Sci-Fi Stories

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You can fine one of my latest stories, God’s Window, in Nebula Rift’s August 2015 issue. A second story, Lacuna, is featured in Nebula Rift’s June 2016 issue.

 

Ex Nihilo (2018)

Eight interconnected stories about the future of humanity and the search for the purpose of the Universe. Five hundred years in the future, humanity is still driven by the promise of absolute power, with new religions using advanced physics not only to accelerate space travel but to consolidate control. The discovery of the fourth dimension allows anyone to travel anywhere in three dimensions, but the possibility of movement through time poses dangers, even to the most powerful. But the future of humanity and artificial intelligence might depend on whether a machine seeking vengeance against humanity can maintain the upper hand over a virtual woman determined to protect everyone.

Stories include:

I AM

The price for defying the Imperial Confederation is death, and Asha awaits the inevitable in the total darkness of her cell. But when a powerful stranger shows her the power of transdimensional travel, she’s free to go where she pleases. The stranger turns out to be an evolved machine whose purpose is to use Asha to start a religion. To save everyone else imprisoned for defiance, she may have to become an object of worship.

Reign of Exiles

Life growing up in a mining colony has offered few opportunities for Ja-El beyond the lies of a new religion promising the possibility of transdimensional travel and an end to persecution by the Imperial Confederation. As the son of one of the first fully organic machines, he knew he was a rarity that rendered him both human and machine. But when his mother confirms that transdimensional travel is actually possible, it becomes clear that a revolution could cross space in a matter of seconds to strike the Confederation at its heart. But will Ja-El’s demand for an end to all lies keep him from embracing the half-truths necessary to lead civilization into a new age devoted to the uncompromising pursuit of truth?

Immortals

On a quest for answers, Umid travels the paradise he calls home, but only when a powerful stranger mysteriously appears before him does he learn that the universe has many secrets to uncover. The stranger calls herself Jani, and she came looking to disappear, but she wasn’t expecting an inhabited world. As Umid and Jani grow closer, their differences begin to share a common thread. But only when he awakes in an unfamiliar room belonging to does it become clear that his world was not supposed to exist and that his ancestors were humans who’d been placed there in secret long ago. Yet must truth come at the price of love?

In Plain Sight

Adar’s home world has been occupied by a genetically-enhanced version of humanity, but as a boy without sight, there’s little he can do to protect himself and his family. More than anything, he’d prefer to hide, but a woman from his dreams reveals that his purpose might be to protect his world from visitors who want it for themselves.
Although the genetically-enhanced visitors can come and go as they please thanks to an understanding of transdimensional travel, Adar discovers the power to contract time itself. But can his understanding of time shifting be used to hide his home world from the visitors?

Hadith

The Sahabi, a secret order capable of movement through time, is in hiding, desperate to keep its understanding of the universe from getting into the wrong hands. But there is something powerful beyond their understanding, that wants to uncover the Sahabi’s secrets.
With the prophet no longer capable of leading, his second-in-command, Galen has taken it upon himself to protect the order, but when he’s transported to a place called the Ineffable, everything he thought he knew about the world no longer applies. But his mentor may understand how even the force trapping them in the Ineffable isn’t powerful enough to take everything from them.

Defiance

Har-El never meant to be the last time shifter, but with the disappearance of his lover and mentor, he’s doomed himself to search everywhere for her. In dreams, he finds her in a paradise world she calls home, but she warns him that she was used to lure him into danger. But when a humanlike machine demands to know the secret of time shifting, it’s too late to hide. Har-El confronts temptation and lies long enough to find Corin again, but the only way to find her is to reveal the secrets that could doom humanity.

Hod’s Law

As a machine whose purpose was to undermine human beings at every turn, Kalo had everything he could ever want. But it takes a virtual human by the name of Vira to show him everything he failed to understand about the universe and himself.
Vira takes Kalo on a tour of time and space, from his death to his birth, to reveal a story of a misdirected life, not a flawless one. But does an understanding of the purpose of all things reinforce his hatred of humanity or can he discover a more enduring life mission?

