May 30, 2015

Free Fiction Friday: Solar Winds-Scorpius Cell Part 6

And here it ’tis, faithful reader… the conclusion of Scorpius Cell and the first of several tales to come from our Solar Winds universe. Be sure to start back on Chapter 1, or read Scorpius Cell and other sci-fi tales in their entirely.

Enjoy!

Solar Winds-Scorpius Cell

by

David Dickinson

Chapter 6

 

The Professor caught a flash out of the corner of his eye. “What the… look out!” he exclaimed, dropping the lift extensions. The pallet drifted to the floor as Karl attempted to turn in his cumbersome suit. Andrea caught him by the helmet and used the accumulated momentum to spin him around, smashing his faceplate against the exposed radium ore. The faceplate shattered, exposing Karl’s face to the ore. The smell of charred flesh permeated the air. [Read more...]

Astronomy Video of the Week: Happy Towel Day from the ISS

Image credit: NASA

Don’t panic… the good crew of the International Space Station have got you covered on this Towel Day 2015. Today is not only the variable holiday of Memorial Day in the United States, but it is also Towel Day, marking author Douglas Adams’ landmark work that started it all, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. As all fans know, if you know where your towel is, you’ll be able to face down whatever the universe can throw at you… on this, or any day. European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Christoforetti even managed to stay on the international Space Station just long enough to mark the occasion: [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Solar Winds-Scorpius Cell Chapter 5

Here’s our ‘Free Fiction Friday’ offering straight out of our Solar Winds universe. Be sure to start back with chapter 1, or Read the first two tales Scorpius Cell and The Cloaked Promise on our author page.

 

Solar Winds: Scorpius Cell

by

David A. Dickinson

Chapter 5

 

When she arrived at the space port, she found an automated one-way passage to Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, awaiting her. Pretty unassuming, she thought, since Titan boasted the largest University at Cronus City. Still, Andrea never dreamed of attending, having never before left Mars Provincial. Who exactly was footing the bill, she wondered? [Read more...]

Review: Universe Between Edited by Dean Wesley Smith

On sale now!

Note: once we’d returned from our travelling expedition last month, we arrived to an expected stack of review books from the past year. Though our current writing obligations demand that we can’t go full tilt back in the world of book reviewing, we thought we’d crank out the current stack we found on our doorstep as part of our summer reading. As a writer of both fiction and non-fiction ourselves, we feel that just about every book deserves a fair shake, especially if someone gave us the privilege and obligation to read and review em!

The fantastic is often were you find it. Adventure awaits in the realm of the very small, the very large, and in time frames too fast or slow to be perceptible to the human eye. We always love the idea that the strange and wonderful is always riding side-by-side with us through life, if we only know where to look for it… [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Solar Winds: Scorpius Cell Part 3

Here’s Part 3 of our ongoing space opera set in the Solar Winds universe. Be sure to start back at Part 1, or read the tale and others like it written by yours truly in their entirety.

Enjoy!

Solar Winds: Scorpius Cell

by

David A. Dickinson

Chapter 3

Moving into the bay, Andrea kicked away the pistols as she led the others up to the bridge portal. Grabbing the deck communicator from the door, she spun and let it drift to Karl. “Time for your award-winning performance,” she said. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Solar Winds-Scorpius Cell Part 2

Here’s your weekly dosage of free science fiction with Solar Winds: Scorpius Cell part 2. Be sure to start back at part 1 here. Let’s get right in to the action transpiring out in orbit ’round Uranus:

Solar Winds: Scorpius Cell

Chapter 2

by David A. Dickinson

Karl sprung out into the clear, firing both his and Andrea’s discarded sonic pistol into the fray. Remembering where the three armed guards had last stood, he carefully selected his shots. The compressed sound waves tore through the air, leveling two surprised soldiers.

“The Armory!”  The Professor shouted.  “Don’t let them secure the Armory!” [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Solar Winds-Scorpius Cell Part 1

Here it ’tis: our weekly Friday installment featuring the start of a brand new tale. This one is set in our Solar Winds universe, which fans will remember from our The Hunt for Beagle tale. This also begins the saga of Andrea Makati as an adult and the adventures of Scorpius Cell. We’ve been working on this story line for about the past decade now, and it is ready for prime time. the First two installments are  up on our Amazon author page,  and number three is forthcoming soon. We envisioned Solar Winds as a fast-paced serial installment, with a space opera-theme that’s Star Wars or Dune-sized in scale, but with the sensibilities of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Gravity—or the lack thereof—works in the Solar Winds universe, and the laws of physics must be obeyed. And hey, you might just spot a dash of a Legion of Superheroes vibe in the tale as well.

Enjoy!

