Warrior’s Prize

oceanThe amber sands of the Elysian beach and the expanse of the ocean beyond called to the triumphant Erik Reeves, but not as much as she did. Leona, as young, as brilliantly beautiful as she had been before the war, stood waiting, the sea at her back. She had shed the ruffled skirt and cotton smock, naked toes clutching at sparse greenery beneath her feet.

He said nothing, consumed with concupiscence, his mind still filled with the lust of battle, and now he would conquer her as well, his prize, the spoils of victory. He doffed his own shorts and t-shirt and then advanced.

She smiled, pale blue eyes contrast against skin the color of coconut shell. He raised a paw toward her bare, heavy breasts, but she took a hasty step backward.

Continue reading

My Short Story “From Deep Within the Skin” to be Published

infestation

Promotional art for the anthology “Infestation.”

This makes the fourth short story of mine accepted into an anthology so far in 2020.

My wee tale “From Deep Within the Skin” was accepted into Infestation: A Horror Anthology by Terror Tract Publishing. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon, for download to your Kindle device on March 30, 2020.

Imagine that as climate change continually heats the globe and hundreds of species a year become extinct, at least one evolves, grows, and thrives. However, as this corporate entity further encounters mankind, it develops a wider agenda, human conquest by bodily infestation.

Continue reading

Short Story Review: “Suppose They Gave a Peace” (1992)

Cover art for the anthology, “The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century

The latest tale I read in The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century edited by Harry Turtledove and Martin H. Greenberg is Susan Swartz‘s 1992 short story Suppose They Gave a Peace.

It’s an anti-war Vietnam era tale as seen through the eyes of a family in Ohio in the early 1970s. Frankly, it reminded me of the old sitcom All in the Family, set in the same era and, at least in the beginning, with the same stereotypes.

Dad’s a World War Two and Korean War vet who is a total conservative. Mom’s a peace loving Quaker. Daughter is a radical college protestor, and son joined the Marines and is serving at the U.S. embassy in Saigon.

The alternate part of this history is that McCarthy won the election rather than Nixon. It didn’t seem to make much difference since the Fall of Saigon was just as ghastly.

Continue reading

Freedom Day

new beginnings

– Gabriel Isak

No one thought the Fields of Shantara would be the decisive battle against the tyranny of the Verbeni. For a dozen generations, the invaders of the colony world of Grazoria had ruled the human race with cruel efficiency, and although the resistance fighters were outgunned and out manned, they were courageous. Their harassment of the enemy gave the populace hope, until their exploits became legends for their children and their grandchildren.

Continue reading

After the War

waterfall

© Dale Rogerson

The flowing water was marginally warmer than the frigid air, but Lance dressed for the weather and felt comfortable crouching down on a flat rock near the falls. At his feet patiently sat the urn. When he first met Tamara a decade ago, he never thought she liked the cold and the mountains so much. He was used to snow, being raised as a “flatlander,” but he’d have a hard time getting used to the altitude.

Pouring out the open clay container, her ashes rained into the stream like tears. “I wish I would have told you I loved you.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields writing 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.

Yesterday, I wrote the opening to a wee Space Opera called The Girl He Left Behind, which was my response to a completely different writing challenge. You can’t tell because of the brevity of this piece, but this is the aftermath of winning an interstellar war, with Lance being one of the few survivors. He takes the ashes of one of his fellow soldiers, a woman he always thought was just a friend, but who had fallen in love with him, back to her homeworld, the only one to have not been destroyed.

War isn’t kind, even to the victors.

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

The New Dragon Saga: Wargames

pork chop hill

Painting of the 45th Infantry Division at Pork Chop Hill in 1952 – Found at Wikipedia

Chapter 2: War, except the Master didn’t call it war, he called it “the Games.” Games, but these games were deadly.

It had been weeks, no…months ago when seventeen-year-old Landon had stood in the main Arena at training camp with the other recruits, all kidnapped as he was, from all over the Earth, and from all over time. They had one purpose: to represent this realm in the Games, to fight, battle after battle, war after war, and if they won, the realm gained territory. If they lost, so did the realm, and that meant they died.

They still wore their collars, for cowardliness or defection to the other side would not be tolerated. At the first sign a soldier’s betrayal, there would be a warning pain. At the second, the collar’s charge would be fatal.

For Landon, and some of the others, the collar had a secondary effect: it cancelled the ability to perform any form of sorcery, a skill for which the teen had trained since he was a child.

Today’s game was “Flanders Field,” reminiscent of the trenches and killing grounds of Earth’s First World War, except the other side had styled their troops not only from the early 20th century, but from the first century Roman Empire, the eighteen century American Revolutionary War, and one platoon carried plasma rifles from the twenty-second century Cyborg Wars.

