I reworked my cover into something really cool.
Everyone has been scared by some personal monster, tailored just for us. We’ve all been terrified by the unknown slobbering thing under our bed to the point that we believe we’re going to die of fright. It may seem ridiculous in the morning, but at night it’s as real as the covers we pull over our head.
And we all have our definitions of what makes a monster. It could be a sun-deprived ghost, or green-skinned aliens, or an ax-wielding psycho with three personalities. Maybe the monster is make-believe, a second rate actor on TV with two-dollar fangs and horsehair glued to every inch of exposed skin. Or possibly something a little more terrifying, like a parent who used your back as an ashtray.
We all have our monsters we carry with us through life.
For me, when I was younger, I’d heard about Bloody Mary. I don’t remember the whole story except for this: look in a mirror at night and repeat, “I believe in Bloody Mary,” after which she’d appear. That’s all I needed to know. Bloody Mary tortured me through most of my childhood. I didn’t need to see her; just knowing she lurked out there in the mirror world was enough to keep me from walking into a bathroom with the lights off.
Even now that I’m rapidly approaching mid-life (whatever that number is nowadays) and when I walk into a darkened room with a mirror, sometimes my thoughts race back to eight-year-old me and I get a slight sensation of what I once feared. It’s there and gone before I completely realize what went on. Ambushed me.
Yeah, it’s hard to shake monsters. Especially personal monsters.
In my latest short story, Re:evolution and the Radiant Machine, there are many types of monsters: monstrous men, monstrous machines, monstrous thoughts. People see other people as monsters. People act as monsters when they think they’re trying to stop monsters. It’s like a monster parade, but played out through a sci-fi story.
This story is found in an anthology of great short stories by some great indie authors. Some you might know, others you might not. Pick up this anthology and see what monsters haunt the dreams of these authors. Click the image to be taken to Amazon. You won’t be disappointed. At least I hope not…
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. 🙂
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.
So if you read the two reviews you’ll know I’m a fan of the series and of the author. Even though this is the third part, Nick saves the best for last. In my humble opinion, Road is the best because it follows the Old Man and the Savage Boy and their entwined story, finishing their journeys.
But it’s the beauty through the destruction that is most remarkable. Through the lawlessness, through the savagery, there is still a remnant of individuals that realize there is more to the bombed-out life than the immediate situation. There are still things in the world worth sacrificing self for, and there are still some individuals that deem other lives more valuable than their own. Nick’s story weaves the idea of self-sacrifice into Road, making for a compelling read, one that transcends a typical post-apocalyptic story.
Every story should end with the message Nick has put into Road.
If you’re considering purchasing the Wasteland Saga, then take the plunge and pick it up, no matter the cost. It will be money well spent.