Solar Winds: Scorpius Cell

By

David Dickinson

 

“Every trumpeted beginning brings with it the muted promise of an end.”

Hanna Jillian Sweeten,

The Violet Integer (2215, Old Earth Time)

 

The pressurized hatch protested then finally hissed open, revealing the three figures to the inner bowels of the ship. Finally, we are actually doing it, Andrea thought to herself.

She cleared the maintenance access hatchway and slid into the forward chamber. Everything looked just as The Shrink’s diagrams said it would.

“Gravity should be taking over,” Karl whispered to them. He slid down out of sight. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Shadowfall Part Four

Fans of extrasolar eclipses and free science fiction rejoice: here is our final chapter installment of Shadowfall. Newcomers will want to start back on Chapter 1. And here, without further fanfare is the action-packed conclusion:

Shadowfall

by David A. Dickinson

Chapter 4

“I’d stay back, fry-bait,” he called back to her. She was silent and pulled in closer. She felt beyond dead now. She’d let him waste precious breaths taunting her.

“Y’know, some folks just ain’t cut out to be Guardians,” he continued, reaching into his vest. “They ain’t cold-blooded enough to take the heat,” [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Shadowfall Part 3

And here it ’tis… part three of our four part eclipse tale Shadowfall. The idea for this story actually came up in a  late night discussion on just how bizarre eclipses could get in the far future. We had originally envisioned the gruesome competition described in the story as talking place in Earth’s far future, when the rotation of the plant had slowed down to the point that it was possible to actually chase after the shadow of the Moon on foot. We soon came to realize, however, that this would work much more effectively on a fictional exoplanet with a retrograde moon!

Shadowfall

Chapter Three

by

David A. Dickinson

She stopped and lifted Yeara’s limp ragdoll body up on one shoulder and began hopping along with her. “We’re almost there,” she shouted.

“Kendra,” She shrieked back, pointing just ahead. “It’s Merak…” [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Shadowfall Part 2

Here it is; the continuation of our eclipse-fueled  science fiction tale Shadowfall. And this is just in time for the end of the first eclipse season for 2015. If you’ve ever wondered what sort of eclipses might occur on far-flung worlds, look no further than this tale. But beyond that, Shadowfall also considers just what humans of the far off era might make of such bizarre spectacles. Read more of our original scifi tales as well, and be sure to start at Part 1 for Shadowfall here.

Enjoy!

Shadowfall

Chapter 2

by

David A. Dickinson

Kendra and the others had all heard tales of the Swarmers and how they had entered the inner core solar systems of the Diaspora generations ago, nearly exterminating mankind. They were replicating machines, mindless drones with just a single directive: replicate themselves at the cost of any emerging civilization that stood in their way. Neither Kendra nor any of the others had seen a Swarmer; no one alive had. But evidence of the destruction that they had wrought was still strewn about the star system. Helium fusion generators turned into weapons had managed to save humanity then, but only the Guardians possessed such technology now. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Shadowfall Part 1

As eclipse season one of two continues, so does the eclipse-fueled scifi here at Astroguyz.com. This week, we start in with an original four part tale: What kind of bizarre eclipses might occur on distant worlds? Our latest tale Shadowfall gives eclipse chasing a bizarre — and deadly — twist:

 

Shadowfall

Chapter 2

by David A. Dickinson

 

“C’mon kid,” Kendra heard Merak huff under his breath. “You’ve just gotta make it over this salt pan…”

Kendra knew it was a joke, of course, but she still lacked the will to turn around and slap him.

“What do you mean,” she heard Yeara call out from far in front, not even bothering to look back. “Out there, from behind the next barren salt pan?”

“You guys are just wasting energy,” Garath hollered back to all of them. “I’ll pass your drying skeletons next saros ‘round.”

“A lovely sentiment,” Kendra said under her breath to no one in particular.

She’d tried not to notice the appearance of an occasional skull and rib cage that jutted up from the crust of the desert pavement under her feet. Instead she ran faster, keeping her eyes focused on the distant flat horizon, with its flat grey expanse reaching up to meet the metallic blue sky. All around them, brighter stars and planets burned through, though the bloated red sun was high overhead, trying its best to fry their soft bodies to a crisp. Kendra knew that only the ancient backwards moving moon and their own two feet kept this grim fate from becoming a reality.

“Why don’t they just haul the old bodies off?”  Yera asked, half knowing the answer.

“It’s not worth the effort,” Kendra replied. “No one comes here to this old husk of a world any more. Why would they?”

“Just us,” Merak called out. “We’re the only ones crazy enough to tease hell.”

Kendra tried to ignore the burning in her lungs that stretched down to the very soles of her feet. She felt like someone had struck a match inside of her and was now slowly roasting her from the inside out.

