Tag Archives: Science fiction
Date Published: May 2020
VanWest The Past is the first book in the VanWest series, about an Enforcer who lives in a dystopian Earth of the year 3000 and works for an authoritarian ruler called the Universal Council. Tasked with travelling through time to stop a renegade sect, that seeks to change Earth’s past, he comes to learn about his dark origins and his unique ability.
Falling in love with the daughter of its leader, Mad Newton, he returns to the present to face a difficult choice, whether or not to save her. And be part of the New Beginning.
In Van West The Present, he must confront his past, taking him on a new mission to Mars that brings him face-to-face with the man who created him. To be released soon.
About the Author
Kenneth Thomas is a British author from Windsor, home of Windsor Castle. He used to live in Los Angeles where he worked for BBC News and MGM Studios, but is currently living and working in the Netherlands.
He is currently writing book 2 and 3 of the VanWest Series (The Past, The Present and The Future).
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Date Published: February 2020
If you copy your mind, your memories, your sins…are they still yours?
One day in Pittsburgh, Paddy Riordan died…his body did, anyway. His digitalized mind wakes up in a world where nothing is what it seems, his memory fragmented. When a stranger appears with a dire warning, Paddy must piece together his broken past to save his mind and the woman he loves, all while eluding masked assassins, cutting-edge artificial intelligence, and the sinister sorceress Rusalka.
But he’ll find no enemy so cruel as the shadow of the past. What he discovers hidden in those memories may condemn him to a fate even worse than death.
About the Author
Sean E. Kelly started writing fiction in 2009 and published his first novel in 2015. An advocate of ethical transhumanism, he also enjoys kayaking, photography, growing facial hair, and reminding you that our posthuman future needn’t scare you.
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Date Published: February 2020
Publisher: Zumaya Otherworlds
All Claudia wanted to do was escape the mistakes of the past and start over. But when she answers an ad for a medical officer on a merchant ship in the Fringes, the captain recognizes her and blackmails her into taking the job.
The Holiday’s Captain Bennet is amoral and has a short fuse. Claudia steers clear of him as much as possible, while trying to care for the crew he lashes out on. Then the rumors start that their latest mission is to a location Bennet won’t even share with the pilot.
The secret coordinates take the ship and crew to an uncharted system in the Fringes. To a planet that holds intelligent life, and despite the odds, also a humanoid one.
Bennet plans to use these aliens to climb up the power ladder at the borders of the Dominion. Even if it means placing the Avians into brutal servitude for the rest of their lives.
Can Claudia stop the impending exploitation of this newly discovered sentient species all on her own? Or is there a worse fate than blackmail waiting for her if she tries?
“Another accident, I presume?”
A flash of something crossed Stevens’ eyes. Whether it was good or bad, Claudia couldn’t tell. Instead of answering the question, the first mate placed the unconscious woman she was carrying onto the scanner bed. Her patient had a large lump on the side of the head, and her nose looked broken.
Claudia had just activated the bed and was checking the unconscious woman’s vitals when Stevens broke the silence.
“The captain doesn’t tolerate failure or disobedience well.”
Cold fury flared inside Claudia, her suspicions of abuse by the one who commanded them confirmed. She was amazed her hands didn’t shake as she programmed the scanner. Now that there was a medic onboard, was Bennet showing less restraint than usual? It would make her being here a boon and a bane to everyone on board. If the captain took things too far one too many times, might the crew decide the downside was worse than the benefits and turn on her?
Claudia shook her head. “You still work for him.” It wasn’t quite an accusation.
Stevens came up close. Claudia held her ground and didn’t step away.
“We all have our reasons for being here. Whether we like it or not.”
About the Author
Gloria Oliver lives in Texas, staying away from rolling tumbleweeds while bowing to the never-ending wishes of her feline and canine masters. She works full time shoveling numbers around for an oil & gas company and squeezes in some writing time when she can.
YA Sci-fi, Science Fiction
Published: February 2020
Publisher: Evernight Teen
When the end of the world comes . . . face it on a skateboard
Nine years ago, an unknown poison called the “Red” saturated the atmosphere of the entire planet, killing off everyone except a remnant of immune survivors. Jake is a survivor, but the Red has left its mark on him, changing him in strange ways he does not understand. The answers to his questions, however, will not be found inside the gated confines of his small community.
Jake and his group are not the only survivors. A handful of non-immune scientists and their families also escaped death by retreating inside a giant underground bunker called the Hole. Unable to breathe the outside air, the inhabitants of the Hole search for a way to fix the air and save the species.
