August 22, 2017

Free Fiction Friday: More Fantastic Tales to Come

A look at a possible cover that never was…

(photo by author).

Well, we’ve caught up with the story pipeline this year, featruing science fiction stories we’ve published thus far. Publishing a free chapter a week has been a good ‘kick in the pants,’ inspiring us to write more to keep up with the demand. Here’s a look at the stories we’ve offered up thus far since the project began in early 2015: [Read more...]

Review: The Peyti Crisis by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

On sale now…

Things are heating up in the Retrieval Artist Universe.

We just finished Book Five in the Anniversary Day Saga, entitled The Peyti Crisis. Out earlier this year courtesy of WMG Publishing, this eight part series by prolific author Kristine Kathryn Rusch follows a surprise attack on Earth’s Moon and the confusion and mystery that follows.

You can read our reviews of Book 2 (Blowback), Book 3 (A Murder of Clones) and Book 4 (Search and Recovery) as well. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: A Standard of Deviation Part 9

On sale now…

And here it is: the conclusion to our original story A Standard of Deviation. And here’s our weekly spiel to A).Start back on chapter 1, B). Read the story in its entirety, and C). Read others like it as well.

This also brings us to the end of every story we’ve written and published thus far… we’ve got another Solar Winds tale in the works, but first, a question: do you want to continue seeing these Friday freebies? If so, leave us a comment on this or any other story, and a review on Amazon of any of our tales would be great!

 

A Standard of Deviation

by David Dickinson

Chapter 9

What would become my final stop on this run was a world that I looked forward to most of all; the Van Takcrafans of Navi Prime. They were almost frighteningly advanced. How these sentient flying spider-snakes hadn’t stumbled upon quantum transport technology is a small wonder in of itself. Stranded in this remote corner of the Milky Way, they had instead enshrouded their host star in an enormous Dyson Sphere to capture every available erg of energy it produced.  [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: A Standard of Deviation Part 8

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It’s a rough job, being a quantum courier these days… Here’s the long (well since last Friday, at least!) anticipated penultimate Chapter 8 for A Standard of Deviation. If you’re new to the saga, be sure to start back on chapter 1, and you can read A Standard of Deviation and other thrilling and original tales of science fiction by yours truly in their entirety.

 

A Standard of Deviation

by

David A. Dickinson

Chapter 8

“Human contact with the Hivers (a local term for the Burnham’s Wasps) has stripped Terra of her cosmos-given rights…” Their leader would say in issued statements. He would go on for hours about how they could “decimate the system” (his own words) if their demands weren’t met. I could tell that they had no clue what to do with the Standard now that they had captured it, and were frightened by the imminent reply from the Confederation and what would probably be their last stand. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: A Standard of Deviation Part 6

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Has the Universe got you down? Reality is certainly crashing down hard around our main protagonist this week… remember through, we all have the means to shake the game up a bit, in our very own special way. If you’re new to the tale, be sure to start back on Chapter 1. Or hey, you can read A Standard of Deviation and other original tales of sci-fi by yours truly in their entirety as well.

Anyways, onward to Chapter 6:

A Standard of Deviation

by

David A. Dickinson

Chapter 6

But that would mean that our monopoly on galactic trade would also be over.

I finally got a chance to sit down and read Lila’s message the night before departure from the system. I was back on the Lagrange point station which would serve as our departure area to the portal where I would pick up the Quantum Standard and head to the next system on the run. I had notes from our surface survey to organize, and I plugged in Lila’s transmission as the station slid into the shadow of the dead world. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: A Standard of Deviation Part 5

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Things are not what they seem this week, as our heroine realizes that a human enforced Pax Galactica has exacted a heavy and terrible price on the alien civilizations of the Outer Rim. Let’s jump right in the Chapter 5 for this week, and be sure to let us know what you think of these tales. And don’t forget to start back on chapter one,  and you can read A Standard of Deviation and other original tales of science fiction in their entirety.

 

A Standard of Deviation

by

David A. Dickinson

 

As the transport headed through the portal I told myself that I would lodge a formal complaint with the High Consul once I returned to New Seattle, maybe even document and protest the destruction of Humboldt’s Leviathans. But I knew deep down they were a doomed species, and that protests were only how some people justified the guilt they felt over what we call Civilization. Humanity would press on, selected to succeed by the cosmos, until we either ‘owned all the jellybeans’ as Lila would say, or we finally met our match… [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: A Standard of Deviation Part 4

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Uneasy is the state of the human-enforced Pax Galactica, as our chief protagonist and quantum-hopping Librarian 3rd Class turned courier is finding out. This week, we invite you to meet the gas giant-dwelling Leviathans and hear of their plight. Can’t wait for weekly installments? You can read (and rate!) A Standard of Deviation and other original sci-fi tales in their entirety as well, as don’t forget to start back on Chapter 1.

