Stories

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catseye_final-72dpi“The Cats of Nerio-3.” Space outpost Nerio-3 was abandoned fifty years ago after a cosmic ray storm killed all occupants, other than some cats and mice. Now the outpost’s owners have hired Lani Koamalu and PAIGE-8 to reclaim the station. Lani is human, and Paige is an artificially intelligent super-computer who far exceeds people in intelligence…and arrogance. When Paige sends her drones into the outpost and discovers what the mice and cats have been up to, it’s time to find out if humans are so inferior after all. The anthology is available here, here, and here.

 

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“After the Martians.” In 1901 the Martians attacked Earth, but tiny bacteria vanquished them. Their advanced weaponry lay everywhere—giant three-legged fighting machines, heat rays, and poison gas. Now, in 1917, The Great War rages across Europe but each side uses Martian technology. Join Corporal Johnny Branch, a young man from Wyoming, as he pursues his dream to fight for America. Follow magazine photographer Frank Robinson while he roams the front lines, hoping to snap a photo conveying true American valor. Perhaps they’ll discover, as the Martians did before them, that little things can change the world. The story came in 3rd out of 39 science fiction short story entries in the Preditors & Editors Readers Poll for 2016. The book is available here and here.

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00001]“Ancient Spin.” In the city of Shinar, the Tower of Babel has just collapsed, killing hundreds. The structure’s designer, Eullil, is responsible, but he might know a way for history to record this tragedy differently. The story appears in the anthology Hides the Dark Tower, which is available here.

 

 

RippersRing72dpitop10shortstoryh“Ripper’s Ring.” In the East End slums of London in 1888, a carriage-man named Horace Grott takes a ring from a corpse. Not just any ring, it’s the one Plato wrote about, the legendary Ring of Gyges, which makes its wearer vanish. With this power of invisibility, Horace steals food, lives in mansions…and commits murder. Within Scotland Yard, Detective Wellington Bentbow works to solve a mystery only he can decipher, reaching conclusions nobody else would believe. Learn why the crimes of Jack the Ripper have never been solved, and ask yourself whether you could resist the awesome and ghastly temptations of Plato’s Ring of Gyges…Ripper’s Ring. The story came in 4th out of 17 horror short story entries in the  2015 Preditors and Editors Poll.   It’s is available here, here, here, here, and here.

AvastYeAirships (4)“A Clouded Affair.”  William Starling, last of the steampunk air pirates, leads an aging gang aboard his steam ornithopter. They’ve abandoned Europe for the greater promise of American aerial loot. Last to join his gang was young Nell Remige, a female adventure-seeker. If William isn’t careful, he’ll encounter Crank Deco and his Chicago-based gang who fly a modern, diesel-engine biplane. That could bring on a steampunk vs. dieselpunk contest in the air, the last thing William needs. As for Nell, if she and William somehow make it out of this alive, what does she really want?  This story was published in the anthology Avast, Ye Airships!, and is available here, here, and here.

 

TimesDeformedHand72dpi(1)top10shortstory“Time’s Deformèd Hand.”  It’s 1600 in an alternate Switzerland, a world where Da Vinci’s mechanical automatons and human-powered flight almost work, thanks to magic trees. Long-separated twins, Georg the reluctant groom and Georg the clock thief, roam the clocklike village of Spätbourg, beset by more time and date errors than you can shake an hour hand at. Will Georg get married after all, and repair the town’s central tower clock? Will Georg—the other one—purloin more timepieces, or give up his pilfering ways? Will William Shakespeare lend a hand, and some iambic pentameter poetry, to reset the cogs and gears of this zany comedy? Only time will tell…or maybe not, in this ultimate clockpunk tale of mistaken identity and temporal mix-ups.  The book is available here, here, here, and here. The story tied for 3rd of 25 in the Other Short Story category of the 2014 Preditors and Editors Poll.

 

TheCometeers72dpitop10shortstorysteam“The Cometeers.”  A huge comet speeds toward a devastating collision with the Earth, but no one will launch space shuttles filled with nuclear weapons. It’s 1897. Instead they’ll fire projectiles from the Jules Verne cannon and try to deflect the comet with a gunpowder explosion. Commander Hanno Knighthead isn’t sure he can motivate his argumentative, multinational crew of geniuses to work together. It turns out one of them is a saboteur. Then things get worse. Only a truly extraordinary leader could get this group to cooperate, thwart the saboteur, and jury-rig a way to divert the comet. Lucky thing Hanno brought his chewing gum.  The book is available here, here, here, and here.  The story was voted 3rd of 8 in the Steampunk Short Story category of the 2014 Preditors and Editors Poll.

