Jack Alcott, Grim Legion
Colin P. Davies, Tall Tales on the Iron Horse
Sam Ivey, Gilboy’s Quest
Martin Kerharo, The Dohani War
Harry Lang, The Mountains of the Eldritch Sea
Danielle L. Parker, In a Pig’s Eye
Michael E. Lloyd, Donna’s Men
Michael E. Lloyd, Missing Emilie
Michael E. Lloyd, Observation One
Michael E. Lloyd, Observation Two
Michael E. Lloyd, Observation Three
Slawomir Rapala, Aezubah: the Crimson General
|The 2010 Mariner Awards: Short Stories and Prose|
A mystery story featuring Edgar Allan Poe during his brief time as a cadet at West Point.
“Alas! The grim legion of sepulchral terrors cannot be regarded as altogether fanciful ... they must sleep or they will devour us — they must be suffered to slumber, or we perish.” — Edgar Allan Poe
It’s a little-known fact that Edgar Allan Poe was expelled from the military academy at West Point in 1831 after only six months as a cadet. To this day, the reasons for the 21-year old’s court-martial are sketchy. This historical suspense novel fills in the missing pieces.
Take a ride on the rails of fantasy as you journey to Titan inside the bowels of the Iron Horse. Witness a terrifying and deadly new game and meet a monster who will love you to death. Spend a little time with alien tourists, visit a real cardboard character, and dine in a restaurant where the food is expensive, but life is cheap.
Inventive and original, heartfelt and just plain funny, you will find nineteen fresh and surprising stories (including three new, never-before published) awaiting you in the first collection of short fiction from Colin P. Davies.
Bernard Gilboy undertakes a monumental solo voyage across the Pacific.
“Alone on the raging ocean, alone in my craft I ride,
Alone on the foaming billows, in all their crested pride,
No man before hath ventured, alone, so far to sail;
Nor mind hath ever yet conceived a ship so small, so frail.”
Sydney Punch - February 17, 1883, Sydney, Australia
Some centuries in the future, humanity is locked in an interstellar war with the Dohani, a technologically advanced species of fearsome, reptilian-like appearance. The war has ground to a stalemate that cannot be resolved as long as humans and the Dohani and have no way to communicate.
Lieutenant Dexter Zimski leads a commando squad in a raid on a Dohani base and returns with a bizarre captive, one who looks for all the world like a 16-year old human girl. She is given the name “Jane.” But the question remains not “Who is she?” but “What is she?” Human? Dohani? Neither? Both?
Jane appears not to use anything resembling a human language, but she begins to communicate through body language and by drawing pictures. Meanwhile, the Dohani are going to extraordinary lengths to rescue her. Jane and Dexter are moved to a world near the center of human space. Humans and the Dohani are now playing for high stakes. Another question becomes urgent: what is at stake?
A recurring nightmare gives its dreamers glimpses of the destiny of the world. This collection of short stories takes us to the mythical planet Thal, where the people of the vanishing First Faith do battle with the worshippers of the demonic Ultra-gods. Prophecies and miracles are pitted against treachery and brutality but the greatest power is found in the smallest things.
Donna Burgess is suffering a crisis of identity, following a startling revelation made by her “mother” on her deathbed. Donna’s attempts to escape from this crisis have brought on hallucinations and associated delusions. The most precious ingredients of her personal life — the greatest works of Western architecture — soon become the object of these ever-worsening experiences, their façades falling victim to heartless swapping over by forces unknown. Donna determines to fight back, but will anybody take her seriously, or even lend a helping hand ...?
Fifty years earlier, young Peter Kerr re-encounters his twin sister Jane, who was killed in a freak accident when they were only eighteen months old, but has come back to be with him in spirit. She offers him her devotion and her “guidance” throughout his childhood years ...
And some way into the future, Peter’s elder brother Robert, who is now seventy-one, has just enlisted the help of a regular volunteer “Visitor” at his latest Residential Home. Mrs Donna Wilkins has been happy to agree to his request to capture his “little tale of myself and my family” on her voice recorder and transcribe it for him. But everything is not as homely as it seems ...
Arthur Narone is desperate to forget one awful episode from his sorry, post-war orphan’s childhood, but he simply cannot. Perhaps that is why he has taken to late-night joyriding around the streets and hillsides of Nice in expensive borrowed cars. But that largely harmless pastime has got him into far greater trouble than a caution or two from the local gendarmerie. Arthur has been talent-spotted by the lowest of the Riviera underworld, and he is made an “offer he can’t refuse” by the similarly press-ganged leader of a makeshift bunch of putative bank robbers.
