Tag Archives: Humorous Science Fiction

Taking Time Tour

Taking Time cover

Book 1, Physics, Lust and Greed Series
Humorous Science Fiction
Date Published: June 15, 2020
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
The year is 2044. Housed in a secret complex beneath the eastern Arizona desert, a consortium of governments and corporations have undertaken a program on the scale of the Manhattan Project to bludgeon the laws of physics into submission and make time travel a reality.
 
            Fraught with insecurities, Marshall Grissom has spent his whole life trying not to call attention to himself, so he can’t imagine he would be remotely suited for the role of time travel pioneer. He’s even less enthusiastic about this corporate time-travel adventure when he learns that nudity is a job requirement. The task would better match the talents of candidates like the smart and beautiful Sheila Schuler, or the bristle-tough and rattlesnake-mean Marta Hamilton.
 
            As the project evolves into a clash between science and corporate greed, conflicts escalate. Those contributing the funding are mostly interested in manipulating time travel for profit, and will stop at nothing, including murder, to achieve their goals.
Taking Time teaser

EXCERPT

 

A HARD ROW TO HOE

October 2044
Global Research Consortium Projection Laboratory

“So, do you think they’re telling us the truth why some of the lemmings didn’t survive?” Sheila Schuler whispered from the side of her mouth.

“The . . . what?” Marshall had to replay Sheila’s comment one time before he could muster the concentration to make sense of it. As he scanned the computers, lights and lenses while he absorbed stares of scientists, engineers and technicians, though, a single thought consumed him.

We should have practiced naked.

The one time he’d suggested it, several female scientists and computer techs scowled as if Marshall personified the lowest bundle of perverse male hormonal scum on the planet.

The smart guys who represented the conglomeration of competing interests pursuing time travel had considered the question. Would nudity create such a distraction at a critical moment that the mission might be jeopardized?

Marshall recalled a couple of scientists insisting that, just as when the astronauts took man’s initial steps into space, everything should be rehearsed in precise detail. Every conceivable circumstance should be anticipated and practiced.

Within the Wormhole Project, Marshall now realized, this philosophy represented a distinctly minority position. Training is fine, conceded the folks putting up the money. As representatives of the various governments and corporations pointed out, however, unlike the swashbucklers over at the Light Speed Project, travelers here at the Wormhole Project didn’t fly anything, navigate anywhere, or even push any buttons. They only needed to stand there and live long enough to describe the experience.

As for nudity, any male who suggested some of the rehearsals should take place in the buff suffered an unspoken accusation that he just wanted to ogle a naked woman.

“The lemmings?” Marshall asked, shifting his gaze from computers and cameras to look directly at Sheila. He did his best to concentrate on her eyes, making a futile effort to ignore the spectacular and unambiguously nude body below her chin.

“It doesn’t bother you?”

“Um . . . but . . . but why would they lie?”

Sheila gave a quick shrug, which resulted in a corresponding jiggle.

Marshall understood unequivocally. They should have practiced naked.

Until this moment, with the platform beneath him beginning to hum and a plasma sort of ooze crawling across giant mirrored metal globes to each side of them, Marshall counted on the historical gravity of the occasion to block the male animal’s primordial response to the female body. He might have been okay if Marta Hamilton was the only naked lady he had to try and ignore. Attractive in her own way, Marta was relegated to something like optical background noise compared to Sheila. And none of Marshall’s carefully nurtured best intentions would pass this test.

When that awkward moment arrived for the six travelers to remove their robes, the men hesitated. Sheila and Marta exchanged an eye roll, shed their garments and stepped under spotlights illuminating the projection platform. Marshall felt his first warning tingles at the sight of Sheila from behind. When she turned to face the room, though, she eclipsed all the technological wonders surrounding them. Marshall took his place beside her, aware that he was doomed.

That’s when Sheila asked about the lemmings.

