Thursday, May 13, 2021

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for May 14, 2021

It's time for the latest weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with The Nevers, The Bad Batch and Star Wars in general, season 4 of The Handmaid's Tale, Jupiter's Legacy, Underground Railroad, the many iterations of Star Trek, Army of the Dead, Spiral, Oxygen and much more.

Speculative fiction in general:
Film and TV:
Comments on The Nevers
Comments on season 4 of The Handmaid's Tale
Comments on Jupiter's Legacy:

Comments on Underground Railroad:
Comments on Star Trek in general:
Comments on Army of the Dead:
Writing, publishing and promotion:



Classics reviews:

Con and event reports:

Free online fiction:
Trailers and videos: 


Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Broken Angel: The Lost Years of Gabriel Martiniere (The Martiniere Legacy, Prequel) by Joyce Reynolds-Ward


Release date: April 25, 2021
 Subgenre: Biopunk, Agripunk, Near Future Science Fiction

About Broken Angel:


Exiled heir. Rebel. Husband. Father.

In 2029, Gabriel Martiniere testified against the Martiniere Group's forced imposition of mind control programming on unwilling indentured workers.

For his pains, he was forced into exile for over thirty years. Forced to divorce the love of his life.

But he's still coming. Still bent on vengeance against the man who forced him into exile, Philip Martiniere.

Gabe will win...or die trying.




His tie felt tight enough to choke him, even though he’d been careful to give himself plenty of breathing and swallowing space when he’d tied it that morning with trembling hands. Gabriel Martiniere ran a finger underneath his collar to check. Lots of room, enough to accommodate the bulletproof vest underneath, which should be the case with his bespoke suits and shirts.

Nothing more than nerves, then. For good reason. Gabe glanced around the small room that felt claustrophobic in spite of the pale gray walls, light pine furniture, and diffused natural light. It was too damn bright. Sterile. Like he’d died and was going into the light.

“You doing all right?” asked Anne Wright, the assistant US attorney babysitting Gabe, along with a full complement of US marshals.

“Nerves.” Gabe was unable to say more than that through the tension in his throat.

“You’ll be all right,” Anne said, patting his hand. “We’ll keep you safe.”

Gabe didn’t respond. He wasn’t as concerned about physical attack as he was about the preprogrammed Martiniere mind control responses to verbal cues that could cause him harm. Neither Anne nor any of the other Feds seemed to fully understand the implications of the Martiniere programming. They kept brushing off that level of mind control as science fictional.

The Martiniere program wasn’t fictional, as Gabe knew too damn well. Just two words, and he’d be paralyzed long enough for something bad to happen. Even with a bulletproof vest and Plexiglas shielding around the witness stand.

Broken Angel. His uncle Philip had delighted in using psychotropic meds to program those control words into Gabe at the age of twelve, after the deaths of his parents and sister in a suspicious plane crash. Broken Angel. Those words locked Gabe down so that he couldn’t retaliate during Philip’s beatings after he’d taken custody of Gabe. Broken Angel had paralyzed Gabe so that Philip could tie him down before flogging him, and Gabe couldn’t fight back.

His cousin Serg Vygotsky had tried to help Gabe develop resistance to Philip’s programming over the past year, once they had committed to Gabe going public about the Martiniere Group’s illegal abuses of indentured workers. Counterprogramming that Serg had access to through his family’s security organization, Vygotsky Security. And while the counterprogramming reduced his susceptibility to those words, Gabe still reacted. It delayed the lockdown but didn’t eliminate it.

But neither Serg nor Gabe’s other cousin and ally, Justine, Philip’s daughter, were here. And once he was done with this testimony, the marshals would whisk Gabe off into a witness protection program.

However, Philip would be in the courtroom, sitting at the defense table. All it would take for Philip to stop Gabe’s testimony were those two words.

Broken Angel.

His uncle had authorized illegal mind control and manipulation of Martiniere Group indentured workers. Until Gabe had assembled the evidence and turned it over to the Feds, no one could prove what had been only rumor. He had been assigned to implant that mind control programming into indentured Martiniere workers, without their consent. It had taken two years to get the records Gabe needed to document Philip’s authorization of the indentured mind control programs, with Serg and Justine’s help. A little longer to create a worm that trashed the mind control programs, set to activate when Gabe left the labs.

His cousins had been willing to stand with Gabe—but they had too much to lose by testifying.

Gabe didn’t have anything or anyone to lose, unlike his cousins.


