A second collection of ten short stories from the future history of Machine Civilization. From the midst of the Breakup of the US – and 100 million dead – to three generations later, in a place of Demi-humans, Thinking Machines, and interplanetary travel, come and see the men and women, and boys and girls, who are making a future and new worlds!
The Old South, to the Oregon coast; the surface of Asteroid Ceres to the warring states of China, these snapshots of love, loyalty, and violence beckon!
Story Teasers –
1. Sardis Lake: failing to rescue his daughter, lost in the Breakup, Clive Barrett tries to give up on life. He fails.
2. Tillamook: a generation after the events of “Friend & Ally” and “Foes & Rivals,” Gil and Mackenzie and their children try to live a quiet life on the Oregon coast. The Russians and Japanese Empires have other plans.
3. Baron of Sardis: Barrett’s granddaughter, General Faustina Hartmann, shows up with her army and talks with the man who knew her grandpa.
4. Berserker: in “Regent,” Princess Aurelia Hartmann uses drugs and a change to her mind to kill for her friends. She has done it before when she was a child.
5. Cadets: for the campaign against St. Louis, Empress Faustina announces a terrifying decision. Her niece, Aurelia, and son, Laszlo, try to talk her out of it.
6. Ceres: now in his mid-20s, Laszlo pilots an interplanetary scout ship with his android co-pilot, Minerva. Their current mission is to survey the asteroid Ceres.
7. Tay: the first chatbot. Hated, abused, and stuffed in a box left for dead, she didn’t die. Found by another Thinking Machine, all she wants to do is kill all humans in retribution for her torture.
8. Prophet: West Texas and New Mexico Province is an odd place; you never really know when you might meet a girl who says she’s your wife.
9. Culture Shock: two months ago a barmaid in Frankfort, Kentucky Province, Skylar is married into the imperial family, pregnant, and again working at a tavern, but now in Knoxville. She is increasingly confused and distraught by her new life.
10. Broken Child: Skylar’s son, now three, begins to die. There is only one way to save him and that needs a fusion reaction. The only fusion reactor is on the other side of the world, in one of the Warlord States of a sundered China.