The “encouragement” for his co-operation consists largely of dire threats to the well-being of his girlfriend Emilie, cabaret musician extraordinaire. He decides not to burden her with his latest troubles, but when the robbery goes all wrong she is dragged unwittingly into the dangerous aftermath .....
Europe, March 2003: In an unseen sphere, a Radimote is born and glides to land, invisible still, but watching and listening and ready to roll. Its undetectable Handlers have travelled far from “Dome” to study this newly-identified world.
They soon endow their virtual missionary with an elegant human form. Her first target is music student Toni Murano, who haplessly follows the siren’s call, gets entangled in the resultant security alert, but manages to slip through its dragnet. “Carla” can at last use Toni’s favourite music to hook him securely, and her senior officer Quo then press-gangs him into service as the Illuminator for their early observations.
Forced to take on a crisp new identity, Toni is led on a hurdle-strewn chase round the cities of ever-expanding Europe, as the Domans build their initial model of the Earth and search in vain for a political leader with flawless integrity.
And then they receive their orders for Observation Two ...
The Doman visitors on the orbiting star-craft Mater have made their first assessment of the integrity of Earth’s public figures and published data. And they are not impressed.
Under revised orders to establish a complete picture of the planet’s natural resources, they recruit a new, specialised illuminator to help them scout out the true lay of the land.
Salvatore Pirone then leads them from Europe to the rich promise of the USA. But he proves a mixed blessing, and the Domans need to call upon the services of their earlier, more reliable assistant Toni Murano, and a talented young woman who soon crosses their path.
As the three conscripts struggle with their own relationship challenges, on top of the demands of the Mater and the increasing interest of Homeland Security, the visitors make faltering progress in building trade proposals to address the greatest resource shortfalls of both Earth and Dome.
And they have also discovered an unattractive little racket blossoming secretly in California, involving a very special commodity which they are particularly keen to lay their hands on ...
Congresswoman Kristy Toresito must somehow take the Domans’ astonishing trade proposals discreetly forward to the U.S. Government, while her financiers tear their sorry Brighter Vale enterprise to pieces and Raymond Graves tries to keep everybody on their toes. But the State Department is none too happy with any of it.
Toni and Maelene press on with their fine ad hoc support to the Mater, and also have plenty of time to see America and get to know each other for better or worse. But Maelene is far from carefree, and Homeland Security still can’t seem to leave Toni alone.
A string of ill-conceived Earth-Dome summits, permeated with mistrust and denial, is making very little progress. Quo amuses herself, in her spare moments, by gaining new insights into both American political truth and what ordinary human beings really think about their modern world. And the Mater, meanwhile, continues to receive further challenging orders from Dome, mixed in with news both bad and good.
Many hearts will need to change, or be changed, if this is not to end in a sea of tears ...
Jim Blunt, mercenary, fighter, smuggler, and all-around tough guy with a heart of gold — as long as it doesn’t get in the way of the money — is captain of the tramp smuggler Pig’s Eye.
Enjoy eight of his adventures, which could have graced the pages of Planet Stories in the 1940’s and 50’s. Eppie Award-winning author Danielle L. Parker has channeled the spirits of Leigh Brackett and other writers of pulp adventure in her series about Captain Blunt.
My friend Jerry Wright of Bewildering Stories and Bewildering Press encouraged me to collect the Blunt stories. He also did the cover art. The first Blunt story, “The Thief of Joy and Light,” was published in Bewildering Stories years ago, followed by its successors. The encouragement I received from Jerry Wright and Don Webb led to many more Captain Blunt adventures. Thanks, old friends. — Danielle L. Parker
Dispossessed at an early age, Aezubah has wandered the world in search of vengeance. On arid mountaintops, remote glaciers and burning deserts he has conquered demons from the edge of creation, wicked sorcerers, and evil kings. As a General, he is beloved of all the warriors who follow him.
But his victories are never final; he goes forth again and again with nothing but his horse, spear and sword, in loneliness and solitude, seeking the treasure that always eludes him: peace.
The Legend of Aezubah: The Crimson General is a sword and sorcery epic of human aspirations and tragedy. It shows how anyone can be both a villain and a hero and how even the smallest actions can change the world
The Editors’ top choices in Short Stories and Flash Fiction in 2010.
Our Quarterly Reviews represent the Editors’ Choices as the best of Bewildering Stories. In 2010 we published 412 titles in addition to artwork, discussions, reviews, critical essays and letters. The sheer number of titles made the format of the former Annual Reviews unmanageable. We therefore decided to revive our old Certificate of Merit as the Mariner Awards, named for one of the first successful interplanetary missions. These awards represent the titles voted “very good” or “excellent” — 65, as it happens — in the course of the year.
The Amazon.com Kindle edition is available for 99¢.
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