Saturday, January 31, 2015

Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month for January 2015

Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month
It’s that time of the month again, time for “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some December books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

January 2015 actually marks the one year anniversary of “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”, because we started out in January 2014 on Cora's blog with 12 newly released SFF titles. One year on, we have 35 new release, covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. We have hard science fiction, military science fiction, space opera, science fiction romance, paranormal romance, Steampunk, dystopian fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, weird western, epic fantasy, urban fantasy, Arthurian fantasy, Asian based fantasy, young adult fantasy, SFnal fairytales, tiem travel, werewolves, vampires, superheroes, magic schools, sirens, super-mathematicians, rogue AIs, warlock hunters and much more. Once again, we also have a broad spectrum of authors hailing from countries as diverse as the US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and Kuwait.

As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.

And now on to the books without further ado:

Valen: Warlock Hunter by J.R. ArmstrongValen: Warlock Hunter by J.R. Armstrong

Assan, the greatest city in the known world.

Recently the Mage Wars have been tearing the city apart, but for warlock hunter Aias Valen, the underworld battles that rage through the streets mean coin in her purse, and an opportunity to settle old scores.
As the crime lords pay handsomely for her services, the mages find themselves face to face with their greatest fear – an anti-thaumaturge, a being whose very presence means a quick death to any magic. But Aias’s old enmities continue to push her further into danger. And when someone pushes back, she will find there are greater dangers in Assan than the crime lords.

Restoration by K.S. AugustinRestoration by K.S. Augustin

In politics, is there a place for love?

Van Motaff, renowned philosopher and Rahfonist, is looking ahead to Retirement, but the planetary government has other plans. Something unprecedented has happened—a young, male Rahfoni has been raised by aliens for the past thirty years—and Van has been chosen to restore him to Rahfon society.

Even though the eyes of two worlds are on her, Van thinks the job will be straightforward enough. But when her charge, Eton Abless, is injured, an irate governor interferes, demanding that the young man be neutralised as a potential political threat. Van resists and finds herself falling into a forbidden romance with her student…a romance that may mean the end of her reputation and career, and his permanent exile. As her options narrow, Van is forced to face the conclusion that the only way to save Eton may be to lose him completely.

Pegasi and Prefects by Eleanor BeresfordPegasi and Prefects by Eleanor Beresford

Charley’s final year at Fernleigh Manor is complicated by a runaway pegasus, unwanted Games Captainship, a dangerous new rival and, most of all, falling head over heels in love with another girl. What is a reluctant Senior Prefect to do?

A magical YA school story with a sapphic twist, the first in the Scholars and Sorcery series.
Scholars and Sorcery is a series of young adult fantasy novels set in an alternate version of 1950s England in which elves invaded in the far past, leaving magic and mythical creatures such as fairies and dragons behind them. It features lesbian heroines and a sweet dollop of romance.

Medicine for Ghosts by Adam BishopMedicine for Ghosts by Adam Bishop

It isn’t unusual for an investigative reporter like Jarvis to hear rumours, but a rumour about prisoners who aren’t supposed to exist? Well, that’s another matter entirely. A mysterious, unsigned letter brings Jarvis to the military border town of Daruma with a promise that the story waiting for him there will be a blockbuster. For a young reporter trying to make a name for himself, the appeal is too great to resist. But what Jarvis discovers in Daruma will force him to weigh his duty as a reporter against his obligations as a citizen. What can he, a solitary reporter, do to make his country a better place to live?

Medicine For Ghosts is a short story prequel to the full-length novel The Disillusioners.

Otherworlders by Angela CavanaughOtherworlders by Angela Cavanaugh

When a virus threatens humanity with extinction, the desperate and dwindling number of uninfected seek refuge in a parallel universe. The technology is untested. The other universe is unprepared and one thing is made violently clear: they are not wanted.

As a weaponized, fatal virus mutates and threatens to kill all life forms on Earth, Special Agent Williams and the government conspires to send the healthy away. After space travel and going underground are ruled impossible, all that remains is the theoretical technology of an autistic savant: escaping to a parallel universe. But when they travel to the other dimension, their arrival is met with suspicion and hatred. To evade persecution, experimentation, and to save their lives, the Otherworlders must find a way to escape, survive, and outwit Agent Williams’s murderous double.

Xiao Xiao by Joyce ChngXiao Xiao and the Dragon Pearl by Joyce Chng

Enter the world of Xiao Xiao, daughter of an imperial courtesan, and a fantastical historical Qing China, with dragons and magic and traditions. What happens when her mother adopts a baby girl found in a rice field? What does – can – the green pearl do?

Sacrifice by Stacy ClaflinSacrifice by Stacy Claflin

It’s a new generation of royal vampires.

Alexis’ daughter Eylin is nearly grown, in the beginning of her transformation. Born with the mark of the dragon and placed under a spell as in infant, the young princess finds herself in the middle of an age-old battle between mortal enemies.

Eylin starts to fall for the son of their enemy: the one who kidnapped Eylin years earlier. Pulled between the ties of family and romance, she must decide between two different worlds. Depending on the decision she makes, someone will end up sacrificing their life.

This is book 6 of The Transformed series.

Bitten by A.J. ColbyBitten by A.J. Colby

Being a lone wolf could be Riley’s greatest strength, or her greatest weakness…

After surviving her psychotic ex-boyfriend’s quest for revenge, Riley Cray was ready to settle back into her quiet life and fade into obscurity. The Shepherd of the City, Alexei Cordova, however, has other plans for the lone werewolf. Someone is murdering supernaturals under the master vampire’s protection, and he wants Riley to figure out why.

Relying on the help of her friends and her paltry knowledge of the supernatural world, can Riley discover who the murderer is before Denver is consumed by a war between vampires and werewolves?
Watch out. This bitch bites!

This is the sequel to Hunted.

Vanguard No. 1 by Percival ConstantineVanguard No.1: Come the Exemplar by Percival Constantine

Witness the birth of heroes!

The world has changed. A mysterious event altered the genetic structure of humanity, granting a small percentage of the population superhuman powers. The government has secretly formed a superhero team to deal with threats from potential supervillains. Paragon—telekinetic powerhouse; Zenith—hyper-intelligent AI; Shift—shape-changing teenager; Wraith—teleporting shadow warrior; Sharkskin—human/shark hybrid. Led by the armored Gunsmith, they are Vanguard!

Callum King’s life has fallen apart. He lost his job, his wife left him, and he was about to end it all—when he discovered he possessed the powers of a superman. Now calling himself the Exemplar, he’s declared himself the world’s first superhero, out to prove those who doubted him wrong. But his arrogance far supersedes his good intentions! Can Vanguard overcome their internal strife in order to face their first threat?

