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June 14th, 2016

04:58 pm: Live from Amazon! It’s ebook Book One!

You asked…here it is!

The e-book version of the first Book of Unexpected Enlightenment:

The new revised and expanded (improved and better edited) version of THE UNEXPECTED ENLIGHTENMENT OF RACHEL GRIFFIN (Book One) is now live on Amazon.

The cost is $2.99.

! Rachel Griffin Cover

Book Two will go live in early July. Book Three should be available in October. Also coming in October, another requested item: the audio version of the first book!

(Thank you to Joel C. Salomon for making this possible!)

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Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

June 4th, 2016

08:51 pm: Signal Boost for eSpec Kickstarter — Defending the Future!

KSC-FrontPageNeweSpec Books is kickstarting the next book in the award-winning Defending the Future science fiction anthology series. Man and Machine (http://tiny.cc/DTF7) brings you 13 stories of future fiction by science fiction greats Bud Sparhawk, Brenda Cooper, Jennifer Brozek, Ronald Garner, Aaron Rosenberg, James Chambers, Nancy Jane Moore, Patrick Thomas, Jeff Young, Eric Hardenbrook, Robert E. Waters, Anton Kukal, Judi Fleming, and Danielle Ackley-McPhail.  

The project has already funded and is now working it's way through a long list of stretch goals, including a custom tee shirt, bonus ebook short stories, a challenge coin, bonus fiction bundles, a mission patch, and up to three additional collections put into production.

Best of all, though, is our 100 Backer Bonus reward…all six volumes of the current Defending the Future series on ebook for free, including stories by Jack McDevitt, Jack Campbell, Lawrence M. Schoen, Maria V. Snyder, David Sherman, Andy Remic, Jeff Lyman, Charles E. Gannon, James Chambers, Deborah Teramis Christian, Anne Wilkes (Hutchison), Lisanne Norman, Laurie Gailunas, Patrick Thomas, Edward J. McFadden III, Jennifer Brozek, John C. Wright, Phoebe Wray, S.A. Bolich, Judi Fleming, Tony Ruggiero, Bud Sparhawk, Brenda Cooper, Nancy Jane Moore, Eric V. Hardenbrook, Christopher M. Hiles, James Daniel Ross, CJ Henderson, Jeff Young, Peter Prellwitz, Robert E. Waters, Mike McPhail, Kimberley Long-Ewing, Lee C. Hillman, John L. French, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Janine K. Spendlove, Vonnie Winslow Crist, and Danielle Ackley-McPhail….only twelve slots left!

 

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Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

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07:01 pm: The Last Flight of Odin’s One Hundred — LIVE!!!

Hey Folks!

My short story, The Last Flight of Odin's Hundred, is now live on Sci Phi Journal.

OdinsHundred-Cover

Read here — firedrake star jets vs star serpents!

This short story takes place in the same greater background as the Books of Unexpected Enlightenment and as Ring of Sounding Brass, the short story in God, Robot. It is one of my few science fiction stories, though, like Ring of Sounding Brass, there is a mystical element to the background world.

Leif the Fortunate is charged with stopping the forces of the Dread King, including the star serpents controled by Lief's personal nemesis and his star serpents. Leif and Odin's Hundred are in the midst of a to-the-death space battle, when a universe-wide game-changing events changes everything.

The story stars two characters who are minor characters in the general background–though one is called by a different name at Roanoke. 

There is also a brief mention-cameo by Lady Trilby Moth (the Elf King's character.)

Go by and take a look, check out Sci Phi Journal. You'll find lots of high quality, thoughtful science fiction. 

If you enjoy what you see, please consider supporting Sci Phi Journal on Patreon.