Also, let know what you think of this latest universe where humans are privy to instantaneous travel and leverage it to their own advantage… we’ve got a few other tales in the ol’ brain brewing that are set in the Standard Universe…

 

A Standard of Deviation

by

David A. Dickinson

Chapter 4

 

A Leviathan that I’d named Arthur pulled up next to my skimmer as I neared the atmospheric capital. The Leviathan language was transmitted via low frequency pulses that I had played no small part in translating on previous visits. I could spot Arthur by how his internal organs flickered with recognition on my approach. How weird we must seem to them, tiny ape-like creatures inhabiting the skins of cold rocky worlds. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: A Standard of Deviation Part 3

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And the tale continues. Let’s jump right into it this week, with as little fanfare as possible. Remember, you can read A Standard of Deviation and other original tales of science fiction by yours truly, and remember to start back with Chapter 1.

 

A Standard of Deviation

by

David Dickinson

 

I even felt a little guilty as I made the first jump of any update run. Secretly, I always looked forward to traveling as a way to kick myself out of the chronic workaholic rut. It’s selfish, I know… but the guise of ‘work’ gives me the perfect excuse to do what I love. I can escape and see some of these alien species, in person. Not many folks beyond the Terran military and the merchant class ever get to do that. Ambassadors and researchers like me were clumped into the less than one percent of “all others” that have ever jumped out this far along the Galactic Rim. Most folks on the Local Group worlds go their entire lives never encountering an alien species that might upset their idea of ‘normal’ beyond what you might see on a holo-vid or in a local planet-side zoo. I’ve always been glad that Lila has never asked to drag me to the zoo on New Seattle. Perhaps she just knows me that well. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: A Standard of Deviation Part 2

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Ready for more quantum entanglement galaxy hopping adventure? The let’s jump right in to Chapter 2. Remember to start back with last week’s Chapter 1 of A Standard of Deviation, and you can read the story in its entirety, and other original tales of sci-fi by yours truly as well.

 

A Standard of Deviation

by

David A. Dickinson

Chapter 2

 

And that’s where I come in. Couriers like me bring the Standard around, the engineers read it, and the primacy of Earth’s exploitation of the galaxy stays intact. I might even discover a fascinating (to me, anyway) new tale of mythology or artistic flourish from a forgotten race, and I always make sure to take and bring back a picture of the host star of New Seattle for Lila. That is, if I can manage to find it in the sky for her. [Read more...]

Book Review: Alchemy & Steam edited by Kerrie L. Hughes

On sale now.

Been to a major ‘Con lately? Then you’ll note that the Steampunk genre is alive and well, in the form of retro costumes straight out of the 19th century, replete with high tech gear including cybernetic implants, targeting monocles and the like.

Fans love to party like it’s an alternative reality 1899, that’s for sure.  This week’s review takes the concept a step further, and invites 13 fresh new speculative fiction writers to imagine brave new universes. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: A Standard of Deviation Part 1

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Hooray… Friday… and here’s your weekly dose of free sci-fi from yours truly. This week, we’re starting in on a brand new tale in an exciting universe. This one’s got it all; an imperial Earth, killer Von Neumann robots, intelligent gasbags, and swashbuckling librarians (3rd Class, thank you very much). If you can’t wait for next week’s installment, you can read A Standard of Deviation and other works of original scifi in their entirety.

On with this week’s exciting new tale…

A Standard of Deviation

By

David A. Dickinson

Chapter I

 

Sometimes, the strangest ideas in the universe can sprout from the humblest of seeds. My grandfather once told me that kernel of wisdom when I was a little girl as we both watched a Spican Nematode I was raising sprout from its host and take wing. That was long before I had moved to New Seattle and taken up residence and a new job with my life partner, Lila. Of course, this was also before she told me of the rare and inoperable form of brain cancer that was lurking inside her brain stem… Lila was like that, never wanting me to make an undue fuss over her. [Read more...]

Review: Search and Recovery by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

On sale now…

Things are heating up in the Retrieval Artist Universe.  We recently completed book four in the eight book Anniversary Day saga by Kristine Kathryn Rusch as part of our ongoing campaign to catch up with the growing pile of review books that have stacked up while we were on a one year sabbatical.

