Many of the short stories I write have a fantasy or science fictional setting. In some cases, that’s because I set them in the world I created for my first two novels, “The Shoals of Time”, and “Deadly Attractor”. I’ve listed these in About my Novels. Go have a look.
So let’s start with something pretty close to home. What if the reason it’s so difficult to take action against global climate change is that the wealthy few who control the world’s great corporations have realized that it can be even more profitable than war? In 2095, the sea wall that kept the Pacific Ocean from submerging the California lowlands all the way to Sacramento has collapsed, and the official story is that it was terrorists. What if it wasn’t?
- 1. “Bait” (Sep 2013) — Alphon knew the Golden State Barrage wasn’t destroyed by explosives. The government was lying again. But why?
- 2. “Hollow Threat” (Nov 2013) — Ferd couldn’t wait to see what the mystery package they’d ordered contained. Meg would never know.
- 3. “Under an Icy Sky” (Dec 2013) — They’d gathered to honor Meg’s memory, but ended up with others too dreadful to shake.
- 4. “In the Company of Vipers” (Jan 2014) — Phoebe’s trip home didn’t exactly go as planned, but it wasn’t because of the terrorist in the next seat.
- 5. “Standing to Resist” (Feb 2014) — The last thing you want when you’ve just hijacked a military drone is company, especially if they’re armed.
Here’s a list of the others, with a note about each one.
- “Allegergic Reaction” (Apr 2011) — Faye’s results were startling. If only there was a way to explain them without annoying the journal editors.
- “Bait” (Sep 2013) — Alphon knew the Golden State Barrage wasn’t destroyed by explosives. The government was lying, again. But why?
- “Bankers from Outer Space” (Dec 2007) — Con men come in all shapes and sizes, but the worst of them come from Earth.
- “Candle Spell” (Feb 2009) — I don’t know. Maybe owning a candle making business really got to me after a while.
- “Common Ground” (Aug 2007) — Sometimes the headlines write the stories themselves. (Note: If you missed the canceled class, read about it in “Orientation“.)
- “Eulogy” (Apr 2011) — Irran’s expedition expected to make First Contact when they arrived. What they found instead was heartstopping.
- “Forced Inquiry” (Mar 2009) — The talk show host wanted to ask Paula Isikov about her controversial research paper, but the angry caller who strangled his engineer was more interested in her politics.
- “Hot Seat” (Aug 2007) — Audrey had no clue what Fuentes’ invention really did. Aside from temporarily disappearing the test rats, that is. But her cat did.
- “Infantry Hack” (Jun 2003) — With all the press about military tech they’re willing to admit to having, you have to wonder what all those black development projects are about…
- “Intent” (Jun 2003) — How much do you really know about the last person you negotiated with?
- “Intermediary” (Jul 2007) — How important is that one small thing that you might be able to do?
- “The Keeper’s Tale” — My tombstone dreams of ages past, of a time long since dimmed to myth when I was given my charge.
- “Legal Beef” (Nov 2009) — Just because Sonja’s brother confessed to murder doesn’t make him guilty
- “Lost Weekend” (Jun 2003) — We all do stupid things, but sometimes nobody will believe you, even when you tell the truth. Take this guy, for example…
- “Magical Advantage” (Feb 2008) — There may be more reasons that you know of to not hold your tongue.
- “Orientation” (Jun 2003) — You know that recurring dream about being unprepared for class? Mine was a doozie!
- “Power” (Jan 2008) — There may be a solution to your problem, but is it worth the cost?
- “Regret” (Jun 2003) — There are many reasons for keeping your past a secret…
- “Riffing the Life Fantastic” (Dec 2010) — Even a charmed life has drawbacks
- “Singularity of Soul” (Nov 2007) — No matter how much you believe you know the truth, there is always another side to the story.
- “Site License” (Aug 2007) — There’s more than one kind of First Contact.
- “Spokesmen” (Jul 2008) — If life’s a negotiation, who do you speak for? More importantly, who does your counterpart speak for?
- “Terrifying Vindication” (Aug 2009) — Corwin Farragut was innocent of the terrorist act he’d been convicted of, but proving it would put far more people in danger.
- “Thinking Inside the Box” (Mar 2009) — Once you’ve set something in motion, you may have to play God to stop it.
- “Wind-up Pitch” (Mar 2009) — The alien diplomat’s package wasn’t just a gift, it was also a move in the chess game of interspecies intrigue, and the emissary from Earth didn’t know how to respond.
This next group of stories, which I wrote in the Summer of 2007, are not really a series, though they all take place in the science fictional universe I created for my first two novels, “The Shoals of Time” and “Deadly Attractor”. (Both are available for puchase on the Nook and Kindle readers.) The action in Shoals arises from the way in which a global peacekeeping agency performs its task, but it’s the technology that makes what they do possible. The first story listed here, “Hot Seat” is an exploration of how that technology might have first been glimpsed, through the lens of an illicit experiment being conducted off-campus, and off the books.
- “Hot Seat” (Aug 2007) — Nobody knew why the lab rats kept disappearing, but one thing was certain: they all came back frightened.
- “Peacekeeper” (Jan 2002) — Lianna Tors had a challenging job: keeping world peace. If she had her way, nobody could ever challenge her methods again.
- “Levels of the Game” (Aug 2007) — Ernie Vacca was desperate. As a member of the CPA’s global peacekeeping agency, he had the means to enforce the peace. Unfortunately, that peace was also a trap.
As a space exploration enthusiast and a member of the Mars Writers Guild, I’m writing some stories about Mars.
- “Grounded” (Nov 2009) — Maybe Peter’s brother Daniel should have discussed his plans with their mother.“
- “Accommodation” (Nov 2009) — The colony on Mars was fragile enough without importing a suicide bomber.
- “Eye of the Beholder” (Nov 2009) — Peter’s new enthusiasm just ran into a bit of a snag.
- “Key Insight” (Nov 2009) — What do you do when your son announces that he’s become a Martian?
The following stories may become a series.
- “The A Word” (Jun 2006) — Equality can be a moving target.
- “Edifice of Lies” (Feb 2008) — If thoughts are things, how much around you was built with them?