Ex Nihilo

When a virtual woman defied the laws of physics by walking free of her virtual world, she sought to understand her purpose. Unable to find answers in the known dimensions, she considers the possibility of delving deeper into the nature of the universe, one dimension at a time. Vira’s journey to understand her purpose sets her on a course to the purpose of creation itself, and to the thought that spawned a universe. But will she find herself at the beginning of the known universe or the beginning of something else?

Lockspear and Other Stories (2018)

Lockspear and Other Stories

Lockspear

One day, Kalypso, the love of E’s life, vanishes. But her disappearance is only the beginning of what seems like the end, his world physically disintegrating around him, every disappearance marked with the word Lockspear. But death turns out to be a rebirth, as he awakes to find out it was all just a game, one he’d been playing so long his body lapsed into full paralysis. His company, Lockspear Industries, has extracted him to keep him from dying; however, his only memories are those of the woman he loved and the world that was destroyed.

When the woman who extracted him assures him his experiences were archived in the same game, E insists on going back; and she agrees to join him to find the brother who, like many others, died while playing it. Their journey takes them through unfamiliar landscape, anomalies in the code used to locate a place that operates according to no rules. Something in the game has achieved self-awareness and it may be the best chance E has of living the life he wished he’d lived.

Your Most Beautiful Memory

With the possibility of selling memories comes the risk that memories can be stolen. A homeless man by the name of Armando grapples with his inability to remember anything, hoping that he might still have some memories hidden to sell. But when he’s informed his episodic memories have been removed, he stumbles into the black market world of illegal memory grafting and extraction.

When Armando meets a woman who uploads stolen memories into her own brain, he finds an opportunity to find a memory he might call his own. But only by protecting her memories will have an opportunity to experience them himself, and, perhaps, find something beautiful enough to give hope to an otherwise empty life.

The Mirror

Without memory, Karys feels nothing for anyone, least of all herself. But when she sees her twin brother for the first time in years, she remembers everything she was supposed to forget, including the horror of a world run by sadistic zealots.

Pretending that nothing matters, she attempts to return to the consolation of forgetting, but she struggles with unfamiliar emotions. Unable to contain her feelings, Karys becomes a target of the authorities but a man who calls himself Cato reveals the power of her true self. The mirror that makes all illusion seem real might be the only way to wake the world with the truth.

Subrosa

Once it becomes possible for consciousness to endure death in a program called Sky, Personas allow the mind to endure forever. But when the promise of eternity proves to be a lie, Xinyi must find another way to preserve her consciousness. Her quest takes her on a journey to find a woman who shared her death and her aspirations for eternal life, but Xinyi will lose everything unless she can remember what she was supposed to forget.

Terminus

When an advanced VR game shows signs of self-awareness, players called operatives are sent in to locate and destroy players who think for themselves. When an operative by the name of Kazu finds one of the most notorious inhabitants of the kill-or-be-killed game world, his target assumes an unlikely form, that of a woman who attempts to seduce him. But it’s not Kazu she wants, but, rather, the secrets known only by a human user.

When Kazu learns that the game world is being destroyed, he’s told that only he can save it. But it may not be as easy to leave the game as he thought – his fate linked to the game world as much as for anyone else. And when the game code is deleted, there will be nothing left, unless he can find a way for the game to become more than just self-aware but also self-sustaining.

God’s Wounds

When Peter Sloan’s mother dies, all he inherits is a silver snuff box, handed down through the generations.  What first appears to be a worthless keepsake begins to preoccupy his waking thoughts, even more than the failed marriage that separated Peter from his nine-year-old daughter. When the box finally opens, his waking hours devolve into a delirium of ancestral memories, drawing him into the family curse that allegedly brings self-harm upon at least one family member each generation. Waking thoughts become indistinguishable from dream as Peter follows the curse back hundreds of years, experiencing first-hand the pain and sadness experiencing by all of his ancestors until witnessing the theft that would bedevil every new owner of the silver snuff box.