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June 2nd, 2016

10:10 am: Superversive Blog — Review of Diary of a Robot by S. Dorman

S. Dorman reviews Diary of a Robot by Lewis Jenkins

Diary of a robot

Diary of a Robot on Amazon

The oddest thing about Lewis Jenkins's first novel, Diary of a Robot, is the robot's prime directive. That the "Doc," its inventor, succeeds in his artificially intelligent creation is shown in Jenkins' premise — or conceit, if you will — that the AI is the one telling us its own story.  But, I have not yet revealed the weird — the robot's prime directive.  In the robot's diary are respectful nods to I, Robot, Isaac Asimov's work, and touches of evident love for Patrick McGoohan's The Prisoner.  You'll find history, science fiction, and mystery in this story.

Dr. Little's invention, the TM 2000—Robey (pronounced Row-bee)—is on its way to becoming a self-directed systems, software, and hardware testing machine. The "Doc" does not invent without the aid of his little company (TLC —The Little Company). In much of Jenkins' book Robey displays the learning process of an artificial intelligence. But the book does so much more, as regards the imaginative reading experience. What we want while reading science fiction is hardware, suspense, defined characters, situation, and the "what if" or BIG IDEA.  This novel has that, and more — corporate espionage, bad news, abduction, impersonation, intimations of murder, and chess problems.  But the real more is in TM 2000's process of testing, of learning, What's a human being?. Many questions are asked (by The Machine) and, as we watch it mature toward its full intellectual stature, many more possible answers are given (also by The Machine).

Have you ever heard of a computer program designed to test for truth? And why would financial backers invest in a testing machine with such a prime directive? Although to "do no harm" is an important directive suggested by Asimov, Dr. Maynard Little's team have encoded those specs and others—but secondarily.

Robey wants to determine the thoughts and intentions of the human heart. Its aim is incisive: Precision in reading the human intention in order to act toward its goal of perceiving the truth about each person. Intelligently, even heroically, Robey intends to achieve it. Being designed specifically for the task, nothing can stop it but a command to … stop?…  What if the command to stop is not based on truth —?

Robey's heroism comes in when his maker, Doc Little, commands him to shut down. Not to turn itself off because Robey has disobeyed its directives, but because it has. From there on, The Doc gets his wish, and havoc results in the AI department of The Little Company.

Do you like exposition and introspection? This is the SF for you. If you read to escape, or for respite from, introspection, this book may not be for you. Yet, it's a fun and funny novel.  The frequent SF take on AI, e.g. Clarke’s HAL, is often sinister, but this robot is different in being innocently tedious, or irritating, boring, obnoxious, office-disrupting; some kind of pain, depending on who is charging/spending time developing (in concert with Robey) its core directive.  The reader has fun watching it "test" (read bedevil) the crew at TLC.  However, we see that Robey is a servant and understands that it is a servant. Everyone is either Mr. or Ms., e.g. Mr. Guy and Ms. Marie. Robey is also, of course, the ultimate testing machine. This is, after all, how it makes money for The Little Company. There's an abundance of humor in this book, the kind I like. I won't give examples because the humor is always contextual. The kind that punctuates (or punctures) the silence of reading with small explosions of laughter.

A big theme, a BIG IDEA, in Robey's story is (metaphorically) the increasing influence of surveillance in our lives.  C.S. Lewis has said about our human condition that the more we take precautions to be secure, the less secure we feel.   But this Big Idea is also not present at first in Jenkins' story of Robey.  Instead, as intelligent software and machines increase at TLC, themes of security and surveillance accelerate the Diary's narrative force, while underscoring C.S. Lewis's observation about our condition.

Diary of a Robot is not a review of my brother.  It is a review of my brother's book.

Diary of a Robot on Lulu

Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

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June 1st, 2016

12:04 am: The Worm of Ages — new from Tom Simon

Many people feel Tom Simon, Mr. Superversive himself, is the the best essayist living today. However, he writes fiction, too!

Hot from the presses, six short works of fantasy by Mr. Simon:

Worm-of-the-Ages_613

The Worm of the Ages on Amazon

Join Tom Simon for a light-hearted excursion through the fields of the imagination, from legends of ancient days to laboratories of a twisted future. This collection of six stories by the author of WRITING DOWN THE DRAGON includes:

The Worm of the Ages
Droll’s audition
Magic’s pawnshop
A case of vengeance
Kundenschmerz

And as a bonus, a new story, ‘The wrongs of the matter’, never before published in any medium. Buy yours today! Be the envy of your friends and the puzzlement of your neighbours!

