Friday, February 7, 2020

Luna Anthology: The Hyland Resolution by Justin Tarquin

I mus admit to quite enjoying The Hyland resolution.

Here, the description.

It works better if you read it in the voice of Rod Serling. But then, so do most things.

Charles Hyland is a harmless mathematics professor on an academic junket. When his fellow faculty are caught in the crossfire of an interplanetary war, their only hope is that Charles can extricate himself from the labyrinth of his own mind.





I got the germ of the idea that became the story “The Hyland Resolution” about four years ago next month. I remember because I know what sparked it: it was the episode “For The Girl Who Has Everything” of SUPERGIRL, in which our heroine was attacked by a Kryptonian critter called a Black Mercy (because the Kryptonians used it as a humane method of execution). The Black Mercy’s venom or whatever induces a coma filled with dreams that fulfill the victim’s deepest desires, before ultimately killing him—unless he somehow rejects the happy fantasy.

I only watched the first five or ten minutes, because by the end of its first season I had had my fill of this series and was only tuning in occasionally for long enough to see if the basic idea seemed interesting. Sometime if I only see the beginning of a story, I can abstract out the basic problem that drives the plot and think of a completely different way to present and handle it that might make a good original story. (Perry Mason seems to inspire me that way sometimes.)

I’m probably not the only one who does this: this particular episode’s idea has been around the block many times. I see in Wikipedia that the Supergirl writers cribbed it from a Superman comic (“For The Man Who Has Everything”: even thriftily reusing 83% of the title), and my brother tells me there was an episode of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER on the same idea. 

Declan Finn, our worthy LUNA editor, pointed me to an episode of BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (a very good series I’d never watched till then) where Bruce Wayne is trapped in a dream in which he had never become Batman, because his parents had never been killed. How far back does this plot concept go, I wonder? Does it trace back to the scene where Odysseus loses some crewmen to the Lotus Eaters?

I don’t know how the SUPERGIRL writers handled it, though my guess would be that it involved a lot of emoting and sharing of feelings. But as I thought about it myself, I realized two things: first, that I did have an original idea how a person could be snapped out of such a fantasy; and second, that my protagonist would be a mathematician. To say more would be to give spoilers. I drafted a very short piece, set on Earth, about a math professor named Charles Hyland. But my first draft seemed to be lacking vitality; I shelved it without even giving it a title and went on with other things for awhile.

With Luna, I remembered my draft and returned to it.

It needed fleshing out, and the themes of the anthology provided direction for how I could proceed. Dreams, check. Madness, well, check. Loneliness and despair? What if my mathematician, Charles N. Hyland (the N is for Norbert, but that never comes up in the story), is a man of many troubles, who uses mathematics as an escape for thinking of things that upset him? The Moon … I moved my setting to a university on the Moon in the early days of its colonization, a university in a Lunar city, established by Christians from Central and South America, fleeing the religious persecution of the increasingly secularized governments on Earth, named El Redentor: Spanish for “The Redeemer”. (None of this comes up in the story, either.) The ubiquitous AI that Hyland consults sometimes, like an advanced web search application, I named Thoth, after the Egyptian god of wisdom, records, and the Moon; and I put in a couple other faint allusions (or Easter eggs) of moony lore.

As for the theme of despair, I pulled in an idea I have about the coming century of colonization of the Solar System, that I think SF writers have short-changed … namely, war. For some reason, as far as I know, everyone seems to imagine that the opening up of vast stretches of new real estate on the Moon and elsewhere will all be handled in as peaceful and orderly a fashion as a session of Congress devoted to voting themselves a raise. On the contrary, to me it seems natural that some spots on the Moon and elsewhere are going to be particularly desirable, and the colonizers will inevitably come into conflict over them and turn to their various governments on Earth to defend their interests. The Moon may be a pretty violent place for its first few decades … plenty of conflict for stories, and excuse for despair.

So how would my absent-minded Professor Hyland deal with wartime emergencies? He’d go through the motions while striving to keep his mind on his mathematics. That could give me a nice opening scene, developing his character in the midst of some intense action. At least for me, the opening scene is good for a chuckle.

By the way, for those who enjoy number puzzles (I can never understand why there aren’t more of us), the story contains one or two, understated and in no way essential to enjoying the story, but solvable. Nothing fancy—rather like figuring out why Spock said there were 1,771,561 tribbles in the grain bin that emptied out over Captain Kirk.