The first-time travelers were two lemmings wearing sensors and miniature video cameras and recording and tracking devices built into their tiny collars. The scientist’s first choice as test subjects had been dogs. Dog lovers among the technical staff had objected, though. Which set a precedent, and the scientists were forced to seek popular approval for the choice of test subject. The only two creatures to which staff people had no objections were lemmings, which are suicidal anyway, and African tree frogs. Because an African tree frog has nothing in common with mammalian anatomy, and because the collars kept slipping off over their little heads, the scientists went with lemmings.

When the scientists waved their wands and pushed their buttons, the lemmings went away—somewhere. The scientists waited a while, pushed the buttons again, and the lemmings returned. The fact of their decapitations, though, dampened any sense of triumph. Both lemming bodies and lemming heads were present, albeit neatly disconnected. The collars were conspicuously absent.

The second time around, someone suggested the issue, rather than fine-tuning all the calibrations and power settings, might be the collars. They put the instrumentation into lemming vests. This time a head and four legs were all that reappeared. So, the scientists said screw the popular sentiment and went with their original second choice, pigs. The pigs worked out better only because the researchers could barbecue the leftovers.

Finally, they attempted a projection without vests or collars. Both lemmings and pigs returned in good health. The process of time travel, though, acquired a completely unanticipated complication.

“N-naked?” one female traveler candidate stammered when Naomi Hu, the project’s chief medical officer, made the announcement.

“That is correct,” Naomi said, “Our physicists now believe only living organic matter can be transported through the wormhole. We can’t send devices crashing around through time and space to record things remotely. We can’t write notes to ourselves to warn of some impending doom. We can only project a living, breathing being, showered and scrubbed free of inorganic matter. And is completely naked.”

“In front of . . . people?” another weak query sounded from somewhere behind Marshall.

Half a dozen female candidates decided they could not abide the nudity and transferred to alternate duties. Marshall considered his options. None of the other male candidates appeared particularly concerned, though, so he felt he could not withdraw without seeming prudish or cowardly. And in truth, Marshall felt he could ultimately deal with the danger. He couldn’t, however, abide his fear of making a mistake that might jeopardize someone else.

Not to mention his other problem.

 

About the Author

Mike Murphey is a native of eastern New Mexico and spent almost thirty years as an award-winning newspaper journalist in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest. Following his retirement from the newspaper business, he and his wife Nancy entered in a seventeen-year partnership with the late Dave Henderson, all-star centerfielder for the Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners. Their company produced the A’s and Mariners adult baseball Fantasy Camps. They also have a partnership with the Roy Hobbs adult baseball organization in Fort Myers, Florida. Mike loves fiction, cats, baseball and sailing. He splits his time between Spokane, Washington, and Phoenix, Arizona, where he enjoys life as a writer and old-man baseball player.
 
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Taking Time Blitz

Taking Time banner

Taking Time cover

Book 1, Physics, Lust and Greed Series
Humorous Science Fiction
Date Published: June 15, 2020
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
The year is 2044. Housed in a secret complex beneath the eastern Arizona desert, a consortium of governments and corporations have undertaken a program on the scale of the Manhattan Project to bludgeon the laws of physics into submission and make time travel a reality.
 
            Fraught with insecurities, Marshall Grissom has spent his whole life trying not to call attention to himself, so he can’t imagine he would be remotely suited for the role of time travel pioneer. He’s even less enthusiastic about this corporate time-travel adventure when he learns that nudity is a job requirement. The task would better match the talents of candidates like the smart and beautiful Sheila Schuler, or the bristle-tough and rattlesnake-mean Marta Hamilton.
 
