It’s that time of the month again, time for “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”.
So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some December books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though I may add other retailers for future editions.
January 2015 actually marks the one year anniversary of “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”, because we started out in January 2014 with 12 newly released SFF titles. One year on, we have 35 new release, covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. We have hard science fiction, military science fiction, space opera, science fiction romance, paranormal romance, Steampunk, dystopian fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, weird western, epic fantasy, urban fantasy, Arthurian fantasy, Asian based fantasy, young adult fantasy, SFnal fairytales, tiem travel, werewolves, vampires, superheroes, magic schools, sirens, super-mathematicians, rogue AIs, warlock hunters and much more. Once again, we also have a broad spectrum of authors hailing from countries as diverse as the US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and Kuwait.
Don’t forget that Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month is also crossposted to the Speculative Fiction Showcase, a group blog run by Jessica Rydill and myself, which features new release spotlights, guest posts, interviews and link round-ups regarding all things speculative fiction several times per week.
As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.
And now on to the books without further ado:
Valen: Warlock Hunter by J.R. Armstrong
Assan, the greatest city in the known world.
Recently the Mage Wars have been tearing the city apart, but for warlock hunter Aias Valen, the underworld battles that rage through the streets mean coin in her purse, and an opportunity to settle old scores.
As the crime lords pay handsomely for her services, the mages find themselves face to face with their greatest fear – an anti-thaumaturge, a being whose very presence means a quick death to any magic. But Aias’s old enmities continue to push her further into danger. And when someone pushes back, she will find there are greater dangers in Assan than the crime lords.
Restoration by K.S. Augustin
In politics, is there a place for love?
Van Motaff, renowned philosopher and Rahfonist, is looking ahead to Retirement, but the planetary government has other plans. Something unprecedented has happened—a young, male Rahfoni has been raised by aliens for the past thirty years—and Van has been chosen to restore him to Rahfon society.
Even though the eyes of two worlds are on her, Van thinks the job will be straightforward enough. But when her charge, Eton Abless, is injured, an irate governor interferes, demanding that the young man be neutralised as a potential political threat. Van resists and finds herself falling into a forbidden romance with her student…a romance that may mean the end of her reputation and career, and his permanent exile. As her options narrow, Van is forced to face the conclusion that the only way to save Eton may be to lose him completely.
Pegasi and Prefects by Eleanor Beresford
Charley’s final year at Fernleigh Manor is complicated by a runaway pegasus, unwanted Games Captainship, a dangerous new rival and, most of all, falling head over heels in love with another girl. What is a reluctant Senior Prefect to do?
A magical YA school story with a sapphic twist, the first in the Scholars and Sorcery series.
Scholars and Sorcery is a series of young adult fantasy novels set in an alternate version of 1950s England in which elves invaded in the far past, leaving magic and mythical creatures such as fairies and dragons behind them. It features lesbian heroines and a sweet dollop of romance.
Medicine for Ghosts by Adam Bishop
It isn’t unusual for an investigative reporter like Jarvis to hear rumours, but a rumour about prisoners who aren’t supposed to exist? Well, that’s another matter entirely. A mysterious, unsigned letter brings Jarvis to the military border town of Daruma with a promise that the story waiting for him there will be a blockbuster. For a young reporter trying to make a name for himself, the appeal is too great to resist. But what Jarvis discovers in Daruma will force him to weigh his duty as a reporter against his obligations as a citizen. What can he, a solitary reporter, do to make his country a better place to live?
Medicine For Ghosts is a short story prequel to the full-length novel The Disillusioners.
Otherworlders by Angela Cavanaugh
When a virus threatens humanity with extinction, the desperate and dwindling number of uninfected seek refuge in a parallel universe. The technology is untested. The other universe is unprepared and one thing is made violently clear: they are not wanted.
As a weaponized, fatal virus mutates and threatens to kill all life forms on Earth, Special Agent Williams and the government conspires to send the healthy away. After space travel and going underground are ruled impossible, all that remains is the theoretical technology of an autistic savant: escaping to a parallel universe. But when they travel to the other dimension, their arrival is met with suspicion and hatred. To evade persecution, experimentation, and to save their lives, the Otherworlders must find a way to escape, survive, and outwit Agent Williams’s murderous double.
