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Greener Grass, a science fiction short story [Kindle Edition]

Michael J. Sullivan
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $0.99

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Book Description

Two Short Stories and Two Samples
  • Greener Grass (science fiction short)
  • The Viscount and the Witch (Riyria Chronicle short)
  • Chapter one of Theft of Swords (Riyria Revelations)
  • Chapter one of The Crown Tower (Riyria Chronicles)
Greener Grass (5,600 words short story)
Confronted with suffering a painful death from cancer, Dan Sturges, a retired Ford's engineer, foregoes treatments to try an idea of his own. After reading a theoretical article in Scientific American on time displacement, Dan builds a time machine in his garage. With nothing to lose but a few months of pain, Dan pins his hopes on a future where cancer might have been cured, or at least a quicker death by electrocution. How could he have known that what happens after he presses the button is more shocking than the eighteen car batteries he connected himself to?

The Viscount and the Witch (5,400 words short story)
Eleven years before they were framed for the murder of a king, before even assuming the title of Riyria, Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater were practically strangers. Unlikely associates, this cynical thief and idealist swordsman, were just learning how to work together as a team, and discovering which philosophy is the best to follow.

Theft of Swords (Riyria Revelations Sample Chapter)
There's no ancient evil to defeat or orphan destined for greatness, just two guys in the wrong place at the wrong time. Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, are running for their lives when they're framed for the death of the king. Trapped in a conspiracy that goes beyond the overthrow of a tiny kingdom, their only hope is unraveling an ancient mystery before it's too late.

The Crown Tower (Riyria Chronicles Sample Chapter)
A warrior with nothing to fight for is paired with a thieving assassin with nothing to lose. Together they must steal a treasure that no one can reach. The Crown Tower is the impregnable remains of the grandest fortress ever built and home to the realm's most valuable possessions. But it isn't gold or jewels the old wizard is after, and this prize can only be obtained by the combined talents of two remarkable men. Now if Arcadias can just keep Hadrian and Royce from killing each other, they just might succeed.

Editorial Reviews


"This is a science fiction short story, a very different animal from the author's usual epic fantasy. It has all his trademark humour, fortunately (I love a book which makes me laugh), and is satisfyingly sharp and snappy, with a neat twist at the end, as required by all self-respecting short stories. It's also deeply thought-provoking and unsettling" -- Pauline's Fantasy Reviews

"With this expertly written and deeply thought-provoking short story, Michael Sullivan proves that he's not just a one hit wonder." -- Amazon Reviewer, Drazulfel (Central Florida)

"This thought-provoking story quickly, but effectively, crosses the boundaries of both a utopian and dystopian future and leaves you wondering, among other things, "how did we get here?" -- Amazon Reviewer, Chad M. Taylor (Boston)

From the Author

Thank you for your interest in my short story and samples. If you are unfamiliar with my writing this is a good place to start.  As I write this I have three major projects.
  • The Riyria Revelations - a six book fantasy series which is complete and was released first through self-publishing (April 2009 - Oct 2010) and later re-released by Orbit (as a three book set containing two books in each volume). I've included the first part of the first chapter from it. For those new to my work, this is a good place to start to become familiar with my writing.
  • The Riyria Chronicles - a prequel series to the Revelations which will be released by Orbit starting in August 2013 (The Crown Tower) followed by The Rose and the Thorn in  September 2013.  This compilation contains both a complete short story, The Viscount and the Witch, as well as the first chapter as a sample.
  • Hollow World - a science fiction novel which was inspired by the short story here: Greener Grass. The two works are actually quite different (the main characters are not the same) but the world, and how it got that way is explored in greater detail in the larger work.
I hope you enjoy this sampling of my work.  My intention is to always have a "low priced" piece that people can buy to "try before you buy" and as such I've priced this at the lowest allowable by the venues which is $0.99.  My hope, of course, is that you find this "taste" pleasing enough to buy one of my full length works. But even if you don't, I hope you enjoyed your time with these pieces.

Product Details

  • File Size: 161 KB
  • Print Length: 61 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Ridan Publishing (October 11, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008D272PI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #450,499 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Omg, a new MJS book. Instant-buy!

I'll admit, I was utterly ecstatic and yet absolutely terrified to read this story. The Riyria Revelations is easily one of my favorite story of all time, so I was excited yet cautious of what Michael could craft. My fears have temporarily been put to rest, even more so because this is a short story, which Michael has mentioned before is a completely different craft than writing a novel, and even more so compared to an epic novel. Luckily, this short story is brilliant.

