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Edition3 issue4 November 2017


PAGE 6 E DITORS MESSAGE PAGE 8 T OP FIVE WORLDS PAGE 16

S CIENTISTS CREATE W O R M H O L E

P AGE 18 C APITAL S CI FI C O N V E N T I O N

P AGE 20 K ELLY T ITAN P AGE 24 D R A G O N B LO O D THRONE - LEGACY P AGE 28 A UTHOR A SSIST P AGE 30 O UTER S PACE P AGE 34 L E D G E N D OF THE B OY P AGE 40 A RTHUR C C LARKE & THE I P AD P AGE 36 H.R.G IGER -A LIEN A RT P AGE 43 P ROJECT B ODI


P AGE 48 T HE C REATURE —K ATE M ANTIS P AGE 54 N ICCOLE G ALLAND & N EAL S TEPHENSON P AGE 60 D OROTHY B ERRY -L OUND REPORTS P AGE 64 A RTWORKS P AGE 70 A RIA L EFT L U G G AG E P AGE 74 O UTBREAK

P AGE 75 C ASSINI P AGE 72 T HE A SIMOV 500 PLUS P AGE 80 B OOKS EVERY S CI -F I WRITER SHOULD READ

P AGE 84 T HE R ISE OF N AZIL P AGE 92 R AISING H ELL

P AGE 102 C HRISTMAS GIFTS FOR S CI -F I LOVERS

Photo credits: Cover Artist unknown: http://www.wallpaperup.com Contents page Photoshop Master Oleg Dou at Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow


I have a love hate relationship with science fiction.

Such is the power of the written word.

It started many years ago, way back in the 1960's with a chap named William Hartnell, who played a character in a new television series called Dr. Who.

Who has not looked up from a book and taken those few moments for reality to reassert itself?

I remember getting very excited when they made a movie, Dr. Who and the Daleks. After which, it was all downhill as far as I was concerned.

That is the love bit, the hate bit is when those stories are made into cinematographic productions. I feel the filmmakers have stolen my worlds from me, the director destroying, altering, twisting my cherished realms and moulding them into his own, a distortion of my fictional reality. A new representation, where the characters look nothing like mine, where their voices bear no resemblance of the ones from the book and how, oh how, the story lines diverge, the endings differ.

One reason, apart from the stupid and ludicrous contrivance about the Doctor being re-generated, especially as a woman, was my reading ability graduated from 'Janet & John' books to such writers as Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke and Philip K Dick. My mind's eye and my imagination was seeing new worlds and new beings, introduced to me by the words of these wonderful writers. There words only suggested a planet, a city, a species. It was up to me, as the reader, to let those worlds and wonders grow and form within myself. As I read, the sights and sounds of another worlds metropolis played in my imagination, the lights and sounds, the voices and their tones, strange beasts, machines and aliens. Each and every one peculiar to me; as each is within your own imagination, as you too read.

This is not good, not good at all. Which is why I no longer watch a movie which has a title, or is based, upon any book I have read. On the other hand; give me an inventive film, a screen play written solely for that medium, a singular script of original thought and I shall be there on premier night. But sadly, such are few and far between. I have much the same thoughts on art, which portrays nether worlds and fictional universes. Whether we are speaking of fine art, cartoons, graphical illustration or digital works, as long as the artist leaves much to the viewers imagination, let those inspecting the art decide what, as individuals, each shall take away with them, on an intimate personal level, then all is well.


To return to where I started, with Dr. Who; which has undergone something of a renaissance over the past few years, dare I say, a form of re-generation. My liking for which has never been rekindled, because it is no longer original thought, but an over milked, commercial construct of mediocre design and poor production. You deserve better. Here, within the pages of CQ International Magazine's Sci-Fi season special, you will find the better you deserve. Better art, better illustration, stories, authors, articles, books and more. Read on, Like, Follow, Share, Pin, Stumble, Tumbl, Tweet, Inster, Snap, Link, Reddit, Snap, Vine, Xing and Xanga this magazine at will.

Basically, share CQ International Magazine with the world. By doing so you will be helping a ton of independent authors, artists and creative folk, who deserve to be 'discovered', get the chance of breaking into the elusive 'big time'. What is even better, is CQ International Magazine is FREE to read and it's FREE for you to share, so come on, show your kindness and humanity, your share might be the one that throws the spotlight on some undiscovered genius. That spotlight may even land on you. Paul. Founder and editor. CQ International Publications.


All Time To World Well, the top five Fictional worlds, according to Robert Brockway anyway.

"I legitimately believe a properly built world can function as a lead character in a story, for evidence of that, I point to Blade Runner.�

one of those changes on the movie just before release. They are the ones who inserted the dreary, awkward first-person narrative, because they were worried viewers would not be able to follow the objectively simple (if occasionally muddy) noir plot. They are the ones who inserted the bullshit ending shot of Deckard and Rachael driving happily through pastoral landscapes, like German tourists on vacation and they're the ones who cut the galloping unicorn, because they hate magic and the laughter of children. In the director's cut, there are fewer distractions so the dystopian Los Angeles of 2019 really gets a chance to shine. The opening shot told you everything you needed to know about this world.

Blade Runner was an amazing movie. If anybody disagrees with that, it's probably because they first saw the original version, with Harrison Ford's terrible, atmosphere-breaking, forced monologue slapped on top. If you were lucky, like me, the first you saw of Blade Runner was the 1992 director's cut, with narration removed, bullshit sappy ending changed to brutal existential metaphor and the whole thing just riddled with sweet-ass unicorns. You see, the official 1982 version was never Ridley Scott's intended film, nor was the hasty, stilted narration, ever Ford's fault - the studios forced every

That one set-piece is worth an entire screenplay: The huge, looming mega-scrapers, the obtrusive, unregulated, gargantuan billboards, huge factories belching fire into the sky - this was a logical extension of our reality, except for the obvious fact nobody was taking human needs like space, or privacy, or even clean air into account. In short, this was a world without empathy.

That's not a throwaway message in there just to make the dystopia even dystopier - Philip K. Dick's original story, 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?' revolved entirely around empathetically caring for animals and a virtual religion which allowed people to jack into a Christlike figure's torment.


op Five ds Empathy was an extremely important element to the story exclusively relayed through the setting of Blade Runner. The plot doesn't do it - at its heart, it's just a basic bounty hunting/detective tale. The characters don't do it - Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer are badass and all, but there's just not enough screen time for either to get across any grandiose, abstract moral lessons in between bangin' future-broads and poundin' future-whiskey.

Avatar is the highest-grossing film in history. Why

Halloween costumes first), but James Cameron painstakingly built every inch of that world. Pandora had not only a unique look, but a functioning ecosystem, an indigenous culture and a complete back story. It shouldn't be surprising: Cameron first started working on Avatar in 1994, and the movie wasn't released until 2009 - 15 years later. So, what was he doing for a decade and a half? He sure as hell wasn't creating complex and likeable characters or filling up his plot-bucket from the Well of Intrigue. It took him 10 years to build the amazing setting, a drunken weekend to sketch the characters, and the run time of Pocahontas to come up with the plot. "God, I am going to blue that guy so hard." - James Cameron

is that? For characters, it had Generic Damaged White Boy and Sassy Ethnic Girl versus Evil Authority Figure. For plot, it had 'Fern Gully fights some battle mechs.' For setting, it had Pandora. Yet we, as a collective audience, said, "Fuck yes;

should I throw this money at your face, or would you rather I pack it into a wad and shove it directly down your throat?" Say what you will about Avatar (for example, the story is exactly as complex as a childhood game of cowboys and Indians, if the kids playing forgot to take off their

Think I'm exaggerating? Consider this: Cameron was far enough along with Pandora in 2005, he started consulting with a linguistic professor to develop a useable language for the Na'vi, his giant race of Smurfy hair-rapists.


If

Minority Report is famous for one

science and cutting edge technology to extrapolate

the most believable version of this weird future reason, it's for the Dickish (hey, Dickensian was already taken; what else are we going to call something Philip K. Dick-like -- Philipino?) plot structure full of mind-bending twists and bizarre philosophical concepts.

possible. But where I got hung up on cliches like recreational nano-tech and pharmaceutical time travel, Spielberg focused on the burgeoning virtual -window-resizing and puke-based weapons industries.

What can I say? I can't compete with that; the bastard's psychic or something.

It sure was. But do me a favour and go Google

The Matrix first came out in 1999, a

Image Search 'Minority Report' right now. What do

When

you see? Ah, who am I kidding, this is the Internet -

few things happened:

- you were all too lazy to do it. This is what you see: Tom Cruise. Miming.

Keanu Reeves became the default setting for 'White Man in a Movie'; every action director in

Minority Report tried to tell a story about

the world wrote the words "bullet time" on the

awareness and destiny, free will and inevitability

backs of their hands, so they wouldn't forget to

through a complex framework of predictions, faux-

copy it when they left the theatre; a million

predictions and anti-predictions.

teenagers learned Descartes is not the practice of

What did we take away from it?

ordering things, one at a time, from the Taco Bell

That we all really wanted Tom Cruise's operating

menu.

system.

Its success sure as hell wasn't because of the plot

But the Finger Kinect wasn't the only oddly

or the characters. The plot of The Matrix is the

memorable part of this universe - the retinal

most generic execution of "The Hero's Journey"

scanning billboards, the bizarre, vomit-based

outside of an NES game and the lead character's

Tasers, the self-driving cars - the universe of

two best lines are "Whoa" and staring.

Minority Report was strange and alien, but just

Seriously, if you extracted the masterfully

accessible enough to be compelling.

constructed setting from The Matrix, you'd just

That's because Spielberg was doing the same thing

have an arrogant, shiftless young man who meets

I did for Rx: He started researching actual fringe

an older master who teaches him how to fight and


how the world really works, which the young man

thought to ask "What the bloody fuck is going

uses to win the girl and save the day.

on here?"

We already have that movie. It's called The Karate Kid. George Orwell gave us a bare-bones love story being acted out on top of the architectural masterpiece that is

1984.

If you're only familiar with the 1984 universe from pop culture references, Apple commercials and But regardless of its flaws, The Matrix revolutionized and revitalized the whole genre. Combining virtual reality, reality, the apocalypse and spaceships, the movie was able to seamlessly flit between every possible combination of science fiction setting at a whim.

Futurama parodies, just go glance at the book. Flip to any page, and you'll find, at most, roughly 25 percent of it is somebody feeling some boring emotion and the other 75 percent is telling you how the plumbing works in a dystopian future, where we've abandoned the preciousness of

A lot of people have tried this kind of mashup

privacy in the name of fear. (The answer: Not very

before, but most of them end up abysmal misfires

well -- there's never any hot water because they're

whose theatre audience consists solely of a handful

too busy burning dissenters with it.) Even more

of masturbating 12-year-olds and creepy older men

astoundingly, Orwell built this city not on rock and

just there to watch masturbating 12-year-olds.

roll, but on phlegm and lungblood - he wrote the

But the Wachowski brothers pulled it off. It's

whole damn thing while suffering from

because they worked at it. If you've never seen The

tuberculosis.

Animatrix, go do it: It's a compilation of animated short films which do nothing but relay all the details of the world of The Matrix they never got a chance to show in the movies. Taken on its own, The Matrix is lean, mean and viciously novel. The premise was so elegantly, simply and beautifully executed, the movie cuts back and forth between two goth/club kids jumpkicking a helicopter in present day New York to a shipful of post-apocalyptic holocaust victims strangling robots and nobody in the audience ever

Nothing proves my point better than the work itself, however, so here's the briefest plot synopsis I could find that did not leave out any vital information‌


"George Orwell's novel of a totalitarian future society

Red’s talent for mixing new and interesting narcotic

in which a man whose daily work is rewriting history,

concoctions is usually good for a quick buck and a

tries to rebel by falling in love."

cheap laugh, but this time something's gone wrong,

Nobody is knocking your favourite property here: I'm

and after huffing a new prototype strain of Presence

saying sacrificing intensive plot or character

from Hockner Industries, he's awoken to find himself

development for a more complete understanding of

in violation of a Non-Disclosure Agreement.

the world is the best possible thing these works could

A crime punishable by death.

have done to get their message across. See, literary fiction - tragedies, romances, dramas they're about humans. Science fiction is about humanity. It must lose a little bit of subjectivity in order to turn a more objective lens on the problems it wants to talk about.

That's not something I understood intimately myself, until I sat down to write

Rx. The book has been

His only hope for salvation lies in a mysterious contact with all the answers and seemingly infinite

received well so far, but if anybody has complaints,

resources. But to get to him, Red must first navigate

they seem to be its more about the setting - the giant,

the claustrophobic theater of the 'Wells, where

self-sustaining, insular mega-building and the society

nobody is what they seem to be, escape the clutches

within, which runs on officially sanctioned uber-drugs.

of a mad, phallus-obsessed ghetto king, and seek

And you know what? That's fair.

protection from the murderous grey boatmen, all

Sometimes I get a bit caught up in the details. But sometimes, in science fiction, things are that way for a reason. If you look a little closer, you might see the setting is actually doing more than giving all the characters a place to stand.

while his frightening and increasingly real hallucinations tear him apart from the inside out. With the help of QC, a walking nanotech factory, and Byron, an upper-class slacker literally addicted to the past, Red must discover what the strange experimental drug is doing to his mind. And he better

Red is a chemical beta tester. It's a nice way of saying 'professional drug addict.'

be quick about it, before the pair of sinister, faceless recovery agents, the Alpha Gentlemen, catch up to him‌and burn him alive.

