Review of Rich Rurshell’s Short Story “Subject: Galilee”

world war 4

© James Pyles

I’m continuing my slow review of the stories in the Zombie Pirate Publishing SciFi anthology World War Four (which also features my short story “Joey,” but right now, that’s beside the point). Today, I highlight Rich Rurshell’s tale “Subject: Galilee.”

Much of the symbolism echoes Christian themes, but Rurshell’s story takes place in the far future. A war is raging between two corporate factions, Liberty West which uses robotic warriors called “Romans,” and Zhang Industries’ human combatants. In between them and a village of peaceful people as well as defected soldiers, is the mysterious armored and cloaked being known as Galilee. He came out of no where, possesses enormous, almost god-like abilities, reprogramming the Roman machines to serve him, his armor all but invulnerable, and seems to be the savior that the world needs, that is until both corporations decide to make him a target.

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Review of Mel Lee Newmin’s Short Story “Yuddh Ke Khel”

world war 4

© James Pyles

I’m continuing my slow review of the stories in the Zombie Pirate Publishing SciFi anthology World War Four (which also features my short story “Joey,” but right now, that’s beside the point). This evening, as I write this, I showcase the tale of Chinese fighter pilot Chen Fan’s mission to blow up a Russian fuel depot while being pursued by his arch-nemesis, Iraninov.

It reads pretty much like a standard aerial dogfight between to fighter pilots except the aircraft are really spacecraft capable of operating in atmosphere all the way down to the deck. Fan toggles between worrying about his plane’s damage, evading Iraninov’s attacks, and his moral consciousness at the imminent death of thousands of civilians, collateral damage of his mission, the latter a strange consideration for a hardened combat veteran.

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Signal Boost for “World War Four”

i can haz

Created at the imgflip meme generator

The fine folks at Superversive SF have honored me with a Signal Boost of the Zombie Pirate Publishing anthology World War Four which features my short story “Joey.” According to Urban Dictionary, a Signal Boost is:

Posting to a community forum (mailing list, social networking site, discussion board) in hopes of getting more attention for an event or cause. This is not the primary or first announcement, but rather one of many auxiliary posts or cross-posts to communities with individuals who are likely to take interest.

Click the LINK and please pass it along. Don’t forget the previous signal boost for Magical Reality which contains my short story “The Dragon’s Family.”

Oh and yes, L. Jagi Lamplight Wright, who wrote the signal boost, was the teacher of the online writing class I took last November.

“Growing Flowers” by James Pyles in Flash Fiction Addiction

Promotional image for the short story “Growing Flowers” by James Pyles featured in “Flash Fiction Addiction”

The folks at Zombie Pirate Publishing produced 101 promotional images, one for each story/author in the Flash Fiction Addiction. This one’s mine.

 

Review of Brian MacGowan’s Short Story “The Package”

edge

Scene from the 2014 military SciFi movie “Edge of Tomorrow” starring Tom Cruise

Once again, I decided to read and review a short story from the Zombie Pirate Publishing anthology World War Four (2019). My story “Joey” is included in the anthology, and on this blog, I’ve previously reviewed three of the other short stories (for obvious reasons, I can’t review them on Amazon).

Today we visit “The Package” by Brian MacGowan. It’s a military SciFi thriller describing the conflict between the fictional Northern Free States (NFS) and the United Alliance (UA), sort of a civil war scenario as far as I can tell.

An elite team of commandos, led by Sgt. Rick Harrington invades a UA stronghold because they have intel stating that previously stolen UA encryption codes are hidden in the facility. The op is to get in, get the codes, and then evac.

The military action and heroism depicted is first-rate, but I may have missed something in the story line. The codes were initially taken by an NFS ambassador over a year ago as the story starts. Harrington’s Hellhounds quickly find two things. The first is that there’s no human resistance at all as they enter, and the second is one nearly impenetrable security door that doesn’t have any right to be there.

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Flash Fiction Addiction is Here!

ffa

© James Pyles

As you can see, my copy of Zombie Pirate Publishing‘s latest anthology “Flash Fiction Addiction” arrived, which features my short story “Growing Flowers,” a little steampunkish piece I originally crafted for an online writing challenge. I just found out today that for a limited time only. Amazon is offering US customers 20% discount on paperback copies of FFA, so get ’em while they last.

ffa

© James Pyles

ffa

© James Pyles

Paperback Copy of “World War Four” Plus Another Story is Accepted for Publication.

world war 4

© James Pyles

First of all, I just got my copies of the Zombie Pirate Publishing SciFi Anthology World War Four in the mail today, which features my short story “Joey.” It’s terrific to be able to hold it in my hand, even though I’ve also been reading my digital copy.

The other exciting news for this morning, is that my short story “The Recall” has just been accepted for publication by Cloaked Press for their upcoming anthology “Spring Into SciFi 2019.” No details are available yet, but I’ll post them as they come in.

Good times.

cp

Screenshot of twitter

Review of Gregg Cunningham’s Short Story “War Pig”

terraform moon

Image found at NASA Spaceflight.com forums

“War Pig” was written by Gregg Cunningham, a fellow contributor to the Zombie Pirate Publishing anthology World War Four(2019). After reviewing Neal Asher’s Monitor Logan and Sam Phillips’ Cold Fusion, I thought I’d round things out with Cunningham’s story.

It does have to do with the fourth world war and an interplanetary battleship called a “war hog,” only this “hog” is also capable of time travel, which makes things kind of confusing.

We start out with our protagonist and a (more or less) sapient robot named a “Floyd” on the surface of a terraformed Moon thirty years into the war. The war hog has been destroyed and it looks like Commander Redux (although the highest rank he can ever remember is Sergeant) is just trying to survive. Then, through (apparently) a series of flashbacks, we see how Redux got into this mess in the first place, especially when a younger version of himself is put on trial by an older counterpart, and then the older Redux sacrifices his life so that the younger self can steal the war hog at an earlier point in history and try to fix whatever he got wrong.

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Review of Sam M. Phillips’ Short Story “Cold Fusion”

sam

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?

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Review of Neal Asher’s Novelette “Monitor Logan”

neal asher books

Cover images of several of Neal Asher’s novels as found on his website.

“Monitor Logan” is a novelette written by bestselling science fiction author Neal Asher for the Zombie Pirate Publishing anthology World War Four (2019). Since my short story “Joey” also appears in the anthology, I can’t review that book or any part of it on Amazon (goodreads may be another story), but I can review Asher’s tale on my blog.

This story takes place in Asher’s Polity Universe, though in terms of chronology, I don’t know where it would fall. I was first introduced to Asher’s work and the Polity via his novel Dark Intelligence which I previously reviewed.

The title “Monitor Logan” might as well be rendered “Marshall Logan,” and this wee missive could easily be an American western. Lawman rides into town after the previous lawman is gunned down. Town’s run by corrupt mining corporations that enslave an indigenous population to do their labor, while paying off a local gang of bandits. Lawman comes to punish the guilty and protect the innocent, but he’s got a secret agenda and a thirst for revenge.

As I was reading, I couldn’t help but recall the 1973 film High Plains Drifter, which is the first western Clint Eastwood starred in that he also directed. If you’ve ever seen that movie, you have a lot of the plot to “Monitor Logan.”

Asher again presents us with his affinity for sapient artificial intelligence, human/droid alliances, human/alien hybrids, high technology in low tech settings, devastating weapons of war, and what I refer to as “medical atrocities.”

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