Declan and Jagi liked “The Hyland Resolution”, and then we had a long wait as the production of Superversive Press’s Planetary Anthology series slowed down to a halt, and ultimately the publishing enterprise that had produced a lot of good reading closed its doors. 

But Tuscany Bay Books picked up the project and has issued Pluto and Luna with a new look. “The Hyland Resolution” is one of 22 stories in this 600+ page volume. I’ve enjoyed the ones I’ve read so far.

BUY LUNA HERE!!!!!

Justin M. Tarquin has lived about fifteen forty-thirds of his life (so far) in the Chicago area, and remembers going to John Paul II’s Mass in Grant Park just a few weeks after he moved there. From this you can work out his age to within a month if you feel so inclined. By day he tries to pay the mortgage by making spreadsheets and databases yield up their secrets, and in the evening he cooks dinner for his family. His enchiladas, though perhaps not worth dying for, would surely be worth a light maiming: say, two or three hit points. If he has a few minutes free when no one is looking, he is probably having entirely too much fun with some number puzzle; but if he gets a few hours, he will be found reading or writing science fiction and fantasy in the basement. His goal as a writer is to make readers feel the way he does when he watches How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966), at the part where the Grinch’s heart grows three sizes bigger.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Steve Johnson on "The Doom that Came to Necropolis", for Luna

This is one of those intros that just lent itself to Rod Serling.

Don't believe me?

Ahem

Necropolis is a small town, complete with small town values and small town myths. Unbeknownst to them, their doom is about to arrive, riding a motorcycle, clad in a leather jacket and armed with the weapons of science. His mission is simple, but about to trigger a war that can only be waged in … the Lunar zone.
See what I mean?



“Necropolis” came about when I was working on prose styles, which should more honestly be called slavishly copying E.E. “Doc” Smith. His Lensmen are super-competent, with more options and resources than your average superhero, so they don’t spend a lot of time tracking down purse snatchers. I needed an enemy, and who’s better than Cthulhu?

This led to “what would a story in which a Lensman went up against Cthulhu sound like?” Both Lovecraft and Smith used complex sentences with many dependent clauses, a wide vocabulary, and even similar simile-stacking compound-comparison stupendously starkly adjectivial exaggerations! So I was able to work out a pretty dead-on combination of their styles.

That was more important to me, actually, then who was in it or what happened! Bruce Glassco, a fellow Clarionite who created the game “Betrayal at the House on the Hill”, suggested a typically hapless Lovecraft protagonist to play up the contrast, and boy did that help. Most of the story is Monk-and-Ham, Remo-and-Chuin bickering and banter, until the plot literally kicks in the door and makes them stop.

I’m still in love with the idea, by the way. I recently debuted the first chapter of a novella pitting a Doc Savage imitation against a very close copy of Cthulhu, without quite giving copyright lawyers any reason to salivate in anticipation.  Now the clear-eyed hero has a coterie of friends to help him, and a significantly bigger threat to deal with. If it works, expect a whole series of Space Men vs. the Great Old Ones stories, each bigger, more over-the-top, and more fun than the last. It would be nice to have a pulp formula like Doc Savage did, to keep the series going forever, but the big question for me in any series concept is “can you top this?”

 BUY LUNA HERE


Steven G. Johnson has reported on crimes, butchered pineapple, reviewed comic books and now teaches high school. A book-a-day man from way back, he can quote passages of Starship Troopers and the Lensman series from memory, which would be terribly useful if they were given equal weight in the curriculum to Shakespeare. That would be the only advantage of giving them equal weight to Shakespeare: the increase of Steven G. Johnson's educational usefulness. He has told convention audiences that the important things remain important, no matter what century or fictive universe: love, death, fear, power, loyalty, friendship, war and family. The crunchy bits like zombie biker sorcery from Mars are wonderfully tasty, but they are not the meal. He thinks the scariest two-word phrase in the language is "Aztec dentist" and is not at all sure he would like hearing an even scarier one. Steve and his wife, historical author Virginia C. Johnson, reside in Fredericksburg, Virginia in an old house with a tower, with their son, Benedict von Graf, their loyal dog Max, and a stable of cats. The dog is also stable. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

LA Behm on Another Fine day in the Corps, in the Luna Anthology

As I've done for the past few days, I've been posting from the various and sundry people who contributed to the Luna anthology. 

Another Fine Day in the Corps was originally scheduled for the Dark half of the anthology.

And no, I didn't put it there for the swear words. 