Seventeen-year-old Paige grew up in the Hole, skateboarding its hallways and chambers. Life underground is all she knows. Trained as a medic, her day job is helping find a way to cleanse the atmosphere and restore the balance of nature.
Paige and Jake live in different worlds, each seeking answers that seem impossible to find. Everything changes when their lives collide in a chance encounter. Paige realizes that Jake may hold the key to defeating the Red, and Jake, in turn, realizes that Paige and her people may have the answers about where he came from and why he is what he is. With time running out, the two rush to uncover not only what the Red really is, but also the strange connection growing between them.
When dusk arrived, Jake slowed his bike and began to search for a place to hole up for the night. He stood in unknown territory and had no intention of risking night travel when God knew what creatures might lie in wait for a stupid human to stumble into their claws. In the distance, lightning spiked through the night sky, and the wind had picked up, swirling around leaves and bits of debris that littered the crumbling interstate.
Bad storm coming. Another reason to shelter for the night.
Jake began searching for a place out of the weather, thinking that a nice abandoned SUV might work. He balked at exiting the freeway and wandering around the surrounding suburbs. The I-95 had five lanes in each direction, thus providing a broad, flat expanse all around him that would make it difficult for anything to approach without being seen or heard.
Eventually, Jake found a black Peterbilt tractor trailer with a sleeper cab parked on the shoulder. Its driver’s side door dangled half-open, leaves and dirt caked the windshield, and a dead seagull corpse lay mummified on the hood. Undeterred by the moldy smell emanating from inside, he climbed into the cab, stepping gingerly in case his foot broke through the rusted-out floorboards. Then he leaned around the front seat to look into the sleeping area behind it to see if it was a suitable place to rest for the night. With a strangled cry, he threw himself backward out of the cab and landed on his butt on the pavement, where he immediately lost his dinner in several, gut-wrenching heaves. Inside the sleeper compartment, lying on the bed, was a body, or what was left of a body: bones, teeth, tattered clothing, and tufts of red hair.
Whoa there, calm down. It’s just a Red body. You’ve seen hundreds.
Yes, he had. But it had been years and years since those early days when dead people clogged hospital parking lots and churches and airports. Long-buried memories of his journey through silent city streets before the people of Edentown found him flared to life, causing him to shudder.
After picking himself up off the asphalt, Jake walked to the back of the dull aluminum trailer the truck had once towed. He had no desire to step foot inside the cab ever again, thank you very much. He flung open the rear doors and, seeing no surprises, climbed inside, dragging his bike up after him. He half-expected the cargo hold to be jammed full of now-useless consumer goods, like computers or iPads, but the entire trailer sat empty and smelling of kerosene. The sound of his breathing echoed faintly through the cavernous interior. He decided to rest inside this giant metal tomb tonight, but not anywhere near the cab. Yes, he had experienced gross all too often, but he had no desire to bed down next to it.
As usual, sleep was a joke, so he closed his eyes and relaxed his muscles, and before long, his mind slid into waking dreams about the day-to-day mundanities of life in Edentown. Like a video replay, he relived helping Cyndi chop vegetables and stir the soup pot. He revisited his eleven-year-old self on the morning after the great January blizzard, when the snow piled up so high it nearly buried the vehicles left outside. He remembered the many evenings spent in the big house sitting before the hearth playing checkers with Carl. But his meandering reflections cut off and his eyes jerked open at the sound of a mournful cry that almost seemed human. The wail went on for several seconds before fading away. A call for help maybe? A defiant challenge? Either way, he quickly resolved not to leave the trailer until dawn, although he bit his lower lip at the realization that the sound had come from directly ahead of him. Tomorrow, he would pedal head-on into whatever vomited out those screams in the night.
With unease churning away in his gut, Jake crept over to the trailer door that he had left cracked open and eased it shut, interring him inside the empty semitrailer. Once he settled down again with his back to one wall, he closed his eyes and tried to relax. It didn’t work. Minutes later, he felt a tingling sensation spring up in the back of his brain, as if tiny worms were crawling around on the surface of his cerebral cortex, but the experience felt more mental than physical. Then images flashed through his mind. They came and went so fast, he couldn’t figure them out, although he picked out parts of some of them: a dark hole under an abandoned building, a dog, the severed leg of some animal, and a swarm of rats. The montage flickered by for several seconds before disappearing, leaving him confused and disturbed.
