Archive for the ‘ Science Fiction ’ Category

OVERSIGHT / ADAM’S LADDER

4 signed and numbered hardbacks of Oversight by Michael Bailey remain in the world, and they are up for grabs here: https://amzn.to/2n1ZPtG for $30.00. Only 60 copies were ever made of this limited edition, so these are the last of them. The collection contains the novelettes “Darkroom” and “SAD Face” with different covers featured on each side of the book.

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Darkroom: After living most of her life blindfolded-for fear of what she might see-Grace shifts though time in a series of strange experiments involving old-fashioned black-and-white photography in order to create a flipbook of her father aging in reverse. Near completion of her project, and no longer able to go through with it on her own, she brings along her likewise blindfolded and temporarily deafened sister-for fear of what they might also hear in their travels-and together they take snapshots, wandering their childhood home, hand-in-hand, albeit with added disabilities to protect them from that which doesn’t hide so well in the past. The undeveloped, they soon discover, what they’d forgotten of their troubled youth, is perhaps more frightening than what they later develop in the darkroom.

SAD Face: Yuliya dons a prosthetic face designed to help her cope with Social Anxiety Disorder, the essential oil infused mask not only disguising her expression, but the wet city stench as it soothes. Time, it can only stop when someone takes a photo, and that’s what they did, whoever made it-took her picture and made her a mask to hide behind whenever social phobia bullied her. A dead-face: expressionless, eyes only visible through open sockets, mouth slightly parted; the way she imagined she’d look the day she died. And now, whenever someone sees her-stares at her-wearing her Yuliya mask, they are looking at her past. Yet behind her SAD face, she sometimes finds confidence, until she takes it off and attempts to uncover the woman hiding beneath.

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And if you’re a fan of dark science fiction, 10 signed (by the editor) trade paperback copies of Adam’s Ladder are also available for only $10.00 plus shipping. Simply click the cover above, or the link, and choose the $10.00 version under other buying options. The seller is listed as nettirw.

MISCREATIONS: TABLE OF CONTENTS

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Miscreations: Gods, Monstrosities & Other Horrors received nearly 900 submissions during its open call window, and will be available in early 2020 by Written Backwards. Pre-order now (a month before its official release) from Nightworms!.

Table of Contents:

Foreword by Alma Katsu

“Maytryoshka” by Joanna Parypinski
“One Day of Inside/Out” by Linda D. Addison (poetry)
“My Knowing Glance” by Lucy A. Snyder
“Paper Doll Hyperplane” by R.B. Payne
“Sounds Caught in Cobwebs” by M.E. Bronstein
“I Am Your Neighbor” by Max Booth III
“Only Bruises Are Permanent” by Scott Edelman
“Umbra Sum” by Kristi DeMeester
“Butcher’s Blend” by Brian Hodge
“Frankenstein’s Daughter” by Theodora Goss
“Operations Other Than War” by Nadia Bulkin
“A Benediction of Corpses” by Stephanie M. Wytovich (poetry)
“Not Eradicated in You” by Bracken MacLeod
“The Vodyanoy” / “The Old Gods of Light” by Christina Sng (poetry)
“Ode to Joad the Toad” by Laird Barron
“Imperfect Clay” by Lisa Morton
“Spectral Evidence” by Victor LaValle

“The Making of Asylum Ophelia” by Mercedes M. Yardley
“One Last Transformation” by Josh Malerman
“A Heart Arrhythmia Creeping Into a Dark Room” by Michael Wehunt
“Resurrection Points” by Usman T. Malik
“Brains” by Ramsey Campbell

What happens when we make monsters? What happens when we confront the monsters inside ourselves? These are the grotesque things that should never have been. These are the beasts that stalk our twisted pasts. These are the ghosts of our own making that haunt our regrets. They’re the blood on our hands. They’re the obsessions in our heads. They’re the vengeance in our hearts. These are Miscreations: Gods, Monstrosities & Other Horrors.

Bram Stoker Award-winning editors Doug Murano and Michael Bailey welcome you to submit your best work for consideration in this anthology, which will launch in early 2020. Follow news and announcements on Facebook!