She stuffed the sensation as deep inside of herself as she could. These weren’t her friends anymore. Not if she wanted to survive.  She tried not to think of home, or the lush blue waters of Slonath.

“Folks used to live here, y’know,” Merak said, pulling up along side of her. “Heck, they used to spend fortunes back on old Terra just to witness what’s going on over our heads just now.”

“Folks are crazy,” Yera barely huffed under her breath.

Was she faking it or dropping? Kendra thought to herself. She was so strong back on Grimm’s Planet…

“…and besides, those are just stories parents tell their kids when they don’t want ‘em to grow up and become spacer pilots.”

“The umbra is life,” Garath quoted their instructor, “Stay inside it and live.”

Kendra looked above her as the ghostly white glow of the corona shown down on them. Was that a flash? Was she falling behind? Were they even moving in the right direction? She saw rows of shadow bands race past her, a sure sign that she was on the grim edge of the moon’s shadow as it raced across the ancient and desiccated face of Priea.

She squinted to get a better look at the Elites. Herrick would be there, their trainer from back on Grimm’s Planet.

“They… say… if you run fast enough, you can get ahead of it, and take a ten minute break… before it catches up.” Kendra didn’t want to know who said that, and she forced herself to not even entertain the idea of stopping now.

“Don’t listen to him,” Yeara told her. “We’ll be passing his body burnt to a crisp at marker one.”

“I wonder how long you can really manage to live outside the shadow…” the boy continued, slowing pace. “Maybe they’re lyin’ to us…”

Kendra continued to concentrate and focus straight ahead. “There,” she said. “There’s Herrick.”

She could just see his tall wiry form in the muted light, rhythmically slapping out an intimidating pace. Unlike many of the other Elites, he disdained use of polarizing visors or smart wicking fabrics and preferred instead to run mostly unencumbered.

“And he’s not even augmented,” Yeara once whispered to her in training.

“This is his third Shadowfall,” Kendra said, noting the three diagonal hash marks tattooed on his leg. “He does this for fun.”

In the days leading up to their drop off on this scorched world, Kendra had tried to wrap her mind around what that meant. Fun had been the furthest thing from their minds when Kendra and the hundred-odd eligibles of the Diaspora had signed up to complete their first Shadowfall. They were 16 Terran years old, and some of them came from as far away as the outer Comet Cloud just for a chance to compete. Of course, most of the Diaspora tried to ignore the bleak reality that was Shadowfall. Many thought it was at most a diversion, a nod back to the days of human savagery.

“Most of you won’t make it,” Herrick told them in a flat baritone voice on their very first day.  “In the 30 hours it’ll take to reach the Terminator, most of you will simply fall back beyond the umbra and fry. Others of you may succumb to… other hazards. This isn’t your Mom’s garden tea party on Jangor now.”

Kendra had looked around her on that first training day at the glowing faces of hopefuls. Shadowfall was legend on some worlds, and some trained their whole lives for it. On other worlds, participation was expected; a family rite that bordered on the religious. You could tell the type, kids like Garath with a thousand-yard stare that looked old beyond their years.

And then there were the thrill seekers, those who’d grown tired of the predictability of virtual reality and now seemed bent on taunting the real thing.

Kendra was none of these. She could have declined the chance to run Shadowfall, but like most of the kids on Slonath, she’d thrown herself at a chance to escape the life in the slums that she would face otherwise. Completing a Shadowfall was a threshold, a gateway to a life as a Guardian and a way out of crushing servitude. A Guardian’s word was law, and those of the old Legion Order — like Herrick — were rarely trifled with.

“Less than 1 out of 20 of you will survive Shadowfall,” Herrick had continued during their training. “Few can keep pace with the umbra… and fewer still have the will.”

Kendra remembered looking around her that day in training, at the glowing young faces that drank in Herrick’s every single word. She wondered how many of these eager starlets would jump into the sack with Herrick right then and there, if given the chance.

“The shadow of the moon moves just fast enough during eclipse for you worms to keep up with it… that is, if you can manage to keep and sustain a brisk pace.”

“Why the astronomy lesson?” Merak had whispered to Kendra that day.

“Because I’ll be pissing on your dried bones next Shadowfall if you don’t pay attention,” Herrick shouted at them. “This is a testament to your ability to survive. If the Swarmers come back into this system again, we’re the only thing that can stop ‘em.”

To be continued…

Read Shadowfall and other original science fiction tales by David A. Dickinson.

Free Fiction Friday: Exeligmos Part 3

Here it is just in time for eclipse day: the final chapter of our time-spanning eclipse adventure Exeligmos. We’ve got lots more original sci-fi, eclipse-based and otherwise, on our Amazon author page… don’t forget to start this three-part tale back on Chapter 1.