What the hell was that? Am I going insane?
The rest of the night slipped by without incident, and he spent the remaining hours of the dark poking and prodding at the elements of his plan for tomorrow. Wilmington, Delaware lay only a few miles away, so in the simplest iteration of tomorrow’s events, he’d zip in, find the diner, zip out, and beat a hasty retreat toward Edentown by lunchtime. If he rode hard, he could be back in time for dinner, although Carl doubtlessly would rip him a new one. He didn’t care. Other iterations were more complex. The biggest variable in his plan? The fact that he didn’t really know where Pete’s Diner was. The second biggest variable? Monsters and mind freaks. He considered them second because he thought—or maybe only hoped—that bad things avoided the day and only came out at night. Normally a true statement for the creatures around Edentown, but who could say what new and different predators prowled the empty urban landscape around him.
K.D. Van Brunt is the author of the well-received Win the Rings trilogy. A Red Sun Rises is the exciting first book of his latest trilogy. When not lost in space, his day job is lawyering in Baltimore.
Published: January 2020
2017. Dr. Thomas Burns, an environmental engineer, is listening to the President, talk about global warming. He and his colleagues quickly realize that Earth will no longer be able to sustain life in a few years. Environmental disasters all over the world are occurring at a quicker rate, and each one seems to be stronger than the previous one. As a result, Tom begins to develop and carry out his plans to build 4 spaceships for 1,000 people each to leave Earth and travel to a new galaxy to find a place to live. The Russians, Germans, and Australians all agree to build spaceships and join Tom in search of a new home somewhere in the Alpha Centauri Galaxy.
Over the next 20 years of planning Tom along with his wife, Sarah, determined but naïve son, Sam, his loyal second-in-command, Bob Jackson, and an amazing medical doctor, Dr. Sato, Tom must wrestle with inevitable questions. How are they going to sustain life for such a long journey? How can they travel fast enough? Will the Russians fully cooperate? How will they be able to successfully launch four huge spaceships at the same time? Most of all, will they be able to save humanity?
Denver, CO, September 2017
Dr. Thomas Burns could not believe what he was hearing. He was sitting in a restaurant with his eight-year-old son Sam after attending a baseball game. The Colorado Rockies had just defeated the New York Mets by a score of eight to six. They were discussing the various players on the team. That was until the president started talking.
Listening intently to every word President Trump said on CNN, the environmental scientist shook his head several times. He’s appealing to every gawker of developers and brand-loving radicals rolling everything back—radicals who want to de-regulate, de-environment, just de-anything—and it was deflating, thought Dr. Burns. Decades of work falling apart for a new consensus, it seemed. Depressing.
Not only was the president waging a permanent delay of just about everything, while making money for his backers, but he was hoping people were going to do nothing about it. He was buying time for some of his obscenely wealthy investors and developers; that was all. They somehow pinned their losses in the previous years from failed deals and investments on anyone but themselves, despite how their investments were only about money, not about the major concerns of the times everywhere you looked. Having had a great outing with his son only moments ago, Dr. Burns fumed as he sat there.
The president was like the suits many in the rural parts of the Dakotas, Tennessee, and his home state of Colorado worried about. They were all caught up in their excesses, mindless to what life outside their air-conditioned life was like. Who cared how his message on TV was going to benefit neglected areas? He just expected people to deal with it. Except, this time, this suit, staring at Dr. Burns on the high-definition TV screen, was the one barreling his way at anyone who gave him a microphone like a dusted wagon train full of barons with money bags who pulled into town. And he’d be building what he knew best, a wall of heat for struggling people. They were less interested in tackling the daily concerns in their lives, finding no areas of concern in common.
Dr. Burns shook his head again. And the environment was a no-brainer!
Sam looked up at him momentarily, and Dr. Burns gave a half-reassuring smile. Sam returned his attention to his cell phone.
The president was unconcerned about whatever no man’s land was left in his wake of ruin while he doled out skepticism and disparaging comments when people needed reassurances and to feel confidence that the authorities were doing their best to keep them safe and secure. In the old Wild West, they used to blame the Yankee, wondering if somebody up in the skyscrapers meant them more harm than good. They just wanted the top suite.
Dr. Burns couldn’t stop looking from the TV to his son. He felt like he was falling into an abyss when he should have been feeling like he was there to share a moment of joy with his son.