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Miscreations: Gods, Monstrosities & Other Horrors
 
will be released by Written Backwards in February 2020, simultaneously in hardcover, trade paperback, and eBook.

ANTHOLOGY eBOOK SALE!

Starting 08/24/2019, all Written Backwards anthologies (eBook edition only) are on sale in the US / UK for only $0.99 / £0.99 until midnight 08/31/2019. Choose from any of the anthologies below:

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Pellucid Lunacy: US / UK
Chiral Mad: US / UK
Chiral Mad 2: US / UK
Qualia Nous: US / UK
The Library of the Dead: US / UK
Chiral Mad 3: US / UK
You, Human: US / UK
Adam’s Ladder: US / UK
Chiral Mad 4:US / UK

For full descriptions and other available editions , please visit the Written Backwards Anthologies page. A full list of accolades for these titles can be found here.

WIRED TO THE HEART

The latest Written Backwards interview is with Tlotolo Tsamaase, a Motswana writer of fiction, poetry, and articles on architecture. Her work has appeared in literary magazines all over the world, and her latest, a novelette called “District to Cervix: The Time Before We Were Born,” will appear in the forthcoming anthology Prisms, co-edited by Darren Speegle and Michael Bailey, to be published by PS Publishing.

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The interview [ by Michael Bailey ]:

Our paths crossed years ago (2015, believe it or not) when I was reading submissions as Managing Editor for a certain small press. Out of all the submissions received, yours kind of punched me in the face. Hard. I can still feel it. I was instantly drawn to your prose, and the world you created. The story is one of incredible value. In fact, I was this close (I’m holding my fingers together until they’re almost touching) to having you sign with that particular publisher. My only hesitation was that I was constantly thinking, “This is not small press. This is something more.” But of course, I also wanted your novel to help launch the new science fiction line that publisher was trying to get off the ground (it never took off, and we have since parted ways). I even had a few artists work on cover options. Long story short (and I won’t go into the details of that particular project), as with most small presses, there was a long wait from the powers-that-be to make decisions, and after some time you pulled the novel and let me know you were going try it with an agent. To which I enthusiastically yelled, “Yes!” (scaring my cats) and “This needs to happen!” (or something like that).

What I’ve learned about you since then as that not only do you write fiction, but you also write poetry, as well as nonfiction articles on architecture. Your story “Virtual Snapshots” appeared in Terraform and was shortlisted for a Nommo Award, and you have short fiction published in The Fog Horn (“The Palapye White Birch” and “Eco-Humans”), as well as Apex magazine (“Murders Fell from our Wombs”). Your poetry has been featured in Elsewhere Lit (“Home?” and “Fetal Sundays”) and Strange Horizons (“Constellations of You” and “I Will Be Your Grave,” which was nominated for the Rhysling Award).

I mention all these titles specifically (and with links) because they too tell a story. They provide hints as to what your writing is like, and perhaps what it’s about. Your titles are as intriguing as that of your novel, which I hope to someday see in bookstores.

Now, I probably butcher your name every time I say it aloud, although for some reason typing it is not a problem at all (I don’t think I’ve ever mistyped it). I usually pronounce it, “Lot-lo Sa-mace” with both t’s either silent, or slightly emphasized with the tongue.

So, the questions:

Michael Bailey: How do you pronounce your name (and I apologize if I’ve said it wrong these last 4+ years)?

Tlotlo Tsamaase: Oh, the t’s are definitely not silent. Here’s how you pronounce my name Tloo-Tlo and my surname Tsa-mah-ah-seh. Using phonetic sound symbols, a friend advised that the first name is /tlōtʊ:/ Hopefully that was close to helpful!

MB: Later this year, a short novelette of yours will appear in the anthology Prisms, which I co-edited with Darren Speegle for PS Publishing, and I’m proud to say (not only from my mouth but have heard it from Darren as well), that it’s one of the most intriguing stories either of us has ever commissioned. Like your other published works, it too has an interesting title: “District to Cervix: The Time Before We Were Born.” What can you tell us about that story?