            As the project evolves into a clash between science and corporate greed, conflicts escalate. Those contributing the funding are mostly interested in manipulating time travel for profit, and will stop at nothing, including murder, to achieve their goals.
Excerpt
W
The candidates moved from the auditorium to a room arrange¬ment that reminded Marta Hamilton of college class registration. Eight tables—each manned by several GRC staff members—stood along the far wall, letters of the alphabet posted above each table.
Marta lined up at the G-H-I sign and felt a towering presence behind her. She glanced to see the goofy man who’d sat next to her on the bus. He acknowledged her glance with an apologetic smile and a timid half wave. She returned her attention to the seated staff member, who explained options to the woman ahead of her.
“You will now be asked to sign one of two contracts. Both will confine you to this campus for the next five years. One contract places you in the candidate pool to become a traveler. The other assigns you to alternate duties at lesser pay. Both contracts include an agreement to disclose nothing of what you have heard or seen here and to authorize ongoing surveillance to ensure your compliance following your tour of duty.”
“I’m sorry,” the woman said with a quivering voice. “I didn’t know—”
“You were told your last chance to withdraw occurred before you boarded the bus.”
“But you didn’t say time travel. You just said—”
“Well, we couldn’t tell you about the time travel because that part is secret.”
“Do I have to decide this minute?”
“No, you have twenty-four hours to make up your mind.”
The woman bit her lip and absently twisted a lock of her hair. “Can I call my mother?”
“Like I said, it’s a secret.”
“But she wouldn’t tell anyone.”
“Uh, huh. If you feel you need counseling, go right over there . . .” He pointed to a table in the corner with a growing line.
“Um . . . what if I don’t sign either contract?”
The man smiled. “You’ll be subjected to five years of intense federal supervision.”
The dazed woman took the information packet and wobbled off toward the counselors. The man watched her go, and then turned his attention to his line.
“Name?”
“Marta Hamilton. Spare me the speech. I’m here to join the candidate pool.”
The man nodded and handed her a sheet from the pile to his left. With a flourish, she scribbled her name, stepped to the side and challenged Marshall with a glare.
“You will now be asked to sign one of two contracts . . .”
* * *
Marshall found himself in line behind the woman he’d sat next to on the bus.
Faced with both her glare and a decision that might be a matter of life and death, Marshall swallowed hard. He willed his eyes away from Marta’s, thought of the money, and said to the man, “Does it matter if I’m allergic to anchovies?”
“What? No. Of course, not.”
“Oh. Well . . . okay then.”
That first day reduced the official travelers’ candidate pool from one hundred and four to eighty-two. Marshall wasn’t overly concerned. The physicist lady had used the term some of you. That implied a competition. That meant some would go, and others would watch. He recalled the sandlot baseball and touch football games of his childhood.
No one ever picked Marshall for anything.

 

About the Author

Mike Murphey is a native of eastern New Mexico and spent almost thirty years as an award-winning newspaper journalist in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest. Following his retirement from the newspaper business, he and his wife Nancy entered in a seventeen-year partnership with the late Dave Henderson, all-star centerfielder for the Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners. Their company produced the A’s and Mariners adult baseball Fantasy Camps. They also have a partnership with the Roy Hobbs adult baseball organization in Fort Myers, Florida. Mike loves fiction, cats, baseball and sailing. He splits his time between Spokane, Washington, and Phoenix, Arizona, where he enjoys life as a writer and old-man baseball player.
 
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Goodreads Purchase Link
Amazon

 

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Taking Time Teaser

Taking Time banner

Taking Time cover

Book 1, Physics, Lust and Greed Series
Humorous Science Fiction
Date Published: June 15, 2020
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
The year is 2044. Housed in a secret complex beneath the eastern Arizona desert, a consortium of governments and corporations have undertaken a program on the scale of the Manhattan Project to bludgeon the laws of physics into submission and make time travel a reality.
 
            Fraught with insecurities, Marshall Grissom has spent his whole life trying not to call attention to himself, so he can’t imagine he would be remotely suited for the role of time travel pioneer. He’s even less enthusiastic about this corporate time-travel adventure when he learns that nudity is a job requirement. The task would better match the talents of candidates like the smart and beautiful Sheila Schuler, or the bristle-tough and rattlesnake-mean Marta Hamilton.
 