Sigh. Another "shoulda woulda coulda" from Luna

Had I thought about it more, I would have gone back and put back some of the swearing. Oops.

The short version of the story is simple.

Some days, you get the bear.

Some days, the bear is packing mortar rounds.


Another Fine Day in the Corps,
or where did it come from?
L.A. Behm II

A question I get asked a lot (as do most of the other authors I talk with) is where do you get the ideas for your stories.  This one I'm blaming on a creative writing course, the video game X-Com 2 and really bad late night TV.

So, twenty mumble odd years ago, I took a creative writing class in college, more as a lark than anything else.  One of the things that the professor posited to the class as a whole was that you, as an author, could start a story in any manner you wanted.  Of course, there was someone who disagreed.  They specifically said 'Oh, but surely you can't start a story with profanity'.  The professor grinned and looked at me.  As a non-traditional student – twenty eight and working on my second degree – I was the go to guy when the professor wanted the opinion or a statement from someone who was old enough to drink.  I pointed out that I'd read stories that started with everything but the queen mother of swear words -as Ralphie in A Christmas Story puts it - and I had a few thoughts about starting a story with that one.  Needless to say, that got me a very huffy response.  

Fast forward a few years (twenty one or so), and I'm sitting in the living room playing X-Com2, while my father in law watches some inane war movie on TV.  And by inane, I mean really, really horribly bad.  They were doing the kind of things that'd get you killed in other war movies, let alone real life.  That, along with the mission name I'd just been given in X-Com (Babylonian Sword) struck a chord with me and I sat there and wrote a 1000 word flash fiction story, called Operation Babylonian Sword.  Which, honestly sat on my computer, looking forlorn for a long time, until Declan put out a call for submissions for Luna.  

When the submission call went out, I dusted off the micro story, tweaked it a bit, and sent it in.  The rest, as they say, is a lot of hard work.  Edits were made.  Emails were sent.  More edits were made. Word choices were reconsidered – my characters tend to speak in expletives, in part because I spent way to much time around the USMC, and expletives are used there like most normal folks use 'uh'.  I toned them down . . . well, a bit.  

Enjoy the story!

BUY LUNA HERE.

L.A. Behm I: Born and raised in Texas, he's done a bit of everything - civilian contractor in Iraq, volunteer fireman, warehouseman, mortician's assistant, newspaper opinion columnist, tech support, logistics coordination, poet, and even driven a bus for a while. A two time graduate of Southwest Texas State University, he spends his days writing Sci-Fi and Fantasy, painting miniatures, and watching his cats perform parkour. 

Monday, February 3, 2020

Luna Anthology: Samaritan, by Karl Gallagher

When I was put in charge of the Luna anthology, my first choice was to approach people I knew and could rely on. On authors who I knew would come through.

Karl was easily one of my first choices. His Torchship Trilogy was a finalist for the 2018 Prometheus Award for Best Libertarian Science Fiction Novel... and it was nowhere near as squicky as Stranger in a Strange Land.

When bioengineered germs are floating on the wind, the only way for the Amish to avoid high technology is to move to the Moon. But even in that splendid desolation you can't help seeing the neighbors sometimes.




"Samaritan." Thomas' people settled on the Moon to avoid contamination from biotech and nanotech gadgets. But when a high-tech spacer crashes Thomas must risk exile from his home to save the stranger's life.


As our world experiments with new technology, it's hard to be in the control group. Peer pressure forces people to buy smartphones and join Facebook. GMO-phobes find their "pure" veggies are catching pollen from improved plants. When we have nanotech robots and artificial bacteria it'll be even harder to block unwanted tech.

So what's someone wanting the simple life to do? Move away. Far away.

To someplace where no breeze can carry the latest invention into your yard. Naturally there's no place on Earth like that--we only have the one atmosphere.

The true control group will have to live on the Moon, separated by vacuum from technology they don't trust. But who'd want to live without the latest and greatest toys? We already have them: the Amish, better known as "Old Order" communites, and Hutterite and other denominations who form isolated farming communities separate from modern society.

Would they be willing to move to the Moon? Certainly not all. But if that's the only way to prevent nanobots infiltrating their bloodstream, some would. They'd likely be subsidized by the kinds of billionaires who worry about AIs and other existential risks, and this wouldn't be an option until there are existing lunar settlements.

So in the year 2100 there may be a portion of the Moon "off limits" to current technology, inhabited by religious settlers using technology close to the Apollo era.