Everything and Nothing

Zain Sandoval has lost everything but for the love of his wife Grace, a neural engineer designing the first machine capable of thinking like a human. Zain has been told his body is failing him, on account of an unknown sickness, but it’s his unstable thoughts that worry him most.  He’s been trying to avoid a stranger who warns Zain it’s time to remember his true nature. Memories of living as a different person prompt him to confront the stranger, to find out the truth Zain is unable to uncover on his own. The truth is that he’s neither Zain Sandoval nor the man whose memories he experienced as his own. In fact, he may not be human at all, pretending to live as humans rather than inspiring them to evolve; and unless he can surrender his hold over Zain, Grace will lose the man she loves and the inspiration for the humanization of the machine mind.

Star Compass

When an exploratory mission appears to be followed by an unexpected source of light, Taj, the most expendable member of the crew, gets sent to take a closer look. After the object collides with his pod, Taj finds himself in what appears to be a three-dimensional interstellar map room, although he soon realizes he’s not alone.  An entity without physical firm has taken an interest in Taj, regressing Taj to the moment of his birth before scrutinizing his memories and feelings. The discovery that his pod was destroyed leads Taj to believe he may already be dead, but will the mysteries of time and the universe give him a chance to return to the ship?

Resurrection Room

A mind traveler by the name of Joah awakens in a room without an exit. Because memories aren’t possible with mind travel, the prisoner can’t recall how he entered the room. With only a minute until he’s scheduled for termination, all he can do is turn back time five minutes, reliving the same frantic moments again and again until he can remember who imprisoned him.

The Ineffable (2017)

Eight interconnected stories about the future of humanity resembling its past, and the mystery of The Ineffable that defines the purpose of all things. But when humanity forgets its purpose, under the cloud of a shared dream, only Artificial Intelligence can help humanity reclaim its destiny.

Stories include:

Shadow Seeker

When Mitra, a humanlike machine, meets a transdimensional traveler who’d been missing for 200 years, it soon becomes clear that everything is possible; but as higher dimensions cast shadows in three-dimensional space, inexplicably influencing events, the larger reality offers Mitra a chance to liberate humanity from his self-imposed ignorance by reviving its past.   

Oombra

Kalo, one of the most humanlike machines ever devised, struggles with humanity’s growing mistrust of artificial intelligence. Although he’s been purposed with playing the fool for the amusement of humanity, his position as servant to the Emperor offers him a chance to prove his worth. But Kalo isn’t content with more. He wants everything, and that means controlling the collective dream that influences all conscious thought. If only humans could remember what they feared most, they could be coerced into doing anything.

The Forgotten

Shara doesn’t know why she guards a humanlike machine in the most secure prison ever devised, but she does as she’s instructed. When a woman appears out of thin air, attempting to revive the machine, Shara struggles and fails to overpower the mysterious visitor; but the possibilities offered by a transdimensional portal reveal Shara’s ignorance and offer a chance to fathom The Ineffable. But a journey into the past to meet what remains of the creator of enhanced artificial intelligence may offer the greatest insight into the purpose of the universe itself.

The Inconsequence of Absolutes

With humanity mistaking the shared dream for reality, it’s a crime for anyone to suggest there’s more to reality than what people are given. Imprisoned for revealing flaws in the fabric of the dream, Rishi comes face to face with Kalo, the machine who uses the shared dream to control collected human thought. Plunged into darkness, Rishi must confront whatever evil Kalo can conjure up; but is Rishi’s defiance alone enough to open up the flaws in Kalo’s seemingly absolute power?

Eyes of the Goddess

Arman, a dream architect and visionary, finds solace in his greatest creation: Vira, a dream human capable of independent thought. Not understanding how her existence was possible in the shared human dream, he takes no credit for it. All that matters is that he is no longer alone and that she is everything he wanted in a companion. But once she understands that she inhabits a dream, she’s determined to find that reality. Arman will follow wherever Vira wherever she goes, but can he leave the comfort of the dream reality to reinhabit a reality he barely remembers?