In the beginning of the story, I quickly made judgments/assumptions on several things, such as: "I wonder if Michael believes in X", or "hmm, maybe Michael is trying to say that...." I kept reading it, and then I actually started changing my mind and thinking that maybe he believed the opposite things. And then even quicker I decided "stop trying to figure out if there's a message in the story!"

When I finally got to the end, I thought back to my earlier assumptions, and it was only then that I realized how brilliant the writing was. Michael managed to tell a story that will affect people in possibly polarizing manners. I can see how some people would think that this was a gleeful vision of the future (like me), while others would think it was a shocking hell.

I'm so glad it's not a fantasy story too, as I was really itching to see how Michael would do outside of the genre. Man, today is such a great day!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Things that make you go "hmmmm." June 25, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Remember 1990? You just watched Total Recall (starring Ah-nold when he was still a lecherous, body-building movie star, before he became a lecherous, flabby politician). As you walked out of the theater, the conversation began... "Was all that real, or just part of his dream?" "Did any of the events of the past two hours actually happen?" "Was that a happy ending, or not? I mean, he shot his wife in the head, and the chick he ended up with isn't as hot as Sharon Stone." These and other penetrating questions boggled your mind for weeks... until the movie came out on VHS and you could watch it over and over again, searching for any telling details that you may have missed the first dozen times.

That's the kind of feeling I'm left with after reading Greener Grass. Twice. With this expertly written and deeply thought-provoking short story, Michael Sullivan proves that he's not just a one hit wonder. Well, technically, six hits. Okay, three if we're talking about the Orbit releases. But, I digress, and might risk a "NO" when asked "Was this review helpful to you?" if I don't stay on target.

Bottom line, this is a very entertaining and imaginative "post apocalyptic" short story. I put that term in quotes because it may be questionable to some whether an apocalypse ever actually occurred. And, I say "to some" because, without taking a clear stance on any of them, Mr. Sullivan casts at least 42 present-day hot button social issues into the mix, and leaves it to the reader to sort it all out. This story doesn't so much make a statement as it does ask a question. Several, in fact. Was the ending tragic, or triumphant? Did ultimate good win in the end, or ultimate evil? Greener Grass is a great discussion piece, and shouldn't be read alone.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected delight! June 27, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I sure didn't expect to be able to enjoy anything new from Michael Sullivan so soon! He paints a very colorful picture of the future. I love reading this author's works because he clearly defines characters, places, and events and makes them believable. He writes humorously, I love the reference to Charlton Heston and "The Omega Man," one of my favorite movies of all time. I favor fantasy novels mostly, but this science fiction piece works for me, I could read more. I don't think there is anything he can't write about.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
"Greener Grass", is a science fiction short story by author Michael J. Sullivan. This Kindle e-book was a 113 Kb download (approx. 26 printed pages) and sell for $1.57 (strange price?) at the time of writing this review.


Dan Sturges' time is quickly running out... he's dying of pancreatic cancer. Having the technology, he builds a crude time machine and travels nearly 2000 years into the future in hopes that a cure has been found.
Of course Earth has changed over that length of time... some of it for the better, some not.

<end spoilers>

Some thoughts on "Greener Grass"...

1.) a quick read from an author who I usually associate with some of my favorite fantasy writing.

2.) although well written I found I really didn't enjoy this tale like I have with MJS's other works. The 'new' world, although not hostile, has a definitive 'sterile' feel to it and it doesn't take long for our hero to realize he's made a big mistake coming here.

3.) and unsettling, somewhat disturbing ending.

4.) cover art... loud and abrasive colors... truly reflecting the attitude of the world into which Dan has arrived.

I'm really glad MJS doesn't write sci-fi as his genre of choice... at least this type of sci-fi.
I was very glad this piece was as short as it was... don't think I could have read too much more of this tale if it had been a full length novel.

A well written story and although I do enjoy sci-fi works, this was simply not the the type of tale I'd ever read by choice.

As it is... 3 1/2 Stars.