Xiao Xiao and the Dragon Pearl by Joyce Chng
Enter the world of Xiao Xiao, daughter of an imperial courtesan, and a fantastical historical Qing China, with dragons and magic and traditions. What happens when her mother adopts a baby girl found in a rice field? What does – can – the green pearl do?
Sacrifice by Stacy Claflin
It’s a new generation of royal vampires.
Alexis’ daughter Eylin is nearly grown, in the beginning of her transformation. Born with the mark of the dragon and placed under a spell as in infant, the young princess finds herself in the middle of an age-old battle between mortal enemies.
Eylin starts to fall for the son of their enemy: the one who kidnapped Eylin years earlier. Pulled between the ties of family and romance, she must decide between two different worlds. Depending on the decision she makes, someone will end up sacrificing their life.
This is book 6 of The Transformed series.
Bitten by A.J. Colby
Being a lone wolf could be Riley’s greatest strength, or her greatest weakness…
After surviving her psychotic ex-boyfriend’s quest for revenge, Riley Cray was ready to settle back into her quiet life and fade into obscurity. The Shepherd of the City, Alexei Cordova, however, has other plans for the lone werewolf. Someone is murdering supernaturals under the master vampire’s protection, and he wants Riley to figure out why.
Relying on the help of her friends and her paltry knowledge of the supernatural world, can Riley discover who the murderer is before Denver is consumed by a war between vampires and werewolves?
Watch out. This bitch bites!
This is the sequel to Hunted.
Vanguard No.1: Come the Exemplar by Percival Constantine
Witness the birth of heroes!
The world has changed. A mysterious event altered the genetic structure of humanity, granting a small percentage of the population superhuman powers. The government has secretly formed a superhero team to deal with threats from potential supervillains. Paragon—telekinetic powerhouse; Zenith—hyper-intelligent AI; Shift—shape-changing teenager; Wraith—teleporting shadow warrior; Sharkskin—human/shark hybrid. Led by the armored Gunsmith, they are Vanguard!
Callum King’s life has fallen apart. He lost his job, his wife left him, and he was about to end it all—when he discovered he possessed the powers of a superman. Now calling himself the Exemplar, he’s declared himself the world’s first superhero, out to prove those who doubted him wrong. But his arrogance far supersedes his good intentions! Can Vanguard overcome their internal strife in order to face their first threat?
From Percival Constantine comes an all-new team of superheroes in the vein of the X-Men and the Avengers!
Teeth: The First Bite by Chele Cooke
Medical intern Thomas awakes in a blood-drenched basement and the realisation that his life must change forever. After all, how can he practise medicine when the smell of blood turns him into a vicious killer?
Spencer thinks being a vampire is better than any teen movie made it out to be. Now he must train Thomas and make his mentor proud.
One mistake risks more than either are willing to lose, and a single broken law could turn them from predators to prey.
Providence Unveiled by Selina Fenech
Just when she is finding herself, Memory is about to lose everything. Home, friendship, family, goals, love… Memory will break all the rules to try and save what is important to her, but her actions are being manipulated by a dark force toward a dark end. Worlds will be broken, love will be stolen, and sacrifices will be made.
In this final novel of the Memory’s Wake trilogy, following Memory’s Wake and Hope’s Reign, the truth will be unveiled.
Starship Eternal by M.R. Forbes
A lost starship…
A dire warning from futures past…
A desperate search for salvation…
Captain Mitchell “Ares” Williams is a Space Marine and the hero of the Battle for Liberty, whose Shot Heard ‘Round the Universe saved the planet from a nearly unstoppable war machine. He’s handsome, charismatic, and the perfect poster boy to help the military drive enlistment. Pulled from the war and thrown into the spotlight, he’s as efficient at charming the media and bedding beautiful celebrities as he was at shooting down enemy starfighters.
