It’s a Halloween treat! Amazon won’t let me offer it for $0.00, so it’s available at that unbeatable price on Smashwords:

Imagine our world fifty years from now. How will we live? Will it be a transcendental utopia or a Orwellian nightmare? What if disaster strikes? Or what if it’s nothing too out of the ordinary? What if our world is exactly as we know it today, but just with that little nudge that keeps us guessing and dreaming? It’s three ordinary men. Three unique visions of the future. Three pint-sized yet powerful vignettes.

Download for free at Smashwords

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Cover art is set and ready for release

 

This one’s a bit of fan fiction.

Prize: Free copy of both the 1st and 2nd installment of The Outer Pendulum to whomever is first to guess the inspiration. Leave a comment with your email address and I’ll send an Amazon gift right along.

An Ode to Planet:

General Skye III stepped out of her rover and onto the dust riddled, orange clay of the Sunny Mesa. She walked to the edge of the cliff, the pebbles crunching softly under her boots. The air was crisp. Clear. Dry. She plucked a toothpick out of a wooden case on her belt, brought it to her chapped lips, and bit down on the dull end.

The mindworm commander approached from behind and joined her at the edge of the precipice.

“You were never welcome here,” it said, its accent strong, having just learned the dialect of the Gaians only a year ago.

General Skye slid the toothpick to the corner of her mouth. “But now,” she said as she looked out towards the smog-covered Morganite industrial complex. “Now you are nothing without us.”

The mindworm commander fluttered its wings and shook off a layer of dust. The red pedals surrounding its face curled up and exposed a hollow opening in the center of its seemingly nonexistent head. Behind several rows of flesh-stained teeth, a dark layer of muscus led into the depths of its seven foot long, parasitic body.

“Are your forces ready?” asked General Skye.

“Yes, madam. I have assembled a division of probe worms and four airborne squadrons. The bulk of my boils will make an amphibious attack from The Great Barrier Lake.”

“Good.” General Skye spat out her toothpick and spun around towards her impact rover. “This planet will finally be what my sister and I had first intended.”

“Madam.”

“Yes, colonel?” She struggled to face the creature, only glancing at it out of the corner of her eye. No matter how much she loved and cared for nature and the indigenous lifeform, it still terrified her to no end, often appearing in her nightmares, crawling into her bed and infesting her mind.

“You turn on us and you’re next.”

General Skye shivered. She started walking away, trying to stay strong and unafraid. But it did nothing. She remembered their first attack. Standard weapons had no effect. The mindworm boils overtook the base in an instant, burrowing into the brains of every soldier and causing even the most elite, willed and psi-trained grunt in the Gaian marine corp to lash out in a fit of homicidal then suicidal dementia.

“Don’t worry,” she said. “Our years of peaceful coexistence should be enough to prove our worthiness as an ally.”

“We’ll see, Madam.” The colonel turned to face his boil. Hundreds of thousands of tiny mindworms crawled back and forth across the plateau, some stacking up on one another to create a tangled bramble of bristles and fins, all combining into a few platoons of highly mobile units. The mindworm colonel slithered onto the roof of the impact rover.

“Today, men, will be the day we retake our planet. We stand before the last surviving enemy faction. They have drilled their thermal boreholes into the depths of our earth. They have constructed their heathen condensers to bring their filthy rains down upon our land. They have erected networks of factories to build their machines to defend themselves. But we know their weakness, men. We know the way into their feeble minds. Let this day be their day of reckoning for all the crimes they have committed against our world. For he who casts the first stone is with the greatest of sin.”

 

 

 

 

 

The Mutagenic Cycle, from author James Michael White

A thief discovers the drug he stole is more than merely mind-altering, and the designer from whom he stole it more terrible than humanly possible … love and betrayal clash in a world in which the only escape from slavery is to become inhuman … one man provides hope to a world devastated by genetic catastrophe.

Other Stories…

A down-on-his-luck journalist interviews a man who may be a god, a kook, or the perfect solution to a life of misery … a group of intrepid explorers touch the edges of space only to discover ancient terror … a man discovers disturbing hidden powers behind human motivation.

My Rating:

 

There is a stigma around science fiction that ALL of it is just dumbed-down, mindless escapism. What White does so well in his short story collection is create a sense that science fiction can really be story-driven while showing literary prowess. His characters are deep, his imagery vibrant.  There is a feeling that you are trapped inside his settings, unable to leave until the story is finished.  I could easily equate it to Philip K. Dick. It’s dark, almost to the point of a cyberpunk throwback. And there’s a noir feel to it. All-in-all it’s just great writing. My only reason for not giving five stars is that all three of the stories in The Mutagenic Cycle seemed unfinished. There was closure, sure, but still felt unresolved in some way. I suppose that’s a testament to the author. These characters are too interesting to be stifled into 10k words. Will we be seeing any of the stories developed into full-length novels?

 

 

 

 

In honor of National Book Lovers Day (first Saturday of November), the next installment of The Outer Pendulum Saga will be published Nov 5. The cover art is still in production and is unfortunately unavailable for display at the moment, but here are some vintage sci-fi pulp covers for your enjoyment:


 

 

One of my favorite games from 1994

 

Interview transcript on Yahoo! Associated Content

 

 

It’s here! The much anticipated second installment in The Outer Pendulum Saga has arrived. Thank you all for reading and don’t be afraid to send me a note, become a fan of the Facebook page, or spread the word if you enjoyed it.

Special Promotion! Email me (author@slavaheretz.com) if you want a free Kindle copy of the first installment: Corsair (Outer Pendulum, Part 1)

Letter of Marque (Outer Pendulum, Part 2) Kindle Edition

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Slava

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