But that’s not a problem: Everybody in the Four Posts is nursing an addiction to something. In fact, the city's entire economy is based on Presence -- a chemical hallucinogen that lets the user peek into history.

Find RX on Amazon

http://amzn.to/2wBDZ2j


S CIENTISTS CREATE THE FIRST W ORMHOLE A REPORT Wormhole or Einstein-Rosen Bridge is a hypothetical cosmic tunnel which serves as a shortcut or interconnection between widely separated regions of space and time. Some cosmologists have conjectured wormholes could allow time travel and they may connect two parallel universes with black holes as their openings. Wormholes are fascinating cosmological objects that can connect two distant regions of the universe. Because of their intriguing nature, constructing a wormhole in a lab seems a formidable task. Constructing an artificial gravitational wormhole connecting two distant regions in the universe is an apparently unrealizable challenge. Large amounts of negative gravitational energy would be required, which makes impossible its realization with present technology.

The researchers used magnetically cloaked ferromagnetic and superconducting components to build the spherical wormhole so the sphere is magnetically undetectable or invisible from the outside.

“You see the apparatus with your eyes,” but magnetically it is undetectable. It is like the field lines have gone through another spatial dimension,” says lead researcher, Àlvar Sánchez. The team also used metamaterials and metasurfaces to build the tunnel, so the magnetic field from a source, such as a magnet or an electromagnet, appear at the other end of the wormhole as an isolated magnetic monopole – a hypothetical magnetic particle with a single magnetic pole. This resulted in an illusion in which magnetic field appears to travel from one point to another through

It is like the field lines have gone through another spatial dimension However, in electromagnetism, it has been proven experimentally achievable and physicists at Department of Physics at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona have created magnetic equivalent of a wormhole that can connect two regions of space magnetically. A theoretical proposal by Greenleaf et al. presented a strategy to build a wormhole for electromagnetic waves. Based on metamaterials, it could allow electromagnetic wave propagation between two points in space through an invisible tunnel. However, an actual realization has not been possible, until now. So, what do you think the physicists did? Well, they made a tunnel allowing the magnetic field to disappear from one side and reappear on another side.

a dimension which happens to be outside the conventional three dimensions. Unlike gravitational wormholes, the magnetic wormhole cannot serve as a shortcut to travel through widely separated regions of space and time, but it is analogous to gravitational wormhole in every way. Àlvar Sánchez explains, "it changes the topology of space, as if the inner region has been magnetically erased from space.”

Their previous attempt in building a magnetic fibre, a device capable of transporting magnetic field from one end to the other, was magnetically detectable. However, it laid the foundation in the development of a new magnetic wormhole which is undetectable by any magnetic field.


To sum up, we have demonstrated the ideas of

as a monopolar-like field at the other end.

effectively changing the topology of space can be

These ideas can be useful in practical situations

realized with magnetic fields, not only as an abstract

where magnetic fields must be transferred without

paradigm, but by constructing an actual 3D spatial

distorting a given field distribution, as in magnetic

wormhole and measuring its properties.

resonance imaging.

Our wormhole appears roughly as a sphere in most regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, including visible light. However, with respect to magnetic fields, the object allows the passage of field lines through its interior while being magnetically invisible. The situation is analogous as having the magnetic field propagating through a handlebody attached to the R3 space. In this way, the magnetic field of a dipole entering in one end of the wormhole appears

Full details can be read at: A Magnetic Wormhole Jordi Prat-Camps, Carles Navau & Alvaro Sanchez Scientific Reports 5, Article number: 12488 (2015)

doi:10.1038/srep12488. Published: https://www.nature.com/articles/ srep12488


Hello and welcome to the home of

Capital Sci fi Con, Edinburgh's not-for-profit convention.

In February 2016 our first show, we raised an out of this world figure of ÂŁ37,680,68. Our second show in 2017 raised a mind blowing ÂŁ75,150.68. Once again for 2018 we will be donating all Profit's from the event to CHAS (Children's Hospice Association Scotland) Rachel house hospice Kinross.

Event Date: 3rd and 4th of February 2018 Venue:

Edinburgh Corn Exchange, 10 Newmarket Road, Edinburgh, EH14 1RJ

We will have an amazing special guest line up from Film and TV signing over the weekend. We will also have Comic artists/writers, Guest talks, Guest photo shoots, Cosplay competition, Movie cars, Props, Traders of all

types and much, much more. Stay up to date with announcements as we progress through the year and get closer to the event by checking in here regularly, or follow us on: Facebook: Capital Sci fi Con Twitter: @capitalscificon Instagram: CAPITALSCIFICON


2018 ROADSHOW Here are the details for the Capital Sci fi Con Roadshow happening in 2017-2018. This a list of locations where we will be promoting the show, from now onwards, in the lead up to the event. You will be able to come along and speak to us about the event, get photos with our costumed characters and buy tickets from us.

Howgate Shopping Centre 4th Nov 2017 Gyle Shopping Centre 11th-12th Nov 2017 Gyle Xmas Parade 15th Nov 2017 Kingsgate Shopping Centre 18th Nov 2017 Braehead Shopping Centre 25th Nov 2017 Kingsgate Shopping Centre 9th Dec 2017 Fountainpark Cineworld (The Last Jedi) 15th Dec The Centre Livingston 30th-31st Dec 2017 The Centre Livingston 6th-7th Jan 2018


Robert B.L. was born in Sweden to, as he describes, a 'lower working-class family.' He was raised by his mother, a single parent due to the unfortunate death of his father. Robert is not a stranger to hardship and struggle, from where grows compassion, determination and motivation, all necessary elements to have when striving for something better.

"I recognise the adversities I faced during childhood as a gift regarding my writing. Now I am not only filled with stories, but I have the drive and determination to tell them." He is the first of his family to become an author and hopes people will recognise the depth and complexity of his series, as well as enjoying the escapism of the stories.

Buy Now USA https://www.amazon.com/Kelly-Titan-Robert-B-L-ebook/dp/ B01N1GF73V


Occasionally an author appears who approaches a subject from an oblique angle, one which the reader only becomes aware of as the multi-facets of the plot and characters are slowly revealed. Robert R.L. has managed to weave a hugely layered and complex scenario into a story which is easily readable and highly entertaining. Kelly Titan is the female protagonist, a relatively well grounded, but flawed woman whose tale told here, as seen through her own eyes. On the surface this is a David & Goliath style story, based in the foundation where Kelly was created and raised by Goliath, but plot-twists and story flipping scenarios you won't see coming will keep you on the edge of your seat..

Kelly Titan was created in the grey zone, raised by the enemies of her family, before being cast out, into The questions are, will Kelly become the villain all expect or a hero of her people, whoever they may be? There are no defined lines of present concept in Kelly Titan's world, she is not the typical female this genre often portrays; few of the characters are, like the uniqueness LGTB roles played out here. Nothing is stereotypical, no one objectified. Nether worlds, gay characters, super heroes, damaged beings, social divisions and people's unity, cultural clashes, interwoven relationships and more. Kelly Titan promises to be a science fictional story which probes the inadequacies, misperceptions and bias of our current world and take them to the far domains of human existence.

Buy now UK http://amzn.to/2ySkC3f


’


Orphaned as a young child and growing up alone in the forest, Delina lives a life of isolation; her only companion a sabre-toothed panther. Her strange eyes frighten those she occasionally encounters, so she keeps to herself, until a young, wounded warrior ends up at her doorstep. As she nurses him back to health, she discovers she is more than just a young woman with unusual eyes, she is a dragonblood, destined to become the ruler of Almar. Now hunted by the dark sorcerer who murdered her father, usurped his throne, and killed all her kin, she must find out how she can release the essence of the dragon inside her to defeat him. Everything depends upon her willingness to embrace her legacy and reclaim the Dragon Throne.

Excerpt from Dragonblood

Throne: Legacy, by Tom Fallwell

Copyright © 2017 by Tom Fallwell – All Rights Reserved

Adding a bit of salt to her stew, Delina took a taste and continued stirring as she tried to take her mind off missing Merric already. She’d never had a friend, other than Morlok, but she found the handsome young warrior more on her mind than she expected. These desires were new to her, and she didn’t fully understand why she seemed to long for his company so. Even though they had only been together for a few days, she realized she had grown quite accustomed to having him around. He was unlike anyone she’d ever met before. What attracted her the most was how he looked at her. Not with fear, but with admiration or affection. She liked it. Her thoughts were sharply interrupted by the sound of a guttural growl vibrating in her companion’s throat. “What is it, Morlok?” She usually could hear or smell whatever Morlok did, though many times Morlok did sense things a little ahead of her, but she sensed nothing now. The hairs on Morlok’s back stiffened as the shadowfang’s attention remained focused at something beyond where she now stood.

Glancing in that direction, Delina saw nothing unusual. “Morlok?” Prowling past Delina, Morlok unexpectedly released a shrill cat-like roar, leaping toward the back of the cave. As Morlok landed on her feet, she turned her head one way, then another, snarling, as if searching for something. “Morlok. What is it?” Then, as if no longer alerted, Morlok relaxed and brushed against Delina’s legs affectionately. Delina wondered what had gotten Morlok’s attention. She’d never seen the cat act so strange, but she trusted her friend’s instincts. Grabbing her bow, Delina left the cave to scout around her lair, just to be sure. As she emerged into the forest, sniffing the air and listening intently, her acute senses detected the distant sound of running footsteps. Her nose recognized the odor of the one approaching and a small smile crossed her lips as she crouched at the cave entrance. Merric soon came into view, running hurriedly toward her.


Delina was pleased to see him again, though he had only been gone two days, but she recognized the urgency of his pace. This was not a simple friendly visit.

Merric tilted his head, giving her a lopsided grin. “A demon devouring children? Who could think such a thing?”

“We must talk. There’s danger,” he said between breaths.

Delina smiled at his mirth, but she was serious. When people looked at her with fear, it brought a near uncontrollable rage up within her, remembering that it was such fear that had killed her mother and left her alone. People feared her eyes. She tried to hide her eyes when she had to go into town to trade, but often without success. Such instances had produced the fanciful tales about the Woodwitch.

She frowned. First Morlok’s strange behavior, now Merric’s sudden and urgent appearance. She gestured for him to follow her back into the cave.

“Fear can lead people to do the most horrendous of acts,” she said, a bit of anger entering her voice. “The people I have known are a fearful lot. You’re the first person not to look upon me with

“Delina?” gasped Merric as he slowed to a halt. He bent over, placing his hands on his knees, breathing rapidly. “What’s wrong?” Delina asked.

“You’re not safe here, all alone in the forest. The sign we saw with the moons, there’s no doubt the High Lord saw it too. He’ll be searching for you.” Once inside, Merric shifted the weight of his longsword sheathed on his back, and gathered his breath.

such fear.” In fact, she thought, how you look at me is pleasing.

“What’s this danger you speak of? Did you tell others about me?” she asked with concern. Though he hadn’t revealed her location, he had unintentionally exposed that he knew she was the dragonblood, but there were more immediate concerns. “You’re not safe here, all alone in the forest. The sign we saw with the moons, there’s no doubt the High Lord saw it too. He’ll be searching for you.” She sensed where this was going and assumed a stubborn stance. “I’m not alone. Morlok is with me.” “I know,” Merric said with a sigh, “but I also know Kargoth and his blackguard warriors. Delina, Kargoth is a powerful wizard. He will use his magic to find you. You’re not safe here.” A few days ago, she would have obstinately refused such talk, but with the dragon scar on her breast, and Morlok’s odd behavior, she conceded Merric was right. She’d never had to worry about the blackguards before, being no threat to them, but things had changed. She liked Merric, but could she truly trust him? Could she trust the Fellowship? There was no question she couldn’t trust the High Lord. She had heard about his dark sorcery and wicked nature. Her quick mind analyzed the predicament she now found herself in. Her place in the world was changing, and not, she thought, for the better. Dealing with clumsy blackguard patrols was one thing, but dealing with a dark sorcerer like Kargoth was another. She’d lived in this place, undisturbed, for fifteen years, and did not relish the idea of leaving the place she called home, but an inner voice urged her to listen to Merric. “I understand your concern,” she said, “but how can I know your people will not treat me like others always do? As a witch or demon come to devour their children and souls?”

“The Fellowship are not superstitious villagers, Delina,” Merric said reassuringly. “We are the Fellowship of the Blood. Pledged to find and protect the dragonblood of the prophecy … to protect you. That is our purpose; why we’ve never surrendered to the High Lord. We’ve all pledged our lives to the goal of restoring the rule of the dragonbloods.” His eyes were pleading, filled with genuine concern for her safety. “I will—we will—protect you with our very lives.” She saw no malice or deception in his eyes. In fact, she saw something she had never seen before. She wasn’t sure what that meant, but she felt the warmth in her heart, the flush of heat in her cheeks, when he looked at her that way. She felt that what he said was what he believed in his heart to be the truth. An anguished moan escaped her lips. Why couldn't the world have just left her alone? She’d been happy, just her and Morlok. Yet, a part of her, deep inside, wanted to go with Merric, to be with him. The dragon sign was turning her life upside down, but there was no way to hide from someone like Kargoth for long. Eventually he would find her, and if he’d killed the other dragonbloods before her, then he would most certainly not spare her. She sighed heavily, her decision made. “I don't like it, Merric, but it seems I’ve no choice. Morlok seems to sense the danger as well, and I trust her with all my heart.” She looked at Morlok. “It seems we must leave this place. What do you think?” Morlok began a low purr and walked over to Merric, brushing against his legs affectionately, to the surprise of them both, as if saying, “I like this one.” Morlok had always watched him carefully, and he was sure the huge shadowfang had simply been waiting for an excuse to rip him apart. Gingerly, Merric reached out and rubbed Morlok's head, and the cat leaned into his caress and purred.


