Archive for Kindle

The Only Certainty

Posted in eBook, Scifi, Stories with tags , on May 1, 2015 by oneoveralpha

CertaintyOn The Day, for reasons still unknown, people began changing. They went to sleep as their old selves and woke in their beds in different bodies: bodies that had belonged to other people. And each time they fall asleep, they wake as someone new. Set months later, “The Only Certainty” follows Derrick Gorton on an average day in this new world as he deals with food shortages, the semi-collapse of society, and how to finish his latest novel.

Here is an excerpt to give you a sample:

In those first hours, leaders from around the world asked in vain for people to remain calm; as if waking up in a different body was something normal, to be expected. But they were quickly drowned out by the theorists. Some claimed this had to be an act of a forgotten, mischievous god while others thought it was clearly the prelude to an alien invasion, and still others opted for it being some bizarre science experiment gone awry. Worse yet, nobody knew if this was a one-time event, or if it would keep happening every time people fell asleep. In those early hours the only thing obvious was that nobody had a clue.

And in this mass of confusion came the first video of The Change. Somewhere in Russia, a group of people had gathered together in an apartment to help each other stay awake. They were filming – the translator explained – last messages for their families. Then, in a corner, an old, frail woman fell asleep. They went to wake her only to see her skin become fluid and her body shrink even more. A few seconds later a young Chinese girl lay before them.

The camera whipped around to see several people running from the apartment. After about a minute of arguing between those who remained, the girl was shaken awake. She opened her eyes and talked to them, in Russian. According to the translators, this young Chinese girl knew everything the old, Russian woman had known.

For hours, Derrick and Carol watched the news and talked with her mother. But eventually, her mother’s phone died, and they were left alone. They sat on their couch watching the world end; holding each other and drinking cup after cup of coffee.

***

If you are at all curious, you can find “The Only Certainty” on Kindle.

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The Most Powerful Man in the World and other stories is free this weekend

Posted in eBook, Scifi, Spaceflight, Stories with tags , on April 25, 2015 by oneoveralpha

The Most Powerful Man in the World2“The Most Powerful Man in the World and other stories” is a collection of five of my short, scifi stories to provide a sample of my writing. It will be free to download on Kindle from now through Monday, April 27, so grab your free copy now.

Here are short blurbs for the stories included. A being from the distant future with almost unlimited powers comes back to help Ian Steele make the world a better place in “The Most Powerful Man in the World.” The bookstore customer has an entirely different reason for wanting books in “Black Market Books.” “Motherhood” tells the story of Thomas Gillespie, the surrogate mother for an AI. “Storyteller” is about an author thinking his book into existence. And “Deadworld” is about the alien world humans are reborn on – in alien bodies – after they die.

For a taste, here is an excerpt from “The Most Powerful Man in the World”

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“What happened?” Ian asked from the floor.

“You fainted.”

Ian sat up and looked around the empty room. It was maybe fifteen feet on a side and painted a dull grey. “Where am I?”

“A dimensional intrusion located within your living room wall.”

“Huh?”

Pulling him to his feet, she explained, “Basically, it’s a space that can be as large,” here Karen threw her arms out and the walls zoomed away beyond sight, “or as small as I want.” She then drew her arms in and the two stood in a space the size of a phone booth. The room returned to its original size and Karen stretched. “But I think this is a good size.”

Ian spun around, trying to keep an eye on each of the walls as if they might sneak up and squish him. “What the hell is this?”

Karen put her arm around him. “Arthur C. Clarke once said that ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.’” Shrugging, Karen stated, “This is magic.”

Lonely Phoenix

Posted in eBook, Scifi, Spaceflight, Stories with tags , on April 17, 2015 by oneoveralpha

LP1

Partway to a new colony world, board member Geoffrey Ames is woken from hibernation by the caretaking crew of the Lucian. They require him to look into the matter of their fellow crewman Morgan Heller. Morgan’s claims – such as being over 1500 years old – would normally land him in the psychiatric ward, except he can back up some of his other claims.