From Percival Constantine comes an all-new team of superheroes in the vein of the X-Men and the Avengers!

Teeth by Chele CookeTeeth: The First Bite by Chele Cooke

Medical intern Thomas awakes in a blood-drenched basement and the realisation that his life must change forever. After all, how can he practise medicine when the smell of blood turns him into a vicious killer?
Spencer thinks being a vampire is better than any teen movie made it out to be. Now he must train Thomas and make his mentor proud.

One mistake risks more than either are willing to lose, and a single broken law could turn them from predators to prey.

Providence Unveiled by Selina FenechProvidence Unveiled by Selina Fenech

Just when she is finding herself, Memory is about to lose everything. Home, friendship, family, goals, love… Memory will break all the rules to try and save what is important to her, but her actions are being manipulated by a dark force toward a dark end. Worlds will be broken, love will be stolen, and sacrifices will be made.

In this final novel of the Memory’s Wake trilogy, following Memory’s Wake and Hope’s Reign, the truth will be unveiled.

Starship Eternal by M.R. ForbesStarship Eternal by M.R. Forbes

A lost starship…
A dire warning from futures past…
A desperate search for salvation…

Captain Mitchell “Ares” Williams is a Space Marine and the hero of the Battle for Liberty, whose Shot Heard ‘Round the Universe saved the planet from a nearly unstoppable war machine. He’s handsome, charismatic, and the perfect poster boy to help the military drive enlistment. Pulled from the war and thrown into the spotlight, he’s as efficient at charming the media and bedding beautiful celebrities as he was at shooting down enemy starfighters.

After an assassination attempt leaves Mitchell critically wounded, he begins to suffer from strange hallucinations that carry a chilling and oddly familiar warning:

They are coming. Find the Goliath or humankind will be destroyed.

Convinced that the visions are a side-effect of his injuries, he tries to ignore them, only to learn that he may not be as crazy as he thinks. The enemy is real and closer than he imagined, and they’ll do whatever it takes to prevent him from rediscovering the centuries lost starship.

Narrowly escaping capture, out of time and out of air, Mitchell lands at the mercy of the Riggers – a ragtag crew of former commandos who patrol the lawless outer reaches of the galaxy. Guided by a captain with a reputation for cold-blooded murder, they’re dangerous, immoral, and possibly insane.

They may also be humanity’s last hope for survival in a war that has raged beyond eternity.

Bloodrush by Ben GalleyBloodrush by Ben Galley

“Magick ain’t pretty, it ain’t stars and sparkles. Magick is dirty. It’s rough. Raw. It’s blood and guts and vomit. You hear me?”

When Prime Lord Hark is found in a pool of his own blood on the steps of his halls, Tonmerion Hark finds his world not only turned upside down, but inside out. His father’s last will and testament forces him west across the Iron Ocean, to the very brink of the Endless Land and all civilisation. They call it Wyoming.
This is a story of murder and family.

In the dusty frontier town of Fell Falls, there is no silverware, no servants, no plush velvet nor towering spires. Only dust, danger, and the railway. Tonmerion has only one friend to help him escape the torturous heat and unravel his father’s murder. A faerie named Rhin. A twelve-inch tall outcast of his own kind.
This is a story of blood and magick.

But there are darker things at work in Fell Falls, and not just the railwraiths or the savages. Secrets lurk in Tonmerion’s bloodline. Secrets that will redefine this young Hark.
This is a story of the edge of the world.

Noir by Jacqueline GarlickNoir: A Steampunk Fantasy by Jacqueline Garlick

With Urlick (Babbit) imprisoned, awaiting execution for the alleged murder of Professor Smrt, Eyelet (Elsworth) must find her way back through the criminal infested woods, among the blood-thirsty Infirmed, to the forbidden city of Brethren, in time to free him from his fate.

With the help of Crazy Legs, Eyelet overthrows a travelling freak show train on its way into Brethren, planning to use the train to distract the city long enough to free Urlick. Just as they think their luck is about to hold, Eyelet is lured astray by an image from her past. Entering an abandoned factory at the city’s edge, she unearths a series of ungodly secrets, and soon finds herself imprisoned.

With Urlick locked away in the Stone Jug and Eyelet on her way to MadHouse Brink, will C.L. be able to spring both loose in time to save the day? Or will he too, fall prey to the torturous mind of Brethren’s newest Ruler—who is, in fact, a self-appointed heir to the throne.

It appears there is an heir that’s been overlooked. An heir the new ruler is determined to keep secret.

Noir is book 2 of the Illumination Paradox series and sequel to Lumiere.

Electric Blue Butterflies by Irma GeddonElectric Blue Butterflies by Irma Geddon

He’s been in love with her since they were children. She thinks she’s getting married to a complete stranger.
When the wedding night ends in tragedy, the only thing two lovers need is to trust that LOVE KNOWS NO LIMIT—not even death.

Constance has always known her parents would choose a husband for her when she would be old enough to get married—this is part of a long tradition in her family, one she has decided not to fight despite her powerful need for freedom.

When she meets William, her future husband, just one day before the wedding, she falls for him on the spot. He is strikingly handsome, he’s a succesful business man, but most of all, he is completely under her spell and looks at her like she’s hung the moon.

William is killed in a horrible animal attack during the wedding party, before he can be alone and confide in Constance. Trying to cope with the sudden death of her husband, Constance will unearth all of William’s secrets. But, as it turns out, William isn’t gone for good.

Time is running out for William and Constance’s love story—will she find a way to get back the husband she didn’t know she wanted so much?

Division by Lee S. HawkeDivision: A Collection of Science Fiction Fairytales by Lee S. Hawke

From LEE S. HAWKE, author of “The Changeling and the Sun” (published by Ideomancer Speculative Fiction Magazine) comes DIVISION: A COLLECTION OF SCIENCE FICTION FAIRYTALES.
Featuring 7 original, fairytale-inspired science fiction short stories, this collection explores the division between mind, body, technology and humanity.

A chronically ill civilian discovers that his immune system may be the key to human survival
A schoolgirl tries to escape her demons through levels of virtual reality
A data analyst falls in love with a software coder during a forced government assignment
A young boy is confronted with a horrifying truth about his constructed world
A jaded medical technician rediscovers the meaning of beauty
A girl scrambles to escape a horrifying alien invasion in a futuristic dystopia, and
A spaceship engineer struggles with the death of her only daughter.

Half Life by S.L. HuangHalf Life by S.L. Huang

Cas Russell is back — and so is her deadly supermath.