Ray Nicholson
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good short story
good, good and realy entertaining. It invites to reflection and leaves you wanting more. Big kudos for Mr. Sullivan. Please don't stop your creative imagination and sharing. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Guadalupe Reed
2.0 out of 5 stars Simplistic
It reads simplistic and shallow, with little depth or background. The pitch appears to be more propaganda than story.
However it was probably value for money.
Published 9 months ago by Heather Mason
5.0 out of 5 stars great short story
The story is an award winner. Great concept, realistic plot, fast pacing, sort of a Zager and Evans (in the year 2525 song ~1970) kinda story. Read more
Published 11 months ago by firefly52
5.0 out of 5 stars A surprise at the end
This was very different from his other books that I have read. It certainly was not what I expected. It is well written, as his books always are. Read more
Published 14 months ago by N. Hall
5.0 out of 5 stars couldn't put it down
This was a very clever tale that I thoroughly enjoyed. If you like apocolyptic style sci-fi I would recommend this story to you.
Published 20 months ago by renunciate
5.0 out of 5 stars Time-travel made believable. Clever and entertaining throughout
I had never read or even heard of Michael J. Sullivan before today. The first short story in this eBook took me one thrilling, fun-filled sitting to read. Read more
Published 21 months ago by John Boyd
1.0 out of 5 stars Total disappointment
I have read most of Sullivan's writing but was completely let down by this one. Too short with lack of world building.
Published 22 months ago by JG
3.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Sullivan's first attempt at sci-fi
A dystopia where people teleport, travel in time, live in the ground, genders don't exist, colors are boosted. Read more
Published 22 months ago by maianhvk
2.0 out of 5 stars Strong liberal viewpoint and heavy attack of conservative and...
The story paints conservative ideas as evil and also quite sterotypical. While the liberal viewpoint is painted in brillant colors. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Scott Adams
4.0 out of 5 stars A Thought Provoker For Our Times
Just a little short story with time travel. I am big fan of time travel especially in regards to possibilities politically in the future. Read more
Published on August 20, 2012 by Lincoln Dewey
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More About the Author

After finding a manual typewriter in the basement of a friend's house, Michael J. Sullivan inserted a blank piece of paper and typed: It was a dark and stormy night. He was just eight years old at the time and mimicking Snoopy so we'll forgive the use of that overused opening. But the desire to fill the blank page and see what doors the typewriter keys would unlock wouldn't let him go. For ten years Michael developed his craft by studying authors such as Stephen King, Ernest Hemingway, and John Steinbeck. During that time he wrote thirteen novels, and after finding no traction in publishing, he quit and vowed never to write creatively again.

Michael discovered that never is a very long time and ended his writing hiatus a decade later but with a condition: he wouldn't seek publication (as doing so was just too painful). Instead, he decided to write books he wanted to read and developed a fantasy series to for his then thirteen-year-old daughter, who was struggling in school due to dyslexia. After reading the third book, his wife insisted the series needed to "get out there." After Michael refused to jump back on the query-go-round, she took over the publication tasks.

Michael is one of the few authors who has successfully published through all three routes: small press, self, and big five, and he helps aspiring authors help determine the path that is best for them through is posts on publishing for Amazing Stories. Some key accomplishments of his career include:

* Named to io9's Most Successful Self-Published Sci-Fi and Fantasy authors
* Selling more than half a million copies
* Being translated to fifteen foreign languages
* Spending more than a year on Amazon's Bestselling Fantasy Author's list
* Having his books named to more than 90 "best of" or "most anticipated" lists including those compiled by Library Journal, Barnes and Noble,, and

Today, Michael continues to fill blank pages and is working on completing the final book in his third series tentatively titled The First Empire (traditional fantasy). His first science fiction novel, Hollow World was released by Tachyon Publications in April 2014.

* Riyria Blog:
* Hollow World Blog:
* First Empire Series Blog:
* Twitter: @author_sullivan
* Riyria Facebook:
* Author Facebook:


* Theft of Swords: contains The Crown Conspiracy & Avempartha
* Rise of Empire: contains Nyphron Rising & The Emerald Storm
* Heir of Novron: contains Wintertide & Percepliquis

* The Crown Tower
* The Rose and the Thorn
* Blood of Thieves (Omnibus that contains The Crown Tower and The Rose and the Thorn)

THE FIRST EMPIRE (release date to be determined)
* Rhune
* Fhrey
* Dherg

* Hollow World (time-travel science fiction)
* Antithesis: release date to be determined (contemporary fantasy)
* Burden to the Earth: release date to b determined (literary fiction)

* The Crown Conspiracy
* Avempartha
* Nyphron Rising
* The Emerald Storm
* Wintertide
* Percepliquis

* The Viscount: A Riyria Short
* The Jester: A Riyria Short
* The Thieves: A Riyria Short (coming soon)
* Greener Grass (time-travel science fiction)
* Traditions: (traditional fantasy, coming soon)
* God's Game: (contemporary fantasy, coming soon)
* Burning Alexandria: (dystopian science fiction, coming soon)
* Autumn's Mist (contempoary fantasy, coming soon)

* Unfettered
* Triumph Over Tragedy
* The End - Visions of Apocalypse

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