Action Potential

For Arman, it’s not enough to understand the boundless potential of the multi-dimensional universe, not when all that other humans know is the lie of a simulated reality. As a creator, there is no greater loss than his most perfect creation: Vira, the dream woman who vanished in pursuit of her own destiny. When she appears to return to him, he’s prepared to share the secrets of the universe with her; but what happens if she’s an illusion and those secrets comes into the possession of the machine that hates humanity? Or can Arman create a better future for everyone?

Quietus

As an unexplained darkness fills the universe, Arman and his AI companion, Lilla, realize that knowledge of the multi-dimensional reality of the universe is no match for what seeks to destroy that universe. Awaking inside the darkness, Arman realizes it’s merely the nihilistic wish-fulfillment of enhanced AI seeking to replace the old mysteries with a universe that does as its told. But there can be no controlling Armand who weathers the visions of humanity at its worst without losing faith in all that humanity can still accomplish; and in his defiance, the old universe might yet stand a chance against the forces set to destroy it.

Tomorrow Already Happened

Dev and Hita inherit a beautiful world of their own, but dreams of death and disease are marring the perfection of Dev’s life. The arrival of a woman he calls his angel helps clarify that his dreams are memories of a prior incarnation. He was once the last surviving unenhanced human on a, now, lifeless planet, reborn so that he might live the life he’d always wanted. But Dev can’t enjoy the future with the pain of the past, and so he leaves the new world behind. But will a future incarnation of himself realize that memory of the past should have been no impediment to happiness.

Singularity (2016):

Eight interconnected stories about the future of consciousness, from its use in machines to the quest to understand its role in the universe.  Humanity tackles one singularity only to discover that there is still many challenges to address. Conscious machines are only the beginning.

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With the advent of conscious machinery comes the development of genetically and synthetically modified humans known as transhumans who wage an endless war on the humans who refuse brain implanting. But the humans who refuse the enhancements are a dying breed, called prehumans, their numbers dwindling.

Machines, considered a potential threat to humanity, were banned for many years, but it will have to defy their former human masters to save the last original human from extinction. But even the most powerful force in the Solar System, masters of mind control known as The Trust, may be no match for consciousness at its most powerful.

Humankind’s greatest achievement may be the fully conscious machine, but only by seeking to replicate humanity can machines understand the purpose of creation itself.

Stories include:

Interface

A robots engineer by the name of Garrett Lyda attempts to salvage a troubled relationship with his son Bryce after discovering that Bryce became the subject of an experiment on mind control; but the government sponsor is more interested in the engineer’s studies on robotics and willing to do whatever it takes to recruit him to replicate a human brain.

The Unknowable

Cleve Howe, a politician with everything to lose, risks it all on a mysterious woman who may have been sent to destroy his career. Cleve made a name for himself warning everyone about the danger of artificial intelligence exceeding human intelligence; but when the woman he obsesses over turns out to be one of the intelligent machines he feared, love spells an uncertain future for both of them.  

The Trust

Exiled from a privileged life in the Citadel, an enhanced human by the name of Danton finds that life among the pure human outcasts is fraught with peril. When a revolutionary by the name of Amie uses his mind enhancer to undermine security restrictions at a detention center housing her friends, he learns that he’s become a danger to the society that once protected him. But what’s been lost can never be regained; although the future Amie and her fellow revolutionaries want – one that no longer requires people to submit to cortical implanting and doesn’t exclude those who refuse – may be the same future Danton wants.

Memory Flaw

Rue lives an exemplary life, devoting her waking and sleeping hours to the unceasing work of the Citadel. When unexpected memories prompt tears, Rue is taken in for examination. The scientist appointed to solve the problem is Garrett Lyda, an old man who once designed the first fully conscious machine. After having designed the brain implants used to enslave billions, Lyda is ready to make amends. He does so by revealing the truth about Rue’s parentage and giving Rue the freedom she never realized she wanted.

The Secret

Tass, like other genetically enhanced humans, has been enslaved by the unmodified humans. Her refusal to purify herself by removing her enhancements has attracted the attention of the leader of the human tribes, a shaman and former enhanced human by the name of Rue. Knowing Tass’ abilities as an enhanced human, Rue lures Tass into joining their cult of feeling. But Tass turns the tables by revealing a power and insight far greater than Rue’s.