Cas may be an antisocial mercenary who uses her instant calculating skills to mow down enemies, but she’s trying hard to build up a handful of morals. So when she’s hired by an anguished father to rescue his kid from an evil tech conglomerate, it seems like the perfect job to use for ethics practice.

Then she finds her client’s daughter… who is a robot.

The researchers who own the ’bot will stop at nothing to get it back, but the kid’s just real enough for Cas to want to protect her — even though she knows she’s risking everything for a collection of metal and wires. But when the case blows up in her face, it plunges Cas into the crossfire of a massive, decades-long corporate espionage war.

Cas knows logically that she isn’t saving a child. She’s stealing a piece of technology, one expensive and high-stakes enough that spiriting it away is going to get innocent people killed. But she has a distraught father on one hand and a robot programmed to act like a distraught daughter on the other, and she’s never been able to sit by when a kid is in trouble — even a fake one.

Screw morals and ethics. All Cas wants to do is save one little girl.

This is the sequel to Zero Sum Game.

Ambassador 3: Changing Fate by Patty JansenAmbassador 3: Changing Fate by Patty Jansen

Fifty thousand years ago, a meteorite hit the planet Asto, giving its Aghyrian inhabitants mere days of notice. Three ships escaped the Armageddon. Two went to the neighbouring planet. The third, a massive generation ship, refused to take on refugees, and then vanished without a trace.
It’s coming back.

Its initial burst of communication caused the outage of the Exchange, the FTL network for transport and communication, but since then the ship has been silent. It jumps about at random, using wormholes it generates with a drive the likes of which no one has seen before.

Meanwhile at the gamra assembly, people jostle to be in the best positions when it inevitably turns up in inhabited space. What the ship wants or whether there is anyone on board no one knows, but diplomat Cory Wilson knows one thing: when it turns up, he must avoid a conflict at all cost.

If only gamra presented a united viewpoint. If only Asto’s army wasn’t keen to get involved. If only the Aghyrians at gamra didn’t do what they do best: manipulate and play games with everyone. While the ship approaches, the delegates bicker, and the time for negotiating is fast running out.

This is book 3 of the Ambassador series, following Seeing Red and Raising Hell.

Mission: Attack on Europa by V.A. JeffreyMission: Attack on Europa by V.A. Jeffrey

The affair on Langrenus now settled, Bob plans to return home. But an urgent cry for help from an old friend interrupts his homecoming. The Big Boss sends him a fleet of newly built fighter ships, seemingly just in time for this new and unexpected mission. Bob brings along a new ally, enlisting him in his growing little band of U-net agents. The new guy is James Jenkins, a.k.a Diamond Dog, a young, hot-shot pilot with smuggling connections and as soon as they set foot on Mars trouble blows up in their faces.

A new city is being built and there will be a final gathering of the Allied Martian Powers. They’ve been planning their long-awaited and perilous mission – to destroy the loyalist alien military base on Europa. Bob and Diamond bring along much needed help to the cause, more than willing to rally to the side of the Alliance of Martian Powers but Bob finds that things are changing faster than he can keep up with and his experience in Langrenus haunts him in more ways than one. On Mars, alliances between humans and aliens are complex, tenuous things and Bob finds that even relationships with one’s allies can be uneasy.

This is book 3 of the Mission series, following Flight to Mars and Lights of Langrenus.

Solace by Therin KniteSolace by Therin Knite

Corina Marion’s father is dead.

Off to a never-ending war as a Red Cross doctor before Corina was even born, Luther Marion has been a constant but increasingly distant presence in his daughter’s life for sixteen years. Damaged pictures. Short letters. And three brief phone calls received before Corina was old enough to walk.

But now, Luther Marion has returned home at last—as a body in a box to be buried. Corina’s mother is devastated. Her small, backwoods town mourns the loss of its local hero.
And Corina…isn’t sure how she feels about the death of a father she never really met.

But when a mysterious old man confronts Corina at her father’s funeral, she finds herself drawn to his impossible offer: a chance to know the now late Luther Marion. And in a moment of uncertainty, Corina makes a choice with consequences she can barely fathom. A choice that sends her to the last place she ever expected to go.

Her father’s hometown. Six hundred miles south.
And twenty-five years in the past.

Knight of the White Hart by Kathryn MarloweKnight of the White Hart by Kathryn Marlowe

Guigemar is a Breton knight who fights alongside King Arthur. His excels in all the courtly arts, save one: he has always scorned love.

Returning home, the knight goes hunting with a friend and shoots a white deer. The arrow bounces back to wound him, too. The doe curses him: the wound will never heal until he meets a woman who will love him truly and suffer for that love like no one ever has ever suffered before.

Mad with pain, he stumbles to the shore where a stunning ship sails him away, despite lacking a crew. He tosses and turns in fevered dreams until he awakes to find the most beautiful woman he has ever seen peering in at him.

And there his real troubles begin.

The Middle Ages: when ‘romance’ meant adventure!

Segue by John MarshSegue by John Marsh

A thousand years after travelling into space, humans have spread across the Milky Way. Ancient platforms maintain stable wormholes, allowing rapid travel between planets tens of thousands of light-years apart. In a union of systems spanning thousands of habitable worlds, huge interstellar companies operate to exploit resources in remote corners of the galaxy.

Segue is a planet on the outer borders of human controlled space, with vast tropical continents covered in steaming jungle, far away from the laws of civilization. Company agent Ves arrives on Segue with a mission to find a missing company manager, and discover how a valuable export is being contaminated. A dangerous boat journey takes her into the dark interior to find answers.

White Seed by Kenneth MarshallWhite Seed by Kenneth Marshall

The White Seed Brings Life to Worlds

Three thousand years ago, the seeds arrived from Earth on hundreds of worlds. The developed ones formed the Network, connected only by radio and laser. Since the time of the seeds, nothing but information has traveled between the stars. Now a starship, The Child of Ambition, is changing that. Her first mission: to explore the dark worlds, the ones that failed.

Kali Hakoian, pilot-astronaut and war hero, thought landing on the super-Earth of Keto would be routine. The emptiest seed world—its global ocean matted with algae and crawling with hurricanes—hides the oldest human ruins. Her crew of scientists: a dreamer, a believer, and a retired assassin. Their hypothesis—self-termination of the seed base.

But when an act of sabotage strands her in the path of a superstorm, she’s forced to escape with the man she trusts the least. They may never find out what happened to the settlers—unless it happens to them. Can she trust her crew enough to find a way out of the darkness?