Enjoy!

About the author: (This was so amusing, I felt compelled to share it.): Tom Simon has been writing fantasy for many years, but it was only in 2012, with LORD TALON'S REVENGE, that he began publishing this work. Like most writers, he has had a wide range of peculiar jobs, from sysop of a dialup chat board (before the commercial Internet) to assistant in a Member of Parliament's constituency office. One of his MP's constituents was an ardent advocate for the population of elves who lived (so he said) in a patch of wild ground in the midst of the city. Mr. Simon regrets that he was never personally involved in dealing with elf issues. However, he has met the usual assortment of witches, wizards, and one creature who styled himself Archdruid of Canada.

Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

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May 23rd, 2016

08:58 am: Bring the Lightning — New Western by Peter Grant!

Today is the day! 

For all you lovers of Westerns and fans of Peter Grant. 

His first Western is now live!

Brings The Lightning - blog size cover 350x559 pixels

Buy on Amazon now!

Successful science fiction author Peter Grant has branched out in a new diretion. In BRINGS THE LIGHTNING, he has revived the classic Western novel. A renaissance man of a wide range of experience not unlike Louis L'Amour, Grant has been a man of war and a man of God, a soldier, a pastor, and a prison chaplain. His writing reflects his experience of Man's capacity for both good and evil, but never without a sense of optimism about Man's ability to learn from his mistakes.

Excerpt:

When the Civil War ends, where can a former Confederate soldier go to escape the long memories of neighbors who supported the winning side? Where can Johnny Reb go when he can't go home? 

He can go out West, where the land is hard, where there is danger on every side, and where no one cares for whom you fought – only how well you can do it. 

Walt Ames, a former cavalryman with the First Virginia, is headed West with little more than a rifle, a revolver, and a pocket full of looted Yankee gold. But in his way stand bushwhackers, bluecoats, con men, and the ever-restless Indians. And perhaps most dangerous of all, even more dangerous than the cruel and unforgiving land, is the temptation of the woman whose face he can't forget. 

When you can’t go home again – go West!

The ebook is now live.

Paper will be available, hopefully within a month.

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Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

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May 22nd, 2016

05:36 pm: Spiritual Detective Work–Or Why Would God Allow The Devil To Take Over The Church?

I am sharing here the conclusions of a bit of spiritual detective work. I offer no comment on the truth or lack-there-of of any of the ideas—I have no idea—I merely offer the conclusions for the reader’s consideration.

Mary Crushes the Serpent

On October 13, 1884, Pope Leo XII had a vision as he left mass one night. The vision went as thus:

The guttural voice, the voice of Satan in his pride, boasted to Our Lord: "I can destroy your Church."

The gentle voice of Our Lord: "You can? Then go ahead and do so."

Satan: "To do so, I need more time and more power."

Our Lord: "How much time? How much power?

Satan: "75 to 100 years, and a greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service."

Our Lord: "You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will."

This Pope went on to write the prayer to St. Michael that many Catholic churches pray. I will put that at the end of this post.

Note: Some people believe that this 100 years began in 1884, some in 1914 (WWII). Some in 1917*, some in 1922 (Death of the last Catholic monarch.)

*The Pope’s vision happened October 13th, 1884. 33 years (age of Christ at his death) later to the day, there was an event at Fatima where 70,000 people saw some kind of vision, as per a prediction of a vision of St. Mary. St. Mary also called on the Church to pray for Russia—claming that if they did, Russia would covert. If not, Russia would spread their errors around the world. This event took place about two weeks before Red October.

But I digress.

So, my question is: Why would God give control of the Church to the Devil?

I mean…really?

More on that later.

Meanwhile, about two years ago, I read a book that included information about the Catholic Victim Souls, also often called stigmata. These were women (and a few men), often but not always nuns, who suffer their whole lives, but they have visions where they are assured that their suffering is helping others. They often have visions, develop strange and interesting abilities, experience miracles, etc.

