Baked Goods to the Rescue

Warped is offering number three from Meantime Stories by Syingen and Pedersen. Why “Meantime?” because you read these stories in the meantime. Meantime of what? That is up to the reader who downloaded the book. This very short story can distract you from routine tasks, so you can read it in the meantime while formulating the national defense budget for small nations. Or whatever.

In the ancient times of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, creation was explained to us with the number 42. For non-lovers of math, this culinary explanation may be more fulfilling. There are two and one-half main characters plus Ada to explain what is going on with this story. Captain Lisa Henderson, commanding, and Second Pilot John Bang must deal with a crisis. We will ignore Passenger Liaison Officer Robert Decker. His character is not developed, and he complains too much anyway. The 3500 passengers are just filling.

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What Are The Rules?

Revisions by Nick Wisseman might begin with a quick quiz. But the quiz is by text message and Blake is driving. He should know better than to text while ….

Because when Blake wakes up he is part of a celebration. The crowds are tremendous, but he doesn’t understand the language spoken. It might be Russian but before he can react, a raid begins, complete with shooting. Words appear in his mind to let him know where he is: Odessa, Russia, during a time of the revolution. Where did the words come from? They appeared almost as words in a cartoon bubble. Blake loses consciousness, he may have been shot.

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I received Dave! Part 1: The Invaders by Marc Richards by means of an email alert from Marc Richards. The book had a sale price of FREE on the Amazon site and I didn’t have to pledge to write any type of review. But I think it is polite. I knew I would post comments on my blog (and elsewhere) without author prompts because I like the way Marc Richards pokes fun at everyday things. “Invaders” is part one of a trilogy containing lots of up-to-date politically relevant satire. It is difficult to write something that makes fun of the current POTUS and his court when daily reality itself has the appearance of satire. Despite the many claims in the book about the origin of the current leadership, I maintain my belief that POTUS is not a leading element of an alien invasion.

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Milk With a Kick

Miracle Milk is a slang name for a substance that was an antibiotic, a hallucinogenic, and a very popular ingestible on planet Earth. It was so popular that after a while only the rich could afford it. It may have even contributed to Earth’s population growth. Like many plants, it depended on the sun. The sun was gone, so were the plants, and maybe so was Earth.

Dr. Irving was resigned to spending his last days on Eudora. Although there was a way to leave Eudora if all residents worked together, there was no reason to leave a planet when there was no destination that could be determined. The residents of Eudora would die after exhausting all resources.

Dr. Irving went on the last trip to caves heard about from his wife. She had described them well and returned from a trip to his home aged and sick before she died. There had been dark times on Eudora, but everyone had survived them, and the planet had been reborn after a dark time. The rebirth was due to a sacrifice made by Dr. Irving. He didn’t know whether it would work again. He was willing to make one more sacrifice to possibly save his neighbors and his planet.

This story is from a collection called Headshots by Idabel Allen. The setting, the scenes, and the feelings Allen evokes in this very short story are consistently dark and despairing. If the reader wants to feel hope after reading this, the hope must be supplied by the reader. This is a very good but very short story that I gave four Amazon stars.

Artificial vs. “Real” Intelligence

Tales From the Mosspark Universe by Neil Mosspark is a short collection (660 locations) of five short science fiction stories. I downloaded it free from Instafreebie and stored it in my short story file to read in traffic jams that occur daily during the rainy season in my part of the world. Both traffic jams and rain occur daily in Indonesia for up to six months.

  1. Room Two It was New Year’s Eve and no time to be alone. Yorick resented Janice for leaving him alone to clean the lab. But Yorick wasn’t truly alone.
  2. The Train Who said history can’t repeat itself? The workers in this story know how to make progress count.
  3. Item A21-R83.03 Lina had a feeling for machines. It seems like she was the only one in the lab that was so gifted.
  4. Crash This is the scariest story. The control and type of life that survived the crash has changed. Think of an extinction of a species.
  5. Job Offer Sometimes it’s good to be small. Olivia could go where the heavily armed men could not. This time all she had to do was get in and out of the building. If successful, she would get food. Things worked out better than she had hoped.

This is a good travel companion collection of short stories. There is nothing so shocking that the reader will abandon his travels to complete the collection. At the same, there are a few minor surprises. I am sure I will attempt more of Mosspark’s short stories.

Dystopian, Fantasy, & Cyberpunk Tales

According to Neil Mosspark, author of Tales from the Mosspark Universe: Vol. 2, the following short tales are backstories to different parts of the Mosspark Universe. The author claims that you need no knowledge other than that contained within the short stories to enjoy them; they are all stand-alone stories.

This collection does what it was designed to do well, spur interest in the more complete treatments through novels of this fantasy, dystopian, cyberpunk world. I will be interested in reading more about Olivia and Abe (the first two sections) but cyberpunk does not work well for me as a genre. Two out of three isn’t bad.

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Android Love

Defective is a fifty-three-page short story by Pamela Stewart published in 2017. That makes it attractive to the young adult crowd (12-18) for which it was written. Older adults are also allowed to read it.

Xiau (or Sifu) is a scientist in China specializing in creating androids that can perform humint intelligence functions for the North Asia Army. That means they have to interact with humans to find desired information. Certain high officials are not happy with many of Xiau’s Android builds. Some of them seem to have a mind of their own. A visiting inspector has threatened to shut down the lab if the next assignment is not carried out in a satisfactory manner. The only android remotely available for the job is Zee.

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