A Time of Shadows by Monique MartinA Time of Shadows by Monique Martin

It’s been a few months since Simon and Elizabeth returned from their adventure in 1888 London. Jack is back with them and all is as it should be, until a knock on the door changes that. A visitor from the future turns their world upside-down.

Unable to return her to her time, they go to the Council for help, only to discover there are bigger problems afoot. All of the watches have been shut down until a dangerous and secret weapon–a watch that can change any point in time–can be found. Too powerful for anyone to possess, it was hidden. But now the secret’s out, and the mysterious Shadow Council will do anything to get their hands on it.

Simon, Elizabeth and Jack race to find it before the Shadow Council does or it will be the end of…everything.

This is book 8 in the Out of Time series.
Emissary by Melissa McShaneEmissary by Melissa McShane

When unquiet ghosts walk the earth, the servants of Atenas, God of Death, guide them to their final rest in His domain. For six years, Zerafine, priestess of Atenas, and her companion Gerrard have walked the known world, bringing peace to the dead and fair judgment to the living. Hated and feared as a death-bringer by many, Zerafine has never regretted her decision to serve Atenas and never doubted her ability to carry out His will.

Until now.

An unexpected assignment from the Archpriest of Atenas sends Zerafine and Gerrard to Portena, the oldest city in the world, in pursuit of a kind of ghost no one has ever seen before: spirits that vanish before they can be sent to Atenas’s court, appearing and reappearing at random. As emissary of Atenas, Zerafine’s task is to discover the true nature of these ghosts and find a way to bring them peace. But Zerafine’s assignment puts her at odds not only with the rulers of Portena, but with the high priest of another God, and she soon realizes that all is not as it seems in the great city. If Zerafine fails to learn the truth and put these ghosts to rest, it could mean disaster not only for Portena, but for the world.

Siren by Jennifer MelzerSiren by Jennifer Melzer

Siren Talbot’s life is plagued with storms. Her mother’s insanity was the first, though not the last. Called to the ocean, not even the shores of Edisto Island can calm the tempest inside her.

Though she’s settled into a life with Patrick, his promises of a happily ever after can’t still the foul weather of her past or the brewing squall on the horizon. She’s haunted by the disappearance of her first love, Carver, and the lack of answers.

A single clue unlocks mysteries she can’t explain. A murder cements the impossible as possible. The more magic she uncovers, the darker her suspicions become and the more the hurricane inside her starts to rage.
Patrick isn’t the Prince Charming he claims to be.

And he knows exactly what happened to Carver.

The Enchanted Rose by Nadia NaderThe Enchanted Rose by Nadia Nader

When Vivian’s mother dies in a tragic accident, Vivian’s world is turned upside down. Her life, as she knows it, is over. A new life, full of her mother’s secrets, begins…

Sent away by her father to live with two eccentric aunts on the mysterious Tremaine Estate, Vivian comes to learn that a powerful curse lurks over her family – one that only she may have the power to break. With each day she spends in Misty Hills, Vivian uncovers more unsettling discoveries about the town, her reclusive family, and herself.

Can Vivian let go of every truth she’s ever believed and discover who she really is, before the dark secrets hidden within the supernatural town threaten to consume her and those she loves?

Hoarder in the Down DeepHoarder in the Down Deep by Marilyn Peake

It’s against the law to have children without winning the lottery. Implanted with a birth control device as required by law, Evangeline Hubbard, a dirt farmer in the down deep, discovers that implants sometimes fail. But in a world strictly controlled by the authorities, one pays a terrible price for tampering with the established order. Consumed by fear and madness after things go horribly wrong, Evangeline hoards in order to hang onto things. She adds them to the nest she’s building in the down deep.

HOARDER IN THE DOWN DEEP is a novella based on the best-selling WOOL series by Hugh Howey, and was written with his permission. It’s set in the time when Sheriff Holston and his wife Allison had won the lottery, giving them one year to conceive a child. Investigating the case of Evangeline Hubbard, Sheriff Holston and Mayor Jahns are unprepared for what they find. HOARDER IN THE DOWN DEEP explores how psychological issues and emotional pain can lead to hoarding. It also explores the mental strain placed on women who have lost control over their own reproductive processes.

Song of Blood and Stone by L. PenelopeSong of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope

Between love and duty lies destiny

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where she is feared for both the shade of her skin and her magical abilities. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive – an injured spy who steals her heart.

Jack’s mission behind enemy lines nearly cost him his life but he is saved by the healing power of a mysterious young woman. Together they embark on a perilous journey straight into the heart of a centuries-old conflict.

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.

The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.

This adult fantasy romance is recommended for readers 17 and older.

The Future Collection by Beth RevisThe Future Collection by Beth Revis

This collection of short stories by New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis features science fiction tales about the future.

DOCTOR-PATIENT CONFIDENTIALITY: A young woman wakes up in a cryomed ward of a hospital. As she recalls what led to her confinement, she starts to realize just what the consequences of her actions were, and how much time has passed since she was injured.

THE MOST PRECIOUS MEMORY: In a world where memories can be bought and sold as highly addictive drugs, one transaction takes an unusual turn. *Note*: this story was previously published in the Soothe The Savage Beast anthology.

THE GIRL AND THE MACHINE: A man has limited abilities to travel through time, but a cute girl pops up in his life, informing him that her time machine can open the door to far greater powers. But there’s something ominous about it… *Note*: This story is available as an individual short in Amazon.

LAG: A reporter had been chasing down a lead…but after a malfunction in the teleporter she used, she’s forgotten what the lead was. Now she’s searching for clues in her own life to discover what it was she’s missing.

THE TURING TEST: A college student participates in a turing test to see if she can distinguish which of the two subjects is human and which is an android. *Note:* A version of this story is a part of the Special Edition of THE BODY ELECTRIC novel and was previously published in Lightspeed Magazine.

AS THEY SLIP AWAY: A group of artists on a generation space ship that reviles art is given a unique assignment, one that draws one young lady far too close to a possessive man protected by the ship’s government. *Note:* This short story is available free online and is linked to the ACROSS THE UNIVERSE world.

RIGA, AI by Tobias RooteRIGA, AI by Tobias Roote

Her decisions are final, her justice swift, her tolerance of those who would risk the fragile peace is zero.
RIGA,AI is a new kind of heroine set in a future where AIs and humans live alongside each other in a fragile peace. RIGA is a non-human but there is much about her that is unknown, even to her. Her unique composition means RIGA is often ‘the hunted’ in an increasingly dangerous universe where humans, transhumans and artificial intelligence all struggle to survive together.