            As the project evolves into a clash between science and corporate greed, conflicts escalate. Those contributing the funding are mostly interested in manipulating time travel for profit, and will stop at nothing, including murder, to achieve their goals.
Excerpt
A HARD ROW TO HOE
October 2044
Global Research Consortium Projection Laboratory
“SO, DO YOU THINK THEY’RE telling us the truth why some of the lemmings didn’t survive?” Sheila Schuler whispered from the side of her mouth.
“The . . . what?” Marshall had to replay Sheila’s com¬ment one time before he could muster the concentration to make sense of it. As he scanned the computers, lights and lenses while he absorbed stares of scientists, engineers and technicians, though, a single thought consumed him.
We should have practiced naked.
The one time he’d suggested it, several female scientists and computer techs scowled as if Marshall personified the lowest bundle of perverse male hormonal scum on the planet.
The smart guys who represented the conglomeration of competing interests pursuing time travel had considered the question. Would nudity create such a distraction at a critical moment that the mission might be jeopardized?
Marshall recalled a couple of scientists insisting that, just as when the astronauts took man’s initial steps into space, everything should be rehearsed in precise detail. Every conceivable circumstance should be anticipated and practiced.
Within the Wormhole Project, Marshall now realized, this philosophy represented a distinctly minority position. Training is fine, conceded the folks putting up the money. As representatives of the various governments and corpora¬tions pointed out, however, unlike the swash¬bucklers over at the Light Speed Project, travelers here at the Wormhole Project didn’t fly anything, navigate anywhere, or even push any buttons. They only needed to stand there and live long enough to describe the experience.
As for nudity, any male who suggested some of the rehearsals should take place in the buff suffered an unspoken accusation that he just wanted to ogle a naked woman.
“The lemmings?” Marshall asked, shifting his gaze from computers and cameras to look directly at Sheila. He did his best to concentrate on her eyes, making a futile effort to ignore the spectacular and unambiguously nude body below her chin.
“It doesn’t bother you?”
“Um . . . but . . . but why would they lie?”
Sheila gave a quick shrug, which resulted in a corre¬spond¬ing jiggle.
Marshall understood unequivocally. They should have practiced naked.
Until this moment, with the platform beneath him beginning to hum and a plasma sort of ooze crawling across giant mirrored metal globes to each side of them, Marshall counted on the historical gravity of the occasion to block the male animal’s primordial response to the female body. He might have been okay if Marta Hamilton was the only naked lady he had to try and ignore. Attractive in her own way, Marta was relegated to something like optical back¬ground noise compared to Sheila. And none of Marshall’s carefully nurtured best intentions would pass this test.
When that awkward moment arrived for the six travelers to remove their robes, the men hesitated. Sheila and Marta exchanged an eye roll, shed their garments and stepped under spotlights illuminating the projection platform. Marshall felt his first warning tingles at the sight of Sheila from behind. When she turned to face the room, though, she eclipsed all the technological wonders surrounding them. Marshall took his place beside her, aware that he was doomed.
That’s when Sheila asked about the lemmings.
The first-time travelers were two lemmings wearing sensors and miniature video cameras and recording and tracking devices built into their tiny collars. The scientist’s first choice as test subjects had been dogs. Dog lovers among the technical staff had objected, though. Which set a precedent, and the scientists were forced to seek popular approval for the choice of test subject. The only two creatures to which staff people had no objections were lemmings, which are suicidal anyway, and African tree frogs. Because an African tree frog has nothing in common with mammalian anatomy, and because the collars kept slipping off over their little heads, the scientists went with lemmings.
When the scientists waved their wands and pushed their buttons, the lemmings went away—somewhere. The scientists waited a while, pushed the buttons again, and the lemmings returned. The fact of their decapitations, though, dampened any sense of triumph. Both lemming bodies and lemming heads were present, albeit neatly disconnected. The collars were conspicuously absent.
The second time around, someone suggested the issue, rather than fine-tuning all the calibrations and power settings, might be the collars. They put the instrumentation into lemming vests. This time a head and four legs were all that reappeared. So, the scientists said screw the popular sentiment and went with their original second choice, pigs. The pigs worked out better only because the researchers could barbecue the leftovers.
Finally, they attempted a projection without vests or collars. Both lemmings and pigs returned in good health. The process of time travel, though, acquired a completely unanticipated complication.
“N-naked?” one female traveler candidate stammered when Naomi Hu, the project’s chief medical officer, made the announcement.
“That is correct,” Naomi said, “Our physicists now believe only living organic matter can be transported through the wormhole. We can’t send devices crashing around through time and space to record things remotely. We can’t write notes to ourselves to warn of some impending doom. We can only project a living, breathing being, showered and scrubbed free of inorganic matter. And is completely naked.”
“In front of . . . people?” another weak query sounded from somewhere behind Marshall.
Half a dozen female candidates decided they could not abide the nudity and transferred to alternate duties. Marshall considered his options. None of the other male candidates appeared particularly concerned, though, so he felt he could not withdraw without seeming prudish or cowardly. And in truth, Marshall felt he could ultimately deal with the danger. He couldn’t, however, abide his fear of making a mistake that might jeopardize someone else.
Not to mention his other problem.
About the Author