 

ToBeFirstWheels3f“To Be First” and “Wheels of Heaven.”  Two intriguing historical tales packaged together! “To Be First” follows two space voyagers from an alternate universe as they return from the moon, in 1933. In their timeline, manned rocketry began in the Ottoman Empire, which advanced and spread. When these Ottoman lunanauts end up orbiting our comparatively backward world, they have a choice to make, one that will forever change their future and ours. In “Wheels of Heaven,” an arrogant Roman astrologer finds a geared Grecian machine for predicting the positions of celestial bodies. On the voyage back to Rome, he meets a sailor who dismisses astrology, an astonishing notion in 86 B.C. But when the sailor’s prediction is right, and every one of the astrologers is wrong, he must question his most basic beliefs.  The book is available here, here, and here.

 

RallyingCry72dpi“Rallying Cry” and “Last Vessel of Atlantis.”  Two adventure stories packaged together! In “Rallying Cry,” an aimless youth meets two old geezers who spin bizarre war stories. They tell of a secret World War I regiment in France with ship-sized helicopters and mechanized walking tanks. Just as an inspiring shout can move soldiers to action, perhaps all Kane really needs to turn his life around is a rallying cry. In “Last Vessel of Atlantis,” a ship captain and his crew of explorers return to find Atlantis gone. While facing violent savages, braving fierce storms, and solving internal disputes, they must somehow ensure their advanced Atlantean civilization is not lost forever.  The book is available here, here, here, and here. 

 

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top10shortstorysf“A Tale More True.”  Baron Münchhausen has been known to stretch the truth a bit, then tie it in knots, toss it on the floor, and stomp on it.  But to prove him wrong, is it really necessary for Count Federmann to construct a gigantic clockwork spring and launch himself to the Moon?  If the Count should do so, and if he should drag his trustworthy servant along, perhaps he’ll learn enough to tell…a tale more true.  The story is available here and here.  The story placed 4th among Science Fiction short stories in the Predators and Editors Readers Poll of 2013.

 

top10shortstorysteam-SixHundredDollarMancoffeethoughts(1)ReviewedAtCTR“The Six Hundred Dollar Man.”  Sonny Houston, cowpoke.  A man barely alive.  “I can rebuild him, make him the first steam-powered man.  A darn sight better than before. Better, faster, and a heap stronger, too. I’ve got the know-how.”  A century before any bionic man, a doctor in the Wyoming Territory attached steam powered legs and an arm to a man trampled in a stampede.  Get ready, Pardner, for a rip-roarin’ steampunk adventure!  The story is available here.  The story placed 2nd in the category of steampunk short stories in the Predators and Editors Readers Poll of 2012, and got a favorable review here.

 

Reviewed At CTR“A Steampunk Carol.”  That stuffy Victorian inventor, Stanton Wardgrave, is back again, eight years after inventing holograms and meeting the American Josephine Boulton.  Married now, with a son and daughter, he’s dealing with rather too much balderdash and poppycock this Christmas Eve.  Conversing with his dead father?  Expecting three visitors?  It all seems so very Dickensian.  But he knows he’s not at all like that Ebenezer Scrooge fellow…is he?  What, this story asks, would Christmas be without a bit of steampunk in it?  The story is available here and it received a favorable review here.

 

top10shortstoryr-AgainstAllGods“Against All Gods.” In ancient Athens, trireme commander Theron and the woman he loves, Galene, have each earned the wrath of jealous gods. To marry Galene, Theron must voyage to all seven Wonders of the World. At every stage the immortal gods test their love with all the power and magic at their command. While Galene suffers anguishing torment in Athens, Theron faces overwhelming challenges at sea.  Theron and Galene may be devoted to each other, but it’s doubtful whether mere mortal love can survive…against all gods. The story is available here.  This story placed 4th in the category of short story romance in the Predators and Editors Readers Poll of 2012. 

 

“Leonardo’s Lion.”  In 1515, Leonardo da Vinci built a mechanical lion to entertain the King of France and his guests. Until now, no one knows what happened to this amazing clockwork creation. Over half a century later, when a ten year old boy discovers the lion in a royal storeroom, young Chev doesn’t know he will soon embark on a strange and dangerous mission. His quest will lead him many leagues through a French countryside devastated by religious war in search of Leonardo’s greatest secrets of all, hidden mysteries that could affect the future of all humanity.  The story is available here.

