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Greg Hickey’s Doing a GiveAway! (and you’re all invited)

Win the 18 speculative fiction ebooks shown below

  • Explore a variety of subgenres, including science fiction, fantasy, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, alternative history, paranormal and magical realism
  • 5 winners will be randomly selected
  • Click on each book cover or title to read more (listed under the raffle)

Our Dried Voices by Greg Hickey

Hundreds of years in the future, the last humans live in a utopian colony with every need satisfied automatically. But when the machines that regulate the colony begin to break down, one colonist must save what remains of humanity.

Once Bitten, Twice Die by Antony J. Stanton

A cure for dementia fails, leaving patients crazed, infectious and enraged, and the carnage quickly decimates society. On London’s outskirts some survivors must battle the infected, but their troubles have only just begun…

Sentience by Courtney P. Hunter

Sentience follows twenty-four individuals as they travel through a contained natural preserve to participate in a Turing Test conducted by a tech corporation willing to do anything for monetary gain.

Terra Obscura: A Knock in the Dark by Geoff and Michelle Genge


People are dying in the dark and New York’s highest office wants the truth buried. Only Charles Fort, an ambitious and ridiculed paranormal investigator is willing to get to the bottom of it.

Subject A36 by Teri Polen

He was genetically enhanced to be the perfect assassin. To kill for The Colony. He just doesn’t know it yet.

The Augmented Man by Joseph Carrabis

“…a blistering tour de force…Joseph Carrabis has created a military and scientific warrior that could mind read and wipe out Rambo, Robocop and Steve Austin ‘The Bionic Man’ at once, in an instant.”

The Curse of Sotkari Ta by Maria A. Perez

Mina is snatched from her family and forced to serve the ruthless Lostai on a distant science station. The DNA of an evolved race known as Sotkari Ta lies dormant in her genes.

The Night Alphabet by David M. Donachie

Have you ever had a dream so wonderful it followed you into the waking world? Do you lie awake, listening to the creaks and groans of a settling building, and believe that something strange and terrible is happening?

Undertones by L.S. Popovich

In a dystopian city run by animals, a university jazz band takes on the mob for the sake of social protest, only to bite off more than they can chew.

Aceldama by John Hazen

When a young woman battles logic, time and even the religious establishment to save her husband from the clutches of a curse that goes back two millennia, she risks not only condemning her own soul but also plunging the world into the apocalypse.

I, Carlos by Casey Dorman

I, Carlos is thriller in which a revolutionary computer chip, containing the personality of Carlos the Jackal, the world’s most notorious assassin, is implanted into the protagonist’s brain.

Eye of the Storm by R.K. King

In a future ravaged by a planet-wide super storm, tribes of nomads eke out a miserable existence barely surviving as they uncover scraps of the old world and move as the storm moves.

Guardians of the Gates, Part 1: The New Breed by Jeff Schanz

When a madman wields a supernatural force that can wipe humanity off the globe, an ancient, dying society called The Saints are the only ones who understand the unfathomable threat.

Centricity by Nathaniel Henderson

When an intelligence operation to retrieve a DNA-altering bioweapon goes horribly wrong, it sparks a scandal that could bring down an agency, and a city along with it.

Moon Crusher by Susan Kite

Fourteen-year-old Diego only knows the rolling hills of his father’s ranch in 1829 California. Then he is captured by reptilian aliens and taken aboard their spaceship.

Chester’s People

First off, it’s Chestette, not Chester.

Second, this post’s title is a librage to Le Carre’s Smiley’s People (a good if dated read).

The clan is much shyer than Hyacinthe’s. We’ve come out and found them at odds with each other, which is a shame because we put out quite a bit of food. We now create several piles and place them relatively far apart. The different families still snorf at each other but blows are avoided.

Quite different than years ago when we’d have near twenty raccoons from three or four families merrily munching side-by-side.

But we also know there are more predators out now than in the past.

And one must always be on guard for predators.

At least in The Wild, predation is honest, up front, and direct.

I wish it was that way in the Two-Legged world.

I truly do.

 

The Goatmen of Aguirra, Part 3

The Goatmen of Aguirra is one of my favorite stories and, based on comments, popular among my readers (thankee!). It appears in my self-published Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires, as an individual ebook The Goatmen of Aguirra: A Tale Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires, and was serialized in Piker Press in 2019.

I’m sharing it here because a friend is having some challenges using 1st Person POV, and The Goatmen of Aguirra uses 1st Person POV throughout.

Read The Goatmen of Aguirra, Part 2.

Hope you enjoy.


The Goatmen of Aguirra (Part 3)

 
725015:600 – They stood outside the blind for a full day, leaving only when the inversion storms formed on the horizon and coming back when the storms dissipated, seating themselves in the extended root systems of the succulent where their coloring makes them damn near invisible. We realize now they may have been there since before our landing, hence the blind is moot.

As I stated earlier, Aguirra is a testament to adaptive evolution. These creatures – we call them ‘Goatmen’ now that we’ve been able to observe more about their physiologies – are the best blend of North American mountain goats and South American camels.

In this land of high, thin air, little food, cold, and treacherous terrain, these Goatmen have developed enlarged hearts and lungs – my guess is that they couldn’t survive at sea level.

Their coats are fine and dense with two layers; the outer layer is comprised of long, oily, water repellent guard hairs, the inner layer is comprised of dense hollow hairs to provide both thermal insulation and protection from parasites. At least the insects don’t seem to bother them. The coat won’t collect moisture and sheds condensation, the principal elements of the best insulations known, and is thickest across the shoulders where the guard hairs may be ten to fifteen centimeters long. The coat thins as it moves out to the muzzle and legs.