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[ mock cover created in early development ]

TT: Thank you so much! The story is told from the male protagonist’s POV who, through guilt, reveals a secret to his close friend about how he betrayed his friend the time before they were born to explain. This line explains the gist of the story: “And who are we? Sexless souls warring to be born through the granddaughter—the way we want. My application to be born was approved several days ago … You choose who you’re born from, how, in what sex and all that shit.” The granddaughter of a household is pregnant with two children, and there’s a congregation of women in the kgotla deciding on the gender of these children and basically the roles they will serve in the eco-city they live in. Ultimately the decision lies with the sexless souls who, existing in a different realm, must fight and / or kill for the gender, ethnicity they want, as well as which family to be born in. The stakes: you could die and never be born.

MB: You have fiction published in magazines and anthologies around the world, which means you have a passion for short fiction (along with a passion for poetry). What first drew you to reading and writing short fiction?

TT: From a young age, I read children’s books and whatever novels we had in the house, which were adult titles like Sidney Sheldon, Danielle Steele, etc. I loved creating with my hands, building tiny houses, or writing out stories for my friends and I to act out. In primary school, my Standard 6 teacher found creative ways to get us into reading more, so I’d go through a million books in a week. Eventually, I wrote long romantic stories that were darker than romantic but remained as unfinished stories. It was also during my university years when I chanced upon Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood. From the first page, I felt so transported; his writing was intermixed with voice and longing. And Helen Oyeyemi’s prose was chilling but had some dark aesthetic to it. It entranced me so deeply I wanted to learn how to do that, so I began reading as a writer and reading short fiction. Then a writer friend advised that I start out with short stories, which is good practice for writing. That’s when I also began experimenting in poetry.

MB: What brought you to poetry?

TT: Rumi! There is so much magic and beauty from Rumi’s poetry. Reading poetry, I found, comes with so many interpretations and by drawing so many meanings from the metaphors you’re able to relate and play around with words. I love Stone Bird Press’ Spelling the Hours; you just melt with the words. I attend local slam poetry sessions, and these artists are so talented; listening to a poet recite in Shona or Setswana and mix that with English makes their voice and language achingly beautiful. Going through these works teaches you what you can do with your writing.

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MB: What can you tell us about your nonfiction?

TT: I studied architecture at the University of Botswana, which is very intense and literally exercised my creative muscle. With that background, I wrote architectural articles for a local newspaper, Boidus. This included reviewing local designs and writing about built environment news. I would also write articles about people who had a creative background and were making a living out of their passion. It was a very enjoyable experience!

MB: Most of your short fiction (which sometimes dips into long fiction range), from what I have read, have a science fiction bent, but with so many truths hidden within. Is science fiction your passion, or do you find yourself writing other genres, or perhaps crossing multiple genres?

TT: Science fiction is my passion, and sometimes it tends to dive into dystopia. I have found myself writing in other genres like magical realism, which is quite an exciting genre to discover. Once before I dipped into fantasy, but by far my favorite genres to write in are science fiction and magical realism.

MB: You refer to yourself as a Motswana writer (Motswana being the singular form of “Batswana,” or also a person from the Tswana ethnic group in southern Africa). What can you tell us about your heritage? What is it like to write (or to be a writer) in Batswana?

TT: Writing from Botswana can be quite difficult in terms of character portrayal and showing various cultures as it’s writing from a non-western perspective, so it does feel difficult to fit in, especially if you’re writing from different genres or stories that don’t bow down to stereotypical representation. In some instances, the writing can feel like a process of erasure instead of creating a place of belonging. As much as that is a disadvantage, our backgrounds and culture are holy to us, allowing us to pour our experiences, background or culture into our work. Before you had to find a community online in order to interact with writers because locally there weren’t any authors to talk to or connect with. But the local writing community is growing: we currently have a book festival that invites authors; and just recently I was judging a local writing competition whereby we also get to mentor some of the writers. So we’re getting more and more people keen on writing, that’s really another way of preserving culture and showing the world our different voices.

