might try to bite or maim me, at least within reason, but that didn’t help the slimy feel of the debris on my neck and head. Dammit, Kit, why can’t I have a helmet!

I felt the rocks and grainy sand under my hands and jumped to my feet, then began threading my way through the rocks to the cliff wall. I’d done a good job of targeting and could see Kit’s ship only about 30 feet away. I aimed for it and began to run. Reaching the relative safety of the ship, I dove through its door and yelled “Move it!” and the ship shivered and began to rise.

I glanced at my watch again and grinned - I’d make it with time to spare.

“Home, James!”

Kit made a peeved sound and said “I wish you wouldn’t insist on calling me that. It’s demeaning. And - you’re not wet, are you? I told you leather seats are better than cloth, but do you listen to me?”

“Of course I’m wet, Kit. I got dumped into six feet of slimy water! And I don’t like leather seats, they stick to my legs in the summer.”




About V.R. Tapscott: 


It seems like I've been writing forever in some way, shape or form. 

However, most of my real experience comes from role playing in World of Warcraft. That may seem a strange place to learn how to write, but that isn't the case at all. 

Visualize having to always know what to say, instantly, and be in character saying it. Now visualize doing this for 1-4 hours a day for months and years. 

What it does is eliminate the need to think when writing. You instinctively know how this character will react since you've been trained over hundreds and hundreds of hours of spontaneous improvisation. I always know what she's going to say, since she is me. I am her. After all, we all know what we're going to say, or we find out immediately after having said it. Sometimes to our chagrin.

And I've found that this carries over into writing on digital paper. Or at least it appears to. I suppose my readers will decide if it's a fun read, or a boring load of tripe. 

But let me know either way. :-) 


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Monday, January 14, 2019

Imperius Wrecks by A.E. Williams

Release date: January 9, 2019
Subgenre: Satire, Dystopian fiction

About Imperius Wrecks:


A Satirical Peek at the Future

What does our future hold?

If the recent turmoil in the United States is any indication, the outlook is possibly grim.

This short-story by acclaimed science fiction author and raconteur A.E. Williams explores one possible outcome.

Williams puts his redoubtable wit to the task of describing just what we're up against, from a potential oligarchy, to the devastation of Earth from global warming, surgical nuclear strikes and the sheer ego of one man.

This modern parable of political will drags you kicking and screaming into your worst nightmare - or, perhaps, your ultimate fantasy.

You will be stunned, then shocked, then awestruck at how possible this scenario seems.

A classic speculative fiction tale in the best tradition of "A Canticle For Leibowitz" and "The Man in the High Castle".



Literary Sherpa, LLC
 “We have entered a new age, one where Reason and Truth are victorious over fake news and lies from the Old Left. The old way of doing things is over. The New Way is the way forward. Our future lies in our past. Today, we celebrate the beginning of a New Dawn. This, I can tell you, is going to be the greatest thing in all of history. Ever. I accept your nomination as Emperor of Planet Trump and will work as hard as I ever did to Make Trump Great Again! Thank you!”
Excerpt of acceptance speech of His Royal Emperor, Trump Gaius Ultima, in the year of Our Lord, 2025, Year One of the Reign of HRE.

“The Emperor sits on a ram-adorned throne, a symbol of Mars. His long white beard bearing the symbol of "wisdom". He holds an Ankh scepter in his right hand, and a globe, symbol of domination, in his left. The Emperor sits atop a stark, barren mountain, a sign of "sterility of regulation, and unyielding power."[2] He symbolizes the top of the secular hierarchy, the ultimate male ego. The Emperor is the absolute ruler of the world.” [1]

Sister Magda went about her morning rituals, performing her rites and prayers as she meticulously polished the dials of the instruments on her Station.
She noticed but did not comprehend the indications of the readouts.
A particular dial held what looked like random numbers, but their import was meaningless to her simple mind.
The adjoining label was faded to white, from the constant rubbing of almost two thousand years of careful maintenance.
The incessant friction had left only a small sliver of functioning, luminescent material.
The numbers were faint green.
If Sister Magda could read them, she’d know they represented a date.
But, that date that signified nothing to anyone, anymore.
As she performed her ritual, Sister Magda used as little of the precious Holy Fluid as she could spare.
She and the others of her Order had been repeatedly warned of the necessity of rationing their scant supply.
Demerits had been issued, and several of the Order severely punished for their Transgressions.
The Holy Mother chided them, but even she could not protect them if they were disobedient or incompetent.
She remembered the fierce remonstrations of the Holy Mother, then sighed in recollection of Sister Hillary’s caring visage.
She loved Sister Hillary; her light voice, her merry eyes, her shapely figure.
She knew that such thoughts were impure, and even forbidden, but she kept them secret, and really, what harm in such a small fantasy?
She took her sustenance, as given.
She followed the Holy Rites.
Why couldn’t she be allowed a small indulgence such as this?
Humming quietly and tunelessly, Sister Magda bent to her task, focused intently on perfection of Mind and Spirit.

[1]  Gray, E. (1960). The tarot revealed: A modern guide to reading the tarot cards. New York, N.Y.: Bell Publishing Company.


About A.E. Williams:

A.E. Williams has a unique background of military experience, aerospace engineering and intelligence analysis. 
Born near Pittsburgh, A.E. Williams is man of a mystery. As a young man, Williams served the United States government in various capacities, which he then followed with ten years as an outfitter. Williams finally retired and moved down to rural central Florida, where he ran a medium - sized tilapia farm. He did his writing at night, usually accompanied by a bottle of Maker's Mark bourbon and a large supply of Classic Dr. Pepper and ice.
A.E. Williams is the author of the exciting hard science fiction series Terminal Reset, which is about the effects of a mysterious force from billions of miles away from Earth that was formed millions of years ago. When The Wave strikes, everything changes!