I originally conceived that idea for the GURPS Transhuman Space roleplaying setting. This is a game where where a dead person's mind copied into a robot is an almost boring character. I wanted to create a foil for the transhumanist weirdness flooding the setting, and a runaway Amish kid in space seemed just the ticket.

Some years later it came back to me as I was brainstorming a new story. Rather than make my viewpoint character a runaway I chose someone who wants to stay home and settle down. When he sees a "modern" injured after his spaceship crashes there's a dilemma--help the stranger or keep himself safe?

BUY LUNA HERE.

Karl K. Gallagher is a systems engineer, currently performing data analysis for a major aerospace company. In the past he calculated trajectories for a commercial launch rocket start-up, operated satellites as a US Air Force officer, and selected orbits for government and commercial satellites. Karl lives in Saginaw, TX with his family. His novels Torchship, Torchship Pilot, and Torchship Captain are available on Amazon and Audible.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Luna Anthology: Squeeze on the Moon, by Lou Antonelli

We got the Dragon Award finalist Lou Antonelli to talk about writing his short story Squeeze on the Moon

There’s history, and there’s alternate history, and then there’s secret history- when the tale told is fantastical but doesn’t conflict with the public record. Here’s a little tale of an exploration you’ll never hear about in the media. You wonder about these little government projects sometimes, don’t you?

It's Lou doing alternate history. How can you say no?


An expert in disaster recovery gets the opportunity of a lifetime – plus a little walk down memory lane. Sometimes you find nostalgia in the strangest of locales.


Over the years I’ve had songs become the prod, if not the basis, of a number of short stories. Song titles can be useful hooks to get the author off high center and putting words on paper – or pixels. Stories I have written that take off from song titles include “Hearts Made of Stone”, “Rome, If You Want To”, “Stuck in the Middle with You”, “Video Killed the Radio Star”, among others,

A song can be an excellent way of setting a story’s locale in time. Also, sometimes you can work it into the plot. For example, in my short story “The Return of Alfred Bester”, a crucial clue is given when one character mentions Fontella Bass as a way of giving someone a signal. The clue being Fontella Bass was a one-hit wonder from the 1960s, but that one hit was the song “Rescue Me”.

The music of my youth was the British New Wave, or Second Wave, whatever you want to call it – of the late 1970s and 1980s. When I heard the call for the Luna anthology, I recalled the song “Wrong Side of the Moon” by Squeeze from the album Argybargy. That was in 1980.

That got the gears turning, and so led to the story “Squeeze on the Moon” for the Luna anthology. It’s probably an unusual creative process, but it’s mine and I’m sticking to it.

One thing spec fic allows the author, and reader, to do is venture forth and explore without leaving his or her armchair. “Squeeze on the Moon” is that of story. This harkens back to the old days when a sense of wonder and “I wonder what’s out there?” drove so many stories. Literary science fiction has retreated and contracted into home-bound political correctness. Even when a story is set in the future or outer space, it’s just another left-wing fantasy.

I cut my teeth as a reader in the days before mainstream science fiction was politicized liberal bullshit, and so I like to think my stories still go back to those days when the future was bright and it was all still out there to be explored.

The millennial’s attitude towards spec fic seems to be “The world (or the future) sucks and so do we.” It’s projection from a generation of losers raised by the generation of traitors who collaborated with the Soviet Union so the U.S. would lose the Vietnam War.

Hopefully, we’ll see things slowly turn around. In the meanwhile, I think of Psalm 118:22: “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”

BUY LUNA HERE.

A life-long science fiction reader, Lou Antonelli turned his hand to writing fiction in middle age; his first story was published in 2003 when he was 46. Since then he has had 86 short stories published in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia, in venues such as Asimov's Science Fiction, Jim Baen's Universe, Dark Recesses, Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine, Greatest Uncommon Denominator (GUD), and Daily Science Fiction, among others.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Richard Paolinelli on writing Polar Shift for Luna

This part of the anthology, Polar Shift, was described as: One morning, Sam Peck’s biggest worry was serving as best man at his friend’s wedding once they returned to Earth from the base on the Moon. Before the day was over his biggest worry would be finding out whether or not he is the last living human being in the entire universe.

Some days are not worth getting up in the morning.


Richard Paolinelli on writing 

What would you do if, in one terrible instant, you went from being one of seven billion to possibly the only remaining living human being anywhere in the universe? Would you fight on to live one more day, hoping to find another survivor? Or would you go mad? Or maybe both?

So here I am, minding my own business, trying to get my next sci-fi novel started and completed before Christmas 2017 when somebody comes up with the brilliant idea to do an 11-volume planetary anthology.