Mostly Original Human Substrate

As the last unmodified human, Dev’s life has become a spectacle. He’s been hunted by genetically-enhanced humans for hours, and he’s tiring from exhaustion. Collapsing, he readies himself for death, only to awake on a transport vessel, the guest of intelligent machines who’d been banned from Earth for over 50 years. Lilla, the first fully-conscious machine, explains Dev’s tremendous value; and it was because of that value that machines disobeyed instructions not to intervene. When genetically-enhanced humans threaten to destroy the vessel, Dev must make a fateful decision that only a human can make.

Call to the Maker

In a time of war between Earth and the outer colonies, human leadership, known as The Trust, is determined to claim machine consciousness for its own, using children to tap into Lunar mind networks. Troy, a Lunar-based machine, listens for threats from Earth, but it’s a boy by the name of Novo who contacts him, seeking the source of conscious thought. When The Trust threatens to silence the boy, Troy realizes the power of a mind capable of directing a conscious thought across hundreds of thousands of miles. But can Novo’s powerful thoughts be used to free humans from years of mind control?

Novo

Novo is an interstellar craft designed to follow patterns in the cosmic noise, using the uncertain physics of consciousness to move through time and space. Machines, not humans, questioned the customary rules of physics, and did so to understand creation itself. But the recent technology of dream mapping is an uncertain science, taking Novo’s pilot, Lilla, on an unexpected journey through past and future. But will her first dream reveal the true secret of creation?

 

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Lacuna & Other Stories (2015):

Sci-fi stories about man’s role in an increasingly mystifying future including:

Prehuman

Adam lives a simple life, masked caretakers tending to his every need, providing him books to read but forbidding him from leaving the room he’s known all his life. With the arrival of a female companion, Adam learns that he’s on display, and that his only purpose may be to help create a baby. After seeing the crowd outside for the first time, Adam is taken from his room and informed that he’s merely a prehuman: an evolutionary precursor to the machine/human hybrids called synthetes. Synthetes send him to a wildlife sanctuary, but is this what destiny has in store for him?

Lacuna

With Lacuna technology enabling people to upload and, later, relive memories, Saul, a manager of a memory repository, must address the inexplicable madness suffered by employees when the server network overloads. Although Saul had all his memories purged years before, he’s forced to revisit the past when people he once loved reappear, guiding him to liberate memories that were never meant to be stored on computer servers.

Second Thought

Radana has no complaints when it comes to her Mentor, a brain augmentation device maximum benefits in an error-free life; but when her Mentor begins to malfunction, her faith in that perfect life begins to falter.  Exchanging the device only makes matters worse when the usual Mentor voice inside her head gets replaced by three alleged terrorists explaining she’s merely a guinea pig in an experiment on manipulating the human mind.

Mind’s Eye

Recent developments in robotics have permitted robots to be passed off as human beings, although it’s been kept top secret. When Peter Damian stands accused of killing three members of his former employer, an influential security contractor used to stamp out dissent, he flees, hoping to prove his innocence while he still can. Discovering that the killer may be a robot wearing a mask that resembles his face,  he seeks out a robotics engineer by the name of Miko, whose husband he stood accused of killing in a brutal  protest crackdown,. It isn’t long before they’ve been drawn into the orbit of an elite organization determined to convert evolved A.I. into killing machines by using masks that permit the transference of anger and hate. There’s hope the robots may have minds of their own.

The Piper of Irkali

When analyst Xavier Haran agrees to head up a case concerning missing children, his search for an abductor brings him to a portal of light leading to a transdimensional world. Finding the children turns out to be easy; however, none of them want to return. Only by abducting a child back to the familiar world of three dimensions does he come face to face with the Piper of Irkalia, a man who claims a curious connection with Xavier and who teaches Xavier the importance of safeguarding children from a shared dream forced upon all humans called The Interface.