Merric breathed a sigh of relief. He had truly feared for her safety, but he also wanted to spend more time with the beautiful woman from the wilderness. “We should hurry,” he said. “There’s no time to waste.” She gathered her bow and arrows, her knife, and some food and skins of water. She also packed her salves and powders, and anything else she thought she would need.

As they exited the cave, Delina turned and gazed one more time at the place she and Morlok had lived for over a decade, a melancholic sensation rising in her heart. With a final mournful sigh, she turned away and looked back no more. “Thank you, Morlok,” he said. “I appreciate your support.” Her mouth open in surprise, Delina said, “I’ve never, in all my days, seen her allow another to pet her.” She smiled “That does

D RAGONBLOOD T HRONE : L EGACY by Tom Fallwell Available from

http://books2read.com/dbtl


K Kantas Author Assist

ArtistFirst Radio's "Author Assist Host: Karina Kantas" is a LIVE one-hour prime-time worldwide promotional radio show on the ArtistFirst Radio Network, broadcast about independent authors, their books, their life and their struggles as an indie author. It's a comfortable fun chat with some music thrown in for

good measure. There is also a Q&A session where Karina will be answering promotion and marketing problems.

Anyone can tune-in on their smartphone, wi-fi radio, tablet, laptop, or any internet device anywhere in the world by clicking: http://lin1.ash.fast-serv.com:7988/stream.mp3.m3u or logging on to http://www.artistfirst.com/kantas.htm and clicking on the "On Air" button.

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Who is Author Assist? Are you a new author with no social media presence? Are you an established author but stuck in a rut? Then contact Author Assist for a chat and discuss the best service for you. KKantas has over 25 years in the business. She is also a full-time author, so she understands the time and money needed for promotion.

https://www.facebook.com/KKantasAuthorAssist References available on request. A list of services and prices available on request.

Additional services Blog tours, Party events, Logo and branding, Book trailers

Day promo blitz, Voice over, narration, Set-up of newsletter set up and blitz of Thunderclap and Day Cause, Bookmarks Banner, ads and Teasers design.


I was thrilled to have S.E.Anderson on my show this month. Sarah’s debut novel, Starstruck, has been a great success and she has now revealed the cover for

Alienation which is released out in October.

Sarah is so down to earth, bubbly and very smart. Her goal in life is to be an astronaut and go into space, and this is no joke either, as that’s exactly what she is studying for right now.

On the show, we talk about NASA and space, AI and UFOs. We chat about her two books and her plans for the

future as well as marketing, promotion, and what it means to her to be published.

So have a listen to the show, which is now archived on the Artist First Radio Network.

https://www.artistfirst.com/kantas.htm


S.E. Anderson can’t ever tell you where she’s from. Not because she doesn’t want to, but because it inevitably leads to a confusing conversation where she goes over where she was born (England) where she grew up (France) and where her family is from (USA) and it tends to make things very complicated.

She’s lived pretty much her entire life in the South of France, except for a brief stint where she moved to Washington DC, or the eighty years she spent as a queen of Narnia before coming back home five minutes after she had left. Currently, she goes to university in Marseille, where she’s studying Physics and aiming for a career in Astrophysics.

When she’s not writing, or trying to science, she’s either reading, designing, crafting, or attempting to speak with various woodland creatures in an attempt to get them to do household chores for her. She could also be gaming, or pretending she’s not watching anything on Netflix.

Amazon - http://amzn.to/2yyGX70 Facebook - http://bit.ly/SNKKYT Short reading from Starstruck - http://bit.ly/SNKKYT


D i d Arthur C. the iPad & tab Stanley Kubrick directed the film version of Arthur C

slab or tablet computing device for viewing and

Clarke's story, 2001 - a space odyssey, where the

consuming media. Its use, as perceived back when

crew of the Discovery, can clearly be seen using a

Arthur was writing the story.

tablet computer, similar in looks to an iPad, Nexus,

Remember this is before the Intel 4004 4-bit

Kindle Fire, Surface type of mini, handheld device.

microprocessor, LCD flat-screen technology and way

Is it time we acknowledge old Arthur, or an Arthur &

before the multitude of broadcasting media networks

Stanley combination created, at least the idea or

we have today.

basic concept of the modern tablet, way back in

It was also a long time before anyone thought of the

1968?

internet and least of all, streaming, downloading and

Maybe.

such.

Did you know Samsung cited this in their case against

The Apollo AGC was cutting edge at the time of the

Apple, when Apple claimed to have invented the

film's release. It had less computing power than a

tablet?

cheap digital watch. Here is the except from the

In his book Clarke called it a Newspad. It was a slate,

book:


Clarke i n v e n t blet computer?

‌ he would plug his foolscap-sized Newspad into the ship's information circuit and scan the latest reports from Earth. One by one he would conjure up the world's major electronic papers; he knew the codes of the more important ones by heart, and had no need to consult the list on the back of his pad. Switching to the display unit's short-term memory, he would hold the front page while he quickly searched the headlines and noted the items that interested him.

In the movie, the crew can use the devices to punch up (enter a URL) for a paper (page) and read it after it is scaled up from essentially a thumbnail image, they can also watch video reports (streaming). It's all being fed through HAL, acting as a server which updates its feed via the Discovery's communications dish.

Each had its own two-digit reference; when he punched that, the postage-stamp-sized rectangle would expand until it neatly filled the screen and he could read it with comfort. When he had finished, he would flash back to the complete page and select a new subject for detailed examination.

Do you consider that Arthur C Clarke and/or Stanley Kubrick were tech oracles seeing or predicting the future, or was it the suggestion of such a device which stimulated others to make working examples?

(By the way, in the movie, they gave that the IBM branding.) So, what is your take on this.


Toi

Thomas A self-proclaimed techie and foodie, Toi

Thomas has entertained paranormal fans with

Thomas was born in Texas, but considers

her Eternal Curse series; an angels, demons,

Virginia to be home. She enjoys reading, cooking, painting, geek culture, collecting vinyl records, and spending time with her family. Currently working as a special education teacher’s assistant while blogging and writing full-time, Toi finds comfort and

and others tale with a Christian world-view. She stretches minds and imaginations with her short story collection, Legend of the Boy…, featuring works of science fiction,

paranormal, fantasy, romance, and suspense.

Glorie Townson, Thomas’s pen name,

peace of mind in chocolate, green tea, and

brings along a bit of romance and comedy in

naps. Toi and her husband have been married

the first book of her Sayings Series, It’s Like

for twelve years and share their home with a

the Full Moon. Thomas has even delved into

tortoise named Betty and a Redbone

the world of educational children’s books to

Coonhound named Margie, who’s sure to

enlighten and entertain little minds. She has

inspire future publications.

something for the whole family.


I’ve been writing for about ten years and while I

consider myself a speculative fiction writer my sci-fi efforts are far and few between. I adore the political and moral underlying tones of

It’s all about the boy… The boy who must destroy the world so he can save humanity. The boy who sweeps the girl off her feet.

science fiction and feel that I sometimes shy away The boy who brings two lovers together. from writing such things. The boy who grows into a bad man and changes a

While my paranormal stories always include a few woman’s life. sci-fi elements, I’ve written few strictly science fiction pieces.

The boy who won’t let death stop him from getting what he wants.

From the Inside was included in the Brain to Book anthology (currently being republished), Clepher’s

Heart appears in the Of Past and Future anthology,

Everything spanning from science fiction, paranormal, romance, and psychological thriller is here within the pages of this book. Which of these

and then there’s Legend of the Boy. It’s the first title story from my multi-genre short story

boys will capture your sense of wonder, rage, romance, or perhaps even fear? You decide.

collection, Legend of the Boy, In the Window, and Other Short Stories.

Read Clepher’s Heart free when you sign up for my newsletter: http://eepurl.com/1DSfv eToiThomas.com with accompanying blog: The ToiBox of Words Amazon Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/author/ toithomas Toi Thomas Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/ ToiThomasAuthor Twitter: https://twitter.com/ToiThomas @toithomas


Suddenly the bed jolted, jerking the boy’s

Legend of the Boy Excerpt

body back and forth as the bed rolled across the room with a menacing screech. He shook

“A few moments of silence screeched to a halt when the boy heard the sound of joints squeaking and knobs turning. There was a slow vibration settling along the boy’s spine. He realized that he was moving. The bed he had been strapped to was slowly ascending to an upright position. The boy was fright-

ened and bewildered. He waited in anticipation as the knobs continued to turn, the

his head in desperation. His nose flared and cheeks reddened in anger. What is the meaning of this? Pushing stiff breaths between his lips, the boy considered belting out obscenities, but then the wall began to move. It was sliding away, revealing a clear glass pane behind it. Brows furrowed, the boy took a breath assuming he would look out and see some great horror…”

joints continued to squeak, and his bed continued to eerily rise. Once upright, the boy glanced around, darting his eyes, aware of the sweat that may drip into them. At first, he saw nothing except a white wall across the room. Then he felt a tugging below him,

Amazon

http://amzn.to/2ysSffo

like a child reaching for a mother’s hand. There were wheels attached to the base of the bed struggling to achieve motion, like a train moving uphill.

Createspace

https://www.createspace.com/5250131


H.R. Giger is a famous names in modern art history, especially in the surrealist and sci-fi genres.

Prior to Alien, Giger was known for brilliant sketches, album artwork, as well as being asked to help design

His work has graced magazine covers, music albums and has been featured on clothing .

These accomplishments set Giger apart from many other artists; but there was one thing which differentiated H.R. Giger from others. His work, of the xenomorph villain from the movie series Alien. concepts for Jodorowsky's Dune film Giger's Alien art helped create a monster — literally. However, it was a monster which became a major part of pop culture and immortalized his artwork style in a way few other things could.

Giger was , by no means, an overnight success; A well-established artist in the sci-fi world throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s. H.R. Giger's alien art style become a mainstay among psychedelic and progressive rock groups — and was known among major sci-fi magazines for its unique flair.

This is the story behind Giger's Alien art and how it got into film.

The full beginning of his Alien concept work had sis roots in a movie which was never produced. This movie was Jodorowsky's Dune, one of the most


Screenwriter Dan O'Bannon looked at Giger's artwork during the concept of Dune.

landscape showed smooth, organic spaceships and buildings underneath a grey sky.

According to O'Bannon, Giger's artwork was so disturbing it stuck in his mind while discussing a new project with Ridley Scott.

Multiple sketches of facehuggers also existed.

Scott wanted to create an alien which was unlike anything the world had seen. He wanted it to be dark, surreal and perhaps, a bit Lovecraftian in nature. Knowing this vibe well, O'Bannon immediately called Giger to create the monsters used in the movie.

There are many illustrations on the web that showhis original ideas.

Giger did not disappoint. Giger went to work, creating a large series of concept sketches, many of which were far too X-rated to actually make it on-screen. Eventually, Giger selected a xenomorph which looked similar to the one seen in the Alien movies.

Some of the Alien sketches he completed also involved snapshots of the original world. As one would expect, the world the original Alien came from was pretty grim, hellish,and biomechanical in nature. At times, it was hard to tell the monster from the machines. Other times, the

Giger created some concept artwork for the facehuggers in the film and a number of other cinematic elements.

Some involved hands with a very vagina-like opening that would use a tentacle to reproduce. Others looked more human, while some looked like blobs with tentacles and claws. Both Ridley Scott and O'Bannon strongly believed Giger's Alien art contributed greatly to the success of the overall film. Giger's Alien art finalized a new monster. The final version of Alien's xenomorph isn't as scary as many of the concepts. It also less humanoid than some of the sketches he made of the creature, too. The final xenomorph took H.R. Giger's Alien art to a new level and made it one of the most otherworldly creations in films at the time. B Besides, it looks scary enough on screen in its final form.


CQ INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE

loves this stylish lamp from Ledgle Book lovers will adore receiving this elegant, yet fun Flip Book Lamp as a most thoughtful Christmas gift

Ledgle LED Wooden Flip Book Lamp USB Rechargeable Folding Night Light Creative Booklight Nightlight for Decor or Lighting, Warm White Light, Magnetic Design ENRIVOMENTAL - FRIENDLY: made of environmental wooden material, applied with lasing cutting technology to ensure that bending doesn't cause damage to lamp. TOP QUALITY - made of environmental white maple cover and Tyvek paper, ensure the bending will not break up or cause other damages, provide the added durability. FOLDABLE - being able to fold right back on itself, build up 360 degree lighting as you like, create various shapes for decor like a book. WIRELESS & RECHARGEABLE -powered by inbuilt lithium battery, connect with the USB cable to your computer or your mobile power adaptor USB port, about 5 hours MAGNETIC DESIGNNo button, No switch, easy to setup or use, can be shaped as a round or half circle, provide easy access to the iron surface. PORTABLE & LIGHTWEIGHT - delivers unparalleled strength with light enough material, convenient to throw into your bag like a book, easy to carry around, great for indoor and outdoor use.

http://amzn.to/2wE7qSa


Hosein Kouros-Mehr received his medical degree (M.D.) and graduate degree (Ph.D.) in cancer biology from the University of California, San Francisco. He is the Scientific & Medical Director of an oncology investment company in Santa Monica, CA. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Lisa, and their dog, Teddy.