As God is my witness, I tried to ignore the siren call. Really, I did. I stuck fingers in my ears and yelled “lalalalalalalalalalala!!!!!” at the top of my voice. 

For all of 10 seconds. 

Because it was at that point that one brain cell bumped into another (Yes, Virginia, I have more than one of them rattling around up there) and I recalled that I had notes for an anthology I wanted to write and most of the stories were perfectly aligned with many of the themes in this Planetary Anthology series.

“Darn you!!!!” I yelled, in the same tones us old guys use when we yell at those durn kids to get off of our lawns, and then quickly set down and got to work. 

And as if I wasn’t getting my schedule disrupted enough, Declan Finn e-mails me an invite to write something for Luna.

“Darn you, Declan!!!” I yelled, in the same tones an Exorcist uses when telling a demon “The power of Christ compels you!”, and with just about as much affect.

So I rummaged through the notes and came up with “Polar Shift”, a story about a man who suddenly finds himself the last known survivor of a cataclysm that has apparently eradicated the human race, with one exception. How he deals with his sudden isolation, with little hope of it ever ending, while trying to avoid slipping into madness, is the point of this story.

This story along with all of the others I submitted to this series – with one exception – is part of what would have been “The Last Humans Anthology I was planning to release in 2019. The overall theme is one human being, alone, trying to overcome an obstacle or impossible situation.

I hope you enjoy this story, along with the others that will appear in this series. Meanwhile, I’ll be getting back to work on that delayed novel from last year with hopes of getting it done.

Unless of course I get another e-mail…

BUY LUNA HERE

Richard Paolinelli began his writing career as a freelance writer in 1984 and gained his first fiction credit serving as the lead writer for the first two issues of the Elite Comics sci-fi/fantasy series, Seadragon. His sports writing career spans stops in New Mexico, Arizona and California. In 2010, Richard retired as a sportswriter and returned to his fiction writing roots. Since then he has written several novels – including the Dragon Award Finalist (Best Sci-Fi Novel), Escaping Infinity – three Sherlock Holmes pastiches, two non-fiction sports books and three novelettes. He is serving as co-editor for one of the 11 volumes of Tuscany Bay's Planetary Anthologies (Pluto) and will have his own short stories in several of the other volumes. His third full-length science-fiction novel, When The Gods Fell, is scheduled to be released on September 1, 2018 by Tuscany Bay Books. He is also a partner in Tuscany Bay Books with Jim Christina and founded the Science Fiction & Fantasy Creators Guild (www.sffcguild.com) a not-for-profit organization aimed at promoting science-fiction and fantasy and its creators in many media platforms.


Escaping Infinity has been nominated for 2017 Dragon Awards Best Sci-Fi Novel; 2017 Readers' Favorite Awards - Honorable Mention; 2017 New Apple Summer E-Book Awards - Official Selection; 2017 ETWG Blue Ribbon Book Cover Contest – 2nd Place. Also won the 2001 California Newspaper Publishers Association award for Best Sports Story.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

William Lehman on writing Vulcan III for Luna

Today we have another author who contributed to the Luna Anthology, William Lehman.

His story is Vulcan III: The first step to Mars was a refueling station on Luna.  Building it would take a special crew. Selected for compatibility, engineering savvy, and mental toughness.  This was their story.



When Declan approached me about this project, I had only written one short story in my life, and it hadn't been published yet. (It can be found in "Secret Stairs: a tribute to urban legend") But I grew up reading Heinlein, Clark and Asimov so I thought I would take a crack at it. 

We were headed out to the coast for a long weekend (thanksgiving) and the whole way there this story was biting at the back of my neck.

I got so excited about this project that I wrote it over that weekend, in fact over just under two days of it, with space in there for walks on the beach.

My original intent had been to do a stand alone, but now I think this will turn out to be a distant prequel to the space opera series that I'll be writing when I get done with one or two more in my current series. Commander Bradford will be an ancestor of the hero of the piece, and an overnight at Frozen Base will be the final exercise before being sworn in as an officer of the United Space Service.