Here is an excerpt to give you a sample:

Delara and Geoffrey entered the cell. Along the far wall were a bed and a toilet. A small table had been placed between the bed and door, along with three folding chairs. Without ceremony, Delara set the first aid kit on the table and sat down. Geoffrey paused and studied the prisoner who stood on the other side of the table. Morgan Heller was below average height, but with plenty of muscle.

Morgan grinned and waved to the chair beside Delara. “Please, sit down.”

Geoffrey looked from him to Delara, but her face was turned away. He looked back to Morgan and nodded before sitting down.

“I’d offer you a drink, but,” Morgan spread his hands, “I must have misplaced the key to the wine cellar.” He chuckled to himself then sat down.

Geoffrey began, “Mister Heller–”

“Please, call me Morgan.”

“Mister Heller,” Geoffrey continued, gaining a smirk from Morgan, “my name is Geoffrey Ames. I’m a member of the Board of Directors woken to look into this … situation.”

“Good morning, Mister Ames.”

After a pause, Geoffrey asked, “Mister Heller, why do they have you locked up in here?”

Morgan frowned and glanced at Delara, who replied, “I thought it best if he hears your story without any preconceived notions.”

“I see.” Morgan turned back to Geoffrey and stated, “The reason they have me locked in here is because of what I am.”

When he didn’t immediately continue, Geoffrey prompted, “Which is?”

“I don’t know. The closest word for what I am is … vampire.”

For several seconds there was only silence. Then Geoffrey nodded and turned to Delara. “You woke me for this?”

Delara only smiled and opened the first aid kit. She took out a pair of scissors and held them up in front of Geoffrey. She opened and closed them a few times, and turned them around so he could see both sides. “What are you doing?” he asked.

Instead of replying, she slid them across the table to Morgan.

Morgan sighed. He picked up the scissors, opened them, and then swept a blade across his forearm.

Geoffrey jumped up, knocking over his chair. “What the hell is going on here?”

Delara stood and put her hand on his shoulder. “Geoffrey, look at his arm.”

Against his better judgment, Geoffrey turned to look at Morgan’s arm. The wound wasn’t deep, with only a little bit of blood. But then he watched as the wound closed. The edges of the skin just rejoined.

Delara sat back down and took a wipe from the kit and passed it to Morgan, who cleaned the blood from his arm. A light pink scar was the only indication something had happened.

Apparently none the worse, Morgan looked up to Geoffrey and explained, “I heal very quickly. That’s why I’m in here. There was an accident that several people witnessed. They saw me gravely injured, and then I healed right before their eyes.”

“There is security footage of the accident as well as his healing,” Delara stated.

Geoffrey looked from Morgan’s arm, to the scissors, to Delara, then to Morgan’s smiling face. “If you’ll excuse me,” Geoffrey said, then he turned and left.

***

If you are at all curious, you can find “Lonely Phoenix” on Kindle.

Brain for Rent and other stories

Posted in eBook, Scifi, Stories with tags , on March 13, 2015 by oneoveralpha

“Brain for Rent and other stories” is a collection of five, short scifi stories I put together to give a sampling of my writing. Included in the collection are: “Brain for Rent” about a ne’re-do-well failed writer with a conceptual implant who discusses his work with a young woman thinking of getting an implant herself. “The Demonstration” is about a different young woman wanting to show off her latest body modification. “Self Imprisonment” offers one solution of where to put the backup copy of yourself for safe keeping. “The Best Job Ever” is about a necessary – yet unpleasant – human/alien interaction. And the collection ends with “Why Stay?” which explains why, after years of fighting the humans, the robots just deactivated.

For an example, here is an excerpt from “The Demonstration”

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Splice was the hottest nightclub in town catering to body manipulators. So it was normal to see people waiting in line with feline features, multiple arms, or an anatomy twisted in ways that would give Picasso a headache. But a young, apparently normal human woman? That raised numerous eyebrows, or what passed for eyebrows.