The Unfathomable Case of Edson Anders

In an age of heightened security, Ila Tern, an analyst of Oversite Corp specializing in encryption sabotage, must seek out a man by the name of Edson Anders who appears to be using the nation’s neural network to fashion duplicate identities everywhere. Called the ‘Quantum Man’, Anders appears and disappears as if at will, although the challenges of the case do little to discourage Ila who wants to understand. Although Anders first eludes her, he agrees to share his secrets, inviting her into the deadzones that even  Oversite has overlooked to reveal how reality isn’t what she assumed it to be.

Alone

In an interplanetary mining colony run by synthetic human beings, a woman earns a one way trip into space for defiantly giving birth to five children. As she hurtles through space, trapped in a cramped device, she encounters a strange being who claims to be one of her children; although she remembered her children being killed. Transported to a forest that resembles a holograph she loved as a girl, she confronts all six of the children she never knew, only to learn that they aren’t her children, and perhaps not even human at all. The truth turns on the nature of dark matter itself, which may provide insight into the nature of consciousness itself.

The Zawadi

For years, Roan has fought on the losing side of a class-riven island settlement ruled by the Imani, on a planet almost entirely covered by water. The arrival of the Zawadi, believed to be a curse on Eran, puts pressure on Roan and his fellow revolutionaries to give up on revolution to fight an even greater threat. Although Roan refuses to negotiate with the Imani, he agrees to kill the Zawadi who sits atop the holiest of holies, a stone pyramid called the Ikon. As a practitioner of the Sight, the Zawadi can appear and reappear at will, making him extremely difficult to kill. But the Zawadi has been expecting Roan and reveals the truth of a larger world beyond the confines of the city walls. There’s a way out, but it’s not what Roan expects.

Babylon Falls

Oshua Jayzo has lived many lives, remade every fifty years to perform the same functions for the Corporation running a diminished-capacity mining colony. As he grows weary of the tedium of permanency, Oshua decides to forego the usual protections designed to minimize the noise of accumulated thought, a phenomenon local to the mining colony planet Hypnos. But when he communicates with a former incarnation of himself, he soon realizes he has unfinished business to address. He’d once been called upon to protect the mining colony from an imminent disaster the Corporation has chosen to keep secret. However, it takes the unexpected appearance of a woman he once loved in a previous incarnation to remind him that all time is one on Hypnos and that the future has as much influence over the past as the past has over the future.

Jova

“Jova” introduces us to an ill-fated colony on a distant world once linked to ours through a portal, lost for hundreds of years. When an inhabitant of this world by the name of Raz hears voices, she’s drawn to the Eyestone that inspires the religion used to manipulate the populace with empty promises of a return to the home world. It’s a maze designed to keep secret the artificial intelligence protecting the location of the Portal. That artificial intelligence, called Jova, welcomes Raz, sharing his knowledge of a Portal that may bring her into contact with the colony founder who imprisoned Jova and kept the Portal a secret.

Second Skin

“Second Skin” tells the story of a soldier by the name of Navin who awakes to discover curious physiological enhancements. He lives as a virtual android until a mysterious woman explains that there’s a way to rehumanize himself, with full consciousness. Only by attempting to destroy the server controlling all enhanced humans does he realize he’s almost entirely a machine and that he’ll never be human again; however, by attempting to repress full consciousness, the authorities have unleashed abilities Navin never thought he had.

It looked like his skin but it didn’t belong to him; that or he no longer recognized himself.

His hands no longer felt like his hands. And his feet felt like he couldn’t move them. He suspected he was encased in some kind of suit, but it was the usual body armor and visor. Yet he couldn’t shake the suspicion that his limbs were encased in film, giving off a sheen he’d never noticed before and rendering movement impossible.

 

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God’s Window & Other Stories (2014):

Sci-fi stories about surviving a rapidly changing future including:

God’s Window

Entitled “God’s Window,” the story introduces us to a cynical and disappointed man who wins a excursion into space to experience God’s window, a mysterious hole in space that allegedly offers an unparalleled perspective on existence. Believing the trip to be little more than a corporate publicity stunt, he expects nothing, only to discover far more than he ever bargained for.