BUY LUNA HERE

William Lehman Joined the navy at 17, and spent the next 20 years as a Submarine Sonar technician during the end of the cold war, and through Gulf war one. He finished out his Navy career as the Work Programs Director at the Naval Brig Bangor WA and as a Reserve officer for the Bremerton Police department. Learning nothing, he went right back to work for the Navy as a civilian. He's the author of the John Fisher Novels Harvest of Evil, and Keeping the Faith, with Shadow War coming soon. He's also an avid elk hunter, a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism and a Freemason. He currently lives in western Washington, with his wife, and various dogs and cats, the children being grown and on their own.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The Night My Father Shot the Werewolf, by Josh Griffing

The boys in Mrs. Carroll's third-grade class learned a lot last year, about things like cursive, and multiplying, and werewolves.

Welcome to the Luna anthology.

Things are gonna be strange.



When a boy is nine, his Dad is the most important person in his life, and he should be able to look to Dad to defeat the monsters that hunt in the dark.  Sean Grady always knew his Dad would do whatever it took to keep the family safe:  this is Sean’s story.

I didn’t really write this one with the Luna Anthology in mind: in fact it was declined by Intergalactic Medicine Show before I’d even heard of the project.  I wrote it as an examination of a man’s duty to watch over his family and the measures that duty may require of him.

In some ways it’s a very personal story:  I used my own initials for the Dad and like him, I have something of a temper at times. One reader who saw the self-caricature even asked “Is there something you need to tell me?” But the events and—aside from a few broad lines of memoir—the characters are entirely the product of my overactive imagination. 

 A nod to Stephen King’s “Cycle of the Werewolf” is in order, if only subliminally, and a nod to the architects of leaky old schools in Southern cities where I daydreamed in my formative years.

The question of lycanthropy has long fascinated me, in terms of the division between human and animal identity, and the issue of the “moral monster” that Larry Correia handles so well in his MHI books, especially Alpha and Nemesis.  In fact, without a moral axis to the universe, one cannot well call a monster “evil” or call evil “monstrous”.  Even in H. P. Lovecraft, the horrors and demons that lurk behind the wrongness of the shadows seem to be merely Other and their terror is as much in the physical threats they pose or the psychic chaos of their divergence from the natural world.  Because Lovecraft’s amoralist world offers no Good, the evils he depicts cannot be defeated or even quite acknowledged before “The Rats in the Walls” devour all.

But in a moral universe, Good may conquer Evil, and even when it’s buried, it rises again to destroy the corruption.  This principle is a common trope in the old Lon Cheney Jr. wolfman films and much of the werewolf genre, and in the Hammer flick “The Gorgon” (1965) as well, when the monsters’ deaths revert them to their proper human forms, in honor (acknowleged or not) of the imagio dei within.  

In the fourth chapter of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar tells of God’s punishing his hubris with boanthropy—though no physical mutation happens—for seven years, and in Kipling’s famous Jungle Books, Mowgli grows up as a human boy among the wolves and beasts of the Indian jungle. Again and again, the theme of man’s distinction from the beasts he resembles is a source of wonder and inquiry, and many cultures share some form of a shape-shifter myth of creatures that are neither quite man or beast.  

Is it demonic, or a virus, or magic, or a long-muddied record of some other event long since forgotten, like dragons and giants and  world-washing floods?  Wherever the Man-among-Beasts comes from, it is the moral agency and duty of Man, integral to who he is as Man (or what C. S. Lewis called hnau in his Space Trilogy), that differentiates werewolves from almost every other monster genre, and without humanity as hnau, the monster might be called “werewolf” or “loup-garou”, but the result is merely one more generically shape-shifting monster story.

But I have said almost too much already.  Go get the anthology and read it for yourself!

Josh Griffing is an Army Reservist in Georgia who writes when he can, and reads when he can get away with it. 

He has two young children, four insolent cats, and a pair of small and yappy dogs. Amazingly, his wife is still very nearly sane, and for this he is eternally grateful.  

He blogs sometimes at https://subcreated-worlds.com/.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Tuscany Bay's Planetary Anthology: Luna

Image may contain: text
I am now happy to announce that Luna, the Planetary anthology I edited for Tuscany Bay, is live.

If you recall from when this project was first proposed, Luna was about madness, despair, dreams and illusions.

You know, all of the cheery subjects.

This will also debut the second short story by my wife, listed here as Margot St. Aubin.

Of course she's under an alias. Neither one of us want to be an easy target.

Luna has the following stories and authors.

These are the tales of the orb that lights our night sky and drives the tides of our oceans. The bright companion that orbits our planet, invades our dreams and drives us mad.

The Curse and the Covenant by Ann Margaret Lewis – Tal, in the land of Ur, is son to a Lord. When a demon offers his father a gift to make him and his people like gods, Tal knows it’s a bad idea.

