Zip Harrington, Asteroid Ornament

Zip knew his oxygen wouldn’t last forever, so when he felt himself growing lightheaded, he figured his nefarious career had come to an end. He couldn’t even sigh in resignation. He felt logic and conscious thought slipping away, like that old Earth desert jello used to slip through his fingers as a child.

His view of space grew blurry, even as the damned asteroid continued to plummet through the stars and space dust. He coughed once, a desperate and involuntary plea from his lungs for more oxygen. When none came, his eyelids simply slid closed.

As Zip’s eyes closed, the space rock that was his killer, slowed and finally stopped. A long arm tipped with a pincher separated itself from the surface, inched toward Zip, and pulled him off like a bird trapped on the grill of a tractor trailer.
Had he been conscious, he would have found the similarity hilarious.

The long arm pulled him back toward the bulk of rock, where an airlock opened. The pincher dropped him in, the airlock closed and the arm receded.
Then the rock that wasn’t, promptly changed course.

Taking Zip Harrington, Space Mercenary, with it.

To be continued!

Zip Harrington, Space Mercenary

Just a little bit of short fiction, inspired by a word prompt over at The Daily Post. Enjoy!

 

The asteroid wasn’t large, but it was on a deadly trajectory. Headed straight for him and there was bugger all he could do about it. There was nothing to push off from, nothing to give him the thrust he needed to get out of the asteroid’s way.

He waited to see his life flash before his eyes like everyone said would likely happen.

It didn’t.

Nothing changed.

Space continued to move around him. The asteroid carried on its merry way, seemingly determined to take him out.

Zip Harrington was a little disappointed.

He could hear his father now – accusing him of not even being capable of dying correctly.

Zip could only watch as the asteroid got a little larger with each second that passed.

Just before impact, he screwed his eyes shut, an involuntary reaction. He felt the asteroid body-slam him and his eyes flew open in time to watch his hoses and safety tether snap off the outside of his ship.

The ship he’d been repairing.

Alone.

 

No one knew he was out here, no one to care that his ship had been crippled by a cascade wave of malfunctions. No one knew he would have died in a matter of weeks.

And now he would die in hours, a bug pinned by momentum to the leading surface of an asteroid no bigger than a Volkswagen, hurtling through space.

With a screaming space pirate unable to pry himself off, with nowhere to go.

And nothing to do but watch space speed by his visor.

And wonder what came next.

Zip
 

If you enjoyed this bit of short fiction, please feel free to leave a comment!

Feeding Martians & Earthlings Alike

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So it turns out that The Martian might have been onto something all along. Yes, the movie with Matt Damon.

Scientists have now proven that not only can potatoes be grown on Mars, which could be of enormous value when we colonize the red planet. Not only will our first generation of Martians benefit from this research, but so might the hundreds of thousands of Earthinglings suffering from chronic malnutrition and starvation.

No, it won’t solve all our food-related woes, but it’s a step.

Read the article here on Futurism

Universe, Star System or Galaxy?

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In my ‘Infinite Worlds’ series, (which starts with ‘If It’s Easy’) a previously unknown planet is discovered in an alternate universe. The scientists who discover this world call it Terra Geminus. Without giving too much away, the initial expedition finds the planet is not only colonized but already named New Olympus! Confusing? Not really. It’s common for one group of people to call a landmark one thing, and another group refer to that same landmark by a completely different name.

I knew sooner or later, I’d have to decide where in the skies my imagined planet of Terra Geminus resided. I already knew the planet would not be in our skies…but where? Did I focus on its immediate galaxy? Was it in a solar system?

Before I drove myself even further nutty, I knew it was time to buckle down and learn the differences before I made a mistake there was no coming back from. So, here’s what I learned.

A star system is a large number of stars and accompanying bodies with a perceptible structure. (Sounds a lot like a galaxy to me)

Our solar system is a collection of eight planets and their moons, comets, asteroids, gases and star dust in orbit around the sun.

A galaxy is a system of millions of stars, gas and dust, all held together by gravitational forces.

A universe is all existing matter and space as a whole containing vast, uncountable numbers of galaxies.

