New Zombie 6

MEDEVAC crew trains for emergency response

The latest installment of my mistress project, a mil-SF short “Zombie 6”, is up.

This one is dedicated to the work and memory of Mr. Bill Paxton. Thank you, sir. May you Rest in Peace.

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Click on the link below or the drop down tab in the Top Menu.

SUDDEN AND NOISY

Zombie 6: new Mil-SF

MEDEVAC crew trains for emergency response

 

Bit of writing news for the new year.

I’ve decided to alternate fiction projects in 2017. My first and main effort continues to be the post-apocalypse fantasy novel Shattered Worlds,  (currently hammering out Act II, Into the Scorned Lands) while the second, ‘mistress project’, is a straight up military science fiction novella presently titled Zombie 6.

Focused on a spec-ops team ordered to support the embattled Colonial Administration Security forces on the mining colony Mèng Tiān, Zombie 6 will be offered free here on HSSJ as it progresses. I have added a tab to the top header menu. The first three chapters are up already and I plan on posting new ones bi-weekly. I’m getting a kick out of where the story is taking me and I hope you enjoy it as it develops too. Feedback is welcome and comments are always appreciated.

In other fictional realities, the second Eshu International book, Shift Tense is now available in print.  You can pick up a copy here at Amazon. For whatever reason, reviews for the Kindle version have not, are not, (will they ever?) carrying over to the print listing, so would some of you nice folks who have read Shift Tense fire off a few lines or Copy-n-Paste your Kindle review so it doesn’t look so forlorn there? Thank you very much.

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Finally, thank you all for your continued support. The older I get the more convinced I am success is defined by creativity, community, and contribution more than anything else. I’m fortunate to have such excellent family, friends, and fans. Thank you and happy new year.

 

Zombie Six

Bit of fiction today. The opening ‘graphs of my next mil-SF short.

Have a good day and enjoy Thanksgiving.

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MEDEVAC crew trains for emergency response

 

ZOMBIE SIX

They kill you week twenty of Enhanced Tactical Training.

I mean you feel like the instructors have been trying to kill you ever since Basic, certainly during the Advanced courses in whatever branch you served before you were selected for the CRISIS Program: Rangers, SEALS, Delta, Intelligence Support… But after all that, this time it’s real.

The surgeries have long since healed. You’ve integrated with your augments and are still riding the transhuman high. (Yes, you are that fast. And strong. Your new reflexes make Olympic athletes look like they have cerebral palsy. ) You’ve gotten past the mind-fuck that is an implanted cyber-link and now appreciate just how god-like an integrated communications and tactical information network is. You’ve mastered augmented vision, micro-drone tactics, Tac-net hacking, robotics, exosuits, laser weapons, Low-G, deep water, arctic, jungle, desert, and half a dozen other extreme environments. You thought you were badass before – well now you’re officially the bastard child of Terminator and Superman. You almost feeling sorry for whoever you’re ordered to kick the shit out of.

Then one morning near the end of the course they let you sleep late, (a clue, right there) and feed you a decent breakfast. (That was your second warning) After, the instructors escort you to a part of the base you didn’t know existed, turn off your cyber-link, and put you in an elevator. Next thing you know you’re thirty stories underground standing in front of a white vault door with a sign over top that reads

And the last enemy to be destroyed is death

What the hell?

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Afterwards back at the barracks, Chandra said he recognized it. A passage from the Bible, the part when Jesus Christ returns, defeats the armies of Satan, cleans up the mess and turns the Earth into the Garden of Eden. I don’t know if that means we’re part of a new world or we’re supposed to establish Paradise, or what, but we definitely fight and are always in the shit. Our team’s call sign is Zulu-6. After that the day though, we began calling ourselves ‘Zombie Six’. But I digress…

You stand there thinking about the sign, no doubt getting scanned, identified, cross-checked, and verified until finally the big white door hisses open and a pair of very polite and professional doctor-types bring you in. They strap you on a comfy operating table and hook up the usual web of electronic leads, IVs and data jacks, explaining all the while this particular procedure won’t take long. You’ll have the rest of the day to yourself afterward.

Then they kill you.

It’s a cocktail of phenobarbital, Pavulon, and potassium chloride. Death by lethal injection. You’re left to cool to room temperature for thirty minutes. Your death gets certified. Then they bring you back.

They want to get it out of the way – dying. To prove to you the augs and implants actually work, that the nano-blood, the cyber-implants kick you into CLS or ‘Critical Level Stasis’ to prevent you you completely shuffling off your mortal coil. All that bleeding-edge tech and those new and improved organs grown from your very own stem cells really do preserve your essential systems.

