Tag Archives: Dave Freer

Why I’m a Human Waver

For those of you who might have missed Sarah’s wonderful series of articles on bringing back that sense of wonder we used to find in science fiction and fantasy, I recommend you read Bring Back That Wonder Feeling, What is Human Wave Science Fiction and You Got To Move It Move It. Also check out Patrick Richardson’s The New Human Wave in Science Fiction.

Like Sarah and all those who have commented on her posts, I miss those days of derring-do in science fiction and I’ve been thinking about why I first started reading science fiction and why, after going away from it for awhile, I returned to it.

I grew up in a house where books were valued friends. I was one of the lucky ones where my parents were voracious readers and they began reading to me very early. When I was old enough, we read together. They encouraged me to read fiction and non-fiction, no book in the house was off-limits. In a time before video games, books were my escape.

When I was an early teen, maybe even a tween, I was spending a week or two at my grandmother’s house in small town Oklahoma. It wasn’t the first time. Every summer I spent at least a week there and another week in Tulsa with my other grandmother. But that summer was different. I’d read all the books in Grandma’s house–all two dozen or so of them. My grandmother just wasn’t a reader. The books that were there were either some left by my dad when he moved out years and years before or by my Uncle John.

Uncle John’s books introduced me to Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey. They were good books but short and it didn’t take long for me to read them. So, one day, I did what most any kid who is bored will do–I started prowling the dark corners of the house to see if I could find anything of interest.

Imagine my surprise when I came across a HUGE closet filled almost floor to ceiling with not only books and magazines but also records. I was in heaven. The only problem was that there was nothing to play the records on.

I spent hours going through the books and magazines. There was such a wide assortment of them to choose from. But one thing–well, several actually–that caught my eye. There were a number of If: Worlds of Science Fiction magazines. The covers and story titles intrigued me. I gathered them up and went outside to sit under one of the huge trees to read.

One of the very first stories I read was Jungle in the Sky by Milton Lesser. I’d never heard of either the story or the author before, but there was something about the cover that called to me. I didn’t know then that the magazine had been published in 1952. That part of the cover had been torn away. All I knew was it was something new I hadn’t read at least twice.

The story, like so many science fiction stories, could just as easily have been set in Africa. It was basically a safari set in space, but with a twist. There were aliens, sort of like parasites, that were hunting humans just as humans were hunting other aliens for their expositions on Earth. When our heroes are captured and “infested”, they have to not only find a way to defeat an enemy that is now part of them, but also find a way off the planet and back home to warn the rest of humanity about this threat.

I came across the story again a few months ago. It’s probably been thirty years since I last read it. My initial response on reading it this time was to shake my head when Lesser described the ship’s captain–our heroine–wearing hot pants and a cape while the rest of the crew is in overalls, etc. But then I realized I was looking at the story through today’s so-called sensibilities. This wasn’t a military ship. So the captain could wear whatever she wanted, as long as the ship’s owners didn’t mind. Also, this fit what was being written in the pulps back then. So, I put away the judgmental part of me and just read the story again, wondering if I’d like it as much as I did back then.

I can’t say I did, not completely. But it still made me smile at the right place and cringe when I was supposed to. I still found myself imagining that I was one of those crew members having to fight to survive. Yes, there were structural issues with the story and the science really doesn’t work. But you know what? That really doesn’t matter. It is a good story and I felt good at the end, even though some of the good guys died and some of the bad guys didn’t get the comeuppance I wanted them to.

It didn’t take me long to finish Jungle. So I started looking for more like it. Guess what I found. The first two installments of Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. I was hooked. Oh boy was I hooked. And I was ticked because the last installment wasn’t there. Worse, stuck as I was in Ardmore without a car–my grandmother didn’t drive–and without a bookstore in walking distance–I had to wait until I got home and could con,er convince, my parents to take me to a store to buy the book.

Those two started my love affair with science fiction. SF allowed my imagination to fly. It took me to worlds where I knew I’d never be able to go but I could hope my children or grandchildren could. Even those books that didn’t have a happily ever after had that sense of hope to them. If only the survivor could hold out. If only the rescue team got there in time. There was a respect for humanity and for the human spirit I could identify with.

It’s that respect I have found lacking in so many of the “modern” science fiction novels and short stories. Well, that and the very unsubtle attempt by the author to beat me over the head with their political or social beliefs. It has seemed like the need to “teach” has become more important than the desire to “entertain”. Sorry, but when I read for pleasure, it isn’t so someone can pound a message into my head.

