Alien Texas

Alien invasions come in all shapes and sizes in this unforgettable book. But residents of Texas have their own unique methods for dealing with troublesome intruders from the stars. This 10,000-word short-story collection by the author of the Connor Rix Chronicles includes three tales from a Lone Star State dealing with unwelcome alien contact:

PERFECT CAPTURE

An Austin tech start-up is on the verge of releasing the Next Big Thing in virtual reality; perfect 3D re-creations of hip concerts, raucous civic celebrations and performances by beloved local artists. But when they “capture” their first event, they capture something else they never expected.

ONE LAST BATTLE

A disabled veteran of the alien wars on Gliese 832c tries to rebuild his life in the Gulf Coast town of Port Aransas. But he’ll find no rest until he figures out a way to deal with the hidden intruder he brought back from the war.

AFTER THEY LEAVE

The invading aliens were routed. The people of Earth remain free. But now a lone rancher has to deal with the creatures the aliens left behind. Are these horrifying alien species forgotten pets, escaped livestock, or something worse?


Diatomic Quantum Flop

Sure, the experience of the trip is euphoric, but what if you actually broke through the doors of perception? When four colleges friends are promised a psychedelic adventure that mirrors the Tibetan Kalachakra Time Travel Tantra, they discover the transcendental cost of tapping the wheel of time.

 

Tower

Tower Book Cover Tower
Daniel Arthur Smith
Horror Thriller
Holt Smith Ltd
October 26, 2015
ebook
45

Nate spent his entire career in special operations, four deployments in all. Today was going to be a fresh start in a civilian job. Now he's trapped in the Freedom Tower and the only thing the Ranger has against what's in the mist is a two-foot blade from the office paper cutter. This homage to Lovecraft, Ligotti, and King and should be read with a coffee, beer, or a glass of wine - and the light on.

This is a short story, and sometimes it’s nice to read a short story. Sometimes it’s nice to read a story in a couple sittings and not have to worry about complex mind-blowing plots and two-hundred characters. Reading to be entertained is nice. But this doesn’t mean the story is simple by any stretch. It’s every bit as entertaining as a full-length novel; the short time you spend with the characters you see their qualities emerge. And even though this is a standalone, you can sense there’s more to the events unfolding. That’s nice too.

So Tower is a short story which ends, but doesn’t quite end in the sense that you understand all that’s going on. It’s only the beginning and that makes you want to find out more of what’s happening. Very nice. 🙂

Soda Pop Soldier

Soda Pop Soldier Book Cover Soda Pop Soldier
Nick Cole
Science Fiction
Harper Voyager
August 2014
E-book
367

Synopsis:

Call of Duty meets Ready Player One in this fast-paced, action-packed novel from the author of The Wasteland Saga.  Gamer PerfectQuestion fights for ColaCorp in WarWorld, an online Modern Warfare combat sport arena where mega-corporations field entire armies in the battle for real world global advertising-space dominance. Within the immense virtual battlefield, players and bots are high-tech grunts, using drop-ships and state-of-the-art weaponry to wipe each other out.  But times are tough and the rent is due, and when players need extra dough, there's always the Black, an illegal open source tournament where the sick and twisted desires of the future are given free rein in the Wastehavens, a gothic dungeon  fantasy world.  All too soon, the real and virtual worlds collide when PerfectQuestion refuses to become the tool of a mad man intent on hacking the global economy for himself.

My take on it all:
A recipe for success: Take one-third future time dystopia, where the haves and have-nots are a world apart, one-third imaginary techno-Vietnam where the prize is marketing, and one-third old school Quake. Throw all that in a blender with ice, and then pour. And you have Soda Pop Soldier, a game noir science fiction novel that kicks conventional novel-wisdom in the teeth.

But don’t think this is just for fifty-year-olds who still live in mom’s basement and list “Level 100 Uber-Mage” as their best asset on a resume.

Nick touches on lofty ideas such as right vs. wrong, good vs. evil, and free will vs. determinism. While the hero PerfectQuestion doesn’t always make the best decisions, he’s understanding and growing, which is what we want to see in a hero.