Continue reading

The New Dragon Saga: Training

sword grip

Found at Kung Fu Magazine.com – No image credit available

Chapter 1: Buddy the Ambrosial Dragon had only been sporadically living with Landon and his family for the past year or so. Now that he had grown to his full stature (about the size of a school bus), he always had to shrink himself downwhen he came to stay with them, as he had right now.

He didn’t tell his seventeen-year-old apprentice anything about his “secret missions,” and Landon knew all too well that once the Dragon’s mind was made up, there was no changing it. The only time they got to spend with each other was during his lessons in the teen’s personal pocket universe, the small pouch which was its entrance was sitting on the top of his book shelf here in his bedroom.

The high school senior slammed shut his calculus book, tossed it on the floor with the other texts, and got off his bed. He pulled the ear buds out and closed the music app on his phone, stuffing it in his pocket. He felt strangely anxious. There was something not right, but his senses couldn’t pinpoint it.

Continue reading

For Queen and Country

feast

Scene from the 2017 film “Victoria & Abdul

The wedding loomed closer and all Tay could do was think of storm clouds. She did love Silas, after a fashion, but while their marriage would join their two Kingdoms into a formidable and wealthy Empire, Udristan to the east and Mutriuka and Kozanar to the south would likely become fearful. Previously, neither her beloved Sasmen or Silas’s nation of Crenia to the west were considered a threat, but this wedding and all of its implications could be interpreted as a prelude to war.

“A penny, Tay.”

She had been staring out her private tower’s western window at the city skyline and the farm lands beyond, and hadn’t noticed that her mother had come in.

Turning, she walked over to her, knelt, and kissed her hand in greeting. Then she rose and faced the Queen. “You would be short-changed, I’m afraid.”

“Oh, that again.” Her friendly demeanor instantly soured, and she adopted an expression of displeasure. “I’m only thinking of our people. This alliance will strengthen both of our nations. You know that.”

“And quite possibly plunge us into a bloody war, Mother.” She spun and walked to the window, and then turned back to her progenitor and the most powerful woman in their nation. “I’ve explained the dynamics of it again and again…”

“Yet you fail to convince me, little one.”

Continue reading

The Last Exploit of the Escapist

re-entry

Progress spacecraft re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere in a blazing trail of plasma, as seen from the International Space Station – © NASA

The Escapist initiated the landing sequence as the ship began its rapid descent into the stratosphere, his neurochemical link to the spacecraft’s control systems making this nearly reflexive.

“Welcome to my world, Jack. Glad you could join the party.”

The voice of the Beast crackled in his audio receptors sounding as if he were a game-show host speaking offscreen; his tone exuding an untoward friendliness and familiarity.

“I have the Amaryllis with me.”

“The actual item? I’m impressed. Whole armies have been slain, eviscerated by the Negative whose sole task was to guard it unto eternity.”

Continue reading

Worlds: Stupid Sci-Fi Film Tricks, The Nuclear Option.

independence day

Poster from the 1996 film “Independence Day”

Periodically, I read fictional stories depicting the aftermath of a nuclear war as having devastating effects 500, 800, 1000 years or more afterward. But when I consult a credible source on the topic, recovery from such an event is considered relatively swift (months and years, not centuries). It is true that in the case of a “modest” nuclear war such as between India and Pakistan, nuclear winter (or significant cooling at any rate) would last years/decades, but afterward there would still be recovery.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying nuclear war is a good thing or that it shouldn’t be avoided, but it seems when a lot of folks consider the “unthinkable,” whether it’s nations using nuclear weapons or a person using a firearm in the commission of a crime, there’s a tendency to jump from zero to panic.

Huggins’ blog post reminded me of this, so I thought I’d do a reblog.

Oh, “Independence Day” is my favorite “Fourth of July” movie. Really, you can’t take it seriously. It’s just for fun.

G. Scott Huggins

A version of this post appeared earlier on my Patreon site, but I thought it was worth exploring here.

Let me introduce you to one of my pet peeves about SF movies in general, through that awesomely terrible film, Independence Day, a film that apparently existed for the sole purpose of trying to make Will Smith and Bill Pullman as President Lone Starr into badasses, if you kinda squint. Hard.

What was the funniest moment in Independence Day? Was it Will Smith’s “Welcome to Earth,” line? Brent Spiner’s performance as the clueless Area 51 boss? No, I suggest that it was the parts where humanity attempts to fight 15-mile diameter floating city-battleships with air-to-air missiles. It’s kind of a credit to the movie that when the shields go down and the missiles hit the targets that the response form the audience is a cheer rather than, “Wow, the humans scratched…

View original post 546 more words