That has seemed especially true when it comes to most dystopian sf. (Well, to be honest, the utopian sf as well. But I have always tended to avoid those stories because, frankly, they bore me.) Governments are bad. Corporations are bad. Your neighbor is bad. Even your companions will sell you out at the drop of a hat and you can’t hold onto your beliefs if your life depended on it. Not only are these stories depressing but they usually wind up flying across the room before I finish the first quarter of the book. Why? Because the characters are unbelievable. Not everyone is a caricature. Just because you are a white, blond male doesn’t make you a villain. You aren’t automatically a victim because your skin is a certain color or you are a certain sex. Give me a break.

Give me Heinlein any day of the week. Do I like every one of his books? No. But most of them never fail to send my imagination soaring. Sarah’s Darkship Thieves does the same thing. Athena comes from a horrible world, but it is still a world where there is hope held by some of its inhabitants for a better world. It’s also a fun romp. Terry Pratchett is the same in fantasy as is Dave.  l have yet to find anything by Dave I haven’t liked. The reason why is simple. Dave and Sarah, like PTerry, RAH and so many others, are storytellers. They focus on story and character, putting the “message” in subtly instead of beating us over the head with it.

So, sign me up for the Human Waver movement. I’m thrilled with the opening of the publishing market to small presses and self-published authors for a number of reasons, including the fact that we will be getting more books that fit the Human Wave model. Even better, this “movement” can be applied to every genre. So who else is with me?

Cross-posted from Mad Genius Club

1 Comment

Filed under Musings

New Titles

It’s been awhile, and I apologize. But it seems like everyone here has been felled by the crud that won’t leave, family emergencies and Murphy. You know Murphy. He shows up when you least have time to deal with him and stays much too long. Any way, we’ve kicked Murphy out and are now back to the grindstone. To get things underway for 2012, we’re pleased to offer six new titles.

Boys

by Dave Freer
($0.99)

When she was “convinced” to buy the new Mark 7583 robo kitchen diner-bar and barbeque unit module, she had no idea it would rouse the jealousy of her antique Harry’s Bar unit. How could she? Robotics weren’t supposed to have emotions, no matter how realistic and devoted they seemed. Now she has to figure out how to escape the perfect prison her Harry’s Bar has created for her, all in the name of love.

 

Cry Unto Heaven
by Darwin A. Garrison
($0.99)

Her cry for help summoned him. Now he fights to save her and others like her from his own kind. Is he one of the fallen or is he much more?

 

Nocturnal Serenade
by Amanda S. Green
($4.99)

In this sequel to Nocturnal Origins, Lt. Mackenzie Santos of the Dallas Police Department learns there are worst things than finding out you come from a long line of shapeshifters. At least that’s what she keeps telling herself. It’s not that she resents suddenly discovering she can turn into a jaguar. Nor is it really the fact that no one warned her what might happen to her one day. Although, come to think of it, her mother does have a lot of explaining to do when – and if – Mac ever talks to her again. No, the real problem is how to keep the existence of shapeshifters hidden from the normals, especially when just one piece of forensic evidence in the hands of the wrong technician could lead to their discovery.

Add in blackmail, a long overdue talk with her grandmother about their heritage and an attack on her mother and Mac’s life is about to get a lot more complicated. What she wouldn’t give for a run-of-the-mill murder to investigate. THAT would be a nice change of pace.

 

Quick Change Artist
by C. S. Laurel
($0.99)

In this short story, Professor William Yates’ gets more than he bargains for when he wakes up with a snake tattoo, a pierced tongue and an even bigger surprise. It turns out a serial rapist who answers his description EXCEPT for having those, has kidnapped him and made him match. Bill and Brian interview “ink artists” and various one night stands to find him.

 

Quicksand
by C. S. Laurel
($4.99)

When a dying man rings his doorbell, secrets from Professor William Yates’ past rise up, which threaten his relationship with Brian Quick, his reputation and his life. Caught in the quicksand of his past, he has to solve the murder to get free.

This is the second book in the Quick Mysteries series. You can find B. Quick, the first book in the series, here.

 

The Poet Gnawreate and the Taxman
by Dave Freer
($0.99)

There are some things even more terrifying than a visit from the taxman. When the taxman runs afoul of a witch who really wants to be a successful poet – and who is willing to do anything to attain success – the taxman finds himself in serious need of a dentist. Of course, finding a dentist willing to do an extraction from the pages of a possessed book might prove more than a bit difficult.

2 Comments

Filed under announcement

New Titles Now Available

 

I love it when things work quicker than I planned.  We have three new short stories available today on Amazon and soon to be available from Barnes & Noble as well as our own webstore.  I’ll be honest, we figured it would take the other outlets until tomorrow to take the stories live, so they weren’t going up at Naked Reader until tomorrow…well, that’s changing and as soon as the tech guy has his coffee, he’ll be putting them up later this morning.  Any way, enough rambling.  Here are the new short stories and a list of other titles to expect in the next week.