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[ Tlotlo’s story “Who Will Clean Our Spirits When We’re Gone?” appears in the July 2019 issue of The Dark magazine ]

MB: The interviews I conduct are intended for all types of creatives (those writing fiction / nonfiction / poetry, those making music, designing books, painting, crafting; in other words, anything wherein the person involved is creating somethings from once-nothings). What would you like to share with those just dipping their toes into the ocean of creativity?

TT: It requires passion and discipline. I say this because I’ve had some writers who come to me with an interest to write or to learn how to write, but they don’t want to put in the work. They want shortcuts and mostly want their writing to be an instant money-making machine. Sometimes you have to do a lot of research, or you have to go through a draft a million times until you become sick of it.  When I started out, my writing was terrible. I spent years in novels’ pages, sleeping in their prose, pulling it apart until it bled into me, and I was saturated with a slight understanding of how to have a voice, which I returned with to my writing, and I failed and failed and keep failing by collecting rejection letters; instead of giving up, I used these rejection letters that came with constructive criticism as teachers. Working on your art can feel like war sometimes. But if you’re passionate about it, you will do anything to birth it into something. Having mentors is also good. I was in Justina Ireland’s Writing in the Margins mentorship program as well as Kate Brauning’s Breakthrough Writer’s Boot Camp, and both mentorships were very invaluable in learning about the industry and refining your work.

MB: What are you trying to tell the world with your own creations?

TT: My concepts tend to be sci-fi what-if questions that explore a limitless world and its impact on its characters. It looks at societal issues, deals with love and belonging. Lately my writing looks toward racism, internalized racism, as well as oppression of women and abuse of children, all with a sci-fi bent as is seen in “Murders Fell from Our Wombs.” But most importantly my writing tries to show multi-faceted characters with an African background appearing in genres they hardly feature in as main characters, like science fiction, fantasy and magical realism. There is freedom and sometimes happy endings that I hope readers will enjoy.

MB: If we were to look into the future, what would we expect from Tlotlo Tsamaase?

TT: Well, I would hope for my writing to be so successful that I can make a living from it. It would be wonderful if my writing could reach masses and inspire people as other works have inspired me.


Learn more about Tlotlo Tsmaase on her website, www.tlotlotsamaase.com, or follow along on Facebook or Twitter,


If you enjoyed this interview, you may enjoy some of the others. Previous interviews in this series include:

“The Hunger” with Alma Katsu
“Beginning to End” with Chuck Palahniuk
“A Little of Everything” with John Langan
“King of Illustrations” with Glenn Chadbourne
“Creator of Heroes” with David Morrell
“A Visit from the Tooth Fairy” with Zoje Stage

And coming soon:

“Not-So-Silent” with Tim Lebbon
“The Time It Takes” with Lisa Morton
“Poetry in Motion” with Marge Simon
“Spinning Yarn” with Josh Malerman
“What the Eyes Tell Us” with Daniele Serra
“Word Therapy” with Ramsey Campbell

WRITE-A-THON

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June 23rd thru August 3rd, I am participating in The Clarion Foundation’s Write-a-Thon to help raise funds, with a goal of writing 40,000 words in that short span of time. I am looking for volunteers to back me, whether that’s by a flat donation or on a per-word basis (note that $0.01 per word would be $450 if I make my goal).

A dollar, two, twenty, or, if you’re willing, a per-word rate. It all adds up!

What will I be writing? My goal is to finish Seen In Distant Stars, a dark and dystopian science fiction thriller. I have about 40,000 words to go on this novel, so the Write-a-Thon will push me to finish, and also help raise money for a good cause while doing so.

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Kim Stanley Robinson and many others are participating, and if you’re a writer, I highly encourage you to participate as well. Maybe we can even team-up! Many of my mentors have gone through Clarion to improve their craft, and many recent writing peers.

Simply click “Support Writers,” then my name, Michael Bailey (<= or this direct link, to make things even easier), and then the “Donate” button.