Joan just stood silently in line with a faint smile on her lips.

When she finally reached the front of the line, the bouncer – a wall of muscle in an enormous tuxedo with rhinoceros horns sprouting from his face – gave her a glance and grumbled, “No unmodifieds.”

Joan gave him a toothy smile and asked, “Could an unmodified do this?” In a flash she grabbed hold of the front of his tuxedo with her left hand and lifted him half-a-meter off the ground.

The bouncer just looked down at the ground, then back to Joan. “Ma’am,” he said, “there’s a cyborg bar three blocks down that would love your patronage.”

Setting him back on his feet, Joan declared, “I am not a cyborg. I’ll make you a deal. Scan me for cybernetic implants.” She reached in to her jeans pocket and pulled out her card and waved it in front of him. “If you find anything beyond the basic manipulator nanites, I will give you a thousand dollars and then leave without a fuss. But if you don’t find any, you’ll allow me in.”

For a few heartbeats, there was only the sound of a distant train. Then Tom called out, “Come on, just scan her so the rest of us can get in.”

The cry was taken up by the rest of her friends and several other people in line.

The bouncer shrugged and said, “Fine.”

***

If you are at all curious, you can find “Brain for Rent and other stories” on Kindle.

The Future is Coming

Posted in eBook, Science, Scifi with tags , , , , on February 27, 2015 by oneoveralpha

As a science fiction writer, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how technology will change the way we live. I came up with these ten short essays about science fictional elements that will – almost certainly – one day become science fact as a way for people to start coming to terms with them. Since I’ve spent time thinking about clones and AIs, I feel I’ll be okay when they do finally show up whereas most people will probably freak out. The point of these essays is to get people to start thinking about the future because, no matter what we do, the future is coming.

Here’s one of the essays, which was first published as a blog post.

“Cloning Humans”

Someday – almost certainly sooner than anyone suspects – a human will be cloned. There will be protests, boycotts, marches, condemnations, congressional hearings, etc., all for this one minor event. I say minor event, and here is why.

The short term issues

The biggest problem human clones will face comes from people watching too many bad science fiction movies. In those movies, 99.9% of what they show of cloning is utter crap. In reality, clones will not be mindless automatons who will blindly follow the orders of some megalomaniac out for galactic domination. Nor will you run the risk of walking into an alley where someone will jump you, and ten minutes later a clone will walk out of the alley to steal your identity. And clones will not “remember” the lives of their donors and do … whatever. A clone will just be another human. That’s it. If they can escape the mental scaring caused by “parents” or guardians bent on making them into exact duplicates of the people who donated some DNA, they will be no more screwed up than the rest of us.

Cloning will – especially at first – be extremely expensive. That combined with the fact that we already have over seven billion humans made the old fashion way begs the question, what need is there to create clones? Seriously, what will be the point? Yes, grieving families will want to replace loved ones, and companies will take their money to give them a clone who will have the same DNA as the person they lost. But the clone – because they will have lived a different life – will not be the same person. And yes, some historical figures will be cloned as well as the best and brightest of various fields, but when the Einstein clone takes up poetry instead of physics, what will be the point of continuing?

There will be clones, but they will make up a miniscule fraction of the population. But a ton of legal and ethical questions will surround them. Will the donor of the DNA have all the rights and responsibilities of a parent? What recompense will people have if they are cloned against their wishes? Will the donor be able to abort the clone, and if so, how far into the cloning process will they be able to do that? If the donor is Canadian but the cloning is done in the United States, will the clone be Canadian, American, or have dual citizenship? Will a clone be able to become President? It’s probably a safe bet that few – if any – of these questions will be answered by the time human clones walk among us.