After an assassination attempt leaves Mitchell critically wounded, he begins to suffer from strange hallucinations that carry a chilling and oddly familiar warning:
They are coming. Find the Goliath or humankind will be destroyed.
Convinced that the visions are a side-effect of his injuries, he tries to ignore them, only to learn that he may not be as crazy as he thinks. The enemy is real and closer than he imagined, and they’ll do whatever it takes to prevent him from rediscovering the centuries lost starship.
Narrowly escaping capture, out of time and out of air, Mitchell lands at the mercy of the Riggers – a ragtag crew of former commandos who patrol the lawless outer reaches of the galaxy. Guided by a captain with a reputation for cold-blooded murder, they’re dangerous, immoral, and possibly insane.
They may also be humanity’s last hope for survival in a war that has raged beyond eternity.
Bloodrush by Ben Galley
“Magick ain’t pretty, it ain’t stars and sparkles. Magick is dirty. It’s rough. Raw. It’s blood and guts and vomit. You hear me?”
When Prime Lord Hark is found in a pool of his own blood on the steps of his halls, Tonmerion Hark finds his world not only turned upside down, but inside out. His father’s last will and testament forces him west across the Iron Ocean, to the very brink of the Endless Land and all civilisation. They call it Wyoming.
This is a story of murder and family.
In the dusty frontier town of Fell Falls, there is no silverware, no servants, no plush velvet nor towering spires. Only dust, danger, and the railway. Tonmerion has only one friend to help him escape the torturous heat and unravel his father’s murder. A faerie named Rhin. A twelve-inch tall outcast of his own kind.
This is a story of blood and magick.
But there are darker things at work in Fell Falls, and not just the railwraiths or the savages. Secrets lurk in Tonmerion’s bloodline. Secrets that will redefine this young Hark.
This is a story of the edge of the world.
Noir: A Steampunk Fantasy by Jacqueline Garlick
With Urlick (Babbit) imprisoned, awaiting execution for the alleged murder of Professor Smrt, Eyelet (Elsworth) must find her way back through the criminal infested woods, among the blood-thirsty Infirmed, to the forbidden city of Brethren, in time to free him from his fate.
With the help of Crazy Legs, Eyelet overthrows a travelling freak show train on its way into Brethren, planning to use the train to distract the city long enough to free Urlick. Just as they think their luck is about to hold, Eyelet is lured astray by an image from her past. Entering an abandoned factory at the city’s edge, she unearths a series of ungodly secrets, and soon finds herself imprisoned.
With Urlick locked away in the Stone Jug and Eyelet on her way to MadHouse Brink, will C.L. be able to spring both loose in time to save the day? Or will he too, fall prey to the torturous mind of Brethren’s newest Ruler—who is, in fact, a self-appointed heir to the throne.
It appears there is an heir that’s been overlooked. An heir the new ruler is determined to keep secret.
Noir is book 2 of the Illumination Paradox series and sequel to Lumiere.
Electric Blue Butterflies by Irma Geddon
He’s been in love with her since they were children. She thinks she’s getting married to a complete stranger.
When the wedding night ends in tragedy, the only thing two lovers need is to trust that LOVE KNOWS NO LIMIT—not even death.
Constance has always known her parents would choose a husband for her when she would be old enough to get married—this is part of a long tradition in her family, one she has decided not to fight despite her powerful need for freedom.
When she meets William, her future husband, just one day before the wedding, she falls for him on the spot. He is strikingly handsome, he’s a succesful business man, but most of all, he is completely under her spell and looks at her like she’s hung the moon.
William is killed in a horrible animal attack during the wedding party, before he can be alone and confide in Constance. Trying to cope with the sudden death of her husband, Constance will unearth all of William’s secrets. But, as it turns out, William isn’t gone for good.
Time is running out for William and Constance’s love story—will she find a way to get back the husband she didn’t know she wanted so much?
Division: A Collection of Science Fiction Fairytales by Lee S. Hawke
From LEE S. HAWKE, author of “The Changeling and the Sun” (published by Ideomancer Speculative Fiction Magazine) comes DIVISION: A COLLECTION OF SCIENCE FICTION FAIRYTALES.