Exeligmos Chapter 3

by

David A. Dickinson

Ever watch those the old vids made as the shadow of the Moon swung across the old United States for the first time in decades on August 21st, 2017? If you look hard, you’ll see me. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Exeligmos Part 2

We’re just one week out now from the first and only total solar eclipse of 2015. Can’t wait that long? Then travel through space and time in our chapter two installment of our sci-fi tale Exeligmos. Chapter 1 is also available online, and we’ll have the conclusion up next week!

Exeligmos chapter 2

by

David A. Dickinson

You can travel the length and breadth of our galaxy and not find the unique alignment in space and time that our own Moon offers. Some of my brethren have given up career and family to sit on the surface of Enceladus and watch Saturn’s Rings shimmer and drift over a pale distant Sun overhead, or catch Phobos transit the Sun as seen from the surface of Mars. Perhaps, the transits and eclipses of a terrestrial variety seem pedestrian, and dare I say… boring in this context to some. Me, I don’t try to guess the psychology of such benighted souls… if you get yours collecting tawdry 18th century postcards or by performing feats of astronomical improbability, hey, it’s alright by me. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Exeligmos Part 1

Welcome to our weekly serving of free and original science fiction here at Astroguyz.com. As the first eclipse season of 2015 draws neigh, we though we’d feature one of our many eclipse inspired tales entitled Exeligmos. What started as one eclipse sci-fi story soon grew into half a dozen, two of which are already completed and an are available online. Exeligmos is an adventure through space and time, and highlights one man’s dangerous obsession and his new-found ability to use a cutting edge technology to push it to the very limit. Enjoy!

Exeligmos

By

David A. Dickinson

Chapter 1

 

I was first bitten by the eclipse bug on October 19th, in the year 3000 AD as reckoned on the Old Calendar. I was eight years old, and my parents thought the trek to the Bolivian Andes might just feed that spark of interest in astronomy they saw in me as I rattled off the names of all 101 of Jupiter’s moons, or recited in discovery order every habitable world in the Local Group. Boy, they had no idea. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: The Hunt For Beagle Part 9

It’s Friday, and here without further fanfare is the conclusion to our Mars-spanning adventure The Hunt For Beagle. You can start back at chapter 1 and read the entire tale here a chapter at a time on Astroguyz, or read the tale in its entirety over on Amazon.com.

Enjoy!

The Hunt For Beagle

by

David A. Dickinson

What happened next was a force unlike any Andrea had ever experienced. A blast of air slapped her in the back of the head, knocking them both off of their feet. They were both tossed like rag dolls down the passageway, towards the bay and the open Martian desert beyond. Andrea caught a glimpse of the clear, airless pink sky that lay beyond. It was like a bad dream. Everyone on Mars had a lingering subconscious dread of getting caught out in its near void unprotected. The guards, surprised at something that was never supposed to occur, barely had time to slide their breather masks in place before they could be sucked off their heads.  She closed her eyes and dug her head hard into Zeke’s side, fearing the final end was near… [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: The Hunt for Beagle Part 8

And here it ’tis… chapter eight of our young adult, Mars-spanning adventure! For Chapter One, head here. You can read The Hunt for Beagle in its entirety over at Amazon.com.

The Hunt for Beagle

Part 8

by

David A. Dickinson

Andrea’s mom, Alexi, got off the call. She breathed hard and sighed. “They say all of the Gliders are grounded,” She began to Andrea’s older sister Kara, who had just arrived. “They won’t be able to mount a search until the storm wave passes”

“That could be weeks!” Kara shot back, nearly spilling her tea. The Terran Legion doesn’t give a damn…” [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: The Hunt For Beagle Part 7

…and here it ’tis: Part 7 of our Mars-spanning adventure The Hunt For Beagle. You can read the entirety of the tale, or start from Part 1 online. Expect more tales from the Solar Winds Universe to come!

[Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: The Hunt For Beagle Part 6

And here it is… our weekly offering of free and original fiction with chapter 6 of The Hunt For Beagle novelette. You can find lots more over at our Amazon author page!

Go here to start from Chapter 1.

The Hunt For Beagle

by

David Dickinson

Chapter 6

By Martian local noon, Andrea had begun to worry. Without communications, they only had T.I.N.A.’s internal navigation computer to go by, plus what her grandfather would call “stick-and-eyeball” reckoning. They should be near the Beagle 2 crash site, yet Andrea knew that due to their latest adventures, they weren’t even close. They had perhaps 60 more klicks to cover, and Zeke had noticed that their front axle was now slipping, no doubt due to their flight from the scavengers. “T.I.N.A. can’t repair her, not without her mobile unit,” Zeke explained. “I’ll probably have to crawl under and take a look when we stop.” [Read more...]