COVID-19 Log: WIP for April 23, 2020

planet

Image: hongkiat.com

Editing an over 28,000 word novella takes a long time. I’m actually okay with that, since I’m not (paid) working today, and we don’t have the grandchildren. My wife is going nuts since she’s far more social than I am, and she’s spent long periods of time talking by phone to our daughter and my Mom.

I thought I’d share portions of my current work in progress (WIP), which involves space travel, time travel, espionage, aliens, and real technology. I’m especially proud of the research I did on mid-1960s American spy satellites.

Here’s a sample of what I’ve been working on. Let me know what you think (and remember, this is not the polished form):

“That son of a bitch,” Smirnoff spat out as ear-splitting klaxons and flashing alarm lights on the bay’s walls announced the opening of the primary launch doors over fifty feet above their heads. “What’s he doing? Romanovich knows the first trial flight isn’t scheduled for six weeks, and Cosmonaut Dobrovolsky won’t arrive here until next Tuesday.”

Utkins could smell stale cigars and vodka on his breath. “Well, Lieutenant! Stop that ship. Don’t let it get off the ground!”

She screamed at her troops and they all rushed forward. Smirnoff ranted at nearby technicians to override the launch bay doors as they were vainly pounding keys and gibbering something about the security lockouts being disabled.

The ramp had been fully retracted by the time the Lieutenant’s complement reached the ship. She ordered them to fire their rifles, sparks flaring off the impervious skin.

To the left, from around the edge of the craft, the two men Smirnoff had ordered to check Romanovich’s quarters were accompanying a very recognizable, diminutive figure, spindly legs extending out of oversized boxers. “Fuck you, Volkov,” Smirnoff murmured with satisfaction. “I see Romanovich pulled one over you.” Then he watched as a blast of force exploded outward from the slowly rising spaceship, vaporizing the irritating Lieutenant and seven other “heroes” of the state.

Continue reading

Excerpt from My Untitled WIP Novella

raptor

Novaraptor – image found at multiple sources

I’ve been doing a lot of writing on my two days off, and as of today, submitted two pieces to different anthologies. My WIP (one of them) right now is a Novella between 20,000 and 40,000 words long. I’m in Heaven, well, sort of. I’m around the 13,600 mark for the first draft and hoping I can tell a story that makes sense. My normal tale is anywhere between 3,000 and 7,500 words in length.

Decided that since I’ve been posting mainly book reviews and self promotional stuff lately, and too little of my actual writing, that I’d share this Novella length WIP, well, a small part of it. Keep in mind, you’re coming in late in the game, so a lot of the character and situational details have already been covered.

Continue reading

The Engineer and the Clockwork Dragon: A Preview

dragon

from “The Hobbit” (2012)

Sixty-seven-year-old Rolf Liechtenstein was surprised to wake up alive, but that wasn’t his biggest revelation. Looking past the strange figure robed in crimson, tangerine, and green who was hovering over him, he saw a large, golden dragon collapsed on a wide, stone floor.

“I thought I only dreamed…” His voice sounded more like a croaking frog, and his throat was dry as desert sand. He had meant to speak in English, but had lapsed into his native German, a tongue he hadn’t spoken regularly outside of his home since he was a boy.

The hooded old woman muttered something incomprehensible, and wizened hands protruding from long, loose sleeves pushed his shoulders back onto a mat as he tried to get a better look.

Continue reading

Book Review of “Escaping Infinity”

infinity

Cover art for Richard Paolinelli’s novel “Escaping Infinity”

I’ve wanted to read and review one of Richard Paolinelli’s novels for quite some time now, since I previously reviewed his short story The Last Hunt which was featured in last year’s Superversive Press anthology To Be Men: Stories Celebrating Masculinity. I finally got my opportunity with Escaping Infinity, a 2017 Dragon Award Finalist.

As I got into Paolinelli’s book, I found it had some similarities to Australian SciFi writer Matt Reilly’s 2000 novel Contest. In both books, an innocent couple is thrown into a highly unlikely environment where they must solve a series of challenges in order to survive. In Reilly’s case, it was the location was the main branch of the New York City Public Library, and in Paolinelli’s novel, it’s a seemingly five-star hotel located in the middle of the Arizona desert, miles away from where any such structure has a right to be.

Peter and his friend and co-worker Charlie are driving to Phoenix for a business trip and become lost. Running out of gas and miles from nowhere, they come across an incredibly futuristic and opulent hotel called “Infinity.” Once inside, they realize the hotel and casino can provide a virtually unlimited supply of pleasures and experiences, enough to keep them there for a lifetime, which seems to be the idea.

Continue reading

The Sacrificed

alternate universes“I can’t do it, Erickson. I’m no killer.” Rafael Isaiah Johnson had traveled back in time 172 years to stop a global extinction event and save the human race, but the man he hoped to enlist as an ally, Austin Randolph Erickson had another idea, a murderous one.

The two men, one a Hispanic-African-American who wouldn’t be born for another 135 years was standing in the other man’s kitchen between the refrigerator and the stove, the exit to his back, while the opposing person, a white American man of Scandinavian ancestry was facing him and holding out the butt of a loaded semi-automatic Glock 20. The drawer to his left and second from the top was still pulled open.

“You’ve got to do it, Johnson. I believe you. I believe all of the holographic evidence you brought with you, that my unborn son is the key in time, the critical element in preventing the reversal of the effects of climate change. Take the gun. If I don’t exist, then he won’t be born.”