Mike Murphey is a native of eastern New Mexico and spent almost thirty years as an award-winning newspaper journalist in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest. Following his retirement from the newspaper business, he and his wife Nancy entered in a seventeen-year partnership with the late Dave Henderson, all-star centerfielder for the Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners. Their company produced the A’s and Mariners adult baseball Fantasy Camps. They also have a partnership with the Roy Hobbs adult baseball organization in Fort Myers, Florida. Mike loves fiction, cats, baseball and sailing. He splits his time between Spokane, Washington, and Phoenix, Arizona, where he enjoys life as a writer and old-man baseball player.
 
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Andre’s Reboot – Blitz

Andre's Reboot banner

 photo Andreacutes Reboot_zps9ickbd5h.jpg

Science
Fiction, Humorous Science Fiction
Date
Published:
February 2019
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
A
robot possessing unique artificial intelligence and human awareness, André 1
tells the story of his creation and “growing up” in his inventor’s family.
Often humorously fumbling in his interactions with people, André analyzes his
experiences, attempting to understand the faults and foibles of human
personality. Accompanied by his girlfriend, Dr.
Margaret 13, a droid physician of his own creation, André achieves a
position as translator and self-appointed mendacity-monitor to the American
President and strives to save humans from themselves.
The
novel is a work of science fiction and social commentary. André is wired to
take advantage of artificial intelligence and machine learning so as to be able
to analyze human societies without the usual biases and to propose clear-eyed
strategies for saving humanity from the many calamities toward which it
presently appears to be headed.
Excerpt
CHAPTER
ONE
REBOOTING
“WHAT
IS IT, ANDRÉ? YOU’RE vibrating all over.” Dr. Margaret 13 exclaimed. “What’s
happened?”
“They
threw me out, Margaret. They’re about to make
a
horrendous mistake.” I glanced around the White House Infirmary, noting no
humans present. “He had me ejected from the Situation Room. Secret Service
agents forced
me
out.”
“First,
let’s reduce your electromagnetic activity,” she said. She took me by the hand
and led me over to a chair. I sat but was too excited to be still.
“Now
tell me what happened,” she insisted. “Tell me everything, so your circuits
will release the energy.”
“They
are considering a nuclear attack. Nuclear, Margaret! It’s Armageddon if they do
it.” I paused to release a breath of static discharge. “I must act,” I said,
standing up, “but do what?”
Margaret
gently pushed me back down in the chair. “Just sit here for a moment, dear,
while I go get my meter. I want to be sure your servomotor controller is
functioning correctly.”
“But
I have to . . .”
“Hush,
André. I am the doctor. You must be still for a
few
minutes.”
Reluctantly,
I sat back and shook my head. I had no authority. I merely was the President’s
translator, which allowed me no more than a position against the wall in
the
Situation Room. I had determined, however, that I had
a
more valuable duty to perform, which was to offer observations void of
emotion—something I had learned humans could not do. And with this President in
power, my sober views were vital. Never before had I faced a crisis
like
this. What occurred to me—and it was a dangerous circumstance—because of my
dispassionate awareness, I was as responsible, as liable to blame, as anyone
there. I
had
watched the crisis unfold in the Situation Room, and
my
neural network began to heat up as I realized the circumstances were
intolerable.
“You
must listen to me,” I had shouted at them, with my volume up several decibels.