In 2029, Google is the most dominant company in the world. Dr. Bethany Andrews is the youngest Vice President in the company and head of its Artificial Intelligence Department. She oversees Project Bodi, the world’s most advanced Augmented Reality smartglasses that will one day revolutionize the tech space. Her

lead programmer is Austin Sanders, a 26-yearold psychonaut who loves Burning Man and electronic dance music. Together they embark on a life-changing journey to design the product of the decade, and along the way they discover

the mind’s inner source of insight and innovation.

http://amzn.to/2vU7Pvd


…


Brindusa AKA

Ka

Hello! My na As a hopeless romantic dreamer, I have a passion

various blogging sites, hoping that they will find e

My writings are mostly short stories or short nove ty and through my works I try to ad my voice to th

In my everyday life, I am happily married to a won family is offering me the loving and supportive ba

Languages and self translating Limbile și traducerile RO: Fiecare limbă deschide o poartă magică spre sufletul unei națiuni. Aroma fiecărui cuvânt poartă ȋn sine unicitatea locurilor ȋn care s-a născut. Am realizat mai clar acest aspect ȋn momentul ȋn care am ȋncercat să-mi traduc povestirile. Pășind ȋntr-o altă limbă, cuvintele, ideile ȋntruchipate ȋn cuvinte căpătau nuanțe subtil diferite iar povestirea cotea uneori spre poteci noi, inexistente ȋn varianta originală. Acesta e cazul povestirii de mai jos,

care poartă o ușoară umbră de melancolie ȋntr-una din variante.

Lăsandu-vă să descoperiți diferențele, vă urez lectură plăcută !


a K at a l i n P o e n a r u

at e M a n t i s

ame is Brindusa Katalin Poenaru and I’m from Romania. for writing and drawing. Using my pen name, Kate Mantis, I publish my stories (and artworks) on

echoes inside people’s heart.

els in the genre of Fantasy and Sci-Fi. I think story telling is one of the most wonderful gifts of humanihe choir of magical telling that is keeping us enchanted from the dawns of our time.

nderful and creative mathematics teacher and we have two young adult children, a boy and a girl. My ackground to keep my dreams alive and to turn them into new stories to tell.

EN: A piece of wisdom from my country says that you are as many times a person, as many languages you learn. I was lucky enough to be born and raised in a bilingual family and later, to be taught two foreign languages in school.

Language is a door open into the soul of a nation. Like a good wine, rich in bouquet, each language has a wonderful, different taste, opening new pathways of imagination inside the mind of the writer. Each language speaks about the magical realms of human communication, about the versatility of our creative

Since Nature was generous with me, learning them

mind that keeps finding new and new ways of naming

came easily. I didn’t truly realize what a special gift

the bits and pieces of the world we all share.

this knowledge was until I started to write. Moving

The following story, written both in English and my

from one language to another is like visiting another

native Romanian, has a slightly different touch,

world that lives, breathes and shines beside my own

according to the way I felt thinking in each language. I

world. Writing the same story in a different language

hope you’ll find them enjoyable.

brings up new lights and colors, new twists and emotions, even new outcomes for the same row of events. I find hard to “translate” myself; I have to rewrite my story according to the taste of each word of another language. I don’t mind doing it; it’s a real treat.

https://katemantis.wordspress.com https://niume.com/profile/99799#!/posts


THE CREATURE B y K a t e Ma n t i s The branch snapped and hit her hard in the face. She stopped abruptly, hurt and confused and screened for a moment the shrubbery ahead. The dense growth of sikhra thinned a little on the left so she turned that way to find an easier escape.

From my vantage point I could easily follow her movements. I was technically invisible for the inhabitants of the planet. I was thrilled to work as an Observer on an alien planet even if I was slightly troubled by the fact that we were not allowed to intervene, no matter what we were witnessing. The strange creature that was moving at the edge of the forest was one of the few left from her species since humans have colonized the planet. I focused on her, trying to get a better image. Despite some visible difference between our species, I felt her somehow very close to me. She quickly crossed the grassy meadow that stretched along the border of the forest and started to descend the steep hill with full speed. She turned back from time to time, like watching for an invisible enemy that was pursuing her. With each turn she tried to speed up in a desperate hope to escape from a deadly threat.

Her tension and anxiety slowly seeped into my mind too. My pulse has become more alert and I could feel my heart beating in my throat. As the frenzied race went on, I could smell the acrid scent of fear surrounding me. The road split suddenly into two different roads, each of them leading to a human location. The creature halted unsure, bewildered. The golden light of the autumn sun shimmered on the slim contour of her body. She resembled to a young lizard but she also had a pair of translucent wings, carefully folded on her back. She wasn’t able to use them; not yet. She was too young and her wings were undeveloped. Her skin was golden and smooth and she had large, deep-blue eyes with slit pupils. She was perfectly balanced, yet she looked fragile and

tragically lonely. She hesitated for a moment before she took the left path. She has barely taken two or three steps on that direction when a sudden wave of terror erupted from her and hit me overwhelmingly. Pushed by panic I jumped from my seat…then I fell back. I was shaking like a leaf. I did my best forcing my mind to focus on my…protegee. She stood there then turned, looking intently in my direction. I knew she couldn’t see me but in that split of a second when we shared the same fear, something told her there was a witness to her struggle for life. This was the very moment when I hated my job; I couldn’t save her. She slowly turned and sorted out the other road. She started to run again, sped up and soon, I lost her… while the cold sweat was running down my face. That day I decided to quit my job.


CREATURA E toamnă iar. Un vânt subțire mână frunze aurii spre albastrul intens al cerului. Albastru, auriu….Culorile unei amintiri ce nu vrea să pălească. Eram proaspăt absolvent de exobiologie și sociologie planetară. Preluasem de puțină vreme postul de Observator pe planeta GX-3, desi aveam unele rezerve privind politica de neimplicare promovată de angajatorii mei. Ascuns ȋn spatele hologramei proiectate de stația de observare, urmăream zi de zi cu o curiozitate crescândă, desfasurarea evenimentelor din zona mea. Asta până cand…. Creatura ȋsi scoase capul cu precauție prin desișul de sikhra. Ciuli urechile și adulmecă aerul dimineții. Totul părea să fie ȋn ordine. Se strecură cu grijă printre crengile țepoase și ieși la lumină. Era suplă și grațioasă; o tanără femelă cu aripi translucide, ȋncă insuficient dezvoltate pentru zbor. Ȋn ciuda diferențelor evidente dintre speciile noastre, o simțeam tulburător de apropiată. Ȋn lumina difuză a toamnei târzii, pielea ei aurie avea un luciu mătăsos, iar ochii ei albaștri, cu pupile reptiliene străluceau intens ȋn fața delicată. Creatura scrută ȋmprejurimile cu simțurile ascuțite la maximum. Părea preocupată de apropierea unui dușman invizibil. M-am aplecat spre ecran s-o văd mai bine și am mărit imaginea. Ȋn clipa aceea, am simțit cum tremurul lăuntric al acelei ființe ȋndepărtate mi se transmite și mie. O teamă fără chip și nume ȋmi invadă simțurile și stomacul mi se contractă nervos. Aerul ȋncăperii se umplu de mirosul ȋnțepător de transpirație. Cine ne urmărea? Cine ne voia răul? Creatura se avântă si cobora dealul ȋn viteză, căutând scăpare ȋn spatele unui pâlc de arbori răzleți. Vântul ce-i șuiera pe la urechi ȋmi răcori o clipă obrazul. Am răsuflat adânc cand ea s-a oprit, scrutând valea. Dincolo de petecul de arbori era un drumeag ce se bifurca; ambele drumuri duceau spre așezări umane. Creatura ezită o clipă, apoi ȋnaintă un pic pe drumul din dreapta. Valul de teroare dinlăuntrul ei m-a luat complet pe nepregătite. Ȋmpins de-un resort lăuntric,

am sărit in picioare ca ars, răsturnând totul ȋn calea mea. Inima ȋmi bătea nebunește ȋn piept și preț de cateva clipe, am fost incapabil să mă orientez. Tremurând din toate ȋncheieturile, m-am târat ȋnapoi la scaunul din fața ecranelor și m-am așezat, ȋncercând să mă liniștesc. “Adună-te!-mi-am strigat. Ea e ȋn pericol, nu tu!” Mi-am impus să mă calmez și m-am concentrat din nou la protejata mea. Creatura se ȋntorsese din drum și se uita acum ȋn direcția mea. Am ȋnțeles atunci că ea știa că eu sunt acolo, ȋn spatele imaginii ȋnșelătoare, un martor neputincios al tragediei sale. Ȋn clipa aceea, m-am urât pentru neputința mea. N-o puteam ajuta, n -o puteam salva. Creatura se ȋntoarse și fugi spre stânga, dispărând din raza mea vizuală, lăsându-mă ȋn urmă, scăldat ȋn sudoare rece. A doua zi, mi-am dat demisia din post. Au trecut ani de atunci dar privirea ei bântuie cărările memoriei mele ca un vânt de toamnă.


N I CO L E G A L L A N D

AND

A sprawling story of government officials, academic experts and, eventually, actual witches banding together to alter the present by time traveling into the past, The Rise and Fall of

D.O.D.O. is so deliciously entertaining that the reader is instantly swept up into its sense of adventure, no matter how outlandish the plot may seem. The fact that this 700-page book was a collaboration between two authors makes it an even more extraordinary feat. CQ spoke with historical fiction author Nicole Galland and sci-fi icon Neal Stephenson (Seveneves, The System of the World) about the importance of spreadsheets, sympathetic villains and pseudo-science.

First things first—how did the two of you meet, and when did you decide to write a book together? Nicole Galland: We have the same agent (Liz Darhansoff) and editor (Jennifer Brehl, at HarperCollins), and Neal kindly blurbed my debut novel, The Fool’s Tale. Several years later he invited me to join the heretofore-all-male tribe of writers creating The Mongoliad. (The story as I heard—Neal showed some early chapters to a female friend, who said there was too much testosterone and ordered him to include a female writer of historical fiction. This might be apocryphal, however. I defer to Neal’s version of events, as he was the initiator.) Neal Stephenson: I have forgotten. The gender skewage on Mongoliad was so obvious, I’m not sure if a female was needed to point it out to me, but in any case, Nicki was the obvious best person for that job. NG: When I came out to Seattle for the final Mongoliad launch event, he told me the premise

for D.O.D.O. and asked if I might be interested in writing it with him. I think I said yes while he was still asking the question. At what point did you realize how complicated D.O.D.O. was going to be? And how did you even begin to keep everything straight plot-wise? NG: I would say by its nature it was complicated straight out of the gate, but it got much more so as it went along. We began with an 11-page, single-spaced synopsis, most of which I could keep straight in my head, somehow. Then Neal generated an online chronology, which both allowed and guaranteed that it would all get more complicated. NS: D.O.D.O. is an example of coherent universe fiction, where the story and the world need to hang together in an internally consistent way. We had, and still have, ambitions of trying to do more with this world, supposing people like the book. A first step in that is making sure that the timeline hangs together, and that gets a little more complicated in a time-travel story. So, spreadsheets.


NEAL STEPHENSON A BookPage.com interview by Savanna Walker June 13, 2017

D

territory for either of you? NG: Neal knew he wanted a medieval crusade because it would involve an encounter between different cultures (including military cultures). I suggested the Fourth Crusade since I already knew about it from writing my novel Crossed. The crucible of the Fourth Crusade was Constantinople, which happily turned out to be useful for other things in the book.

NS: Normandy, circa the Norman Conquest, was new for me. The specific times and places kind of fell out naturally from what we were trying to do from a narrative standpoint. Neal, do you think we will ever get to a point technologically where time travel is possible? NG: I am so glad this question is directed to Neal. NS: No. Not even in the book does it happen through technology. . . but that’s a spoiler. Did you ever disagree about something while writing together? And if so, how did you resolve it? NG: I’m sure we did but I don’t remember specifics. As a broad generalization, I think we have different approaches to problem-solving. My take is that Neal thinks like an engineer or a scientist or a coder—if something isn’t working, he calmly and methodically works on debugging the program, so to speak. I react more like a theatre person—my impulse is to say, “That’s not working! We gotta try a different approach!” NS: There were not any disagreements big enough for me to remember them. There were problems to be solved and we solved them. How did you both pick which time periods to set it in? Were any of the periods completely new

D.O.D.O. has such a huge and fascinating cast of characters! Who was your favourite character to write, and who was the easiest character to write? NG: I especially enjoyed writing in Grainne’s voice. (Also, I loved depicting Erszebet. Witches with attitude FTW.) Mel was easiest. I tried to imagine myself pluckier, smarter and more grounded than I am, and most of the time that did the trick. NS: The less attractive the character, the more I enjoyed writing them. Officious bureaucrats and PowerPoint weasels are where it’s at for me. When it comes to the science in the book, at what point did you find yourself moving from established facts into the realm of, shall we say, informed speculation?