Continue reading

Rewinding Time

the road

© Sue Vincent

Sixty-six year old Douglas Collier was shocked to find that he was walking out of the foothills toward Idaho State Highway 21 somewhere between Idaho City and Boise. In fact, he didn’t expect to exist at all, let alone be on his feet.

“What the hell just happened?” He stumbled across a low, grassy rise near some abandoned fence poles, gazing down at the asphalt pavement just below the hill.

“Are you talking to me?” The voice sounded like a snarky teenage boy, someone you’d find on social media flaunting their progressive values alongside their World of Warcraft online scores. The harness on Doug’s body, concealed under his faded blue jeans, tan, long-sleeved pullover shirt and dark blue jacket glowed a brilliant white and green as the AI spoke each word.

In a momentary burst of anger, he shot back, “Who the hell are you, Robert De Niro?”

Continue reading

The Man Who Would Be God

railroad tunnel

© Dawn M. Miller

Fanatic time traveler Michael Robert Obe knew only murder could change the future. “Sorry, kid. This is the only way.” The eccentric (or insane) physicist held the bound five-year-old boy by the collar of his shirt while standing on the railway trestle.

“I loved this view when I was a kid. That’s why I brought you here. Too much at stake in my future world to let you live.”

The child looked up at his captor in terror.

“Good-bye, Freddie.”

Obe rolled Fredrick Christ Trump into the Colombia River to drown.

“Now to see what sort of world I’ve created.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

As you may have guessed, Fredrick Christ Trump was the father of our current President Donald Trump. I know this harkens back to the old time travel paradox of whether  or not you would kill Adolf Hitler as an infant in order to prevent the Holocaust. I’ve written stories like that before, but given that (at least in social media) any action that would inhibit, stop, impeach, erase, Donald Trump (or anyone conservative, or anyone suspected of being a Trump voter or at least not a Democrat) seems justified, I decided to take it one illogical step further. Would you murder Trump’s Dad when he was five years old to prevent a Trump presidency? In other words, would you kill an innocent little boy in cold blood because you think it’s the greater moral good?

Interesting question.

To read other (kinder, gentler) stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

A Slight Miscalculation

grand canyon

© Google 2018

Eccentric billionaire Randolph Houston was making the adjustments on the temporal transfer device at the bottom of Arizona’s Grand Canyon as his fourth wife, 26-year-old Paulette watched.

“Why not wait for that expert, what’s his name?”

“Carlos Bradley, and he’s late.” The aging scientist continued his adjustments.

“What is he? A geologist, paleontologist, archaeologist?”

“All, which was why I hired him. By attaching the TTD to strata here in the canyon, I can travel back to the formation’s origins 2.5 billion years ago.

“How do you know what you’ll find?”

“Bradley, if he had been on time, was to tell me.”

“You’re going now?”

“The battery will only last fifteen minutes. Tempus fugit.” The 75-year-old flipped a switch and vanished.

Carlos arrived and passionately embraced Paulette.

“You’re sure he’s never coming back.”

“My dear, 2.5 billion years ago, there was almost no oxygen in the atmosphere. He would have died in seconds.”

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw challenge. The idea is to use a Google Maps image/location as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Grand Canyon, Arizona, which I’ve visited many times. I looked up the history of the Grand Canyon and found that “nearly two billion years of Earth’s geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock.”

I looked up what was going on about 2.5 billion years ago, and found out, among other things, that there was hardly any oxygen in the atmosphere. Too bad Randolph didn’t do his homework.

To read other tales based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

The New Dragon Saga: Dark Quest

dark woods

Found at wallpapertag.com

Chapter 7: He was seven years old, alone in the dark, and he could hear breathing.

“Who’s there?” His voice quavered and he was shivering with cold and fright. “Daddy, is that you?” He felt like he were in a large room somewhere, but when he breathed out, he could see frigid mist as if he were in a gigantic freezer.

“Grandpa?” How did he get here? The last thing he remembered was…then he realized that he shouldn’t be seven anymore.

“This has got to be a dream. I need to wake up. Wake up.”

Then there was more than one something breathing in the darkness, a lot more somethings, and they were all around him.

“No. Get away from me. I won’t let you hurt me.” He tried to think of a spell, any spell that might get him out of here. The light spell. It was the first one he’d learned a long time ago when he was…seven. How could he be seven again?

Continue reading

The New Dragon Saga: Reversal

time stone

Image of the time stone in the amulet of Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) from the 2018 film “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Chapter 5: Estaban’s finger poised over the trigger as he pointed the handgun at the little boy and his baby sister. His back was to the paralyzed Landon and Steve, but the wizards could imagine the wicked grin on the villain’s face as he was just seconds away from killing the teenage sorcerer’s childhood self.

“Landon?” It was Grandpa’s voice coming from inside the house. He was about to open the screen door to see what his grandchildren were up to.

Then Estaban wheeled around, pointed the pistol at Steve and fired. In that instant, the temporal field holding the older Landon in place vanished and he tumbled to his left. He could see the bullet crossing the space between the two twins, the expression on Estaban’s face was one of sorrow, not evil.

His blind right eye couldn’t see the shield collapse around Steve just an instant before the bullet was to strike, nor the rage twisting his face. He barely had time to raise an elemental air shield between the combatants and his family. As the .45 caliber projectile struck Steve, he suddenly wasn’t there anymore.

Continue reading