Tag Archives: free short story

Kal’s August Updates

August is here!  As far as my updates, I’m still finishing up The Shattered Empire and I’ll be getting it out to my alpha readers in the next couple weeks.  Echo of the High Kings is now available on Amazon as an ebook and paperback.

In addition, Look to the Stars is now available on Amazon.  The short story takes place just before the events of The Fallen Race.  Look to the Stars is from the perspective of the smuggler, Mason McGann.  As an introductory offer, I’ll have it available for free this weekend, 10-11 August.  You can get it here.

Lastly, I’ll be at Myths and Legends Con this weekend in Denver, Colorado.  You can find their website here.  I’ll have paperback copies of my books with me if anyone wants to get a signed copy.

That’s all for now, stay tuned for other updates and snippets/samples.

 

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Runner sample

Here’s a quick sample from Runner, a short story written about the origins of Run the Chxor, a character in The Renegades series.  Runner will also be available in the upcoming Renegades: Compendium

***

 Ghren paused as he pulled up his notes: “On 5674-Juhnar, Medical Scientist Rhxun, violated standard methodology and protocols with his current experimentation. He disobeyed direct orders from the Planetary Governor, violated Chxor Medical Procedures seventeen, forty-two, one-ninteen, and seven-thirteen through eight-forty-five.”

“Also, technically, nine-fourteen,” Rhxun added.

“As well as nine-fourteen,” Ghren amended. “Due to his inability to follow proper procedures regarding medical methodology, he implanted three quarters of the population, roughly four million of the Than subcaste with implants designed to limit free will and induce loyalty protocols to the Chxor Empire in general and to Senior Scientist Rhxun in specific. His implants utilized wireless signals to maintain overall control of the population and had minimal electromagnetic shielding.”

“Four million, three hundred thousand, four hundred and seven of the Than subcaste,” Rhxun corrected automatically. “With an additional one hundred and twenty test subjects who survive at the shielded testing facility.”

“Correct, four million, three hundred thousand, four hundred and seven,” Ghren stated flatly. Apparently he did not like the reminder that his inferior intelligence did not allow him to retain data as well as Rhxun. Well, it isn’t as if I didn’t expect as much, Rhxun thought. The Tier Three Investigator continued, “When a stellar flare erupted, it caused massive radio frequency interference across a broad spectrum, this interference proved particularly hazardous to the population implanted by Senior Scientist Rhxun. The result was initial extreme pain, followed by violent aggression. Final results appear to be the destruction of higher level brain functions and feral behavior. This subsequently resulted in the termination of the entire test population as well as some three million – “

“Two million, nine hundred thousand, nine hundred and thirty,” Rhxun interrupted.

“ – of the rest of the population. This number included seven District Administrators as well as the Assistant Planetary Governor, Police Commander, Deputy Fleet Commander, and Investigator Krell who had been dispatched to investigate Planetary Governor Hraal’s statement regarding insurrectionist activity in regards to Senior Scientist Rhxun’s research.” Tier Three Investigator Ghren paused. “I therefore find that the proper punishment is to strip Senior Scientist Rhxun of his rank and sentence him to immediate termination.”

“I understand how you have come to this decision,” Rhxun shook his head. “And I believe you have done your best at the limits of your intelligence and understanding. Am I correct in my estimation that you have followed procedure fifteen of the investigation protocols and have waited to file your official findings pending my sentencing?”

“Of course,” Ghren said. The tone of his voice suggested that any other option would not follow the proper regulations. A loyalty to regulation and bureaucracy that Rhxun agreed with and appreciated immensely.

“Excellent,” Rhxun said. He drew his dart pistol and fired once. The small dart struck Ghren in the side of his thick neck, just above the collar of his brown uniform.

Ghren stared at him in shock for a moment. Then the convulsions began. Rhxun walked calmly around the desk and deleted the Tier Three Investigator’s notes. He then pulled the dart out of the dead Chxor’s neck and carefully dropped it down the incinerator chute behind the desk. A moment later he tapped the intercom button. “Excuse me. It seems that Tier Three Investigator Ghren has undergone a seizure. I would suggest that a body disposal team be dispatched.”

***

You can find the rest here

Oddball SF/F: Space Western

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As you might imagine, the first time I heard the term ‘Space Western’ my first thought was Space What?!?!

I mean, who wants to see a cowboy ride around a rocket?  I like science in my science fiction, thank you.

Well, I’ve since been educated a bit.  You see, there was this little show called Firefly and this nifty follow-on movie called Serenity.  That’s when I realized, that, you know, Space Western isn’t so bad afterall.  Granted, really, some SF authors have been doing this for a while anyway.  The general concept, that a frontier is a frontier, whether it be on Earth or on some distant world, has circulated throughout science fiction.  Heinlein used it quite well in a number of his stories, for example.  To be certain, it is something of wish fulfillment, that the new frontiers of space will be similar to the American West.

Still, the basic idea of transposing a time of societal change, a sense of exploration, and the tough, independent individuals is one that captures the imagination.  This is not the sterile Wayland Corp of the Aliens movies.  This frontier is a place of wild adventure and excitement.  Prospectors, priests, whores, businessmen, doctors, robber-barons, and a dozen other types populate this frontier with people we can identify with, understand, love, and hate.  Western stories are popular because of the spirit of independence, the satisfaction of a hero driven by his or her own strength of purpose and convictions who succeeds on his or her own efforts.

And of course Space Western trades in some of the traditions of western for the trappings of space.  The horse and the six gun trade out for a space ship and a blaster, but it retains the sense of exploration and the spirit of independence.  Space Western is often about the people and their stories more than it is about the technology.  And, when it comes down to it, the best stories often are.

Some excellent examples of Space Western, both old and new:  Robert Heinlein’s Time Enough for Love, Joss Whedon’s TV Series Firefly, the original Star Wars Trilogy (Han Solo is basically a cowboy and the Millenium Falcon his horse), the John Carter books by Edgar Rice Borroughs are pretty much a cowboy directly transposed into space opera.  Robert Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is probably borderline as to whether you could consider it Space Western or not, but the principles are there, I think.  In any case, that is a good selection to read… and if you want more, my short story: Look To The Stars, is Space Western and proud of it.