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Not that you’re invulnerable. Massive trauma can still be fatal, as are the NBCs – nuclear, biological, chemical weapons, but your new body can take extraordinary levels of punishment. Far, far more than you imagine.

So they kill you to prove it.

This is the keystone to your training because the head shrinkers and mad scientists behind the CRISIS unit’s inception and technology convinced the generals you will be an infinitely better soldier once you’ve gotten over that marrow-deep, primate nightmare fear of death.

And more than anything else, generals want better soldiers.

They also want a return on their investment. The government dropped millions to borg your body into the ultimate killing machine – to re-make you into a true ‘Smart Weapon’. That means you get an OS upgrade to match the shiny hardware, i.e. your brain gets a major adjustment to fit your new body’s capabilities. Otherwise, all that fancy gear wired inside you will never get used to full capacity.

And believe me, the shit we’re up against, we need full capacity.

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On the way

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Another near-future military action short coming soon. Doing final proof-read now.

Have a good day.

The windshield of the Present

Back to Writing and Fiction because Real Life is so unbelievable right now.

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A few years back, William Gibson said he veered away from cyberpunk SF because ‘the future got smashed on the windshield of the present.’ Razor-sharp Gibson-ese. An example of why I admire him.

I think it touches on the geometric progression/proliferation of technology as well as the simultaneous unpredictability and weird deja-vu familiarity of the future. Some dynamics of civilization are moving at a frenetic, methamphetamine-fueled pace while others are as ancient and rooted as the Great Pyramid of Giza.

In an odd twist of futuristic prescience, I see diced and commercialized slices of Pattern Recognition’s virtual art installations in the current Pokemon craze. (Apparently the US military had to advise folks not to wander into Restricted Areas chasing VR anime creatures – a statement I find deeply strange.)

I also notice the gap between my own futuristic imaginings and current events shrinking to quite literally 15 minutes in the future. Point of fact, my current Mil SF/NF short focuses on the remnants of a US Mechanized Infantry company caught up in a massive Russian invasion of the Baltics and Poland, which, if you’ve been following the news, is a thing that might actually happen. Especially after Putin’s shenanigans in Georgia, Estonia, Crimea, the ongoing fight in the Ukraine, and now the massive Russian military build-up in Kaliningrad.

Now I imagined the opening scenes several years ago, mulling over the old ‘Cold War turned Hot’ RPG Twilight 2000. Back then, my speculation was rear view mirror daydreaming. Common sentiment was the Cold War collapsed with the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union. Now I’m hammering the story out by the end of the month before it literally becomes old news.

I would prefer to spend my energy on writing, not intense self-examination. There is a synergy, a mystery to making art that is only realized in the doing, not in the debate. I recognize value in discussion, but you can’t pin the process to a board like some specimen of exotic butterfly. It too easily morphs into Delaying Activity. Plus dissection has a tendency to kill its subject.

With that caveat, I confess the inspiration/motivation for this current short story is different. There’s an urgency and not the usual entertaining escapism behind it. I have this odd sense the Sun is shining right now but the wind has shifted. The barometer has dropped. (what Cape Codders call ‘a sea change’) I’m no prophet, but I think something nasty is just over the horizon and we might want to batten down the hatches. Salt that warning to taste. I hope I’m wrong.

In terms of larger fiction projects, once I release this new short, I’ll have to decide whether to pursue the three-part Fantasy novel or the contemporary supernatural thriller, “Dead Saints.” I’m also considering seeking out agent representation for one or both of those novels to publish via a traditional route. It would be nice to be commissioned to write in the same way I’m commissioned to make stained glass windows. All that has been added to my prayers, so we’ll see.

I’ll should have Pre-Release copies of this this short story available soon. If you’re interested in a freebie, let me know.

Thanks much and take care.

 

 

 

 

Free Fiction: SOZO at Amazon

Sozo (Original Cover)My near-future short SOZO is free for Kindle and I-Pad beginning tomorrow through the Sept. 14. Use the buck you would have spent to get yourself a cup of coffee, then click through to Amazon to get your copy. It’s a quick read. Your coffee probably won’t even get cold.

It gives you a taste of my writing and it’s a small thanks to folks who read my work.

Have a great day.

Free Story Time

Cover2For any interested parties, my short story SOZO is free ’til the end of the month.

Fair Warning: a quick read, it has mature themes and deals with a demobbed combat vet who finds himself in an ugly situation. Ending is good though.

On a related note, I’ve been told it has been accepted into the next Crossover Alliance anthology, due late this year. So that’s cool.

Thanks much and have a great day.