Tag Archives: hard sci-fi

New story in Perihelion

asteroid jumpers thumbMy story “If You’re Listening, We’re Going to Try Something” will appear in the May 12th issue of Perihelion. “If You’re Listening…” features characters from my novel Asteroid Jumpers. (Which has a fabulous cover by Innovari/Luca Oleastri)

I’ve had a story set in a novel universe come out before (“Scour” in New Myths, is set in the world of my Karnish River Navigations novels), but “If You’re Listening…” is the first to include characters from the actual novel.

Trapped aboard the Zadie Captain Arlon Stoddard and navigator Eva Strong must make instant decisions if they’re going to get to safety.

The story is free to read at Perihelion.

Low Arc to appear in The Jim Baen Memorial Award: The First Decade

jbmassc-coverMy story “Low Arc”, which won the 2014 Jim Baen Memorial Award, will appear among other winning and place-getting stories in a new volume due this autumn.

The Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest is an annual award, run as an association between the National Space Society, and Baen Books. Winners attend the International Space Development Conference, including an awards dinner for the presentation.

The contest is administrated by Nebula Award Nominee William Ledbetter. He’s edited this volume. Thanks Bill.

The contest asks contestants to “write a short story of no more than 8,000 words, that shows the near future (no more than about 50-60 years out) of manned space exploration”. My own story is an adventure piece, set on the moon in the near future. One of the times where I’ve gone for hard sci-fi.

This is my first pro anthology appearance, and I’m honoured to be among such company.

“A Better Sense of Direction” by Mjke Wood
“Letting Go” by David Walton
“Cathedral” by Mike Barretta
“Space Hero” by Patrick Lundrigan
“That Undiscovered Country” by Nancy Fulda
“Taking the High Road” by R.P.L. Johnson
“The Lamplighter Legacy” by Patrick O’Sullivan
“Low Arc” by Sean Monaghan
“We Fly” by K.B. Rylander
“Dear Ammi” by Aimee Ogden
“Citizen-Astronaut” by David D. Levine
“Gemini XVII” by Brad R. Torgersen
“Scramble” by Martin L. Shoemaker
“Balance” by Marina J. Lostetter
“To Lose the Stars” by Jennifer Brozek
“Cylinders” by Ronald D Ferguson

The cover is by the esteemed Bob Eggleton. Bob published a thumbnail of the cover minus the text on facebook, which is kind of cool.

jbmassc cover without text

Athena Setting – publishing on June 30th

Athena Setting is my latest novel. I had had an absolute ball writing it.as cover sw

When I was a teen, knowing I wanted to be a writer, I would fantasize about the books I would write one day. I even drew covers for some of them. One was called Athena Setting. About a spaceship on a death plunge into Jupiter. You know, the kind of thing a teenage boy thinks about.

That cover sketch is long gone. But the idea still sat with me. And I guess some of that teenage boy is still with me because I went ahead and wrote the book. I had just the best fun writing it too. Kind of like I got to be that kid again.

The new cover is by ©Mik3812345 | Dreamstime, with a little tinkering by me.

Of course I don’t know if the novel is any good or not, but I like to think that the fun I had in the writing will come through for the reader.

Like my story Low Arc (free to read), Athena Setting is pretty hard sci-fi. No aliens, no distant star systems, just people going about the difficult business of exploring the solar system.

After Gretel and The Cly, this one marks my third standalone sci-fi novel in a row. Next I think I’ll be working on some series, both thriller and sci-fi. More new on that later.

With Athena Setting I’m doing the pre-order thing, in attempting to make it available on all platforms at the same time. Release date is 30th June. I set that date as part of wanting a tangible way to celebrate writing a novel during the month. More on June, the month of the novel here.

Athena Setting: eBook, $5.99, print $15.99

Available from Smashwords, Amazon and various other retailers. Check your favorite.

 

On writing Athena Setting

Athena Setting (1)Back in mid-April I commented on Dean Wesley Smith’s blog post about choices. I realized that actually my comment fitted with my own blog and, in fact, could stand expanding.

When I was a teenager and wanting to be a writer and writing lots, I also drew covers for novels I would write someday.

It was kind of self-encouragement: in those days I had no idea how to write a novel. But it was cool to have a pretend cover with my name on it. In the intervening years I might have learned a couple of things about how to write a novel and I’ve practised plenty by writing a fair number of them.

So in January of this year, wondering what to write next, I remembered about that teenage dream. You know what? I sat down and wrote one of those novels. Now I have a book for my cover. Athena Setting. About a space mission gone wrong, a trapped crew about to plunge into Jupiter’s atmosphere while the would-be rescuers struggle to come up with a workable plan.

I will, of course, write a more attractive blurb for the release.

Naturally, I also have a new cover for my book (that pencil scratching would look out of place, and it seems is in fact long gone). A wonderful image by Mik3812345 sourced from Dreamstime.com. I’ve tinkered with that a little. I think it helps tell the story. I do think I’ll update that tagline too – maybe “One hundred hours till rescue, ninety hours till impact” which kind of sums it up a little better.

The novel should be out around the end of May (maybe early June) as both an ebook and in print.

But after saying all that, let me tell you, I had such a fun time with the writing of the story. I got to be that kid again. It might not be my best novel, but I hope my sense of fun and adventure comes through. The kid in me can’t wait to hold the book in his hand. And try out writing another one.

 

Lightning Strikes in Perihelion

PerihelionMy hard sci-fi story “Lightning Strikes” has just appeared in the current issue of Perihelion.

David Bron’s on a mission to stop his son from getting killed for the sake of an electrical art piece. Bron’s got a bounty hunter on his tail and an out of whack ship. And the electric art is about to begin.

There are some other top stories in the issue too, and a great editorial from editor Sam Bellotto.

This is my third story in Perihelion, after “Stone 382” last year, and “Quisic Smith and the Russian Puzzle Doll” in January.

“Aerobrake” – short story in The Colored Lens

CLW2014My hard sci-fi story “Aerobrake” is out now in the Winter 2014 issue of The Colored Lens. The story’s mostly set in low Earth orbit. Claire’s about to call it a day repairing satellites when she gets a distress call. Another tech, ship scraping the atmosphere, could use a hand. Here’s the opening:

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The galaxy, for a moment, looked frozen. Claire’s ship pitched on its axis and she had a passing view of the stars in lockstep with her view through the forward windows. From orbit, especially this low, the distant blazing suns were always sweeping by. The ship’s current altitude, 326 kilometers, had her completing an orbit in just over ninety minutes.
The ranging radar pinged at her. She was less than thirty kilometers from the errant satellite. With a sweep on the controls, she swung the cockpit around on its internal gimbals. For a moment she was in darkness. Only another couple of hours and she would be done for the month. Back to Levithab for two weeks in the station’s gravity spin. After three months on call–basically meaning out all day every day–and a full week in the Demeter’s tiny cockpit and living quarters, she really needed a break. The ship was starting to feel dank and lived in, like old socks that needed a wash, rinse and airing.

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The Colored Lens is published for Kindle – available at Amazon for $3.58. There are a whole bunch of stories in there – a really great magazine.