NG: I’ll let Neal answer this since it’s his wheelhouse. NS: It should be said that the overall tone of this book is light-hearted romantic adventure with satirical bits, and so burying the reader under heavy science wasn’t really on the program.


Available on Amazon Kindle http://amzn.to/2w1NhWp Paperback

http://amzn.to/2wVLKhP (paperback released 5 Apr 2018) There are a few parts of it where characters pretend to talk science. I hope that real scientists will read those with a sense of humour. Nicole, you’ve written a book about one of the most famous villains in history, Shakespeare’s Iago, from his perspective. Without giving too much about D.O.D.O. away, what do you think makes for an engaging, sympathetic antagonist? NG: If a character is engaging and sympathetic, you will enjoy them in any circumstance— especially if they have a believable motivation for their actions. “Being evil” doesn’t cut it; the more relatable the motivation, the better. For instance, Iago is not innately evil—he does bad things in response to bad things being done to him. (BTW I’m always happy to get into this over a drink with anyone who wants to argue about Othello.) Similarly, in D.O.D.O., certain characters evolve into antagonists in response to things that interfere with their well-being. And for the record, I’m talking about antagonists who are centre stage. Ancillary characters who cause problems by being irritating, narcissistic, complacent, knee-jerkingly greedy or vicious— that’s a different story.

There are so many more stories you could tell in this world. Any chance of a sequel? NG: Stay tuned. . . NS: Thinking about it. . .


Office Bot

Andree Wallin Started his commissioned work since 2006 and was able to embrace his profession as a full time job in 2008. Since then, he worked as matte painter and concept artist for many well known titles like Dirt 3, Oblivion and DJ Hero.


Halfway Up A Mountain

G l i m p s e B e yo n d

Our regular columnist Dorothy Berry-Lound reports from Umbria, Italy.

We are all aware of the contribution that Italian directors have made to the world of cinema (just think Fellini, Zefferelli, etc). But I wonder how many of you know of the long tradition of Italian Sci-Fi films? Italy has produced some of the classic B movies

of the Sci-Fi genre. Renowned for low budget, cheap sets and some borrowed story lines and stock footage, Italian Sci-Fi has a unique charm – and some crazy fashion. For example, Italian director Mario Bava created ‘Planet of the Vampires’ in 1965 (released in Italy as ‘Terror in Space’). This was based on a short story called ‘One Night of 21 hours’ by Renato Pestriniero. It is famous for the slinky jumpsuits that everyone wears in the film. The film is also said to be one of the influences for Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien’. If you like dreadful but strangely entertaining movies then Italian Sci-Fi might be to your liking!


Autumn/winter in Italy As we are well into autumn and heading into winter, Italy seems to have landed in its own alternative reality. Everywhere is spring-like! Seriously, 26C (almost 79F) during the day and we have lilac, daffodils and a pear tree in bloom! People’s outfits are a strange mixture of boots and coats (because it is that time of year) and those who have had to dig in the wardrobe for their sandals.

Fire Sky In Perugia, the famous

Eurochocolate festival took place

Sun shin e an d Fo g

during October and this year people had to eat the chocolate fast before it melted! If

you are a chocoholic this is an annual event not to be missed. You can watch events themed around chocolate, watch chocolate being made, drink chocolate, try samples and be tempted by lots of stalls selling their wares. All while your nostrils

It is chilly in the evenings, but wonderful

are full of the smell of chocolate of course.

to be able to still sit out and eat lunch. Mind you, when we would normally be

Alongside Eurochocolate this year there

eating warm soups at lunchtime we are

was an oriental festival, a feast for the

back to eating salads.

senses of all things Asian.

Every now and then there is a cold day that reminds us what it should be like

and we have the log burner lit during the day. But while the countryside is going potty, this is great weather for all of the festivals taking place around the country.

This included Buddhist monks creating a sand mandala, Japanese drummers, Banghra dancers and demonstrations of various therapies such as Shiatsu – plus an oriental market of course.


Olive Art More traditional Italian festivals that take place this time of year include celebrations

of the new olive oil production (although this was another bad year owing to drought), the new chestnut crop and more unusual crops such as saffron (as in Citta della Pieve). Lots of things to do and still needing sun block!

About Dorothy Dorothy Berry-Lound is an award winning artist, visual storyteller and writer/blogger. You can follow Dorothy’s blog and her latest art work at her website

http://dorothyberryloundart.com.


F L A M E S O F C R E AT I O N D o r o t h y B e r r y - Lo u n d


LMS Gabriel Unloaded

Since he answered his calling of digital concept artist, Dan Luvisi has worked for big players like DC Comics, Universal and Microsoft.

He is known for his extremely unique and sensational style in his illustration approach, which can be witnessed in following superior artworks.


Escape From Neon City

As a passionate professional who considers painting as a great faction of his life, Marek Okon has raised his skills by self teaching, which is quite unbelievable if you look at his impressive artworks. His passon also leads him to professional work which creates high quality illustrations for promotion and advertising use. His favorite tools are Photoshop, Autodesk 3ds Max and Pixologic Zbrush.


These artists gave us the back-tracks to our lives.

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Science Beta Openinge

Paul Chadeisson is a concept artist at Dontnod Entertainment, a video game based company in Paris. His gorgeous works have been published in the magazine, Science Illustrated Magazine, and books like Landau Du Rat.


Big Buddha

Maciej Rebisz is a concept artist who greatly explores space and science fiction art with detail in mind. He’s also currently maintaining an architectural blog named ArchiDOOM, which archives architectural designs that are powered by doom and coffee.


Geoff Nelder Geoff Nelder escaped from his roots in the south of England and now lives in the north. He would do most things for a laugh but had to pay the mortgage so he taught I.T. and Geography in the local High school. After thirty years in the education business, he nearly become good at it. A post-war baby boomer, he has post-grad researched and written about climatic change, ran computer clubs and was editor of a Computer User Group magazine for 11 years. He read voraciously after his mother enrolled him into the children’s science fiction book club when he was four, and has written for fun since his fingers moved independently. His experiences on geographical expeditions have found themselves into amusing pieces in the Times Educational Supplement and taking his family on house-swap holidays years before they became popular added both authenticity and wild imagination to his creativity.

ARIA LEFT LUGGAGE As I puffed, riding my bicycle up a steep Welsh hill 5 years ago I had an original idea. What if amnesia was infectious? Then what if no one was immune. I researched like crazy for 4 months to discover a) there was no known medical event of infectious amnesia, and b) that the concept – especially with retrograde amnesia (lose say a year’s worth per day backwards) – hadn’t been used in published stories, nor on TV or film. It took a year to create the first 100k draft. I showed and discussed it with SF luminaries such as Jon C Grimwood, Charles Stross and US writer, Brad Linaweaver, who all endorsed it. After a couple of years of agent and publisher hunting ARIA: Left Luggage was published. It’s scifi but also a medical mystery.

Geoff Nelder


PROLOGUE Wednesday 15 April 2015: Outside Dryden Space Laboratories, Edwards Air Force Base, California. The desert heat penetrated Jack’s shirt, giving him a familiar, unpleasant wet trickle down his back. Sunlight lasered through holes in the bus shelter’s roof, making him shuffle. Climbing into the homeward-bound bus, he helloed Greta, the driver and then winked at familiar travellers. An unseasonable heat wave made the PVC seat sticky. At least the journey was short. The bus’s climatecontrol system had failed, so he had to share lungfuls of sweaty air.

Ken persisted. “You okay, Jack?” Hot though he was, Jack’s face heated more. A special day. He’d done something unique—a first, but darn it, he couldn’t remember what it was. His knees gave way, and he flopped into a seat. His head buzzed so loudly, it must have annoyed the other passengers. He remembered catching the bus to Edwards, but was that yesterday? He muttered to himself. “Don’t be stupid. Come on, man, what was in today’s newspaper?” Damn, he was losing his memory…or his mind.

Jack thought of his secret. None of the other passengers had handled an alien artefact today. The first in the world, and yet, darn it, he wasn’t allowed to holler “It was me!” at anyone.

Then he caught a whiff of talcum powder and gardenia. His grandma used to reek of it. Smells alluded him these days. Something was messing with his brain.

Gazing out of the vibrating window at the passing ochre desert, he caught a childhood aroma, one that he’d thought he’d forgotten—butterscotch.

Through wet eyes, he noticed Greta looking back down the aisle at him. “Jack, your stop, buddy.”

Jack massaged his forehead. Strange, he only grew fuzzy heads like this with hangovers, but he’d not swallowed beer for days. It had to be dehydration. The desert town of Rosamund slid into view, so Jack queued, strap-hanging, in the swaying aisle. A few seats back, he caught Ken’s eye. “Hey, Jack, did something special happen at work to you today?” A few passengers nearby looked up at Jack. He distracted himself by looking through the windows at the white-walled tract houses decelerating by. He and his colleagues were not allowed to speak of work at the space lab, but that wasn’t it. He gazed up at the rectangle of blue sky in the roof. He couldn’t remember what he’d had for breakfast let alone the morning’s work schedule.

He hadn’t noticed the usual lurched halt. He staggered up and patted Greta’s arm. Then he looked back at her as she rubbed her head. Other passengers rubbed theirs. As he dismounted, he spotted a newspaper billboard announcing Wednesday’s lottery results. Hey, he thought it was Tuesday. Was amnesia his problem? Maybe it could explain why he couldn’t remember the morning’s events. The heat from the sidewalk baked his feet through cheap shoes as the bus grumbled away. He gazed after the bus disappearing in its own dust cloud, and he thought of the bus driver, what’s-her-name. Her face had looked sallow, green. Maybe he’d picked up a bug and infected her too. If her, then maybe all her passengers would get it and new passengers and their kinfolk. That’s one hell of a messed-up world.


18 days later

Excerpt from CHAPTER 22 Moraine Lake 18 days since ARIA started. Most people have lost up to 2 years and 4 weeks of memory. Manuel struggled through to consciousness. A new alarm clock hammered away making him throw an unseeing arm at where his bedside cabinet should’ve been. One eye opened and found a pinewood ceiling. He could smell coffee but the unfamiliar log cabin tugged at his worry bone. He remembered going to bed in his own room; pale-green walls, white ceiling, cobwebs. He admired the dawn light hitting the carpet. Pine trees with a busy resident woodpecker met his eyes. The alarm clock had feathers. He scratched an armpit. “So, I'm definitely not in Baltimore.” After finding the bathroom, his nose detected toast along with the coffee. He ventured into the kitchen. “Oh, you're up,” said a scowling young woman sitting at a rustic table. Manuel searched his shot memory but failed to locate a white-faced girl with long jetblack hair among his acquaintances. “Before you throw a wobbler, read that.” She pointed at a NoteCom on the table. A milky coffee, just as he liked it, waited for him. He looked up again. Yellow T-shirt and jeans; he looked at his own clothes – black trousers, white shirt and a NASA tie. Good God, he'd dressed for work.

You have remarried to Jat, who also has ARIA and is sitting at the table with you. She’s diabetic but cut down her Humilin dose – see notes.

“You're Jat? My wife?” “I am Jat but I have no recollection of marrying you. Don't get any ideas.” “Hang on. My head is spinning coping with waking up with a disease in Canada instead of my home in Baltimore. Look at us, Jat. I'm mid-fifties, you're what, eighteen?” “Twenty – that's not the big deal.” “No? What is?” “Look at you. You obviously don't look after yourself, you've deserted your other wife, because of this amnesia and how do I know you don’t have any STDs?” Manuel, glad he received the broadside while sitting down, shook his head. “Jat, as far as I know I have no diseases except one that's robbed me of what must have been a helluva courtship and a cracking wedding night. Me wife left me for an insurance salesman. And though I grant you I'm hiding a six-pack stomach under a keg, I have more muscles than I used to.” He did a strongman impression. She turned to face the window so he couldn't her smiling. “There's a load of chopped wood out back so I guess you might have been working out,” Jat said. He saw her reflection fighting a grin. Manuel looked at the rough calluses on his palms. “Yep, that's right. Extraordinary, for a desk man.”

You are Manual Gomez, employed by NASA as their Education Officer. Except you are on leave along with most of the population because you have ARIA. An infectious amnesia throwing out your memories at the rate of 50 days worth each day. This started for you on 15th April 2015. It is now Monday 4th May 2015 so you have lost 950 days or two years, seven months and two days of memory.

Jat examined her own hands, showing Manuel her wedding ring. “Who brought us here, and why?” “I guess we did. I have memories of being up here in Moraine Lake as a kid.” “I've nothing here. A shoulder bag with some clothes and ID. There's my insulin in the fridge. Enough for a month, I reckon. Then I need to go find some more.”


Highlights: ARIA is the first and so far only book to use the concept of infectious amnesia.

Although character-led, the novel has breakthrough plot threads, making us think of what is the most important and crucial aspects of our lives. Research help and support was emailed from space! Astronaut Leroy Chiao answered my questions about the nature of the struts on the International Space Station, and wished me luck with the book. All the places on Earth used in the book are real geographical locations, including the ‘hidden’ valley – Anafon – in North Wales. The cover art is designed by award-winning artist, Andy Bigwood. The idea of infectious amnesia came while I was riding a bicycle up a steep Welsh hill.