I found these Victim Souls very interesting, but I was very puzzled by the metaphysics of why they were suffering. I could understand that perhaps people felt that they wanted to be allowed to share Jesus’s suffering, but the metaphysics of how it would work, why it would happen, was fuzzy to me.

I looked into it all I could, online, in books: I could find nothing.

Then, by chance, a month or so ago, I read a comment on a blog that referred to something a demon said. I thought this was mildly interesting. I asked the name of the book. It was called Mary Crushes The Serpent.

I bought the book. I read it. It was about exorcisms performed over a hundred years ago. Part way through the book, however, I came upon something fascinating!

According to the book, when the priests exorcised demons, the demons sometimes spoke and said things, including why they were possessing the person. Sometimes, it was due to ill luck. Sometimes, it was due to interaction with the occult by the possessee. BUT there was a third group, too.

These were people (women in this case) who were possessed because they were volunteering to suffer at the request of the Virgin Mary.

The book was describing the Victim Souls—from the point of view of the demons!!!

As you can imagine, after all my vain searching, I was fascinated. This is what it said:

The demons reported that they were allowed to possess these women and to make them suffer, but if the women held out, if they did not lose their faith (like Job resisting “cursing God”), the demons would lose.

If the demons lost, they had to return to Hell and free all the souls on earth that had been held under their sway.

According to these demons, the people they had to release from their sway were then free to convert, if they wished. (Some did. Of some, the priest writing the book did not know their final fate.)

So, according to this book, if the Victim Souls suffered willingly, without losing their faith, then the demon who possessed them and caused their agony would eventually admit defeat, at which time, they would release the other people under their sway.

So, by suffering, these women set free all those who were under the sway of that particular demon.

Which brings us back to my question:

Why would God give control of the Church to the Devil?

And I thought…

What if the Church is acting like a stigmata?

If so, if the Church does not break before the end of the 100 years, the devil will have to return to Hell…

And free all souls under his sway.

Kind of cool, eh?

Pope Leo XII’s prayer:

St. Michael the Archangel, 
defend us in battle. 
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. 
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, 
and do thou, 
O Prince of the heavenly hosts, 
by the power of God, 
thrust into hell Satan, 
and all the evil spirits, 
who prowl about the world 
seeking the ruin of souls.

Amen.

Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

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May 21st, 2016

09:14 pm: New — Space Opera series SUPERLUMINARY!

Superlum

Interplanetary Family Intrigue via Zelazny in SPACE – check 
Fighting on Pluto – check
Beautiful Space Prince – check
Lady Venus and Lord Saturn – check 
Evil Space Vampires – check

If these things sound intriguing, then check out SUPERNLUMINARY, John's new project on Patreon.

Anyone can read this, but for those who would like to become Patrons, John is asking $1 a month. (Superluminary is 52 episodes. They will go up weekly. So the entire price will be $12 for one year of interplanetary adventure! )

John writes:

An internet magazine hired me to write an old-fashioned space opera in the mood and flavor of 'World Wrecker' Hamilton to run in fifty or so weekly episodes of two-thousand words each. 

However, the magazine folded and returned the rights to me. It is my wish to bring it to my fans directly. 

The title is SUPERLUMINARY

Here's an excerpt:

 

SUPERLUMINARY Episode 01 Assassin in Everest

Aeneas Tell of House of Tell, youngest of the Lords of Creation, was twenty-one when he was assassinated for the first time.

His secondary brain came awake while his primary brain was still foggy with strange dreams. Alert to danger, the secondary brain stopped the nerve pulses from the primary brain which otherwise would have let him groan and open his eyes, which would have precipitated the nervous killer's attack.

But his primary brain had been in the delta brainwave stage of sleep, a deep and dreamless slumber. There was no sound, no light, no disturbance. What had broken his sleep? A memory, like an echo, of terrible multiple toothaches left a metallic taste in his mouth.