RIGA’s unique skills make her extremely valuable to the Emporium’s secret service, the ESSG. Trained in the roles of Diplomat, Assassin and Spy, means she has to rely on her unique abilities to keep her alive and one step ahead of her enemies. But, the enemy has plans and RIGA is in their way.

The Fire Mages by Pauline M. RossThe Fire Mages by Pauline M. Ross

Kyra has always been drawn to the magic of spellpages. She is determined to leave her small village far behind and become a scribe, wielding the power of magic through her pen. Halfway through her training, she has a mage as patron and her ambitions are within her grasp. But a simple favour for her sister goes disastrously awry, destroying Kyra’s dreams in an instant.

Devastated, she accepts an offer from a stranger to help her find out what went wrong. The young man sees growing power within Kyra, potentially stronger than spellpages or any living mage. The answers to unlocking that power may lie within the glowing walls of the Imperial City, but its magic is strong and the unwary vanish without trace on its streets. Thirsty for knowledge and desperate to avoid another accident, she feels compelled to risk it.

While she focuses on controlling her abilities, a storm of greed and ambition boils up around her. Kyra is a pawn in the struggle for dominance between unscrupulous factions vying for rule of her country. Trusting the wrong side could get her killed–or worse, the potent magic she barely understands could be put to unthinkable evil.

The Icarus Plot by Jenny SchwartzThe Icarus Plot by Jenny Schwartz

Ivana March runs a very special toy shop in the heart of Victorian London. The last person she expects to see enter it is an earl. Not that she has time to entertain him. Someone is stealing children, and the street kids whisper tales of a “Metal Man”. Ivana must find the monster, rescue the children, and if the earl really wants to help, he can come with her. Only, no one warned her she’d have to venture to places better left unexplored. A good thing, then, that the new Earl of Somer is a noted explorer. When the two of them join forces, what could possibly go wrong?

A short Steampunk novella

The Null by Vincent TrigiliThe Null by Vincent Trigili

He had left that life behind, sworn he would never return to it. He had a new life—a wife, a daughter. He was happy. But in a wretched twist of events, he finds himself forced to reclaim what he once was in order to save those who are most precious to him. Or else…

The Null is a short superhero thriller that would cover approximately 20-25 pages in a traditional paperback.

Monsters of Elsewhere by Matthew WaldramMonsters of Elsewhere by Matthew Waldram

There is a land – let’s call it Elsewhere – that is in no small amount of trouble. Giant wolves are tearing villages apart, a monster king is bringing his army across the sea to capture the legendary Hall of Glass, and the High Lord has completely disappeared.

Henry Whistler was eight when he got lost at a bus station in Hounslow. There his adventure began. For that was when he met the exiled invisible man, the monster swordsman, and the girl with the bright red hair.
Now a grown-up, Henry’s childhood adventure is a faded memory… until his fiancée vanishes. Until he is drawn into another world. Until he is pursued by a blind assassin – with only a monster and a dead man for company – across a land that is in no small amount of trouble.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for January 30, 2015

And here is our weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web:

Speculative fiction in general:

Writing, publishing and promotion:




Con reports:

Science and technology:

Free online fiction:

Odds and ends: 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Hoarder in the Down Deep by Marilyn Peake

Release date: January 21, 2015
Subgenre: Dystopian science fiction

About Hoarder in the Down Deep


It’s against the law to have children without winning the lottery. Implanted with a birth control device as required by law, Evangeline Hubbard, a dirt farmer in the down deep, discovers that implants sometimes fail. But in a world strictly controlled by the authorities, one pays a terrible price for tampering with the established order. Consumed by fear and madness after things go horribly wrong, Evangeline hoards in order to hang onto things. She adds them to the nest she’s building in the down deep.

HOARDER IN THE DOWN DEEP is a novella based on the best-selling WOOL series by Hugh Howey, and was written with his permission. It’s set in the time when Sheriff Holston and his wife Allison had won the lottery, giving them one year to conceive a child. Investigating the case of Evangeline Hubbard, Sheriff Holston and Mayor Jahns are unprepared for what they find. HOARDER IN THE DOWN DEEP explores how psychological issues and emotional pain can lead to hoarding. It also explores the mental strain placed on women who have lost control over their own reproductive processes. 



 The Evangeline Hubbard Investigation

Evangeline Hubbard did not believe they were coming.  For years, her next-door neighbors had told her they’d reported her to the authorities.  They had warned her, threatened her that Sheriff Holston was on his way.  At first, she had worried.  She had lain awake at night, jumping at every footstep on the other side of her apartment door.  Once asleep, she had woken repeatedly from her own nightmares covered in sweat.

But the authorities from the up top never came to her door in the down deep.  Not anymore.  They only seemed to make the trip for serious criminals or political rabble-rousers.  And Eva did not fit either profile.

She and her husband, Max, worked one of the dirt farms.  They had no criminal record.  And they were hardly rabble-rousers.  Eva thought of herself as a timid mouse hiding away in her nest of stuff.




About Marilyn Peake: 



Marilyn Peake is the author of both novels and short stories.  Her publications have received excellent reviews.  Marilyn’s one of the contributing authors in BOOK: THE SEQUEL, published by The Perseus Books Group, with one of her entries included in serialization at THE DAILY BEAST.  In addition, Marilyn has served as Editor of a number of anthologies.  Her short stories have been published in seven anthologies and on the literary blog, GLASS CASES.  AWARDS:  Silver Award, two Honorable Mentions and eight Finalist placements in the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards, two Winner and two Finalist placements in the EPPIE Awards, and Winner of the Dream Realm Awards.




Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Grand Master's Pawn, Part 1, by Aurora Springer

Release date: January 18, 2015
Subgenre: Epic fantasy

About Grand Master's Pawn, Part 1


The vast web of the teleportal system links the civilized planets, yet wars and disease propagate from the edge of the galaxy. Are the mysterious Grand Masters responsible for the disasters? On Avalon, the White Mother Tingu weaves her plans for the most promising empath in generations. Violet Hunter seems an ordinary graduate of the Terran Space Academy with the dream of exploring exotic planets. She hides her secret talent and her task of investigating the twelve Grand Masters. One Grand Master took a chance and selected Violet as his pawn. On her missions, Violet gains new powers, strange allies, and clues to the Grand Masters. While seeking answers, Violet is hurled into conflict with the Grand Masters, while the galaxy flies toward chaos.
Part 1 follows Violet’s mission to the Catacombs of the ice planet of Erebus. 


Two blue beams emerged from the round eyes of an ugly stone griffin, casting a weird light over the walls of the small room. A deep, resonant voice spoke, “I am the Grand Master and you will serve as my pawn.”