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About Joyce Reynolds-Ward:

Joyce Reynolds-Ward is a speculative fiction writer who splits her time between Enterprise and Portland, Oregon. Her short stories have appeared in Children of a Different Sky, Steam. And Dragons, Tales from an Alien Campfire, River, How Beer Saved the World 1, Fantasy Scroll Magazine, and Trust and Treachery among others. Her books include Shadow Harvest, Alien Savvy, Netwalking Space, Pledges of Honor, Challenges of Honor, and Klone’s Stronghold. Joyce recently completed editing her first anthology, Pulling Up Stakes. Besides writing, Joyce enjoys reading, quilting, horses, skiing, and outdoor activities.

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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Cora: Rise of the Fallen Goddess by A.L. Hawke

Release date: May 10, 2021
Subgenre: Historical fantasy, Greek mythology

About Cora: Rise of the Fallen Goddess:


Abandoned. Imprisoned. Loved.

Cora is the goddess Persephone, living in Greece in the fourteenth century B.C. In order to shelter her from prophecy, her mother, Demeter, sends her away to Azure Blue. The young girl is raised and protected by the nymph queen, Nephrea, in a dreamlike crystal palace among azure trees and amethyst fields under a green sun. She’s adopted into the Amazon code of honor, bravery, and righteousness. But Cora is not an Amazon nymph. And prophecy holds quite a different fate for her as she grows into adulthood—Hades, Lord of the Underworld.

Upon Persephone’s fall, Demeter rages and threatens to freeze the entire world under ice and snow forever. Nephrea offers a sacrifice to quell her rage, but down in the fiery world below, it might be more than just the goddess who will need saving.




Nephrea climbed over the top lookout, but Cora was gone. As she walked along the parapet, she could see why Cora had been gazing along the horizon. There was beauty in the ugliness. The whole bustling city below and the fire lakes far beyond surrounded her. But most interesting was that, at this height, Nephrea could finally make out the shadow of the farthest rock walls of the valley and the stone ceiling above. Perhaps it was the rock wall borders of the Underworld that Cora had been surveying—the farthest walls of her prison.

She looked down and was surprised to find that she could peer through the floor. And through the crystal floor beneath her was a magnificent chamber. It was a room the width of the tower, with a giant bed on one side and couches and chairs, like the chairs in Azure, on the other. White Doric columns held up the glass ceiling, the floor was a shiny white marble, and gilded walls separated sections of the room. But most spectacular was a stream of water that flowed from one side of the bedroom to a small pond with a waterfall at the other side of the room. It was a royal chamber. No, far grander. A bedchamber for the gods. There were elaborate vases and even life-sized marble statues of the gods and goddesses. But none of this majesty meant anything to her compared to the sight of a young girl sitting in a large wooden chair beside a vanity mirror, running a brush through kinks in her long, flowing, golden hair. Cora.

Nephrea tapped her foot on the glass. Cora didn’t stir. She stomped harder. Nothing. Then she got on her knees and bashed the crystal ceiling with her fists. Nothing.

Nephrea searched along the outdoor walkway for an entrance to the building. She ran across the glass floor, sliding once on the slippery surface, searching the wall for a door to enter. Turning another corner, she found a wooden door. But she also found two guards.

Nephrea unsheathed her sword.

“Stop! Who are you? Who—” He lunged his blade at her; she parried. She thrust her sword. He blocked. Then she found an opening and ran her sword along his black metal breastplate. She turned the blade and rammed it into his chest. Even with her special blade, the Eruboan’s armor was strong, but the sword finally cut through the black metal and the man fell. Then the other guard swung his sword at her. She blocked, jabbed, and blocked some more. She had fought Eruboi in the Napean wars. She knew they were fierce, well-trained warriors. These two were quite skilled. But so was Nephrea.

“Who are you?” asked the man hacking his sword at her with both hands. He looked down at his fallen comrade. “What are you doing here near the queen’s chamber? You look like a nymph.”

“Nephrea. Queen of the nymphs.”

His eyes opened wider under the helmet. His surprise made him unstable. Nephrea found an opening in his defenses and lunged. The sword penetrated his stomach. He winced and fell beside his companion. Then Nephrea fell to her knees over the two slain men, winded. To her horror, when looking down through the glass again, Cora was gone.


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About A.L. Hawke:

A.L. Hawke lives in Southern California torching the midnight candle over lovers against a backdrop of machines, nymphs, magic, spice and mayhem. The author specializes in fantasy, paranormal romance and science fiction.

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