Toe walkers. Their feet are like their hands, although the toes are broader, flatter, and rubbery in their ability to grasp the surface they walk on. Their legs obviously evolved from something quadripedal in recent evolutionary time.

Chromotographic analysis of their respirations – only two to three per decminute while observing us, apparently a resting state – shows a ninety percent CO2-O2 exchange. Without dissection I can’t be sure, but I would guess they can force oxygen into their tissues in much the way deep diving cetaceans do.

I would almost believe they live on the Towers, although there is no evidence of this other than the telemetry of the casters.

It is obvious they know we are here. This blind serves us nothing. I’ve asked Sanders to allow attempts at communications. Although they haven’t made obvious communication amongst themselves, their behavior leads me to believe them intelligent.


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Nibbling Raccoonlets

I mentioned in Fingers Are Tasty, Too, Two-Legger that some of our children are…feisty.

Specifically, I mentioned the need for nibbling preventive toeware.

You thought I was kidding?

So far no wounding, no bloodying, but I’m staying on my guard.

And they are patient.

 

The Goatmen of Aguirra, Part 2

The Goatmen of Aguirra is one of my favorite stories and, based on comments, popular among my readers (thankee!). It appears in my self-published Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires, as an individual ebook The Goatmen of Aguirra: A Tale Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires, and was serialized in Piker Press in 2019.

I’m sharing it here because a friend is having some challenges using 1st Person POV, and The Goatmen of Aguirra uses 1st Person POV throughout.

Read The Goatmen of Aguirra, Part 1.

Hope you enjoy.


The Goatmen of Aguirra (Part 2)

 
705015:323 – The winds are fierce now that Astarte 217’s rays are directly on this moraine. Instruments indicate speeds in excess of one-hundred kilometers per hour and the sudden inversion is creating torrential rains which are creating waterfalls down the faces of the Towers and flooding this gorge.

These rains reminds me, in some ways, of New Orleans, where Robin and I lived briefly while she attended Loyola. In high summer it rains every hour, suddenly, violently, then stops after ten minutes. There are no clouds in the sky, then they gather up, release their hold and go away.

As the clouds gathered Sanders ordered the caster to ground. At the time it was flying over the run off fissures on the Alpha Tower. It continued transmitting and, thanks to the floor and angle, we witnessed incredible rains and winds clearing the skies and scrubbing the canopy. The only difference here is the color.

Despite the rain and wind, we can see Astarte 217 rising far to the east on that edge of the altiplano. It is peering over the precipice at us like some Indian scouting the fort. The clouds are higher over the plain than the precipice’s edge and this gives 217 a green crown. Nash says this is common here but uncommon on earth. Nash. Never-late-for-dinner Nash. Of all on this mission, he’s the only one who grumbles when I sit next to him for meals. No one else seems to mind my being a lefty.

God it is glorious here.

705015:500 – Wind and rain have stopped. They lasted about one and a half standard hours, about point-seven-one dechours on this planet, and Nash says we can expect something similar at dusk and dawn every day.

Sanders sent up some more casters to scout along with the first when the storm broke. They are coursing through the far away valley and are sending back holos of the several species inhabiting Aguirra.

Closer to our blind but still some distance down the altiplano Aguirran insects are busy. Their buzzing and clicking reminds me of apiaries and formicariums back home. Typical to robotic and remote sensing, the true aromas of this country weren’t captured in their entirety, or were captured with the typical burnt-metal tinge which all such equipment imparts. Considering the waxing and waning humidity, there is no smell of decay, detritus, humus, or their like. Whatever moisture lands is quickly recaptured and, as noted previously, behaves more like some kind of planetary scrubbing action than rejuvenating rain. I’ve noticed, at the leading edge of each storm recorded, there is a smell similar to a good late spring rain in a forest. The smells of the flora are highlighted and accented, hitting one high in the nose not unlike a pleasantly bitter coffee.

The Aguirran insects disturb me. More correctly, it is their mammalian eyes which disturb me, eyes you’re more accustomed to seeing on your dog or cat, eyes which you can believe have some hint of intelligence behind them. Galen further noted that the clearly arboreal species have blue eyes. “Same as you, Banks,” he said.

“Why is that, do you think?”

“Adaptive biology, I guess. A blue iris in this atmosphere could cause less ocular distortion over distance. I wouldn’t be surprised if everything living eight-k and up’s eyes were blue.”

Nothing else lives this far off the planetary floor.

Sanders brought me another message from Robin’s attorneys today. There are advantages and disadvantages to being in a jumpship. This message, received as quickly as possible, is still months too late for me to respond. It appears I won’t be allowed to see Jeremy.

Again, there is nothing here which hasn’t been reported before.

715015:030 – The alarms woke us, although there seemed to be no reason. The casters were called back and found nothing, which our shipboard instruments confirmed.

The casters also indicate thermals on the steppes and higher on the Towers, although the vegetation is too dense for the casters to gather much information due to their altitude.

Sanders is staying up to perform a redundancy on the grid and has ordered the rest of us to sleep.


Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post and requires either General Membership (free) or a Subscription (various levels). Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. All posts are free to all members save certain posts in the My Work category. Enjoy!

Reginald Rules

We use to own our backyard. Had the paperwork, the deed, made the payments, everything.

The Reginald came along.

Reginald, as far as rabbits go, stands his ground. Or grass.

He’s not pushy, not threatening, not intimidating.

Just there.

Usually when we need him not to be.

Raccoons don’t bother him. He merrily munches away not noticing…or not acknowledging…their interests. Or ours.

Yeah, I remember, long ago, when it was our backyard…