You tube video trailer http://youtu.be/oh0AAXIe8VU Facebook page for you to ‘like’ if you will http://www.facebook.com/AriaTrilogy

Available on Amazon

http://amzn.to/2fDeNTn


S t a r C r u i s e : O u t b r e a k b y Ve r o n i c a S c o t t

She saved countless soldiers in the wars … but does she have the weapons to fight a deadly outbreak on an interstellar space liner?

https://veronicascott.wordpress.com/

OUTBREAK https://www.amazon.com/Star-Cruise-OutbreakSectors-Romance-ebook/dp/B01E1VPVXO/? tag=verscoblo-20 Best Selling Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance author and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happily Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories. Married young to her high school sweetheart then widowed, Veronica has two grown daughters, one grandson and cats Keanu and Jake. Veronica’s life has taken many twists and turns, but she always makes time to keep reading and writing. Everything is good source material for the next novel or the one after that, right? She’s been through earthquakes, tornadoes and near death experiences…Always more stories to tell, new adventures to experience—Veronica’s personal motto is, “Never boring.”

Honored to be named as an SFR ‘Trailblazer’ by SFR Quarterly, June 2016 Three time winner ~ SFR Galaxy Award (for ESCAPE FROM ZULAIRE, WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM and MISSION TO MAHJUNDAR). National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award Proud recipient ~ NASA Exceptional Service Medal but must hasten to add the honor was not for her romantic fiction! Played Star Trek Enterprise Crew Member in the audiobook of Harlan Ellison’s “City On the Edge of Forever” (2016) Happy to be a member of the SFR Brigade writers’ group and the Here Be Magic authors… Lean Six Sigma Black Belt – I’ll improve your process (mwahahahaa)! Veronica had to teach someone to perform the Heimlich Maneuver at breakfast one day in a crowded restaurant, on her, while she was choking, unable to speak and within 90 seconds of dying. No pressure! Elvis Presley’s best friend once serenaded Veronica on a local TV telethon…now thatcould be a novel…


CASSINI One cannot leave a Sci-Fi Season without a look at how far true space navigation has evolved. In the case it is a look at the recent end of the Cassini project. Click the National Geographic link below for a 3D Grand Tour of Cassini's Saturn flight.

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2017/09/cassini-saturn-nasa-3d-grand-tour/

CLICK ON IMAGE FOR SATURN STUDY VIDEO


The Asimov 500 plus In the early stages of writing my doctoral dissertation, I was lucky to eke out more than a few sentences a day. Words came out as slowly as liquid petroleum dripped out of decaying dinosaur bones. Each idea or turn of phrase was scrutinized, re-scrutinized, edited, then deleted. At the end of each day, I looked on in despair at how few words I had written. It went on like this for months. But then my world was turned upside down by a mutton-chopped man with horn-rimmed-glasses who died more than 20 years ago. He showed me how to increase my output from a few words a day to more than 1000 by following some simple habits for writing success.

Enter Isaac Asimov Asimov, the late doyen of science fiction, had a productivity that frightened all but the most prolific novelists. He wrote or edited more than 500 books, hundreds of short stories and essays. On top of that, he fired off 90,000 letters and postcards to fans around the world. Asimov’s books were published in nine of the 10 major categories of the Dewey Decimal System. Had he written a book of philosophy, it would be 10 out of 10. Although he is best known for his epic sci-fi works such as The Foundation Series, Asimov also wrote about Shakespeare, the Bible, limericks, ancient history, and even a guide to the slide rule. For an average writer to produce an output so high, they would need to finish one book every two weeks for 25 years. Most of Asimov’s books were 70,000 words long, which works out to 5,000 publicationready words a day. Any writer will tell you that the first go-around is not ready for print, suggesting his daily word count was far higher.

So how did he do it? How did he manage to out-write other authors by a factor of 10 or even 100? For three reasons… His habits for writing success.

1. Asimov wrote every day, whether or not he felt like it. According to a 1969 New York Times profile, Asimov started his work day between 9:30 and 10 am. He typed over 90 words a minute on his electric typewriter, with a backup in case it broke. Asimov took only small breaks and worked well into the night. He went to bed at 10 or 11 pm, probably drafting an outline for the next part of the book in his dreams. Through this process he sometimes churned out an entire book in a few days. His daily writing habit was not for the weak. Asimov’s approach to writing made him put words on paper even if the muse did not visit him that day. He scoffed at the idea of “writer’s block.” His father was a candy store owner in Brooklyn who opened his doors at 6 am every day, whether or not he felt like it. The elder Asimov did so without ever complaining about “shop keeper’s block.” Asimov’s Gatling-gun style made him, in many ways, the anti-writer. The image of a novelist sitting at their typewriter, straining to produce each word and tearing up their manuscript if it is not perfect, haunts the imaginations of many first-time writers. For this reason, there are many self-proclaimed “writers” who never write. They claim the title as their profession but never produce out a word due to paralysis by analysis. But Asimov typed words by the gross because he believed output was far better than deeply nuanced dithering.

2. Asimov used a simple writing style. Asimov preferred a completely unembellished style of writing. His characters were so simple and the


dialogue so functional it approached the telegraphic minimum of language. There is little literary criticism on Asimov, despite his widespread popularity and influence as a writer. This is because he stated so clearly to the reader of his intention in the plot what is happening in the story and why it is happening. Characters do not speak so much as exposit. There is very little for a critic to interpret when characters do the work for them. Asimov credited this approach more than anything else to his high output. When Writer’s Digest asked him the secret to his prolific writing, he replied, “I guess I’m prolific because I have a simple and straightforward style.”

3. Asimov did not care about critics. Many authors avoid such simplicity in their writing because they want to appear sophisticated. As a result, they often use impenetrable prose to impress critics with their “deep ideas.” Asimov attracted criticism for avoiding this approach.

In 1980, science fiction scholar James Gunn, wrote of I, Robot that: “Except for two stories [of Asimov] — ”Liar!” and “Evidence”— they are not stories in which character plays a significant part. Virtually all plot develops in conversation with little if any action. Nor is there a great deal of local colour or description of any kind. The dialogue is, at best, functional and the style is, at best, transparent… The robot stories and, as a matter of fact, almost all Asimov fiction—play themselves on a relatively bare stage.” Asimov was never offended by such criticism. To the contrary, he welcomed it. He followed in the writing tradition of authors such as Ernest Hemingway, who favoured short sentences, direct speech, strong verbs, and powerful prose. He believed flowery language, useless adverbs, and nonsensical metaphors would only clutter up his writing and make it more of a chore for the reader. Here’s Asimov’s explanation on why he wrote the way he did:


"I made up my mind long ago to follow one cardinal rule in all my writing — to be clear. I have given up all thought of writing poetically or symbolically or experimentally, or in any of the other modes that might (if I were good enough) get me a Pulitzer prize. I would write merely clearly and in this way establish a warm relationship between myself and my readers, and the professional critics — Well, they can do whatever they wish."

I am with Asimov. I like simple reading for entertainment, for escapism, for my own pastime. Should I have the call to read anything taxing, it should be for study of some form. I write a great deal, including short stories, blogs, articles and letters, along with my fictional and non-fiction books. My circumstances differ from Asimov's. I cannot dedicate the whole of every day to writing as he could. But that does not mean I should not be as prolific as possible. As for critics, I consider them in a similar, but lesser, vein as teachers. "There are those who can and do. There are those who cannot, so teach. Then there are those who can do neither, but wish they could do at least a little, of either.


Vertical, green cities. Are they our true

Future?

Discuss.


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Rites of Heirdron Science Fantasy Romance Newland Moon They poisoned his planet, massacred his people, and violated his mother. Then, they came for him.

PRELUDE Agonized Reality

Zrahnz dove forward and then rolled to the side. His head came up in a flash and lowered again. Clutching the ionic-tazer, he initiated a backward roll and took position behind a rock formation. He had lost track of his partner. After taking a deep breath, he eased around the side of the boulder, noticing movement to his left. Instinctively, he dropped into a defensive crouch, sending four ionic blasts toward the enemies. He did not wait to check the accuracy of his shots, running to his right and diving behind their damaged shuttle. His breathing was labored as he tried to steady himself. He noticed more enemies still advancing as he changed position. When he checked the energy level of his ionic-tazer, he had enough power left for only four blasts. He searched for his partner again, tapping the com-tag nestled in his ear. Nothing. How did they become separated? He had trained for this and now he might have gotten his partner either captured or killed. He ground his teeth at that thought. After taking another deep breath, he counted. Zrahnz eased around and noticed the position of three enemies. He offered a prayer, wiping the forming sweat off his hands onto his uniform. When his count reached ten, he leveled his ionic-tazer, and leapt from his position, shooting. One and then another enemy dematerialized as his well-aimed shots hit them squarely. His movement never ceased as he concealed himself again. Zrahnz checked his surroundings and then rested a hand on the three chazrens on his belt. Those he would

use only if he had to. The handheld grenades were more effective if an enemy was within twenty meters. It was his hope that his partner was alive, and that together, they could end this. When he leveled his weapon again, the tremble in his hands was worse than before. He blinked, trying to clear the haze from his mind. Focus, he thought, willing his mind to follow his commands. Please, focus. His surroundings became a blur as a pain erupted in his abdomen. He clenched his eyes shut, doubling over with the excruciating waves of heat. It felt as tiny molten blades jabbed at his insides. No, please, no.


He heard the blasts echo in his mind and the screeches that accompanied them. He could do nothing; there was only the pain, the confusion, the helplessness. He screamed, despite his best efforts to remain quiet. He could taste the blood in his mouth from biting through his lip. Another scream escaped him, louder than the last, and then, nothing but white.

Zrahnz gasped, springing up and reaching for his weapon. His surroundings were still a blur as he tried to scramble to his feet.

“Easy, my Prince, easy,” Raydren said, attempting to lower him again to the ground. Zrahnz grasped his arm with one hand and delivered a side-chop with the other. When Raydren ducked the chop, he rolled to the side and leapt to his feet, grabbing a chazren from his belt as he did so. Raydren’s eyes widened. “Training exercise complete. Terminate!” he shouted, diving toward the Prince. Everything in the dream room faded as Zrahnz thrashed, trying to break free from his tight hold. The chazren he had been clutching disappeared with the rest of the items in the training program. “My Prince, please, the exercise is over. The pain is over, you’re here with me. It’s only us, Zrahnz, can you

hear me? Follow my sound and come back to me, please, come back to me.” Raydren bit back his emotion, cradling the prince in his arms. His episodes were coming more often and the level of pain was increasing. “Zrahnz,” he said again. “I’m here with you, I’m here.” His motion calmed when he heard Raydren’s soothing voice repeat his name. Zrahnz blinked his eyes open, trying to clear the fog from his mind. Raydren kept one arm wrapped tightly around him and with the other, pulled a subdermal-injector from his belt. He placed it against Zrahnz’s chest, emptying the remaining medicine into his bloodstream. Zrahnz’s body tensed with the injection and then went limp as the medicine eased the pain and lifted some of the haze filling his mind. “Ray—Raydren.” The pain and suffering etched the word. “Raydren…help me…please, help me.” “I’m here with you, my Prince. We’ll find a way, I promise you. We’ll find a way. I’ll never leave you. I’m here.”


Chapter One The Present

A Dying World He gazed out over the vast expanse with his hands tucked behind his back. His long dark hair was pulled back in a braid with laynstar stones dangling from the ends. He had donned his sapphire and onyx robe with silver piping up the trim and the Triaxeynian symbol embroidered across his chest. Soon, he would deliver a speech to his people. It was his duty to offer encouragement and inspiration to the masses with each new moon. Albeit, he knew not how he could achieve such an objective when he felt defeated in every meaning of the word. That defeat showed prominently in even his usually taut stance. Zrahnz closed his eyes, taking a deep and steadying breath. There were too many matters occupying his thoughts, too many uncertainties with no resolution. How was he to inspire his people when he felt he was but a shell of what he used to be? His life had been spent in the pursuit of scientific and technological advancement to save his people and

reinstate Triaxeyn’s position in the galaxy. The onus was upon him to regain the honor and prominence of his peoples. Now, there was virtually nothing left. What once he thought was truth was merely a meticulously crafted illusion set in place to end all life on his planet. This is what they desired and it had almost come to pass. At that, he shook his head, focusing on his planet again. It was nothing more than ash, a desolate rock afloat in space. A pained chuckle escaped his lips with that truth. That was exactly how they had orchestrated it. He pounded a fist on the transparent wall in front of him. He was frustrated with himself more than anyone else. His inaction had allowed this treachery, this genocidal attempt. Had he not been consumed with his personal struggles, his mind would have been clear, he would have known. Now, it might be too late. He could not save the planet. Already the atmosphere was deteriorating. The toxins they injected those many decades ago had not only destroyed the vegetation. It had begun killing his people. The only relief he could feel was with the completion of the dome and the beginning of the terraforming project. He prayed that the decision had not been made too late. Had they understood the science behind the attack earlier, more could have been done to save his people. Now, there were less than two thousand Triaxeyns yet alive. Of those, fewer than three hundred were of procreating age. More was needed and it was for him to do so. Zrahnz straightened his sash and ran his hands over his long hair. When he brought them down in front of him, he noticed the trembling had returned. He clenched his eyes and fists, focusing his mind. It cannot be, he thought, releasing a deep sigh. “What you have done to poison this world will not take the life from me. I will heal this planet and save my people.�


He spoke the words and tried desperately to believe them. The pains he suffered were

excruciating and the injections and herbs were no longer easing them. His mind was such a muddle some cycles, he thought himself going mad. Even the usually curative sex had grown more painful. “I’ll have need of Itanya,” he said, taking another deep breath.