“Yes, Grand Master,” Violet said, refusing to show fear at the eerie, disembodied voice. “What may I call you?”

“You will call me Grand Master,” the haughty voice held an unpleasant edge.

Violet resolved to assert her independence instead of retreating into her usual passive acceptance, and said indignantly, “Grand Master, do your pawns have individual names?”

The room vibrated and psychic pressure built up against her. “You are insolent, Violet Hunter!” the Grand Master growled.

Shivering at the menace in his words, she stepped back against the wall, and instinctively shielded her mind. His psychic power was impressive since he was not physically in the room. Unexpectedly, Violet sensed a faint drift of amusement, the mental equivalent of a smile.

“Hunter is a good name for your vocation,” he remarked in a milder tone.

Violet stiffened; he must never learn the truth. She hunted him.

His gruff voice grew severe again, “I have taken a chance by selecting you. You must prove yourself worthy to serve as my pawn.”

“My qualifications are excellent,” she said, nettled by his antagonistic attitude. Surely, he had checked the records for her performance at the Academy.

“True, however, you have no practical experience.”

Violet objected again, “Grand Master, I have more experience with aliens and other planets than most of my contemporaries.”

He growled, “I am aware of the reports on you. Nonetheless, every pawn must meet my high standards when performing their missions.”

His deep voice rose in volume and resonated throughout the small chamber, “You will perform the missions exactly as I command. Do you understand me, pawn?”

“Yes, Grand Master,” she said, trying to sound compliant. Who was he to plan a detailed strategy? He would be safe in his palace, or wherever Grand Masters chose to live, while she would be working under hazardous conditions. Her survival might require swift action.

The Grand Master continued in his imperious manner, “Your first mission will be to acquire the living crystals from the cave in the Catacombs of Erebus.”

The blue beams from the griffin’s eyes flashed on the wall of the room and a rotating planet appeared in midair. The white surface of the planet was streaked with fine yellow lines like cracks in a smooth ball.

“The Catacombs lie deep within the ice planet of Erebus where the labyrinthine passages lead to the subterranean city of Elyrium.” As the Grand Master spoke, a maze of interconnected caves appeared within the hovering sphere, which cracked apart like a stone geode to reveal the colorful jewel of a city. “The crystal cave is in the city. You will teleport to Erebus and hire the guide named Rothan Rivern. Inform him that you serve the Grand Master. You can rely on him to lead you though the perilous caverns to the crystal cave. Do not use force to extract the crystals, or they will lose their vital energy. Move your hands gently over the crystals until one loosens and falls into your hands. You may take one or two crystals in this manner. Do you understand, Pawn?”

“Yes, Grand Master,” Violet repeated obediently, committing his instructions to her memory. She stared in fascination at the stone griffin with the glowing blue eyes. The Grand Master must control the holographic display from some remote site. She wondered if he would ever reveal his true physical form.
Blue light flashed from the eyes of the griffin and the voice of the Grand Master assumed a menacing tone, “Your mission is a challenge. Not all survive the Catacombs.”



About Aurora Springer:


Aurora Springer was born in the U.K. of Irish and Polish parents, which makes her a good American. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, one dog and two cats. She is an avid reader and has been composing Science Fiction and Fantasy stories since childhood. She has a doctorate in molecular biophysics and has a day job in academia where she works with crystals. Her ambition is to boldly discover the secrets of life and create new worlds. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, boating and painting.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Otherworlders by Angela Cavanaugh

Release date: January 18, 2015
Subgenre: Post-apocalyptic, dystopian

About Otherworlders:


When a virus threatens humanity with extinction, the desperate and dwindling number of uninfected seek refuge in a parallel universe. The technology is untested. The other universe is unprepared and one thing is made violently clear: they are not wanted.

As a weaponized, fatal virus mutates and threatens to kill all life forms on Earth, Special Agent Williams and the government conspires to send the healthy away. After space travel and going underground are ruled impossible, all that remains is the theoretical technology of an autistic savant: escaping to a parallel universe. But when they travel to the other dimension, their arrival is met with suspicion and hatred. To evade persecution, experimentation, and to save their lives, the Otherworlders must find a way to escape, survive, and outwit Agent Williams's murderous double. 



  Levi frantically worked on making final adjustments to the machine. The commotion outside was growing.
Inside, the machine began humming so loud that he could barely hear anything else.
"We can't wait any longer," shouted Jackson.
"I, I really need a few minutes more," Levi said. "Matthew, how is it looking?"
"The power readings are all within appropriate levels. Coordinates are locked in."
"How are the quantum calculations?"
"As expected. There are some slight fluctuations, but everything should be stable enough."
Gunfire rang sounded from outside the building.
"We don't have a few minutes. It's madness out there," Jackson said.
"Just a second," Levi said.
They could hear the angry yelling of people that had discovered their location. Stones came crashing through the windows, spewing shards of shattered glass. The panes were too small to afford a person to fit through.
Jackson, left with no choice, pulled his gun and placed it squarely against Levi's temple.
"Finish this. Activate the machine, now."
"Okay, okay. Geez," he replied.
"I guess this is it. Here's hoping for, for the best," Matthew said.
He and Levi initiated the sequence.
Jackson holstered his gun. He removed a prepackaged syringe from his breast pocket. With all his duties, he never got around to being tested. Time had run out. He discretely stuck himself with the needle and then returned it to his pocket.
The machine grew louder. Small objects in the room began to fly towards the device, then larger ones. The heavier items screeched and moaned in a desire to join them.
"This is it, Levi. No coming back," Matthew said.
"I, I guess that this is it, then," Levi said.
With a bang, the door burst open and the horde was upon them. Before the crowd could make their way across the warehouse to where the machine sat, Levi closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and threw the final switch.
A whip crack noise slapped the air. A blinding light stopped the mass in their tracks. A blast of energy erupted in all directions from the machine. The wave traveled outward in an expanding ripple as it swept the whole surface of the earth.
In its wake, everyone with a marker disappeared. The only evidence they had been there was their clothes and various belongings lying on the ground where they had been. Those that remained were stunned into silence. All the rioting, all the anger stopped for a moment, as the world's people that were left behind stood together in disbelief.




About Angela Cavanaugh:

Angela is a writer living in Los Angeles. Nomadic by nature, she is from St. Louis, MO originally, spent a few years in Austin, TX, and has no idea where she'll end up, geographically speaking.

She began writing in high school, between and during classes. Her first couple hobby level novels have been banished to never see the light of day. But as she matured, so did her writing skills.

She realized that writing could be more than a hobby. She fell in love with flash fiction and began posting the short stories to her blog weekly. Now, Angela spends most of time working on writing, often polishing completed short stories and novels and creating new ones.