The long term issues

Above, I said that the fictional instaclones that are ready in a few minutes or hours you often see in movies is utter crap. In the short term, that is entirely true. The technology to rapidly copy a person may be possible, but probably not for several decades at best. As such, the day may come where you could walk into an alley and ten minutes later a clone walks out to steal your identity. That could happen, but since cloning won’t be the only technology to advance, I’d think it would be far easier for the bad guys to steal your identity by hacking into your computer implants and turning you into a puppet. That will be easier then going through the process of taking a genetic sample, growing the instaclone, and then somehow giving it enough of your memories for it to pass as you.

About the only possible reason I can think of for large scale clone production, will be for people to download themselves into younger bodies. There are two ways I can see this happening. The first is a brain transplant. Now, if the clone has to grow up so the brain will fit, that will only work if the clone can be grown without a brain. But if you could make brainless, instaclones, then that may be a viable option. The second way is some sort of electronic transfer. You make a digital copy of yourself, then install it in a clone with an undeveloped brain. Of course, if you can upload your consciousness into some electronic format, then why not keep it as that in either a virtual world or by downloading it into a mechanical body? As I said, cloning won’t be the only technology that advances.

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Basically, at some point in the not too distant future, a human will be cloned. A great deal of time will be spent demonizing that fact, but in the long run human cloning will almost certainly just be a fad.

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If you’re curious, you can find “The Future is Coming” on Kindle.

Political Pies

Posted in Books, eBook, Politics, Rant, Stories with tags , , , , on February 11, 2015 by oneoveralpha

NewPieEverybody complains about politics, but does anyone do anything about it? My attempt to do something about it was to collect forty of my short stories with a political element into my Political Pies anthology. The stories are either politically neutral or equally condemning of the national parties. Instead of trying to sway you to one ideology or another, my goal is to just get people thinking about politics in the hopes a rose might grow out of all the political manure.

Here is an example of such a hopeful rose.

“Is That How it Works?”

“Next question.”

A middle-aged gentleman walked up to the microphone at the front of the auditorium. He cleared his throat, then said, “Senator, on the campaign trail you have often stated that the rich and powerful – both individual and corporate – should receive tax breaks because they are the job creators.”

“That’s correct.”

The man took a piece of paper out of his pocket and unfolded it. “Sir, I’ve been unemployed for twenty months now.” He held the piece of paper up so everyone could see it was a check. “This is the last of my life savings.” He tossed the check up onto the stage about ten feet from the candidate. “I give it to you so that you – as the nearest I’ll get to the rich and powerful – now have all of the money that matters to me. Now give me a goddamn job!”

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If you are at all curious, then check out the page for Political Pies on my website to find out where you can find it.

The All-You-Can-Read Buffet

Posted in Books, eBook, Humor, Scifi, Stories, Writing with tags , , , on February 4, 2015 by oneoveralpha

Buffet

The All-You-Can-Read Buffet is a collection of forty stories covering various genres and themes ranging from six to over 4,200 words in length. They also cover a wide time range. Some of these stories I began writing a decade ago, while others were written especially for this collection. All together, they are a buffet of my writing. As such, I encourage you to read as much as you want. Go back for seconds, thirds, fourths even. I won’t even mind if you skip over the stuff you don’t like, but, to quote your mother, “How do you know you don’t like it? Have you tried it?”

Here is a taste of what you’ll find within.

“Dark Anniversary”

With a dozen roses in hand, the man dressed all in black walked towards the tombstone. The lettering had already begun to fade, but the words were drilled into his brain: Edith Robyn Sommers, April 4, 1956 – June 14, 1975.

After a few moments of reflection, the man knelt and set the roses on her grave.

“You are so maudlin, Eric,” a voice said from the darkness.

Without turning, Eric said, “You never forget your first, Robert.”

Robert stepped from the shadows. “My first was just some peasant.”

“And after all these centuries you still remember that.”

Robert stood for a few seconds, then turned and disappeared.

Eric chuckled, then stood. He nodded to the tombstone and said, “Until next year, Edith.” He then spread his wings and flew into the night.

***

If you are at all curious, then check out the page for The All-You-Can-Read Buffet on my website to find out where you can find it.