So then my question changed. Did I want to focus on only the planet or the larger galaxy it belonged to?

My overall plan is to tell the stories of other characters on other worlds, all of whom will be in the same galaxy, and will all have some degree of interconnectedness.

(Think of knots in a web. Connected, but still on different points within the web)

I knew then, that I had to name the galaxy as well.

Just as Earth is but one body in our Milky Way galaxy, so too will Terra Geminus/New Olympus be just one planet of many in the Claudisius galaxy. There are other worlds, stars, comets and gas balls in the Claudisius galaxy of course. There are scientists, dreamers, cartographers, xenobiologists and explorers as well, all roaming about and having adventures.

If it’s Easy’ introduces us to two of those explorers, and ‘Infinite Worlds’ shares more of their story with us, and allows us to go with them on the adventure of a lifetime as they race to save an expedition to Terra Geminus. Like our own lives, small grains on a large planet, in a larger galaxy in a vast universe.

After all, we can’t possibly be the only life among the stars.

Here’s A Question For You…

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Question time, my lovely reader!

Can you name any science fiction, fantasy or speculative fiction books that have

  • indigenous/Native/First People as leaders of a culture/planet/world
  • queer/LGBT/trans/gender-fluid cultures portrayed as commonplace
  • disabled folks (visible or otherwise) as world leaders

 

If you know of any, shout out in the comments below and expand our reading horizons!

 

Next time, a review of Fletcher DeLancey’s fourth book in her brilliant ‘Caphenon’ series!

The Caphenon

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I’ve been thinking about this book for days, trying to pick out a favorite character, or favorite part of the story. I can’t. There are just so many great elements, themes and snippets of dialogue.

I admire the way the characters are presented, and developed. Early on, even before we see the Caphenon, the characters become people, seemingly REAL people. We are presented with a plausible world that we can nearly touch, such are the world building skills of the author. We are drawn into this world so vividly that we feel the windows explode, we feel the ground shake when the ground-pounder walks by and we mourn at the Flight of The Return ceremony.
It was a sad twist that the two people most suited for each other could not be together, but I hope we see more of them in future books. I was impressed by the explanation of FTL flight, because it was so easily understood! The science was so deftly woven and explained that it becomes a reasonable, vital tool that supports the main stars of this book, the characters.

The quality of the e-book needs mentioning here too. I read a great deal, fiction and non-fiction, across a wide range of topics and from a wide range of publishers. I did not find one error in this e-book. Not one. I could go on for hours about how much I appreciate the care and eye for detail that has gone into this e-book, this story, and how readable it is. I could, but I won’t.

Simply, I have fallen in love with Alsea. If Lhyn and Ekatya go back, can they take me too?

If you haven’t read this book yet, you need to. If you have read it, please let me know in the comments what you thought. Surely I cannot be the only one who thinks Fletcher DeLancey is a brilliant genius!

The Jakkattu Vector: A Review

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Any reviewer, or just the most honest among us, worth their salt is supposed to declare when we’ve been given an advance copy of a book. So, in that vein, I’m going to go on record and tell you straight up that I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
That being said, I can say this is the deepest, most intelligent book I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a very long time. It is thoughtful, and thought-provoking. It makes you question bits of our own world without you even consciously realizing it. At first, it’s hard to draw parallels, but they are there. Some more obvious than others, but it’s kind of a ‘a-ha!’ moment when you do see them. When you begin to understand how the book-past got the characters to where they are, it’s a bit of a shock. But this book is the wisest speculation of our future I’ve read. There is genetic manipulation, an altered, poisoned world. There is injustice, cruelty and yet…There are those who question everything they’ve been taught. They seek freedom from lies and accepted truths born of fear and the lure of what is easy.

This book is one of those you should re-read every six months or so. Not only because it’s simply that great, but because I promise you’ll notice something new each time you read it. Some clever description, some characteristic you hadn’t noticed before, or maybe another new parallel between Tyler’s imagined world and our own.


I am a new fan of P.K Tyler. I have every intention of buying every word this author has written.
You should too. Read with an open mind, consider it all carefully and prepare to have your mind blown.