SHORT FICTION SALE

Now through April 21st, Written Backwards is hosting a short fiction sale. 6 books, 600,000 words, all for under 6 bucks. In other words, 6 books for under a buck (each) in both the US and UK. Time to fill up your Kindles!

All titles are also available for free through Kindle Unlimited, or are free if you’ve already purchased the paperback through Amazon. Simply click the book covers below for direct links in the US, or follow the links after each title if you’re in the UK.

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Winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in an Anthology. Features illustrations throughout by gak, an introduction / novelette by Norman Partridge (nominated for Superior Achievement in Long Fiction), an afterword by Mary SanGiovanni, as well as photography and the interconnecting tale “The Librarian” by the editor. Also available in the UK for only £0.99.

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Bram Stoker Award-winning editor Michael Bailey brings you a genre-bending anthology of dark science fiction and poetry, with fiction illustrated throughout by world-renowned artist L.A. Spooner, poetry and spot illustrations by Orion Zangara, cover artwork by George C. Cotronis, and an introduction on humanness by New York Times bestselling author F. Paul Wilson. Also includes the Bram Stoker Award-nominated novelette “The Jupiter Drop” by Josh Malerman. Also available in the UK for only £0.99.

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A literary blend of science fiction and horror, and the winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award. Includes short stories, novelettes, and poetry from established authors and newcomers from around the world, such as the Bram Stoker Award-winning stories “The Vaporization Enthalphy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family” by Usman T. Malik, and “Ruminations” by Rena Mason. Also available in the UK for only £0.99.

Note that due to contractual obligations, the eBook edition does not include Stephen King’s short story “The Jaunt,” which is included in the trade paperback edition.

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Twenty-five, or maybe twenty-six or -seven or perhaps twenty-eight (let’s say it’s twenty-eight) individual works by Erik T. Johnson, some previously-published, some appearing  for the first time, stories like “The Leaf” and “Krug’s Pen,” “The Depopulation Syndrome,” “The Invention of the Mask” (which you can find on the front cover), “The Depopulation Syndrome” and the novella Scissors Seldom Come. Trespass. Read the horror, the wonder, the mindscrewing. Also available in the UK for only £0.99.

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Fourteen stories from the intersection of pain and anxiety, rage and fear by Paul Michael Anderson, illustrated throughout by Pat R. Steiner. Triumph and tragedy, terror and transformation. Includes an introduction by Damien Angelica Walters and and afterword by Bracken MacLeod. Also available in the UK for only £0.99.

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From the mind of award-winning author and editor Michael Bailey comes Inkblots and Blood Spots, a painfully beautiful collection of short stories and poetry that reaches deep into the imagination, breaking hearts and boundaries along the way. Includes the novelette “Dandelion Clocks,” illustrations and cover artwork by Daniele Serra, and an introduction by Douglas E. Winter. Also available in the UK for only £0.99.

SCIENCE FICTION EBOOK SALE!

$1.99 sci-fi sale
The following eBooks are on sale in the US and UK from February 1st through the 8th: Qualia Nous (anthology), Adam’s Ladder (anthology), and Other Music (novel by Marc Levinthal). For cheap, snag the following:
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$1.99 in the US, and £1.99 in the UK.

A literary blend of science fiction and horror, Qualia Nous contains short stories, novelettes, and poetry from established authors and newcomers from around the world.