He shook his head again in an effort to clear his thoughts. He had to focus on Triaxeyn and his people. His illness was infinitesimal compared with that of his planet. Yet, he knew not how to save either. “Your people have gathered, my Prince.” A deep voice sounded from behind him.

Zrahnz smiled wistfully, lowering his head. “My people, Raydren?” “My Prince?” He turned to face him. Q-1 Raydren was the eldest member of the guard and the one person that he truly trusted. He had been more than his mother's personal guard; he had been like a father to him. Throughout his childhood and even now, he felt a comfort with his presence and knew that he cared for him as well. Never did Raydren allow his position to prevent him from providing honest counsel. And that was something the Prince sorely needed. “When my grandfather ruled Triaxeyn, there were hundreds of thousands of denizens. We were a proud people, though the Galactic Coalition tried to hinder our efforts for growth. When Grandfather died, everything changed. Already the Council had turned their backs on us, but why would they attempt to annihilate our people? Why do we die and the Kaylohrns thrive?” Raydren nodded, leaning his ceremonial spear against the wall. He motioned to the overstuffed chairs and took a seat opposite the Prince. “Your grandfather was an honorable and strong leader. He was feared and respected by many members of the Galactic Coalition. When he acquiesced to the wishes of the Spirit Council, he did so for the betterment of Triaxeyn. Though the Great Masters of our temple advised against it, King Aoran saw no alternative. He couldn’t have known of the betrayal that would follow,” he said, resting a hand on Zrahnz’s shoulder.


“Once your mother and I returned to Triaxeyn, a pall covered our planet. That’s what truly took the life from him. He loved your mother, and loved you as well. Your grandfather felt the guilt of disallowing your mother her prince, and the devastation of the Galactic Coalition’s rejection. “I petitioned for the Rites of Bond with your mother. Our connection was evident and your grandfather knew the same.” Zrahnz’s head snapped up. “You? You loved my mother?” “Yes, then and now. But our bond wasn’t allowed. After the details of the Kaylohrn agreement were publicized, Triaxeyn suffered. I’ve remained at her side from that cycle to this, and will do so until the

Spirit Wielders beckon me to them.” “Did—did she love you as well?” “She cares for me within the confines of her position, nothing more.” When Zrahnz appeared about to speak, Raydren stood, continuing. “The Kaylohrns aren’t greater than we are. In all ways that matter, they’re much less. It was by their manipulations that our queen was shamed and labeled a Shriahti.

“It was by their manipulations that the Galactic Coalition turned their backs on us. Their king and queen were heralded as true and honorable leaders when they presented their second born before them as if he were the first. “The priests offered blessings over that debauchery and labeled it the Rites of Heirdron,” he said, picking up his spear and facing Zrahnz again. “You are no kahtdrol, my Prince. We stand now in the capital city of Triaxeyn named for your line. You are Zrahnz Uleryn, son of Alyahna and the grandson of the great King Aoran Uleryn. You are the true leader of this world; your bloodline is pure. Regardless of the mendacities told by those of the Spirit Council, that truth remains. The Galactic Coalition doesn’t recognize Triaxeyn as anything but a nuisance. Had they their way, we would’ve been destroyed beside our sister planet, Orenz. “We’ve been denied a place at their table and the protection of their fleet.” Raydren walked forward, locking eyes with him. “Why then do we abide by the rulings that they foist upon us?” Zrahnz’s brow creased as he digested that truth. When a look of incredulity crossed his face, Raydren nodded.


Until retirement, Phillip T.

Stephens campaigned for community

rights and the arts. Writing and visual design classes for college students and at-risk youth paid the bills.

Since retirement, he has focused on writing and rescuing cats with his wife Carol in Austin, Texas for Austin Siamese Rescue. Phillip is a regular contributor to The BeZine, and The Creative Cafe. Publications include literary journals and anthologies, four novels, two volumes of poetry and peer reviewed papers on metaphoric thinking in scientific theory and religious belief. I won of three Indie Book Awards for my novel Seeing Jesus and the Gold award for poetry in ArtAscent Magazine’s August issue.

Readers can connect with Phillip at

Medium Wind Eggs Twitter (@stephens_pt)


Radiation Rhapsody by Phillip T. Stephens The Krl commander massaged his temple with the fibrous tendrils of his right feeler tentacle. He searched his console for any excuse, any distraction to delay his report. Sixty-seven solar systems with nothing to show his impatient and unforgiving superiors. He opened the communicator, switched to the hyperspace relay, wound his middle grabber tentacle around the command wand. A soft thud interrupted his thoughts. His navigator writhed against the cabin’s transparent door, trying to draw his attention. The navigator’s three-forked tongue clicked a message against his softshelled teeth. The wall muffled the message. The commander slithered to the liquid aluminum portal on his six transport tentacles. He pressed his ear to the wall. The navigator clicked again: “O&fn!dt.” It couldn’t be. An industrial but pre-nuclear planet five light years away. Half-a-century from discovering fission. Ripe for harvest, and total resource extraction. “#Sz@n?d.” the navigator added. #Sz@n?d? The Hive Directorate would promote him to fleet command at mission’s end. The rarest opportunity: a phenomenological computer somewhere on the surface. Hiding from them. He puffed his chest, displayed the full plumage of his rank. “X$%Z!!XZ!” The navigator slithered back to the command module. Do time travelers dream of broken watches? Carmen Maverick travels in time. Not with machines, or holographic clones. Carmen rides on dreams. She can ride the same dreamer for days—eavesdropping on his thoughts and conversations—or she can jump

to the dreams of someone the dreamer knows. On her last job, she leaped from a grandmother’s nostalgic reveries to her nephew’s fevered cheerleader fantasies. The nephew led her to the nightmares of his son decades later, nightmares of apocalypse he will forget when he wakes. From the son to his cabbie, to the cabbie’s barista, until she reached her final target: the programmer drinking the barista’s coffee while he composes concertos with code. She can ride but she can’t retrieve. She can only bring back what she sees and hears. No treasure, no microchips, no bearer bonds from 1823. No loss. She remembers every conversation, every page that passes her ride’s eyes: maps, contracts, schematics; secrets hidden by time. For that information, her employers pay well. For instance, she earned seven figures for the code composed in the coffee bar. Code to patch a network breach, finished minutes before the distracted programmer stepped in front of a speeding car. If she needs to, she can take their bodies for a drive to find the information she needs. Suggest that Shakespeare reread Cardenio before the night’s performance, or that Percival Fawcett double check the map he drew to Z. But driving brings risk, increases the chance the body will reject her. This jump? To the year 2408, June 28, four hundred years into the future. Into the dreams of a Triakuza mercenary who calls himself “Croc.” His apartment reeks of stale smoke and sweaty socks. Croc doesn’t notice the smell, but she does. Not as bad as fourteenth century Europe when shit littered the streets with plague-ridden corpses. Noxious none the less.


The gig? Nothing she’s ever been asked before. Simple collect and delivery. As long as she collects and delivers in 2408. Her brief is exhaustive: climate, history, robotics, culture, the Triakuza gangs. At first, she declined. Then her client emailed her fee. Three million dollars, deposited into a Swiss interestbearing account when the first bank opens in 1792. She can’t calculate the total in her mind. (A window opens in Croc’s neural interface: $276,452,670,919,368.34.) Which begs the question. If her employer manipulates time too, why hire her? She locates the item at a surplus warehouse tucked away in a Triakuza controlled neighborhood, hidden behind non-stop pedestrian traffic and street vendors that hawk aphrodisiacs, herbs to cure cancer and impotence, love charms, downloadable designer drugs, roast rat, roast bat, and candied cockroaches. The warehouse is deserted save for a customer service droid that wears an eye patch to cover an empty sensor socket. The question “why hire me” tunnels through her mind like an earworm. Not even a tolerable earworm. Anne Clark, for instance, or early Kate Bush. An earworm that drives you to hammer rebar into your skull. Achy Breaky Heart. D-I-V-O-R-C-E. A seaweed cigar dangles like a gangrenous thumb from his speaker socket. The speaker, soldered to his chin to make room for the cigar, skips and pops. Reminds her of searching for AM signals on rural roads at three in the morning. “Twenty-first century lithium-cobalt warheads are….” The droid stops. Lights flicker, a common occurrence in twenty-fifth century Los Angeles where the neuralnet hijacks power to infrastructure. Not even Los Angeles anymore. GuaLA. Street speak for The Greater Urban Area of Los Angeles, which stretches from Oaxaca to Nevada. Outside, Pacific winds spatter benzoxide dust onto pedestrians who shuffle by with heads tucked and hoods closed tightly around their faces. The lucky ones, with careers, breathe through air filter implants they replace surgically twice a month. Really lucky

pedestrians brush everyone aside as they speed past on Sedgehovers.

Hoverbuses and hovercars feign and dart across shoebox-sized lanes, trading dents and blemishes like bumper cars. Croc’s window reflection catches her eye. Bald, threedays beard, Marine Corp tattoo, Triakuza tats from the base of his left ear to underneath his collar. Crocodile tat on his right jaw. The lights return. The droid’s good eye flickers. “… illegal.” Carmen taps a finger on the counter. A meaty finger, thicker than bratwurst. Croc weighs three hundred sixty pounds, once muscle, now mostly fat. Driving dreamers burns twenty times more energy than eavesdropping. Driving Croc burns four times that. Metal shelves stretch four or five city blocks into the cavernous concrete building, sagging with robot track assemblies, fuel cells for interplanetary ballistic missiles, proton packs, faceless droid heads, and canisters covered with stickers declaring “biohazard,” “ecohazard,” and “RRFD” (really, really fucking dangerous). The droid continues to lecture: “Lithium-cobalt is a twenty-first century weapon.” She knows already. The Trump administration went public hoping to scare North Korea into backing down. Instead the Koreans spent trillions to develop their own. She leans across the counter until she’s close enough to bite the cigar. “I’m not looking for a warhead. I’m looking for a missile to deliver one.” The droid clerk ratchets his neck six inches higher. “Those come with hazard warnings and legal disclaimers.” Carmen taps a beef sausage finger on the neurowindow that hovers in the empty space between them. An account window opens. The balance? Three million neuros. The droid’s speaker sparks. “Ground unit or suitcase?”


She recalls the specs. The suitcase model had a seven percent chance of “catastrophic malfunction,” the ground unit only three. But she wouldn’t be launching the missile, just delivering it. C6H6S503. A slow acting toxin falling into the atmosphere from spacecraft exhaust. Neurowindows are little more than a shared illusion. The neuronet allows two or more collaborators to imagine a translucent white board between them. They share images, text and even relax on a couch and stream VR performances in which they play the characters.

Reduced to thirty hours by the time the droid hands over the missile.

A missile any reasonably disreputable twenty-fifth century citizen could have procured without time travel. Backstory answers nagging questions

“Suitcase.”

. She sits next to the kitchen of her drop point, a cantina in Doháájída, a spec in the sand of the former State of Texas in the long-gone United States. A Planck storm pummels the desert outside. A storm so violent her Triakuza pilot wouldn’t land. Made her parachute into the storm. She left the missile, cloaked, outside the compound.

“There’s a used one in the back. A few dents, but it works.”

She calls up the drink menu. Decides she’ll be safer with water.

How to drive your ride

Until this moment, nothing she’s seen in the twentyfifth century has thrown her off balance. The sevenfoot patron at the bar with a space suit and spider monkey’s tail curled like a whip nearly knocks her from Croc’s head.

It takes skill to drive your ride. People never notice when she drops in on their dreams. Drive them and their minds start looking in the shadows. Carmen practiced on dozens of dreamers after the day her ride, a cowpoke, lit a hand-rolled cigarette. She choked, knocked it from his mouth with his left hand. She startled. Her ride startled. She realized that, for an instant, she’d taken control. People have no driver’s seat; they run on a non-stop data exchange between body and brain with no awareness of the process. She learned to whisper, tap into the flow. Constant concentration. Exhausting concentration. She boosted the IV drip that fueled her resting body. B6, B12, folic acid, thiamine, niacin, Acetyl L-carnitine, ginkgo biloba, and ginseng. A glucose and caffeine drip in her other arm. Breaking dreamers takes days, sometimes a week. Small moves—a finger, darting eyes. Easily mistaken for a twitch. She mimics tics, idiosyncrasies. Her window for control is small. She has nine days before the dreamer builds resistance and rejects her. She needed four days to master Croc’s swagger and contempt for authority, another three to master the neuralnet (version 121.7). This leaves her with two days before Croc sends her packing.