Angela is a two time recipient of an Honorable Mention in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest
She has self-published 22 Short Scifi Stories: a flash fiction collection on Amazon. It reached #6 on the category best seller list. It is also available in audio.

In 2015, she will have two stories published in The Future Chronicles series. Angela is currently working on a number of other projects, and has a lot planned.

2015 is going to be an exciting year :)

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Guest post - A.E. Williams - MANNED Space Exploration? It’s Getting Old – PART I

A. E. Williams has kindly agreed to write a regular column for the Speculative Fiction Showcase, based on his wealth of experience, and fascination with space travel both real and fictional.

This is the year 2015.

Based on the initial excitement to which I was exposed as a young lad during the Sixties, I was expecting to see flying cars, jet packs, robot maids and round trips to our space stations, Lunar bases or even Martian cities on a daily basis.

The ideas tossed about haphazardly by Hollywood and the fledgling television industry sought to assure all of us that Science was entering its Golden Age, and what were mere figments living in the imaginations of the much-vaunted science fiction writers of years past were coming to fruition. We had lasers, and satellites, and telescopes that were probing the Universe. We had the atomic bomb, and also the nuclear submarine. How long until the nuclear bomber or nuclear oil tanker?

Manned space exploration was the gatekeeper of these wonders. Research into keeping humans alive in space caused simultaneous expansion in the fields of engineering, medicine, communications and rocketry. Von Braun and the team gave us the engines of our Future, the means to conquer the Solar System and then the Galaxy.

It was Manifest Destiny writ large, with the entire Human Race the heirs to a great hegemony of…of…

Well, horse feathers.

We didn't manage to get even close to that dream, now did we?

I mean, we don’t have lunar bases, underwater cities, space travel to and from our space stations, or even a decent atomic rocket. There seems to be a dearth of jetpacks in my neighborhood. I do see the flying car has been making inroads in some countries, but the myriad problems of airborne traffic jams are still years away from being solved.

Google has been working on getting us to become passengers, rather than drivers of our land-based (and presumably sea-based) vehicles. One can imagine that there will be an extension of some manner to incorporate this into a personal aerial vehicle at some point.

In spite of the fact that we have not received all of these promised wonderful gifts as a result of technology and science, we at least now have the ability to talk to each other on a global basis through small devices that we hold in our hands or put in our pockets. Food production is an all-time high, and medicine has provided many breakthroughs that reduce the amount of potentially lethal viruses and infections.

As we grow older we notice the things fall apart and tend to decline. This is true regardless of whether it is a building such as the pyramids, us, our pets or our children.

As a science fiction writer, I tend to notice a lot of degradation in systems, or what Rudolf Clausius called entropy.

Entropy is the tendency for the universe to reach a steady-state, one where the energy of the universe is evenly distributed.

In physics, Sir Isaac Newton invented calculus - the mathematics needed to understand and analyze the mechanics of this situation. Newton proposed what is known as the Second Law Of Thermodynamics. When entropy reaches its maximum the system is in a steady-state and in maximum disorder.


This loss of energy in a system, and the increase of entropy, is the exact opposite of what everybody wishes were happening, which is increasing order and stability. In theoretical physics this tendency to stave off chaos is desired, and so energy is added to these systems to delay the inevitable.

Real world issues tend to illustrate that, despite our best efforts, Nature has a way of not complying with our wishes. From the social implications of terrorist attacks and government monitoring and surveillance of their populations, to the very real decay of our infrastructure, in many ways entropy is indeed increasing to the maximum.

Another contentious area is how our existence and the technologies we are developing are impacting the ecosystem of our planet. In spite of our best attempts to thwart it, entropy marches towards its ultimate conclusion – The Heat Death of the Universe.

Science fiction authors tend to project, exaggerate and lampoon these subjects for good purpose in their writing. There is some vicarious and arcane satisfaction and entertainment to be had dancing on the grave of the world. Whether that end is by asteroid, comet, volcanoes, or some other weird phenomena thrust upon us from Outer Space™, we all stare in rapt fascination, like a deer caught in the headlights of an approaching vehicle.

This decrepitude, this march toward Oblivion, is part of what drives us, the Human Race, as a species to propagate and reproduce.

Some philosophers have opined that this is the primal driving force for all of us, and that there is a symbolic penetration of the Void that we seek to experience with the most phallic of objects, the rocket ship.

But, as science-fiction authors observe the world around us, incorporating truth and myth into our stories, it seems we are only the Greek Chorus singing to the audience, as perceived by many people.

Thus, it is indeed unfortunate, but also inevitable, that these systems that are very complex are going to suffer from the passage of time.

Let’s look at an example, shall we?

After World War II, the German rocket scientist Werner von Braun was brought to the United States to spearhead the science projects that would take United States to the moon.

Figure 1: Von Braun’s Name Plaque at Peenemünde[2]
As head of what eventually became NASA, he took the knowledge that he had developed for the Nazis at Peenemünde and then modified it for peaceful purposes.

The same sword that was responsible for the deaths of thousands during the World War II V-2 bombing campaigns was beaten into the plowshare that became the foundation of the United States space program.

Figure 2: V-2 War Rocket at Peenemünde Museum[3]

During this post-war era, the Russians were also developing rocket technology, aided in turn by their captured Nazi scientists. This led to the notorious Space Race, whereby it was decided that whoever could militarily control space would control the strategic high ground.

“Sputnik”, launched in October of 1957, was the inaugural shot in that battle. It was the first time a satellite had been launched into orbit around the earth in such a manner that some use could be made of it. It so terrified the United States government that they accelerated the development of their own space projects.

As one obstacle after another was overcome, the Russians and the Americans were able to launch cosmonauts and astronauts - actual people - into space.

The game being played was the penultimate King of the Hill, with the Heavens as the prize.

But, what of those programs today?

What has happened to all the buildings, the plans, the blueprints and documents, the machine tools, the engines, the test equipment?

Where are the records?

If history is to be any indicator, we are sorely unappreciative of the Giants on whose shoulders we stand. The fact of the matter is that almost all of our space technology is obsoleted mere months after it's developed.

A case in point recently was illustrated by a “Physics Today” magazine article about the new engine test facility at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, (which is near Slidell, Louisiana).

I had the honor of attending some presentations and investigatory meetings regarding the STS space shuttle back in the late-1980s (and again in the early 1990s) at that facility.

At that time, Stennis and the nearby Michoud facility were engaged in the production of the STS SSME rocket engines and main fuel tank for the space shuttle. We were tasked with finding ways to improve the workflow processes for manufacturing these parts. The best library science and document management technology we had were based on software and computers that are dinosaurs today.