  • “0-1” (Introduction) by Michael Bailey
  • “The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family” by Usman T. Malik (winner of the Bram Stoker Award for short fiction)
  • “The Shaking Man” by Gene O’Neill
  • “Dyscrasia” by Ashlee Scheuerman
  • “The Rondelium Girl of Rue Marseilles” by Emily B. Cataneo
  • “The Angel Chaser” by Erik T. Johnson
  • “Psychic Shock” by Ian Shoebridge
  • “Peppermint Tea in Electronic Limbo” by D.J. Cockburn
  • “Second Chance” by John R. Little
  • “The Effigies of Tamber Square” by Jon Michael Kelley
  • “Shades of Naught” by Lori Michelle
  • “The Price of Faces” by James Chambers
  • “Simulacrum” by Jason V Brock
  • “Shutdown” (poem) by Marge Simon
  • “Lead Me to Multiplicity” by Peter Hagelslag
  • “Cataldo’s Copy” by Christian A. Larsen
  • “The Neighborhood Has a Barbecue” by Max Booth III
  • “Tomorrow’s Femme” (poem) by Marge Simon
  • “The Jenny Store” by Richard Thomas
  • “Night Guard” by Erinn L. Kemper
  • “A New Man” by William F. Nolan
  • “Voyeur” by John Everson
  • “Kilroy Wasn’t There” by Pat R. Steiner
  • “In the Nothing-Space, I Am What You Made Me” by Paul Michael Anderson
  • “Dura Mater” by Lucy A. Snyder
  • “Ruminations” by Rena Mason (winner of the Bram Stoker Award for short fiction)
  • “Good and Faithful Servant” by Thomas F. Monteleone
  • “Twelve Kilos” by Patrick Freivald
  • “Breathe You In Me” by Mason Bundschuh
  • “18P37-C, After Andrea Was Arrested” by Elizabeth Massie
  • “No Fixed Address” by Gary A. Braunbeck

Winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award, and nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in an Anthology. Due to contractual obligations / limitations, the eBook edition does not contain “The Jaunt” by Stephen King. Also available in trade paperback for $14.95. Fiction / poetry; 448 pages; 9×6 format.

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$1.99 in the US, and £1.99 in the UK.

The future of humankind as an ever-changing organism is a subject of much debate. Where is our evolutionary path leading? Will the next rung take the form of mental transcendence, will it set humankind on a course toward divinity, or will this uncertain path involve a dark and terrible reversion? Co-editors Michael Bailey and Darren Speegle present eighteen tales that explore the course of evolution, written by some of the best literary minds in the fields of science fiction and horror.

  • “Ch-Ch-Changes” by Chaz Brenchley
  • “Filigree, Minotaur, Cyanide, Bloom” by Damien Angelica Walters
  • “How He Helped” by Ramsey Campbell
  • “Spirits” by Gene O’Neill
  • “The Mythic Hero Most Likely to Squeeze a Stone” by B.E. Scully
  • “My Father, Dr. Frankenstein” by John Langan
  • “Undersound” by Mark Morris
  • “A Laughing Matter” by Erinn L. Kemper
  • “The Serile” by Paul Meloy
  • “Eyes of the Beholders” by Lisa Morton
  • “Strings” by Tim Lebbon
  • “Sliced Bread” by Jeffrey Thomas
  • “I Will Be the Making of You” by Rena Mason
  • “Nameless Citizen” by Brian Evenson
  • “Painting the Burning Fence” by Roberta Lannes
  • “Pity This Busy Monster Not” by Scott Edelman
  • “An End to Perpetual Motion” by Mark Samuels
  • “Swift to Chase” by Laird Barron

Finalist for the Foreword Reviews Book of the Year / IndieFAB. Also available in trade paperback for $14.95. Fiction; 304 pages; 9×6 format.

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eBook on sale for only $1.99 in the US, and £1.99 in the UK.

With the discovery of the Thompson Corridors, the universe has been opened up, connecting humankind with a vast network of sentient species. Xenosociologist Jesse Suzuki, a nanotech-rejuvenated “oldster,” has joined the forced exodus of the newly young, mandated by law to ship out through the Corridors after his 80th birthday. Jesse finds his way to Eastlink, a sprawling human habitat orbiting Shjodathz, home to a race of regenerating beings who maintain direct memory of all their past incarnations. While studying the Shjodathí and their planetary biomachine guardian Kedel, he discovers a strange anomaly within the AI’s mind that leads him on a perilous, mind-blowing adventure.

The debut solo novel by Marc Levinthal is also available in trade paperback for $12.95. Fiction; 182 pages; 9×6 format; cover artwork by George C. Cotronis; introduction by John Skipp; interior artwork by Michael Bailey.