This book is fun upon fun, sticking with you long after you finish turning pages. 🙂

Tango Desolado

Pablo Neruda’s Veinte Poemas de Amor y Una Canción Desesperada defined the heights of love and the depths of loss for generations of lovers, readers, and poets.

Tango Desolado is Samuel Peralta’s own canción desesperada, his song of despair, coming on the heels of this award-winning author’s book of love poems, How More Beautiful You Are.

In this collection, Peralta engages the reader in stories of loss – of love unrealized, unrequited, bereft – weaving hope, melancholy, and sorrow into a tapestry of emotion.

Poignant and intense, Tango Desolado is an extraordinary record of longing, one that will linger in the heart after its last words are read.

 

 

Synchronic

Synchronic Book Cover Synchronic
Various
Time Travel
David Gatewood; First edition
May 2014
E-book
440

Synchronic: 13 Tales of Time Travel introduces 13 varied and original takes on the pitfalls and paradoxes of time travel—from some of today’s most talented voices. 

From Michael Bunker’s story of a father, a son, and the legendary Santa Anna Gold, to Jason Gurley’s heart-wrenching tale of an astronaut forever torn from his young wife and daughter, these stories will keep you on the edge of your seat, and often have you guessing right up until the final word. 

You’ll meet a prison therapist who treats his patients by going back and preventing their crimes; a woman who can’t stop reliving her life, no matter how much it hurts; a space marine suffering from a time-altering brain injury; a woman who will betray the man she loves to correct a horrible mistake; a vengeful soul from ages past; and a time cop charged with preserving the timelines of multiple universes. 

You’ll experience a world where time travel is so common, reality itself hangs by a thread; a love story that overcomes the unforgiving barriers of time; a thrilling encounter with a pack of T. rex; a historian’s efforts to alter Roman history; and the first manned mission to the Red Planet—or is it? 

So sit back and enjoy. Just be sure you’ve got plenty of time.

My Review:
The collection is a treat if you are into time travel or just looking for some great speculative fiction short stories. I’m going to limit myself and use only a couple of sentences to sum up my impression after reading each story, because if I don’t I can ramble on for days, making my own short story.

Santa Anna’s Gold – Michael introduces us to a man who is out of his time and out of his mind. The story has a rugged feel to it, as rugged as the Texas land where it takes place.
Corrections – Susan writes an intense thriller of a person who relives moments in convicted murderers’ lives. I faced this story like when I watched Poltergeist as a child; with my hands in front of my eyes, peeking around the edges. It creeped me out.
Hereafter – Samuel writes a beautiful story of love between a traveler and an unsuspecting lady. Fine literary fiction within a speculative backdrop.
The Swimming Pool of the Universe – Forget his comparison to Hemingway. Nick is a modern day PKD. Enough said.
Reentry Window – Eric’s ability to spin a yarn about space flight makes me think I’m reading an astronaut’s memoir, that’s how sure and precise his writing is.
The River – Jennifer weaves a complicated story of regret and redo.
A Word in Pompey’s Ear – Christopher gives us a lesson, not only of history, but of pride.
Rock or Shell – Ann takes us for a metaphysical ride on a mattress. Her story has an ethereal quality to it, as fleeting as the fog.
The Mirror – A haunting story of a man, a woman, a mirror,  and a superstition. Irving writes the story predominantly in narrative, like it was pulled from a diary. It is compelling.
Reset – MeiLin gives us a story told not through the time traveler, but through her friend; a witness to the repercussions of reliving life. It’s a unique and interesting take on the typical time travel story.
The Laurasians – Isaac gives us a roller coaster, Jurassic Park-esque tale. The dinosaurs also win in this story.
The First Cut – Edward’s story is a glimpse of a future world, a disturbing occupation, and a good old whodunit.
The Dark Age – Jason weaves a tale of a family split by duty. It resonates with the pain of loss that transcends the story.

There are curse words spattered here and there, including one or two F-bombs. But the stories aren’t saturated in profanity. There’s also a couple of passing mentions of sex. Some violence, with one story (Corrections) having some particularly grotesque descriptions.

If you are shopping for entertaining, short, time-travel stories, then you definitely have to purchase this. Click that “BUY NOW” button now.