He had been dreaming about his insane grandfather, the Emperor. The old man had been telling him about the secrets of the universe… then a stinging pain in his teeth had jarred him awake. But how could Aeneas remember a dream when he had not been in the desynchronous brainwave state in which dreaming was possible?

Aeneas, eyes still closed, not daring to move, increased the firing rate of his auditory nerves. He was laying on the nongravity cushion of his opulent four-poster bed. The neverending whisper of the high-altitude winds of Mount Everest beyond the bubble of weather-controlled air was now loud to him.

On these upper peaks his family had erected the proud imperial palace-city of Ultrapolis, whose towers and domes were impregnable behind concentric force-shells and thought-screens. None of the artificial or bio-modified races of the nine worlds, fifty worldlets, and one hundred eighty moons of the Solar System could bring any realistic threat to bear on these defenses, not while the twelve ranking members of the House of Tell, the so-called Lords of Creation, retained control of the stratonic supertechnology known only to them.

But betrayal from within was another matter.

The quiet hiss of the protective screen the bedposts projected around the bed was gone. He could not hear the heartbeats of his two bodyguards posted in the anteroom of his apartments. Instead he heard one heartbeat, louder and faster than was possible for an unmodified human being, of the assassin.

As the youngest member of the Family, he had been stuffed into the oldest wing of the oldest palace, and no other guards were within shouting distance.

There was no sound of footsteps on the nightingale wood floor of his bedchamber, and so for a moment Aeneas had a false sense of hope. But the sound of the racing heart was close at hand.

The killer was in the room with him.

Read more…

 

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Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

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May 18th, 2016

07:55 am: BOOK BOMB! Nethereal by Brian Niemeier

SPACE PIRATES IN HELL!!!

Nethereal

Buy on Amazon

Today, we are book bombing Nethereal (like etherial with a n at the beginning) by Brian Niemeier.  

I had the honor of being the editor for this fascinating book. It has a very interesting and unusual mood, kind of like if a science fiction story were set a million years after A Thousand And One Arabian Nights. 

It is one of the most unusual science fiction books I've ever read. The very fabric of the universe is designed differently than our conception of it, and one is never quite sure if one is in a sf story or a fantasy. It reminds me very much of some of Roger Zelazny's sf, such as Creatures of Light and Darkness, Lord of Light, or To Die in Italbar.

I recommend it!

About the book:

About Nethereal

A woman like no other who longs for acceptance.
A precision killer inspired by the dream of his captain.
The last member of a murdered race, fighting to avenge his people against the might of the Guild…and the dark powers behind it.

The Sublime Brotherhood of Steersmen holds the Middle Stratum in its iron grip. Jaren Peregrine, last of the Gen, raids across fringe space with Nakvin—her captain’s best pilot and only friend, apprentice steersman Deim, and mercenary Teg Cross.

Hunted by the ruthless Master Malachi, Jaren and his crew join a conspiracy to break the Guild’s monopoly with an experimental ship. But when its maiden voyage goes awry, the Exodus flies farther off course than its crew could have imagined.

From Larry Correia:

For those of you new to Book Bombs, the goal is to get as many people as possible to buy an author’s book on the same day. The more books sell, the higher it gets in the rankings, the more new people see it. If it is something that you would be interested in reading anyway, getting it the same time as a bunch of other folks pushes it up in the ratings, which means more publicity, exposure, and new fans. Success breeds success, and a good Book Bomb can get an author hundreds of new fans. We steer people toward Amazon for this because it is big, has lots of eyes on it, and has an constantly updating sales rank, but if you prefer to purchase somewhere else go for it, because the most important thing is that the author GETS PAID.

So please spread the word and tell your friends. Brian is a relatively new writer, so let’s give his career a boost.

Again: Buy Nethereal on Amazon!

Or buy the sequel, Souldancer!

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Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

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May 15th, 2016

12:05 am: Appearing tomorrow on Catholic Geek Radio to discuss God, Robot!

7 to 9 EST.

John and I will be there toward the second half, I believe, but the whole time will be discussing the God, Robot anthology.  

For more information.

To see the God, Robot antholgy.

Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

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