 

“Bringing the Future to You.”  Something’s gone very wrong at Keuka Laboratories, something that will soon destroy a sizable chunk of Earth.  Dr. Edison Thornwhipple, a genius in science and a failure in love, must prevent the disaster using whatever is at hand.  So it has been foretold.  His problem is, none of the inventions at the lab actually work.  This story was published in the anthology Cheer Up, Universe! and is available at Whortleberry Press.

 

“A Sea-Fairy Tale.”  When their sailboat capsizes in a storm, a man and his daughter encounter an Oceanid, one of the sea-fairy offspring of the Titans.  To save his child, the man must make a difficult change–his whole life.  This story was published in The New Fairy Tales Anthology by the Aurora Wolf Literary Journal.  It is available here and here.

 

“Alexander’s Odyssey.”  Alexander the Great might well be on his way to conquering the world, but when he decides to explore underwater in a glass-windowed wooden barrel, he enrages Poseidon. The other gods may debate Alexander’s fate and make their deals on Olympus but the ocean deity is determined to frighten the young King out of the watery realm. Will Poseidon defeat Alexander and prevent future deep-sea exploration by mortals, or can a single clever Macedonian outwit a god?  This story was republished in a longer form by Gypsy Shadow Publishing and is also available here.

 

“Seasteadia.”  People within a mysterious undersea base are claiming ownership of a region of ocean, and defending their claim by force.  As the land nations of the world react, two young lovers may become separated by the conflict forever.  This story was published in the anthology Aurora of the Sun by the Aurora Wolf Literary Journal, and is available here.  If you use the purchase code 9RWWE4QP, you get a $2 discount.

 

“Within Victorian Mists.”  If the fog of time had lifted a little differently on the 19th century, and you could mix a hauty Englishman tinkerer, a plucky American steam engine repair-woman, laser holograms, brass goggles, giant dirigibles, and ornithopters, you might just get one madcap steampunk romance.  This story is available for purchase at Gypsy Shadow Publishing and Amazon.

 

“The Wind-Sphere Ship.”  Heron of Alexandria invented the steam engine in the 1st Century, A.D.  With a little persuasion from a friend, he could have used this engine to propel a ship.  If his steam-ship could beat a man-rowed galley, could Heron make the Industrial Revolution happen 1700 years early?  Let the race begin!  This story earned an Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future contest.  This story is available for purchase at Gypsy Shadow Publishing and in Kindle format on Amazon.

 

“The Steam Elephant.”  Jules Verne’s heroes of his two-book set of the Steam House series are back, this time taking their steam-powered mechanical elephant on an African safari.  Drawn into the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879, will they teach the savage Zulus a lesson, or will it be the other way around?  This story was a Quarter-finalist in the Writers of the Future contest for the 3rd quarter of 2006.  This story was published in Issue 5 of Steampunk Tales, available for purchase here and here.

 

“The Vessel.”  In 9600 B.C., a group of explorers sails back to home waters to find Atlantis is gone.  While seeking divine guidance, facing violent savages, braving fierce storms, and solving internal disputes, the captain and crew must somehow ensure their advanced Atlantean civilization is not lost forever.  This story was published in the anthology The Quest for Atlantis by Pill Hill Press, and available for purchase here.

 

“The Finality.”  Complex astronomical calculations reveal that humanity faces the end of, not just the world, but time  itself.  A curious scientist investigates how the ancient Mayans could have predicted the end to occur on the same day, and wonders if it will really be the end.  This story was published in the anthology 2012 AD by Severed Press, and also available here.

 

“Blood in the River.”  Two police detectives in El Paso discover the murder suspect they’re interrogating is a 400-year-old vampire who can take the form of–not a bat–but a vampirefish.  This story was published in the Dead Bait anthology by Severed Press, and also available here.

 

 

“The Sea-Wagon of Yantai.”  Around 200 B.C. in China, a young man of war and an old man of peace clash over the use and future of the world’s first submarine.  This story was published by Eternal Press and is also available here in paperback and here in Kindle.  The story received a good review at You Gotta Read Reviews.

 

 

“Alexander’s Odyssey.”  If the legends are true, Alexander the Great descended under water in a glass-windowed barrel.  But how would the sea-god Poseidon react to that?  This story was first published in the anthology Magic & Mechanica by Ricasso Press, and is available here.

 

 

“Target Practice.”  Inmate number 806739 lives in an underwater prison of the future, where convicts must operate unarmed minisubs in cat-and-mouse training sessions against men in armed subs training for battle.  This unfair practice might seem hopeless, but is it?  This story was published in the anthology Lower than the Angels published by Lite Circle Books, and available here.