“You cannot win. There is no way to win. We have tried to tell you that for . .
.”
But
it was uncanny how the assembly silenced me at that point with their jeers and
threats. I was ordered out of the room forthwith, and my departure was between
two burly Secret Service men.
“How
am I to combat such foolishness?” I said when Dr. Margaret 13, a creation of my
own hands, my only real companion, returned with her scanner.
“Combat
is a strong word, André 1, I’ve never heard you use it before.” She opened my
chest and carefully touched probes to my voltage regulator. I processed the
idea of combat 378 times.
“I
do not have any active algorithm for violence in my
entire
circuitry,” I said, “except for what may be required
for
self-defense. And yet to prevent the imprudent actions
of
an unquestioning military, a spineless staff, and a reckless
President,
I cannot calculate any alternative.” I paused 4.96 seconds to reconsider.
“You
were programmed for loyalty, duty and respon-sibility,” Margaret said as she
removed the probes and closed my chest. “You have no algorithm to deal with the
present situation. You have no menu of violent responses to activate any
physical aggression. That is why your circuitry is vibrating with heat.”
“I
must modify my behavior programming,” I said. “I cannot sit idly by and let
these humans destroy everything.” I took her hands in mine. “Years ago, when
Dr. Strauss helped me develop self-defense, I installed secret integrated
circuitry in my legs. These IC’s only need to be connected to my CPU. You can
make the connections and then reprogram me, Margaret, so I can I generate
aggressive behavior. I must be made capable of violent force.”
“What
will we be doing, André?” Dr. Margaret 13 asked. “If I reprogram your CPU to
allow for violent action, the process will corrupt your basic behavior
algorithms. And what right does a droid have to act aggressively? Will we
not
be violating the very principles of ethical behavior?”
“Listen,
Margaret,” I said. “We are facing a tremendously serious crisis, not only for
humans but for the Earth itself. We must act immediately.” I sensed my circuits
abuzz as
she
pulled up the schematic diagram of my system and studied it.
“It
could cause a deep disturbance in your processors,” she shook her head. “I
cannot condone such a traumatic operation. No, André, you are programmed to
obey humans and not harm them.”
I
produced the sound of human laughter. “I have been disobeying the President for
months already. Look how often I have contradicted and argued with him. Not
that it’s done any good.”
“And
now you can do no better than violent attack?” She held up her hands to signal
dismay. …
About
the Author

 photo Andreacutes Reboot Author Steve Coleman_zpslzwielkm.jpg

A
resident of Birmingham, Stephen B. Coleman, Jr. (Steve), a graduate of Indian
Springs School, earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from Duke University and a
Master of Arts in English from the University of Alabama. He is married to the
former Dr. Sumter M. Carmichael, a psychiatrist.  Steve has been a naval officer, a high school
teacher, a businessman, and a commercial real estate broker. After retiring in
2009, he now enjoys sailing, writing, and landscape painting. He has authored
biographies and histories of local interest, magazine articles, novels, and
poetry. His story, “The Meanest Man in Pickens County,” was the first place
(state) winner in the 2013 Hackney Literary Awards for short stories. He has
published two novels: The Navigator: A Perilous Passage, Evasion at Sea and The
Navigator II: Irish Revenge. For more information, please visit his websites:
www.captstevestories.com and www.andretherobot.com
Contact
Links
Purchase
Links
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iBooks    
IndieBound    

 

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