The serious nature of this business was focused on the safety concerns raised by a single unwarranted disaster – the complete destruction of STS-51-L.

The Challenger.

The ‘advanced’ methods used to manage the complicated processes behind the most complex vehicle ever built by man - the space shuttle - involved hundreds of people running back and forth to skim through ring-binders of printed manuals that were kept in buildings located far away from the operations center.

So, for instance, if a part was showing indication of a problem during the countdown, a phone call was made to this document storage warehouse. A research assistant or scientist would go scurrying off to sort through the myriad binders and find as much information as possible to convey to the engineering team, by making copies from the reams of technical papers.

If there were a problem detected, we took solace in knowing that the procedures were at least written down to address it.

But, the retrieval time for these documents and binders could take many hours (or days, in the worst case). We were exploring the use of computers to share electronic versions of the documents, stored as TIFF images on either CD-ROMs or magnetic optical drives.

The problems surrounding the definition of proper indexes, storage capacity and search algorithms, although seemingly trivial, were thorny issues back in the day.

These systems were to be networked with the main facility to assure that the engineers and launch crew would have access to these documents, without having to rely on someone at the other end of a phone line, or the need to have to walk back and forth between buildings, thus causing additional delays.

Remember this was when the Internet did not exist in its current incarnation, and the tremendous instantaneous retrieval capabilities of the ‘Net and advanced searches that we enjoy today did not exist.

We did not have a Google.

We did not have an ability to pull back data instantaneously, let alone analyze it as efficiently as we do today.

Yes, we had spreadsheets and calculators and slide rules, but all of these things had to be cross-checked and agreed upon before any action was taken.

Thus, the delay resulted in many millions of dollars being wasted. In addition, many man-years of time were lost because of insufficient processes to enable having our information literally at our fingertips. Copies would not always be of the latest revisions. Engineering data would cause alterations to procedures.

Documentation was always running behind the actual experiment or programs.

It is laughable, now, to think of tens or hundreds of trained scientists and engineers running around with carts full of paper binders, from office to office, to meeting rooms, all trying to co-ordinate their efforts.

We truly take for granted the ease with which we can now communicate.[4]

Today all of that information is gone.

A lot of it was buried in landfills, and much more of it was incinerated because of security concerns.

But, there are still some occasional trophies unearthed.

Figure 35: Von Braun’s Legacy – The Saturn V F-1 Engines[5]
One of the F-1 engines from a Saturn - V launch was recently retrieved from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida, and it is one of the few examples we have that work.

It is ironic indeed, that the best of our efforts lie at the bottom of the ocean where they were carelessly discarded almost 50 years ago.

The means to re-construct or even understand the science behind them is at risk of being lost to our inertia, and our inability to understand the minds of those pioneers, even with the miraculous machines we use mindlessly every day to preserve them.

Currently at the John C. Stennis Space Center facility in Mississippi, the problem is that the Constellation program has been canceled as a result of ongoing fiscal delays.

NASA, being a government entity, is fraught with the bureaucratic obstacles of any organization of that size. In February 2010, President Obama was able to get enough votes to gut the Constellation program and instead NASA has repurposed the effort.

During the heyday of the Constellation program, a facility to emulate the airless vacuum of space in which to test our latest rocket engine designs was constructed at huge cost at Stennis. The program being revised has now led to the decision to mothball that facility!

What does that mean?

This building and its support facilities are now a $349 million dollar boondoggle[6].

According to a recent report, it is costing in excess of $100,000 per year to just have it sit there, in storage, waiting for the next round of financial legerdemain to allow its use. If ever.

The hard facts are that obsolescence, decay and entropy are inevitable.

That facility, even now, is subject to the ravages of time.

Every day that it sits fallow, it is approaching a point where its functionality will have diminished to the degree that no amount of effort or money will suffice to bring it back to the necessary operational specifications.

The real tragedy is that this did not need to happen.

The outlay for the manned space program is a literal financial drop in the bucket of the United States budget, and one can only stare dumbstruck when contrasting the enormous expense associated with how many bombs and tons of military ordnance that have been expended during the recent overseas hostilities. (Not to mention the entire military infrastructure, and its associated costs.)

We, the human race, MUST develop more robust techniques and systems to manage these kinds of scientific triumphs, if we are going to succeed in making routine spaceflight a reality. [7]

The risks that our globalized world faces, such as the very statistically likely impacts with comets or asteroids that create extinction level events, or the reality we are now facing from the poisoning of our home world through neglect and rampant idiocy, only serve to underscore that we are currently stuck on a rock with no way to get off.

So, we must find ways to improve the systems.

Are we doomed, though, because our history is falling apart around us and turning into sand as we speak?

Perhaps there are other options that will guarantee our survival?

After all, science fiction is rife with the ideas that have led to actualities, as we have seen.

Interesting concepts that stem from the science fiction writer’s imagination include the possibility of harnessing artificial intelligence or transplanting our intellects in ways that would enhance humans.

Such methods could make long-term space flight feasible. Such methods could allow us to seed the stars, and enable a legacy for our species.

If we are able to put aside some of our major differences about our attitudes and focus on the real challenge facing us, interplanetary and intergalactic migration, then we may have a chance.

We will talk about some of those issues in PART II.


MANNED Space Exploration? It’s Getting Old – PART II

How Spaceflight and The Challenges Therein Have Been Addressed in Science Fiction.

An Exploration of the Physics Behind Faster Than Light Travel.

May - Cyborgs, Artificial Intelligences, Trans-Humans, the Singularity and the Merging of Humans and Machine.

The Physics of Science Fiction Weapons.

The Reality of Living in an Undersea City.

A.E. Williams, January 12, 2015

[1] Professors Stephen Hawking and Jacob Bekenstein have done work to show that black holes are the areas of maximum entropy in our universe. Currently, though, even Hawking is undergoing a rethinking regarding this, because of new discoveries in understanding quantum mechanics.

[2] Leon Petrosyan - Own work

[3] Leon Petrosyan - Own work

[4]Personally, I find it amazing that so much of these important communications today are about the antics of felines.

[5] NASA photo – It’s a long, long way from Peenemünde, isn't it?

[6] A ‘boondoggle’ is a science and engineering term for a colossal waste of taxpayer money, often for the purposes of entertaining congressional representatives at lavish soirees, and for no really good reason.

[7] See my previous article here for why the continuation of manned space flight is not a negotiable option for our species.

Copyright 2015, A.E. Williams, All Rights Reserved