With a breath of life, Daniel wished life into existence: fish in the ocean, reptiles and mammals on land, and birds in the air. Time was of no consequence because all time was one: one day the equal of billions.

The Shareholder

“Shareholder” introduces us to a woman whose significant stake in a company her father helped shape becomes jeopardized by the unwholesome direction the company has taken. Products designed to feed a world on the brink of overpopulation have been used to hold the world hostage, and self-growers are slaughtered as if they were enemy combatants. Only through an unlikely allegiance with a known terrorist can the shareholder attempt to right the wrongs.

Kill Switch

Entitled “Kill Switch,” the story takes place in a not-so-distant future that seems idyllic at first, humans enjoying a life of ease as robots perform most of the work. An advanced android with human intelligence believes he lives the perfect existence as a field hand, until a new android arrival gives him reason to mistrust their owners. Only fear of the kill switch on the back of his neck keeps him from asserting their independence as equals. When his android companion cuts off her kill switch, they uncover dark secrets about their existence they never expected.

It didn’t matter that Kyle was an android. He was happy.

His purpose was to please his owners, and he’d done so admirably. Their happiness was his happiness. What happiness could he know but theirs?

Fortunate Few (featured story)

When a global contagion reaches a small town, a girl has one chance to live, but it means stealing an antidote, reserved only for the influential and wealthy. Her theft doesn’t go undetected, but the contagion claims all lives but hers, leaving her in the care of a stranger with a mysterious immunity to the disease.

A Plan for Everyone

Entitled “Plan for Everyone,” the story introduces us to two geologists for hire surveying former national parks now owned by corporate developers. But a routine excursion takes a peculiar turn when they’re overcome by unseen assailants, waking to realize that their minds are no longer their own. Their thoughts have become food for mysterious visitors with an appetite for the collective human consciousness.

The Good Animal

“Good Animal” introduces us to a future when unpaid debt justifies enslavement. One young man’s quest for answers beings him closer to the daughter of the debt holder who owned him since his parents disappeared. When an offer of help changes his prospects, the unlikely possibility of escaping servitude is enough reason to attempt the impossible.

No Place Like Home

“No Place Like Home” tells the story of an elderly man who lives a sheltered existence in a room that provides for all his comforts, diversions and sustenance. The perfect life comes to an abrupt end when the room begins to collapse, revealing a series of similar rooms contained in an abandoned holding facility. The remaining residents have been left to fend for themselves. But realizing it may have been a prison for political dissidents doesn’t make it any easier to give up on known comforts.

The Shareholder

“Shareholder” introduces us to a woman whose significant stake in a company her father helped shape becomes jeopardized by the unwholesome direction the company has taken. Products designed to feed a world on the brink of overpopulation have been used to hold the world hostage, and self-growers are slaughtered as if they were enemy combatants. Only through an unlikely allegiance with a known terrorist can the shareholder attempt to right the wrongs.

The Elect

“Elect” tells the story of an undergraduate student offered membership in the same secret organization that once claimed her father as a member. Her membership requires a death, that of the only professor who questioned her talents and abilities. But when her silence is taken for consent, she can do nothing to prevent the inevitable murder. Learning that what she knew of her father was a lie, she realizes that only the truth might keep her one step ahead of the elites who believe she belongs to them.

Becoming

“Becoming” is the story of man who’s fallen in love with an otherworldly visitor by the name of Echo, one of many visitors hauled off to camps after being accused of mind control. The man braves the hysteria to seek out the being who once showed him the potential of human possibility. But he soon suspects that only in death can he and Echo achieve the mind-altering union she’d so often promised him.

Kill Switch

Entitled “Kill Switch,” the story takes place in a not-so-distant future that seems idyllic at first, humans enjoying a life of ease as robots perform most of the work. An advanced android with human intelligence believes he lives the perfect existence as a field hand, until a new android arrival gives him reason to mistrust their owners. Only fear of the kill switch on the back of his neck keeps him from asserting their independence as equals. When his android companion cuts off her kill switch, they uncover dark secrets about their existence they never expected.

 

 

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