Featuring 7 original, fairytale-inspired science fiction short stories, this collection explores the division between mind, body, technology and humanity.
A chronically ill civilian discovers that his immune system may be the key to human survival
A schoolgirl tries to escape her demons through levels of virtual reality
A data analyst falls in love with a software coder during a forced government assignment
A young boy is confronted with a horrifying truth about his constructed world
A jaded medical technician rediscovers the meaning of beauty
A girl scrambles to escape a horrifying alien invasion in a futuristic dystopia, and
A spaceship engineer struggles with the death of her only daughter.
Half Life by S.L. Huang
Cas Russell is back — and so is her deadly supermath.
Cas may be an antisocial mercenary who uses her instant calculating skills to mow down enemies, but she’s trying hard to build up a handful of morals. So when she’s hired by an anguished father to rescue his kid from an evil tech conglomerate, it seems like the perfect job to use for ethics practice.
Then she finds her client’s daughter… who is a robot.
The researchers who own the ’bot will stop at nothing to get it back, but the kid’s just real enough for Cas to want to protect her — even though she knows she’s risking everything for a collection of metal and wires. But when the case blows up in her face, it plunges Cas into the crossfire of a massive, decades-long corporate espionage war.
Cas knows logically that she isn’t saving a child. She’s stealing a piece of technology, one expensive and high-stakes enough that spiriting it away is going to get innocent people killed. But she has a distraught father on one hand and a robot programmed to act like a distraught daughter on the other, and she’s never been able to sit by when a kid is in trouble — even a fake one.
Screw morals and ethics. All Cas wants to do is save one little girl.
This is the sequel to Zero Sum Game.
Ambassador 3: Changing Fate by Patty Jansen
Fifty thousand years ago, a meteorite hit the planet Asto, giving its Aghyrian inhabitants mere days of notice. Three ships escaped the Armageddon. Two went to the neighbouring planet. The third, a massive generation ship, refused to take on refugees, and then vanished without a trace.
It’s coming back.
Its initial burst of communication caused the outage of the Exchange, the FTL network for transport and communication, but since then the ship has been silent. It jumps about at random, using wormholes it generates with a drive the likes of which no one has seen before.
Meanwhile at the gamra assembly, people jostle to be in the best positions when it inevitably turns up in inhabited space. What the ship wants or whether there is anyone on board no one knows, but diplomat Cory Wilson knows one thing: when it turns up, he must avoid a conflict at all cost.
If only gamra presented a united viewpoint. If only Asto’s army wasn’t keen to get involved. If only the Aghyrians at gamra didn’t do what they do best: manipulate and play games with everyone. While the ship approaches, the delegates bicker, and the time for negotiating is fast running out.
This is book 3 of the Ambassador series, following Seeing Red and Raising Hell.
Mission: Attack on Europa by V.A. Jeffrey
The affair on Langrenus now settled, Bob plans to return home. But an urgent cry for help from an old friend interrupts his homecoming. The Big Boss sends him a fleet of newly built fighter ships, seemingly just in time for this new and unexpected mission. Bob brings along a new ally, enlisting him in his growing little band of U-net agents. The new guy is James Jenkins, a.k.a Diamond Dog, a young, hot-shot pilot with smuggling connections and as soon as they set foot on Mars trouble blows up in their faces.
A new city is being built and there will be a final gathering of the Allied Martian Powers. They’ve been planning their long-awaited and perilous mission – to destroy the loyalist alien military base on Europa. Bob and Diamond bring along much needed help to the cause, more than willing to rally to the side of the Alliance of Martian Powers but Bob finds that things are changing faster than he can keep up with and his experience in Langrenus haunts him in more ways than one. On Mars, alliances between humans and aliens are complex, tenuous things and Bob finds that even relationships with one’s allies can be uneasy.
This is book 3 of the Mission series, following Flight to Mars and Lights of Langrenus.
Solace by Therin Knite
Corina Marion’s father is dead.