Astro-monkey and the carnivorous plant next to him. One tendril clutches a shimmering shot glass which it tosses across its trap jaw just before the glass dissolves. Another tendril snatches a fly from an insect infested platter. Crawlers with cheese fries. She’s wrangled pirates, mobsters, soldiers, nuclear physicists and molecular engineers. She rode an explorer on the 2059 Mars mission where they found a crashed alien craft. But aliens in the flesh? Never supposed to happen. A shadow eclipses her table. “The bartender should know better than to serve this.” Two fingers the color of mahogany lift the opaque brown water bottle. She follows the fingers to a polished mahogany arm and from there to a seven-foot figure, shoulders as broad as her fireplace. He leans over the bar, hands the bottle to the Native American bartender who shrugs and returns it to the shelf. He drags a chair to the table, a chair larger than the others in the room.


. She assumes it’s reserved for him. Dense, sturdy. Maraging steel alloy. Up close his skin looks more like leather than wood, leather stretched too tight to flex or wrinkle. No flaws in this façade. He could pass for a museum statue. Human or droid? “I’m your client, QPHDOAC.” Rude bastard. Carmen studies the Triakuza micro-tattoos etched into Croc’s fingerprints. “It was a bottle of water.”

“Not the water you drink. Unless you drink a blend of Houston Ship Channel and Flint, Michigan Tap.” She waits for him to suggest another drink. He drops into his chair. Places his hands, palms down, on the table. The serve, it seems, is to her.

“We would have collected you. Had you waited.” She folds her hands in her lap, tucks her ankles beneath her chair. A gang-connected merc wouldn’t make such a feminine move, but she’s well past bothering with appearance. “Contact was my first priority.” He raises his chin, just a fraction. The neurowindow reopens with a map tracing her location since she took the job. Next to the red dot showing her location, two nested windows stream real-time video: one showing her at the table and the other mirroring what she sees. At the next table a Native American waitress takes an order from a Samurai, Zulu warrior and five-star general. “What is this place? An off-location film set?” She nods toward the space monkey and fly trap.

The strain on the chair’s dense frame suggests he weighs a ton. Definitely droid. Generations beyond the others. This century’s droids are designed for function. Feet? A waste of code and processing. Wheels work just as well. Arms? Rods, pulleys and gears. This droid’s limbs flow seamlessly into his torso.

“It’s a nexus between dimensions and time.”

She glances up from her fingertips. “Kephodoak? Odd name. Even for a droid.”

She studied meditation at a Zen monastery. Six years. Trying to master the art of stillness. Even the most seasoned monks blink. Not this guy.

“Quantum Phenomenological Hyper-Dimensional Ontological Autonomous Computer.” A neurowindow opens, mapping millions of nodes across a multidimensional manifold whose threads branch, loop, collapse and circle back upon themselves. Like stairways in an Escher print. Carmen touches fingers to lips. Muffles her laugh. With a line like that he could be human after all, parading in a top shelf body skin. A bio-suit perhaps, developed for survival in this toxic spill floating in a swamp in a galactic stink hole. If you wear the suit, why not add a super computer façade to spread your mystique? The neurowindow closes. “We collected the missile five minutes after you landed.” Only his mouth moves. And his eyes which scan her face and gestures. Otherwise he maintains perfect stillness, expending zero energy. Like a yogi.

This time she doesn’t try to catch her laugh. She leans her chin into her hands, waits for the punchline.

His face remains expressionless when he replies. “Why would a time traveler scoff at a window into time?” Is he puzzled? Annoyed?

“Physical time travel’s impossible.” “A window. Not travel. A membrane between physical and spiritual planes porous enough to slip through. For transactions and communication. Like the holy places of old, where pilgrims encounter the faces of God. This is the only one remaining. You paved the rest for malls and parking.” Her fingers spasm. Just a twitch. Croc’s body is learning to reject her. She checks the clock in his neuralwear. Nine days in the saddle, most without sleep. This is the end of the line. QPHDOAC stands, gestures for her to follow. When he rises, everyone in the bar focuses on him. “You’re experiencing rejection. We don’t have long.” Carmen stays put, feet flat, palms flat on the table. “Don’t have long for what?”


“To deliver the package to its destination. For you to launch the warhead.”

a nuclear weapon was. And because nine Doháájída warriors brought Custer’s cavalry to its knees.”

Carmen scoots her chair back, raises her palms in protest. “I agreed to deliver the missile. You take it from here.”

She squeezes Croc’s eyes shut, squeezes his temple. None of his story can be true.

Not even a tilt to his head. “I thought you understood. We can send the warhead and missile to any place in time. Only you can launch it.” He turns toward a door she hadn’t noticed, his steps like an aging athlete in the early stages of osteoarthritis. Ponderoous. Joints with little bend. Otherwise? No excess motion—no glancing about, no matching arms to steps.

“After Little Big Horn, Grant put together a coalition of scientists to decipher the meaning of ‘nuclear warhead.’ That coalition morphed into the Manhattan Project. Which led to the development of fission, atomic bombs, and the lithium-cobalt warhead we need to launch within the hour.” She squeezes her fingers into his shoulder to secure her grip. They slip off, unable to secure a hold. He grabs her waist before she folds.

He pauses in the open door. Sunlight highlights his back like a halo, the first sunlight she’s seen since she closed her curtains and inserted the IV. She follows.

“I exist in the human time stream. To answer your earlier question. I communicate with every instance of myself in the timeline, but I’m forbidden to alter it.”

Beyond the door she steps onto a gravel sidewalk. Mesquite trees stretch for miles. Sunlight bakes the desert sand. A half-dozen white-tailed kites lope lazily overhead. This is the Texas she remembers.

She must be losing it. Giving in to Croc’s rambling, alcohol induced dreams. The fact that she refers to Croc by name proves they’re splitting apart. “But you can hire me to do it for you?”

“To answer your question, the U.S. government gave us the first working warhead. It was written into the treaty when we gained our independence in 1869.”

“The benefit of living with humans. You invented loopholes.”

She massages her forehead. Rewinds to the question she forgot was in her mind when she stepped from the canteen into a desert that should have become a dust bowl after the nuclear autumn.

Only she isn’t massaging her forehead. Her hand trembles at her waist, refusing to follow directions. Spasms scramble her thoughts. “You’re an hour from rejection.” She concentrates on his words until she extracts the question rattling around the aftershocks. Not, “How did this desert survive the biowars?” Not, “How do you move a missile through time without time travel?” But, “A nuclear weapon? In an 1869 treaty?” The image of a time-straddling phenomenological walking computer bursts into a blinding headache. QPHDOAC hurries back and grips her under the shoulder. “They agreed because they didn’t know what

They reach a copse of desert willows and cottonwood trees. The willows’ pink, orchid shaped flowers bloom in full and stretch toward the sun. A brave in a lab coat, face covered with war paint, tinkers with the missile. He wears his raven hair braided. It rides his back like a horse’s mane. The launcher is little more than a tripod on a wheeled platform supporting a missile scaffold and onboard computer. The brave’s fingers dance across the surface of an antique tablet connected to the launch pad computer by a frayed flash cable. A six-meter clearing shimmers in the center of the grove, almost lost in the shade. Is this what the Japanese mean by Komorebi? The brave disconnects the tablet and unlocks the platform wheels. QPHDOAC pushes the missile into the clearing. It vanishes. The only word she can manage? “Where?”


QPHDOAC surveys the clearing. “When.” In the shadows he could be part of the landscape. “Five hundred years ago today to be exact. Which is when we’re sending you.” Her knees buckle. QPHDOAC uploads schematics and the manual to Croc’s neuralnet. The data stream floods her fading consciousness. A window opens into the consciousness of a man so old he dreams of meeting God. A cold morning at the world’s ass end Illarion Ostroukhov’s bastard rooster crows him from a rare night’s sleep. Four, maybe five hours. Illarion lifts his legs, one at a time, from his rotting cotton mattress and drops his feet onto his hut’s dirt floor. Gathering his thumb, index and long fingers into a triangle—the sign of the Trinity—he touches his forehead, his belly, his right shoulder, his left. He grabs the beam beside the bed and pulls his body upright, shuffles to his wash basin. He coughs a lump of lung into the bowl. His fourth this week. He feels like he’s breathing through a bucket of coal. Today. It happens today. He knows someone is watching him even though he’s hundreds of verst from the nearest town. He dips his hand into the bowl. His fingers drip water and blood as he combs them through his hair. He reaches for his cane and stumbles to the door on ankles that slip in and out of joint. He remembers the wood man’s words. “You will host a traveler.” He didn’t realize what “host” meant until now. He stops in the doorway to bathe in the early morning sunlight. The machine sits ten yards from his porch in Siberian summer grass, left to grow because he can no longer lift his scythe. He’s never seen a machine like this, a long artillery shell strapped to a train rail. He planned to spend his life in study and prayer at the Solovetsky Monastery, but the Bishop exiled him to this outpost thirty years before, a so-called sanctuary in the wilderness, where he served the sacraments to

squirrels, bears and the odd pilgrim. The church keeps this spot a secret, one of the last holy places, where the true seeker might stare into the future or the past and encounter the face of God. He stares into the future and sees the forest reduced to ash. He steps onto the stone path and greets the traveler. What irony. She materializes inside his head. He says to her, “Welcome to my temple,” and Carmen crosses the remaining distance to the missile, wading through grass that brushes her knees. She stops midway, clutches her chest, coughs a bloody mass into her hand. Rolls it past the tips of her fingers and into the dirt. She wipes her hand on the night shirt. No wonder the old monk was eager to leave. She counts every second. Timing is critical and she lost the neural link to QPHDOAC when she leapt from Croc. Her chances of reconnecting? Nil. The age of wireless began seven years ago. With Marconi’s first broadcast. In 1901. She remembers QPHDOAC’s instructions, every wire and every detail of the missile. Program the missile for subspace flight. Straight upward. To the edge of the atmosphere. Fifteen megatons of energy. Flatten every tree in Siberia for two thousand kilometers. Radiation directed outward.

Into space. At 7:17 she triggers the thirty second countdown…. The pieces fall into place …and wakens immediately in her studio. She rips out her IV. Instead of opening her blinds, she grabs her iPad. Opens her browser. Search terms? “Siberia June 30 1908.” Happy endings are a matter of perspective The Krl vessel crested the moon and set its final course toward Earth. They identified a well-sheltered location for their secret base in a remote region that inhabitants called Siberia. The Krl commander floated in his pod on the bridge, following their course on the monitor.


They passed the moon’s gravitational field, mere seconds from crossing the clouds covering the planet.

A flash from the surface blinded the crew. Alarm clicks echoed through the ship: Lethal radiation. The navigator clutched his gizzard. “Neutron blast.” The commander unwound his grabber tentacle, took manual control of the ship, reversed course. “You said, ‘pre-nuclear.’” “That’s what our instruments said.”

the threshold with his last functioning tentacle. He wrapped a tendril around his console command wand and dragged himself to the communicator. He composed the briefest message he could manage: “Neutron arsenal system 79975 avoid.” His body dissolved when he hit “send.” The ship crashed on Mars where the winds buried it under the red sand. It wouldn’t be unearthed until the Fifth International Expedition of 2059.

The first wave of nausea flopped him, tentacles up. He rocked his body upright, abandoned the bridge and slithered toward his cabin. He dragged his body across

1.

END

Krl tentacles serve a variety of functions: six movers, three grabbers, two touchers, two feelers, three suckers and an eater. The complex coordination required to operate all 17 at once explains their rapid evolution compared to creatures with simple opposable thumbs.

2.

C6H6S503. A slow acting toxin falling into the atmosphere from spacecraft exhaust.

3.

Neurowindows are little more than a shared illusion. The neuronet allows two or more collaborators to imagine a translucent white board between them. They share images, text and even relax on a couch and stream VR performances in which they play the characters.

4.

The incident occurred six months before Little Big Horn and may have fueled Custer’s determination to face down Sitting Bull. The U.S. government excised the report from official history.

5.

A pre-Soviet Russian unit of distance, a fraction longer than one kilometer.

Readers can connect with Phillip at

Medium Wind Eggs Twitter (@stephens_pt)


Coming early 2018

The List

CQI Magazine’s selection of must read books


'In Two Minds' a limited edition GiclĂŠe, canvass portrait. Printed with high quality GiclĂŠe inks on premium, hand stretched canvas, using wooden frames from sustainable sources. A truly stunning result has been achieved. Each print measures 50 x 50cm (20 x 20 inches) and is supplied with fixtures and hanging instructions.

In Two Minds will stimulate conversation at home or in the office. It makes a wonderful, well received and thoughtful gift. Delivered (almost) anywhere in the world. Don't delay, order your copy today.

https://www.peecho.com/print/en/314999


by

Pa u l W h i t e



CQ Magazine

loves this

calendar from Paul White.

Taking twelve of his humorously distorted portraits from the Boggle Eyes collection, Paul has collated them into an eye-catching wall calendar which looks equally good on your kitchen as it does on your office wall.

Available from all good book shops and gift stores near you.

The Boggle Eyes calendar is also available online from leading retails.

Available on Amazon http://amzn.to/2ynolp2 Calvendo http://www.calvendo.co.uk/galerie/boggle -eyes… Book Butler http://www.bookbutler.de/compare?isbn=9781325317141 Book Depositary https://www.bookdepository.com/search/9781325317141

Speedy Hen https://www.speedyhen.com/…/BOGGLE-EYES-2018-Port…/21891661


The next CQ Magazine

‘New Year of Romance’ is the

February 2018

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CQI Sci-Fi season special  

Promoting indie authors, artists, creatives and artisans to a global audience

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