- File Size: 1101 KB
- Print Length: 165 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1484088611
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Zelmer Pulp; 1 edition (March 17, 2013)
- Publication Date: March 17, 2013
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00BW6KWHC
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,511,929 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Hey, That Robot Ate My Baby Volume 1 Kindle Edition
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In Chuck Regan's "Timejacked: The Rand Paradox," a time travelling celebrity from 2347 goes back to 1955 New York to punch the crap out of Ayn Rand. And he learns what happens when the barriers of time are violated: there are dire and painful consequences. Very cleverly written and perfectly paced.
In "Wherever the Light Ends" by Ryan Sayles, twin girls are abducted from the circus and introduced to the unfathomable. Sayles presents the landscape of nightmares in such vivid detail, it's impossible not to feel weightless and breathless. A truly fantastic Sci-Fi horror.
"Geek Squad 2.0" by Brian Panowich brings the hard-hitting psycho violence. Led by a narcissistic evil genius, a team of super-geeks develop and deploy a dark and technologically brilliant scheme that turns deadly. A startling look at what happens when a bullied kid gets his chance to play God.
From Isaac Kirkman, "This Protean Love." A beautiful, tragic tale of love, division, and loss in the hyper-technology saturated future. Brilliant, poignant, thoughtful and painful, Kirkman's words strike a chord deep within the soul and resonate in rich, prolonged tones.
And finally, "The Whores of God" by Chris Leek is a biting comedic tale of a crooked man on the run from a crooked world of corrupt condom magnates. A pleasure cruise to Mars, his intended hideout, turns into and explosion of moral zealotry and carnage. Witty, imaginative and wildly hilarious!
"Venn Corpuscle stopped the sacking of Rome by setting up a hot dog stand in the path of the Visigoths. That timeline resulted in unsustainable overpopulation of the planet by the adjusted year 1430.Distracting John Wilkes Booth with a strategically placed showgirl stopped the assassination of President Lincoln, resulting in a cascade that led to a global nuclear cataclysm in 1963. A focused application of pesticides to the flea population of a tiny region in China allowed the Mongolian Empire to conquer all of Europe and Africa. With no Bubonic Plague to follow their exploits, there was no Dark Age, and global trade flourished with the Pequot (Native American) Empire in the 15th Century."
I won't spoil the ending, but the time travel doesn't entirely work out to Byzantine's benefit, and the story ends with a humorous volte face involving Kung-Fu, hidden codes and the thorny problems posed by messing with time.
The next story is Ryan Sayles' "Wherever the light ends"; a darker tale of alien abduction that recalls the best of 90's conspiracy-fuelled paranoia. It reminded me of the finest moments of the X-Files, and opens with the autopsy of two elderly women, twins, and the discovery of something definitely "alien" about them. Sayles creates an unsettling atmosphere and his pared down descriptive prose really works well when describing the bizarre, Das unheimliche, the plain old weird. It is almost impossible to describe Sayles' story without ruining it with spoilers. The structure is cleverly worked out, dashing back and forth from the present day, the autopsy and it's revelations, the twin's home and their note with its plain, unsettling instruction "Whatever you find, please leave it inside us", to 1947, a date all amateur ufologists will recognise, and the abduction of an entire Bradbury-esque carnival. These sections really linger in the imagination, a sneaker floating through the interior of an alien craft "plated in a swirling mix of dry bone and clammy metal.' The prose breaks into a kind of "Morse code", a breakdown of sensation as the girl's struggle to communicate the experience;
"Fade in to white. Laying on a hard surface. Nailed down. No ties. Nails. Things always out of focus hovering above. Poking at the right side of their chests. A knife is a knife anywhere in the world. A knife is a knife anywhere in the universe. And they had one."
Eventually the two timelines lead to an explosive finale, you truly don't see coming. Sayles has created a powerful and inventive story.
Brian Panowich's "Geek squad 2.0" is an innovative, thrilling tale of hackers tapping into the human psyche and controlling others in the near future. Being human, of course, the hackers' activities soon veer towards violence. It is written with a furiously exact prose that works best when describing the loss and violence Panowich (Whose "Spinetingler" nomination was well deserved) captures so well:
"Here's to swimmin' with bowlegged women," he said out loud, in a voice that didn't sound like his own. He poured two fingers of whisky into the glass beside the bottle, and tossed it back. Before the burn in his throat could subside he shoved the barrel of the .44 under his chin, closed his eyes and thought no more of the beautiful woman that broke his world."
It's a hard-hitting, beautiful/cool tale that works brilliantly in highlighting the human flaws behind the genius of technology.
Chris Leek is a writer whose work I always anticipate with great expectations and his contribution to the anthology does not disappoint. "The whores of God" is in every way as provocative and as unashamed as its title. It starts with a rumble, as Jensen Corduroy (what a name! Leek is always great at giving the people in his stories memorable names) defends himself from "Condom king" Walter Napkin's murderous assault. This is gritty, blue-collar space travail, this is the grease-stained engine room of the "Nostromo"; Space as the Wild West, with all its cynically deceitful preachers, hookers, and Earthling passions and hates. Leek has written a bawdy, ironic tale that pays homage to the pulp science fiction of the golden age; it's the Starship Enterprise as Grindhouse, and all the better for it. Leek reminds us that, whatever the future brings, we'll still be the same down n' dirty species, looking for a quick buck, a smoke, a pretty face, and ready to smash hell out of those wanting to smash hell out of us...preferably with a bust of President Joe Clifford.
Which only leaves Isaac Kirkman's "This Protean Love", a story whose exquisiteness and profundity is almost indescribable; a story permeated with sadness and hope and Magic (in the literal sense) and one I will read again and again in the knowledge I will never exhaust it's wisdom, its insight and moments of startling beauty. I have read a great deal of Isaac's work, particularly his crime stories, and have always admired their craft and poetry and, for want of a better word, their gravity. This is the first thing of his I've read, however, (without wishing to cast those prior works into some kind of second class) that I don't hesitate to call genius. It's an inspired tale to which no synopsis can do justice, a journey into the Tierras Oscuras of the soul, examining what it is to be human, to face loss, division, questioning the nature of love and the higher order of spirits. It is certainly in the world class of Science Fiction, and I hope the author pursues the genre. The world would be richer for it.
Everything in the story carries meaning, captured by Kirkman's rhythmic narrative voice that often hits poetry:
"As the night sky glaciered and the stars burst across the sky in a blizzard of light Adelita began to slump down onto Silence's mane. She felt her limbs growing heavy, leaden, and her brain like a kaleidoscope of wilting flowers dissolving into smoke. Her veins iced roots. She knew a secluded cave barricaded inside a hidden alcove was near, and Adelita thought, I'll just rest for a bit. She had stayed way longer with the couple than she should have. Allowed herself to be vulnerable. To drop her guard. She slipped off of Silence, and moving slowly as snowfall she led her into the cave. She drifted over to a spot behind a rock wall, and lay down concealed. And for the first time in months she slept without dreams."
This is writing as a 21st Century Pilgrim's Progress, an allegory of the soul's journey through a culture suffocating with technology. The very best of Sci-Fi seeks to define the nature of the universe and the human being, the nature and purpose of existence and Kirkman's story does exactly that, with the subtlety and insight of a master. It's a story I'll treasure. HIGHLY recommended.