Off to a never-ending war as a Red Cross doctor before Corina was even born, Luther Marion has been a constant but increasingly distant presence in his daughter’s life for sixteen years. Damaged pictures. Short letters. And three brief phone calls received before Corina was old enough to walk.
But now, Luther Marion has returned home at last—as a body in a box to be buried. Corina’s mother is devastated. Her small, backwoods town mourns the loss of its local hero.
And Corina…isn’t sure how she feels about the death of a father she never really met.
But when a mysterious old man confronts Corina at her father’s funeral, she finds herself drawn to his impossible offer: a chance to know the now late Luther Marion. And in a moment of uncertainty, Corina makes a choice with consequences she can barely fathom. A choice that sends her to the last place she ever expected to go.
Her father’s hometown. Six hundred miles south.
And twenty-five years in the past.
Knight of the White Hart by Kathryn Marlowe
Guigemar is a Breton knight who fights alongside King Arthur. His excels in all the courtly arts, save one: he has always scorned love.
Returning home, the knight goes hunting with a friend and shoots a white deer. The arrow bounces back to wound him, too. The doe curses him: the wound will never heal until he meets a woman who will love him truly and suffer for that love like no one ever has ever suffered before.
Mad with pain, he stumbles to the shore where a stunning ship sails him away, despite lacking a crew. He tosses and turns in fevered dreams until he awakes to find the most beautiful woman he has ever seen peering in at him.
And there his real troubles begin.
The Middle Ages: when ‘romance’ meant adventure!
Segue by John Marsh
A thousand years after travelling into space, humans have spread across the Milky Way. Ancient platforms maintain stable wormholes, allowing rapid travel between planets tens of thousands of light-years apart. In a union of systems spanning thousands of habitable worlds, huge interstellar companies operate to exploit resources in remote corners of the galaxy.
Segue is a planet on the outer borders of human controlled space, with vast tropical continents covered in steaming jungle, far away from the laws of civilization. Company agent Ves arrives on Segue with a mission to find a missing company manager, and discover how a valuable export is being contaminated. A dangerous boat journey takes her into the dark interior to find answers.
White Seed by Kenneth Marshall
The White Seed Brings Life to Worlds
Three thousand years ago, the seeds arrived from Earth on hundreds of worlds. The developed ones formed the Network, connected only by radio and laser. Since the time of the seeds, nothing but information has traveled between the stars. Now a starship, The Child of Ambition, is changing that. Her first mission: to explore the dark worlds, the ones that failed.
Kali Hakoian, pilot-astronaut and war hero, thought landing on the super-Earth of Keto would be routine. The emptiest seed world—its global ocean matted with algae and crawling with hurricanes—hides the oldest human ruins. Her crew of scientists: a dreamer, a believer, and a retired assassin. Their hypothesis—self-termination of the seed base.
But when an act of sabotage strands her in the path of a superstorm, she’s forced to escape with the man she trusts the least. They may never find out what happened to the settlers—unless it happens to them. Can she trust her crew enough to find a way out of the darkness?
A Time of Shadows by Monique Martin
It’s been a few months since Simon and Elizabeth returned from their adventure in 1888 London. Jack is back with them and all is as it should be, until a knock on the door changes that. A visitor from the future turns their world upside-down.
Unable to return her to her time, they go to the Council for help, only to discover there are bigger problems afoot. All of the watches have been shut down until a dangerous and secret weapon–a watch that can change any point in time–can be found. Too powerful for anyone to possess, it was hidden. But now the secret’s out, and the mysterious Shadow Council will do anything to get their hands on it.
Simon, Elizabeth and Jack race to find it before the Shadow Council does or it will be the end of…everything.
This is book 8 in the Out of Time series.
Emissary by Melissa McShane
When unquiet ghosts walk the earth, the servants of Atenas, God of Death, guide them to their final rest in His domain. For six years, Zerafine, priestess of Atenas, and her companion Gerrard have walked the known world, bringing peace to the dead and fair judgment to the living. Hated and feared as a death-bringer by many, Zerafine has never regretted her decision to serve Atenas and never doubted her ability to carry out His will.
