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.
“With Canada now on the Ohio River, the imperium needs allies.
Aurelia, the 25-year-old niece of the Empress, leads an army through the deserted ruins of the northeast US to establish contact with the Northern Federation.
An illegal side trip has her talk politics with the Archbishop of Montreal followed by a jaunt to see the tiny spaceport of Canso, Nova Scotia. There, she falls in love with a rocketry tech before being forced to defend it and him against thirty pirates, who she kills with rifle, pistol, knife, hands, teeth.
With the Empress called first to Japan and later to Mars, Aurelia hurries home to act as Regent in her place. But that leaves her lover arrested and the imperium teetering on the brink of a war it cannot afford.”
Over at Founding Questions, the proprietor finally got ’round to posting my second installment about Creative Writing and Self-publishing. It will be old hat to any regular readers here. Lots of fun in the Comments after the post, too.
Yes, I dropped off the radar again. At DayJob, the IV Room assignment has become a punishment detail, what with all the drips for the vent patients we’re killing (avoid hospitals, everyone). At home, much better but just as busy: That short story I wrote in October, which was growing into a novella in November, has metastasized into its own novel, meaning over the last three weeks I’ve put down about 15,000 words.
Which all ground to a halt yesterday evening. I’d a few pages for the opening of part 2, but the main character, Allen, is presented with a nigh-well insolvable problem. Until I think of how he can solve it, nothing to type.
In the meantime, here’s an ad and a link to my copyeditor. The man is efficient and reasonably priced. I have relied on Mr. Zimmer for, what, five of my novels, now? And hope to continue to in the future.
Another more technically oriented podcast where I tell the story of how I try to do something different every time I make a book. I do not want to get stuck in ruts of characters or stories or even types of stories so over the years I’ve made romances, horrors, politics, espionage, war, and even children’s books.
I shall not allow myself to become a formulaic writer. This is the most fun I’ve had in years and I intend to keep having it.
Perhaps because I enjoy talking about my stories so much, this one runs a little longer. Cheers!
Wednesday night was the weekly podcast of the Star Chamber Show, where I had been a guest back in early February. This week’s show was an “Open Lines” format. Not one to miss a chance to promote my stories, I show up around the 34:45 mark and finally shut up and leave about 1:19:00.
If you’re interested in Ricardo Montalban, the proper way to serve river otters and squirrels, as well as book formatting and what might be ahead in Machine Civilization, I invite you to pour a drink and have a listen. Cheers!
In engineering, logistics, and similar fields there is a concept called “point-source failure.” That is, the proper function of your mechanism, program, or process is ultimately predicated on one single thing working right. If it fails, the entire system fails. This, obviously, is something to be avoided and designed out from a project’s inception or as soon as possible.
When I first self-published my books, beginning in December of 2014, I was on Amazon. It was the only game in town. Later, I learned of Smashwords and have ported many of my ebooks there. More recently, StoryOrigin, where not only can I sell books, but make parts of all available for reviewers (I’m just getting started on that site). Just last week Helen Smith unveiled Helen’s Page with much more than just books. In the wings, I’m aware that Sarah Hoyt is working on yet another such outlet for indie authors.
I say all that to say this: it is just a matter of time before Amazon gets taken out by hackers, broken to pieces by regulators, or – most likely – I’m deplatformed for having heretical views of what the PoMoTranzi Party believes on any given day. In other words, a point-source failure.
Below the fold is one of the reasons I can only upload books to Smashwords twice per year or so. Exasperating.
I mentioned this in a previous post, but to reiterate: in less than three hours I shall be live for an interview about my dozen, so far, books of Machine Civilization, on the Star Chamber Show on BlogTalkRadio. If you are not able to listen live, fret not: the shows are recorded and you can get a glimpse into my mind at your leisure. Cheers!
Twenty chapters plus prologue and epilogue… that’s about 650 minutes. At least when I’m editing all that I don’t have to be in my Fortress of Quietude in the 45F basement. Step one will be removing my screw-ups; those are the spikes on the image below the fold, from a typical file. When I flubbed something, I would cough or yell “pop!” into the mic to give me a visual cue of where I need to fix something. Still, I’ll have to listen to everything in its entirety to make sure.
Once that is complete, then I can turn to the technical bits of Noise Removal, Normalization, Equalization, and so on. My target for commercial release is Easter, so I’ve less than forty days to go. The steepest learning curve will be getting things into a format that will satisfy ACX… I recall problems when I experimented last July. So long as my liver holds out, I’ll make it.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, such as me being seized in the night and taken to a FEMA camp with other dissidents, I am scheduled for a podcast interview with The Star Chamber on Wednesday, March 10th, at 2100 US Eastern Time. Because of who I am and how I tend to say things no-one cares to hear, that is, the truth, I wrote an outline and sent it to the host, reducing the likelihood that either of us will have our doors kicked in by the FBI for this interview.