The Doom that Came to Necropolis, by Steve Johnson – Necropolis is a small town, complete with small town values and small town myths. Unbeknownst to them, their doom is about to arrive, riding a motorcycle, and armed with the weapons of science.

How to Train your Werewolf, by Margot St. Aubin – Jason Branch recently escaped from a home for the insane. His only goal now is to rest and be left alone in the woods. But when strangers decide that the same stretch of land would be perfect for their needs, they will soon discover Jason's true madness.

Luna Sea, by Jody Lynn Nye – the moon can be a harsh mistress … or can she?

Regolith, by Penelope Laird – How far would you go to prevent your favorite band from being kidnapped and held for ransom on the Moon?

Crazy like an Elf, by Declan Finn – When astronomer Barbara Davis hired a private security firm, she didn’t expect a man who claimed to be from Middle Earth.

Samaritan, by Karl Gallagher – Thomas' people settled on the Moon to avoid contamination from biotech and nanotech gadgets. But when a high-tech spacer crashes Thomas must risk exile from his home to save the stranger's life.

Moonboy, by Karina L. Fabian – Cory Taylor is the first boy born on the moon and may just be the first to die on it. But his first attempt to leave the moon may move up that date to closer than even he expects.

Fly Me To the Moon, by Mark Wandrey – Annmarie Smith dreamed of going to space, and she finally succeeds in creating a company to mine water on the moon. Everything looks great, until alien first contact makes it all much, much more complicated.

The Hyland Resolution, by Justin Tarquin – Charles Hyland is caught in the crossfire of an interplanetary war, their only hope is that Charles can extricate himself from the labyrinth of his own mind.

Another Fine Day in the Corps, by L.A. Behm II – Some days you get the bear. Some days, the bear is packing mortar rounds.

The Mask of Dhuran Zur, by John C. Wright – Some manuscripts you just shouldn’t read.

Elwood, by Bokerah Brumley – Mysterious things happen to Emma Kelly when she meets the lunatic gypsy at the end of the lane and the gypsy's invisible pĂșca.

Much Madness is Divinest Sense, by Lori Janeski-- A madman doesn't usually believe that he's insane. But the ones who are truly dangerous are the ones who not only believe it, but embrace it.

The Night my Father Shot the Werewolf, by Josh Griffing – The boys in Mrs. Carroll's third-grade class learned a lot last year, about things like cursive, and multiplying, and werewolves.

The Black Dogs of Luna, by Paul Go – The crew of the Sirocco find a nightmare of the ages on the Moon.

Despot Hold ’em, by Caroline Furlong – You have to know when to hold them, know when to fold them. But most importantly of all, know when to run.

Polar Shift, by Richard Paolinelli – After the pole's shift, Sam Peck may just be the last living human being in the entire universe.

The Price of Sanity, by A.M. Freeman – Never make deals with the unknown. Especially when it's paying for your freedom with your soul.

Vulcan III, by William Lehman – Unfortunately for the crew of "Scorpion" the Vulcan III, the moon is the harshest engineering environment we've ever built in, especially when something goes wrong.

Merry By Gaslight, by L. Jagi Lamplighter – What if that million-dollar mansion you hardly dare to long for were so much less than you deserved.

Squeeze on the Moon, by Lou Antonelli – An expert in disaster recovery gets the opportunity of a lifetime – plus a little walk down memory lane.

So, yeah. 

This party is just getting started.

Tuscany Bay is an awesome press, lead by a true mensch and an awesome professional in Richard Paolinelli who made certain that this anthology would still happen, and that the last two years worth of work wouldn't be in vain, on the part of either the authors or the editors.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Top ten blogs of all time (2020)

Once upon a time, I used to do this every hundred posts or so. But last year, I was busy with the books, and remembering to do a mailing list when I  could, and self-publishing novels. 

These are the most popular blogs of all time. I can't even tell you how most people found them. But people have liked them. A lot. 

And if you're new here, this will give you a sample of what it's like to be here on a regular basis.

Here we go.



10) The Story of Moira Greyland continues

If you don't know who Moira Greyland is, you will soon. All this blog post was about was simply a discussion of Moira's largely biographical work The Last Closet -- I say largely because she bounces from her life to various and sundry issues behind and around her life.


This was basically how I built my vampire universe for the Love at First Bite series. Elements I've stolen from philosophy, theology, a Star Wars video game called Knights of the Old Republic. There was a lot of miscellaneous theft going on that tied together in a nice neat little deranged bow.