An unexpected assignment from the Archpriest of Atenas sends Zerafine and Gerrard to Portena, the oldest city in the world, in pursuit of a kind of ghost no one has ever seen before: spirits that vanish before they can be sent to Atenas’s court, appearing and reappearing at random. As emissary of Atenas, Zerafine’s task is to discover the true nature of these ghosts and find a way to bring them peace. But Zerafine’s assignment puts her at odds not only with the rulers of Portena, but with the high priest of another God, and she soon realizes that all is not as it seems in the great city. If Zerafine fails to learn the truth and put these ghosts to rest, it could mean disaster not only for Portena, but for the world.
Siren by Jennifer Melzer
Siren Talbot’s life is plagued with storms. Her mother’s insanity was the first, though not the last. Called to the ocean, not even the shores of Edisto Island can calm the tempest inside her.
Though she’s settled into a life with Patrick, his promises of a happily ever after can’t still the foul weather of her past or the brewing squall on the horizon. She’s haunted by the disappearance of her first love, Carver, and the lack of answers.
A single clue unlocks mysteries she can’t explain. A murder cements the impossible as possible. The more magic she uncovers, the darker her suspicions become and the more the hurricane inside her starts to rage.
Patrick isn’t the Prince Charming he claims to be.
And he knows exactly what happened to Carver.
The Enchanted Rose by Nadia Nader
When Vivian’s mother dies in a tragic accident, Vivian’s world is turned upside down. Her life, as she knows it, is over. A new life, full of her mother’s secrets, begins…
Sent away by her father to live with two eccentric aunts on the mysterious Tremaine Estate, Vivian comes to learn that a powerful curse lurks over her family – one that only she may have the power to break. With each day she spends in Misty Hills, Vivian uncovers more unsettling discoveries about the town, her reclusive family, and herself.
Can Vivian let go of every truth she’s ever believed and discover who she really is, before the dark secrets hidden within the supernatural town threaten to consume her and those she loves?
Hoarder in the Down Deep by Marilyn Peake
It’s against the law to have children without winning the lottery. Implanted with a birth control device as required by law, Evangeline Hubbard, a dirt farmer in the down deep, discovers that implants sometimes fail. But in a world strictly controlled by the authorities, one pays a terrible price for tampering with the established order. Consumed by fear and madness after things go horribly wrong, Evangeline hoards in order to hang onto things. She adds them to the nest she’s building in the down deep.
HOARDER IN THE DOWN DEEP is a novella based on the best-selling WOOL series by Hugh Howey, and was written with his permission. It’s set in the time when Sheriff Holston and his wife Allison had won the lottery, giving them one year to conceive a child. Investigating the case of Evangeline Hubbard, Sheriff Holston and Mayor Jahns are unprepared for what they find. HOARDER IN THE DOWN DEEP explores how psychological issues and emotional pain can lead to hoarding. It also explores the mental strain placed on women who have lost control over their own reproductive processes.
Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope
Between love and duty lies destiny
Orphaned and alone, Jasminda is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where she is feared for both the shade of her skin and her magical abilities. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive – an injured spy who steals her heart.
Jack’s mission behind enemy lines nearly cost him his life but he is saved by the healing power of a mysterious young woman. Together they embark on a perilous journey straight into the heart of a centuries-old conflict.
Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.
The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.
This adult fantasy romance is recommended for readers 17 and older.
The Future Collection by Beth Revis
This collection of short stories by New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis features science fiction tales about the future.
DOCTOR-PATIENT CONFIDENTIALITY: A young woman wakes up in a cryomed ward of a hospital. As she recalls what led to her confinement, she starts to realize just what the consequences of her actions were, and how much time has passed since she was injured.
THE MOST PRECIOUS MEMORY: In a world where memories can be bought and sold as highly addictive drugs, one transaction takes an unusual turn. *Note*: this story was previously published in the Soothe The Savage Beast anthology.
THE GIRL AND THE MACHINE: A man has limited abilities to travel through time, but a cute girl pops up in his life, informing him that her time machine can open the door to far greater powers. But there’s something ominous about it… *Note*: This story is available as an individual short in Amazon.
