Promotional art for Sam M. Phillips’ “Swirling Darkness”
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Sam Phillips is an author, poet, and a co-founder of Zombie Pirate Publishing with Adam Bennett. They published some of my very first short stories and have been a lot of fun to work with.
Sam is branching out as an individual author and I recently read two of his books, Infinity and I, published by the aforementioned Zombie Pirate, and Swirling Darkness published as part of the Underground series by Black Hare Press
The description for his anthology is:
INFINITY AND I is a collection of seventy brand new science fiction stories from Sam M. Phillips, the co-founder of Zombie Pirate Publishing. Inside you’ll find surreal space journeys, bizarre aliens, futuristic technology, rogue AIs, and a girl who just wants to be loved. Follow a huge array of exotic characters across the galaxy as they use inter-dimensional drugs and fight battles on faraway worlds. Action, drama, and science combine with the complexity of the human soul in the year’s most exciting new sci fi release. Open up a portal and step into the depths of a unique mind with INFINITY AND I: Seventy Science Fiction Stories!
As an aside, I should note that my novella Time’s Abyss is also part of the Underground series.
Sam publishes his poetry on his blog Big Confusing Words. That’s important to know for my review as you’ll soon see.
The blurb for “Darkness” states:
Cover art for the Zombie Pirate Publishing anthology “Witches vs. Wizards”
I just finished Zombie Pirate Publishing‘s 2018 anthology WITCHES VS WIZARDS: A Fantasy Anthology, and I must say I was exceptionally impressed. Typically, indie anthologies are a mix of terrific, good, and okay stories, with one or two stinkers, but this one surprised me.
I can’t say I found a story I didn’t like. A few of them were on themes I don’t naturally resonate with, but in each and every case, the writing was solid, and they all had an interesting, if not always unique take on the world of magic.
Derek Paterson’s “The House of Magus” was a compelling tale that could have come out of the pages of a Robert E. Howard “Conan” short story, although with more thought and a bit less bashing.
Adam Bennett’s “The Apprentice” was somewhat predictable, at least at the end, but getting there was half the fun. I had hoped for a happier ending for the hapless protagonist, but sometimes that’s not how magic and quest to slay witches works out.
Sam M. Phillips – Photo taken from his website
“Cold Fusion” was written by Sam M. Phillips, co-owner of Zombie Pirate Publishing, for their anthology World War Four(2019). After reviewing Neal Asher’s Monitor Logan, featured in the same book, I received encouragement from a few of the other authors, including Phillips, to keep going.
So here I am.
The story is remarkably short. I went through it in just a few minutes, but that doesn’t mean comprehension is easy. The nameless protagonist is dying of radiation poisoning, but beyond that, the imagery is so hallucinatory, that it seems the poor fellow is already mad, stumbling across the multi-colored snow-covered countryside, body parts falling away like leaves, knowing his moments are numbered.
It’s also quite possible he’s become insane because he’s responsible for the cold fusion weapon that has destroyed, what? Everything?