The Anniversary Day saga follows the aftermath of a massive attack on human colonies on Earth’s Moon and the efforts to uncover just who was behind them. Fans of the series and this space will recall our reviews of Book 2: Blowback and Book 3: A Murder of Clones. We’ve also reviewed The Enemy Within by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, as well as one of our all time faves, the Diving into the Wreck saga. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday-Helium Party: Part 6

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And here’s the long anticipated conclusion to our on-going tale Helium Party. And as always, you know the drill: be sure to start back with Chapter 1, or you can just read Helium Party and other great tales of Sci-fi in their entirety.

On to the conclusion!

Helium Party

by

Dave Dickinson

Chapter 6

“Get ready with those countermeasures, kid…”

I grabbed the trigger and toggled the switch marked “E/O CHAFF”. Several inbound guided flechette rounds were already zipping by our vessels, with the intent of slicing open our thin hulls.

“Now!”

I could hear the calliope music playing over the comm system as the dispensers emptied in rapid succession. If this was Lanky’s bizarre idea of combat music, it seemed to be working. The clouds of metal fiber would temporarily confuse the rounds as they sliced away at empty space. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Helium Party Part 5

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Here it tis… our weekly healthy serving of free science fiction for you, the discerning public. Be sure to start back on chapter 1, and you can read Helium Party and other tales of original sci-fi by yours truly.

But now, let’s join our intrepid gang The Citizens of Silliness in orbit around Jupiter:

Helium Party

by

David Dickinson

Chapter 5

“Lanky, Tinker, standby to deploy those catcher pods…”

I watched the console as a beacon lit up ahead. Of course, the outline of the flashing indicator was in the obligatory clown-head shape.

“You’ve got full helium bladders to pick up!” I exclaimed.

“You’re a smart one, there, Toots,” Crunchy replied. “Think we’d go home empty handed?” “We drop ‘em, and we pick em up.” [Read more...]

Book Review: Recycled Pulp edited by John Helfers

On sale in September 2015!

Remember the pulp novelettes of yore?

Named for the woodsy, low cost paper they were printed on, dime store pulp novels were an integral part of many readers’ childhoods. They were formulaic, sure, but we always knew the tales within would deliver.

The folks at Fiction River recently challenged authors to concoct some pulp tales of their own, and the results were far from rigid or predictable. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Helium Party Part 4

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Rogue clowns in space hungry for helium, what’s not to love? Here’s this week’s latest installment chronicling the further adventures of the Sons of Silliness. Be sure to start back on chapter 1, and read Helium Party and other works of original fiction by yours truly.

Helium Party

by

David Dickinson

Chapter 4

The vessel was tiny, a nod to the clown cars of yore. It came complete with an oversized windup key that served as the ignition for the anti-matter cascade, which seemed to always be Lanky’s job to get out and crank. The first Gemini astronauts probably had more space in their cramped capsule. The crew consisted of four, with Crunchy, Lanky, Tinker and I crammed into the good ship Laughing Stock. Of course, Crunchy was initially against my accompanying them, until I mentioned my skills handling a gas-giant skimmer as a kid growing up on Mimas. Plus, he’d softened a bit over time to the ‘get your poignant plight out to the people’ angle. I also knew that The Terran Solar News Miner was paying the Citizens handsomely for my service. I agreed not to disclose any tactical secrets, and we were off on an illicit hunt to smuggle in more helium. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday-Helium Party Part 3

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Here it ’tis; our weekly installment of rogue Space Clowns, doing what rogue Space Clowns do. Be sure to start back on chapter 1 if you’re new to the story, or read Helium Party and other original tales of science fiction in their entirety.

Helium Party

by

David Dickisnon

Chapter 3

I crept towards the fray. The battle scene before me was truly epic, if not slightly hilarious. Pies flew, both toxic and explosive. Bad puns and gags were exchanged. I knew that it was only a matter of time before the battle would devolve into cutlery throwing and hand-to-hand-buzzer combat. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: Helium Party Part 2

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Those crazy space clowns at the Sons of Silliness are at it again, in a solar system spanning tale of mis-adventure. Welcome to chapter 2 of our Free Fiction Friday offering of Helium Party. Be sure to start back on chapter 1, or you can simply read the tale and others like it in their entirety.

Helium Party

by

David Dickinson

Chapter 2

“The story’s always first, you know how it is,” I replied, and let it hang at that. You know how it is with us fearless-girl-reporter types.

“Yeah, we know alright…”

I would sometimes try to appeal to their sense of “clownish pride,” asking them how they always seem to come through for their clients with even the most outlandish requests and parties, but to no avail. I knew that the central clubhouse storage depot had to hold the answer. [Read more...]