LAG: A reporter had been chasing down a lead…but after a malfunction in the teleporter she used, she’s forgotten what the lead was. Now she’s searching for clues in her own life to discover what it was she’s missing.
THE TURING TEST: A college student participates in a turing test to see if she can distinguish which of the two subjects is human and which is an android. *Note:* A version of this story is a part of the Special Edition of THE BODY ELECTRIC novel and was previously published in Lightspeed Magazine.
AS THEY SLIP AWAY: A group of artists on a generation space ship that reviles art is given a unique assignment, one that draws one young lady far too close to a possessive man protected by the ship’s government. *Note:* This short story is available free online and is linked to the ACROSS THE UNIVERSE world.
RIGA, AI by Tobias Roote
Her decisions are final, her justice swift, her tolerance of those who would risk the fragile peace is zero.
RIGA,AI is a new kind of heroine set in a future where AIs and humans live alongside each other in a fragile peace. RIGA is a non-human but there is much about her that is unknown, even to her. Her unique composition means RIGA is often ‘the hunted’ in an increasingly dangerous universe where humans, transhumans and artificial intelligence all struggle to survive together.
RIGA’s unique skills make her extremely valuable to the Emporium’s secret service, the ESSG. Trained in the roles of Diplomat, Assassin and Spy, means she has to rely on her unique abilities to keep her alive and one step ahead of her enemies. But, the enemy has plans and RIGA is in their way.
The Fire Mages by Pauline M. Ross
Kyra has always been drawn to the magic of spellpages. She is determined to leave her small village far behind and become a scribe, wielding the power of magic through her pen. Halfway through her training, she has a mage as patron and her ambitions are within her grasp. But a simple favour for her sister goes disastrously awry, destroying Kyra’s dreams in an instant.
Devastated, she accepts an offer from a stranger to help her find out what went wrong. The young man sees growing power within Kyra, potentially stronger than spellpages or any living mage. The answers to unlocking that power may lie within the glowing walls of the Imperial City, but its magic is strong and the unwary vanish without trace on its streets. Thirsty for knowledge and desperate to avoid another accident, she feels compelled to risk it.
While she focuses on controlling her abilities, a storm of greed and ambition boils up around her. Kyra is a pawn in the struggle for dominance between unscrupulous factions vying for rule of her country. Trusting the wrong side could get her killed–or worse, the potent magic she barely understands could be put to unthinkable evil.
The Icarus Plot by Jenny Schwartz
Ivana March runs a very special toy shop in the heart of Victorian London. The last person she expects to see enter it is an earl. Not that she has time to entertain him. Someone is stealing children, and the street kids whisper tales of a “Metal Man”. Ivana must find the monster, rescue the children, and if the earl really wants to help, he can come with her. Only, no one warned her she’d have to venture to places better left unexplored. A good thing, then, that the new Earl of Somer is a noted explorer. When the two of them join forces, what could possibly go wrong?
A short Steampunk novella
The Null by Vincent Trigili
He had left that life behind, sworn he would never return to it. He had a new life—a wife, a daughter. He was happy. But in a wretched twist of events, he finds himself forced to reclaim what he once was in order to save those who are most precious to him. Or else…
The Null is a short superhero thriller that would cover approximately 20-25 pages in a traditional paperback.
Monsters of Elsewhere by Matthew Waldram
There is a land – let’s call it Elsewhere – that is in no small amount of trouble. Giant wolves are tearing villages apart, a monster king is bringing his army across the sea to capture the legendary Hall of Glass, and the High Lord has completely disappeared.
Henry Whistler was eight when he got lost at a bus station in Hounslow. There his adventure began. For that was when he met the exiled invisible man, the monster swordsman, and the girl with the bright red hair.
Now a grown-up, Henry’s childhood adventure is a faded memory… until his fiancée vanishes. Until he is drawn into another world. Until he is pursued by a blind assassin – with only a monster and a dead man for company – across a land that is in no small amount of trouble.