The 2017 Hugo Awards were about as bad as you'd expect. I think that was the last time I paid them even a modicum of attention.

7) A Short Biography of a Catholic Vampire

Another Love at First Bite post. As a historian, I do so enjoy the hidden world genre. It gives me an excuse to get creative with history -- all of the fun of alternate history, without having to write a full butterfly effect of what happens next.

6) Sex, DC Comics, and ... wtf?

2011 is when DC Comics unveiled their New 52 lineup of comic books ... and stopping just short of an R-rating,. with bad character design, bad artwork, and bad choices.

5) Sad Puppies Bite Back

The fever dream that started it all. 

Take a fracas going on in fandom, a rash of SWATting happening in the real world, and throw it in for mental processing when someone can't sleep at two in the morning.

4) Who would Captain America vote for? An election special

I posted a few days before Election 2012. So I can guess why this made it so high.


3) Disasters to Marvel At: A Comic Discussion.

This was the day I got fed up with Marvel comics going to pot. It had less to politics at the time and more to do with really terrible decisions by the writers. This included all of Civil War and One more Day.

2) A Review of Death Note (Anime)
This is exactly what it says in the title. 

This one also came out of no where. Posted in 2017, it only picked up steam last year. Every day between April and July, it maintained hundreds of hits PER DAY. There was no particular place it came from or reasons for it. It just was.


1) Politics Kills Mercedes Grabowski (August Ames)

This is the story of a woman in pornography, bullied to death by leftist douche bags of Twitter. And it pissed me off because she was only 23.

I can guess how this made the #1 spot. I mentioned porn. Apparently, it's popular, even when people are reading about non-sexual content. Who knew?

Anyway. I hope you find them enjoyable. 

You can check out any and all of my latest books here

If you like, you can sign up for my mailing list here

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Music to write to: Kamelot - Forever (Cover by Minniva)

Kamelot is a strange group. But they have a good sound. 

Minniva, who's ...somewhere in Europe (she sounds like a friend of mine who's Russian) does a great impression of the lead singer's style.

Enjoy.  And while you're here, check out some of the books on the right margin.






If you like, you can sign up for my mailing list here

Monday, January 13, 2020

2020 Hindsight

A new year has arrived. Time to get serious ... about ... something.

Let's start simple.

If I had to do all of this all over again, would I?

Probably not the same way, no.

At this point in my life, I can look back and see that I've wasted years.

Follow the bouncing ball of my brain a little.

2000-2004, I spent time in college, getting two bachelor's degrees and a masters degrees.

One bachelor's degree in Philosophy gave me five books (Love at First Bite, A Philosophy for Living).

The other BA and the Master's gave me six books (five books of The Pius Trilogy, For all their wars are Merry).

One undergraduate glass in theology led to six books and counting.

Then I made the mistake of going for a PhD.

Why mistake? A PhD is a good thing to have. It makes one qualified to teach at any educational institution. 

One, I didn't know then that "PhD" at this particular university meant that you could glad-hand and fellate the egos of the right professors at the right time, instead of you know, doing the work. Work I could do easily enough. Politicking? Not so much.

I jumped ship in December of 2006, never to return.

From 2007-2012, I wasted even more time, going the "proper" route in publication. 

So, from 2005-2012, I should probably have been writing books. If you think I write fast now, just imagine how much faster I'd be writing if I had 7 more years of practice. Or how many more books I would have written? I'd be closing in on 30 books by now. Maybe more.

In retrospect, I should have gotten a minor in graphic design so I could make book covers. Or courses in marketing for advertising books.

Hell. Technically, I should have become an electrician. By this point, I'd be making six figures a year, and I could write books in my spare time about how to burn houses down with the right wiring... or the improper wiring.

Anyway, at the end of the day, I'm not doing too terrible. I met my wife because of my books. I have a fan base I enjoy interacting with.

Besides. I've been compelled to write stories since I was 16. I didn't really have an option about writing. it's always just been a matter of what the content was.

Anyway. 

For reasons of sanity, this year will be slightly slower than last year. 2019 saw the publication of nine books. Not counting the anthologies.

2020 will see me writing a little less and editing more. I have books in my queue that I haven't looked at in a decade. And the last time I edited stuff and released it, it went over fairly well.

There will also be more Saint Tommy books en route. Though probably not another six this year.

If you have a minute, check my books on Amazon, (here or on the right margin) and save a life -- left a review.

Be well all, and happy new year.