He stood up, and despite his tall stature—he’d almost made it to varsity baseball years ago at six feet, two inches tall—he felt powerless. It was time to put the agreed-upon plan into action—at full speed. First, he gave his son some ice cream and told him to stay seated across from him, take out his Game Boy, and put his ear buds in, as he did not want Sam to be concerned about what he was going to discuss with everyone. He pulled out his phone and dialed a group text number, the specific code setting of a meeting of his peers. Tom raked his hands through his solid black hair, practically pulling strands out as he waited impatiently for everyone involved in the meeting.
Within five minutes, all of his colleagues around the world were on FaceTime. He’d been selective about which colleagues from Russia, Germany, Australia and America he involved in preparing the mission. Several of them had worked with him on projects at Boeing and others he had met at conferences around the world that had brought his attention to the staggeringly slow pace of applied research. He knew immediately what he wanted to say to the thirty people he’d reached. He trusted them. He sat back down as they met and discussed their plans.
Members from these four countries were going to be the first ones involved because they understood that to do nothing would ensure the end of the human race. These thirty people were the most esteemed researchers in their field of expertise. They published nearly 500 research papers researching climate warming and various environmental issues as well as future space travel. Russia as the leader in space travel was an obvious choice. Germany had some of the leading engineers in the world. Australians had suffered a great number of environmental disasters such as a deteriorating Great Barrier Reef and also had a large number of excellent engineers.
Tom, despite his anguish, spoke calmly. “I hope everyone was watching the president’s disgusting speech. Obviously, he is not going to listen to any environmental scientists or reports. We have no choice but to go ahead with our agreed upon plan. It is full steam ahead. We will have to speed everything up. Based on the environmental evidence and facts, the human race probably has 200 years—or less—to live. To survive, we need to find a new planet.”
Several of his colleagues made comments agreeing with Dr. Burns. They all agreed they would go home and start implementing the agreed upon plans.
With that, he ended the FaceTime meeting. He felt a spectrum of emotions including betrayal by the president’s actions and fear for his children’s future and the future of everyone else. He had hoped his family could grow up to lead normal lives, go to college, marry, have children and choose a career for themselves without worrying about the environmental disasters that were sure to take place. He also felt bad for just about everyone alive and every person yet to be born. Most people were going to face terrible hardships just trying to survive. Most of all, he felt determined.
He and Sam walked toward the exit. Tom waved goodbye to the woman behind the counter.
As his son closed the door behind them to the restaurant, Tom felt the cool night air, hoping his son wasn’t too cold given the temperature had fallen quickly. It was September and although it had been a mild seventy-five degrees at Coors Field, they had to walk a block to get to their car. He didn’t want to embarrass his son, so he just put his arm around him to keep him warmer. Sam didn’t protest thankfully.
As they made their way to their car, Tom couldn’t help but look at Sam’s baseball glove that Sam held loosely in his hands. He’d given the glove to Sam after his son refused to use his old worn-out one. Tom had used that glove as a teenager when he was about Sam’s age. He laughed to himself when he remembered Sam’s look on his face as he stared at Tom’s old glove. It seemed so important to him to give it to Sam, but Sam wanted his own glove.
Tom knew that Sam had loved the game that afternoon. Sam had a fantastic baseball card collection and recited stats that baffled Tom, who also felt proud of his son for knowing and memorizing all kinds of stats. Seemed like the type of thing kids should be worried about in high school, not what was weighing on Tom’s mind. Tom shook away a bunch of thoughts. He still wanted to look like he was enjoying himself after he and Sam had watched their favorite team win and ate at their favorite restaurant. But that damn television and the news. He was overcome with concern and resentment, knowing that his son’s future was going to be nothing like his own.
Sam said, “You know my good friend Kory just made varsity, and I heard that there were even some top university recruits watching. I hope when I get to high school, I’ll play that well.”
Tom stared at Sam momentarily, masking the welled-up feeling of regret and sorrow that threatened to silence him, before he said, “Sam, you’re going to play with the best.”
He unlocked the car door, and they headed toward Interstate 70. All the while, Tom was glad that he had reached an agreement with his colleagues that there would be no more delays, no matter what lay ahead.
And so, it began.
About the Author
Michael Bienenstock is a retired teacher with over 35 years of teaching experience. He has published papers and given numerous presentations and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Rochester Institute of Technology, a Master’s degree from Gallaudet University, and a Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Maryland at College Park. He is married with one son and lives in Florida. So Long Earth is Michael’s debut novel and no, his clone did not write this book.