Be Careful What You Wish For

by Amanda S. Green

($0.99)

All she’d ever wanted was to get out of the dead end town she’d lived in all her life. Well, that and find a job that wasn’t as much of a dead end as the town. Perhaps even find someone to share her life with. Then Alexander Reed walked back into her life just as suddenly as he’d walked out years before. There’d been a time when she’d have done almost anything to be with him. Now he offered her the chance to do exactly what she’d been wishing all her life. But at what cost?

The Blood Like Wine

by Sarah A. Hoyt

($0.99)

In the French revolution rivers of blood flowed. From the blood evil arose. Ancient evil engulfed Sylvie. Now in a twentieth century of fast cars and faster living, she must try to expiate evil and recapture her lost love.

Night Shifted

by Kate Paulk

($0.99)

The unexpected is commonplace when you work the night shift at the local convenience store. But even that doesn’t prepare you for the Buffy-wanna be who walks through the door and all the trouble she brings with her.

Coming later this next week are several more wonderful titles:

Cat’s Paw

by Robert A. Hoyt

Described as “Watership Down meets the Terminator” and the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — on acid”, this is by no means a children’s book.  Written by Robert when he was just 13 (and even then more mature than I’ll ever be), Cat’s Paw is one of those books you’ll laugh at even as you’re scratching your head and going back to see if you really did read what you think you just did.  You can find a snippet from it here.

For Conspicuous Valor

by Darwin Garrison

For Conspicuous Valor is a wonderful science fiction short story by Darwin.  He gives us a believable main character who would rather be doing anything but playing with her younger sister.  Until, that is, her daydreaming results in danger for her baby brother and a well-deserved dressing down by her uncle.  In an attempt to prove herself, she sneaks out the next morning, only to find herself hip-deep in trouble she’d never expected and having to find a way out to save not only herself but her family as well.  Whether she has the strength and determination to do it is a question she has to answer — and she’s not sure she can.

Absence of Light

by Sarah A. Hoyt

In this short story, Sarah takes us to a time when space travel has many of the same sort of tales that sea travel did several centuries ago.  So these monsters really exist or are they just the figments of overly active imaginations?  The crew and passengers of the the Amadryad will all too soon learn the answer to what happened to those who’d traveled on the the Tenebras, the first colony ship to Tau Centauri as well as learning if the drifters are real or nothing more than tales meant to frighten people so they don’t look too closely at what is really happening.

Check back next week for more news about our upcoming titles, including ConVent by Kate Paulk, a series of short stories by Dave Freer and much, much more.

Leave a comment

Filed under announcement, schedule

Wow, We’re Almost One Year Old!

Later this month, NRP will celebrate it’s first anniversary.  Well, to be honest, it will be our first anniversary of going live.  We’d been in the planning stage for much longer.  But we’re excited and we’re hoping you are as well.  To help celebrate our birthday, we’ll be giving you, our readers, gifts so keep checking back for more details.  For now, I can tell you that we’ll be giving away some of our titles as well as discounting others.  There may be a contest or two for free copies of upcoming titles or for red-shirting in others.  Check back later this week and next for all the details.

I’m also pleased to announce that we will be publishing 12 more short stories by the wonderful Dave Freer.  We’ll be bringing out two short stories a month, starting in September.  The first will appear the week of September 5th, so mark your calendars.

Our titles this month run the gamut from science fiction to mystery to fantasy to the wildly imaginative worlds that exist in Robert A. Hoyt’s brain.  We have the first digital edition of Firefight, a novel by Thomas Easton first published in 1993.  Quicksand is the second novel in the Quick mystery series by C. S. Laurel.  Family Obligations is a fantasy short story by Stephen Simmons.  Cat’s Paw by Robert A. Hoyt is as funny as it satiric in this tale of a reluctant hero’s attempt to save the world.

Look for all of these titles the middle of the month.

And don’t forget to check back to see what sorts of surprises we have in store for you to celebrate our first anniversary.

Leave a comment

Filed under announcement, schedule

Without a Trace

Just a quick announcement to let you know that Dave Freer’s  novella, Without a Trace ($2.99) is now available for purchase.  It will also be available later this week from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.  As with all our titles, there is NO DRM added.

In Without a Trace, Dave brings us the exciting new middle grade/early YA fantasy-adventure story of young Mike O’Hara and his quest to find out what happened to his grandfather.

*     *     *

Mike O’Hara has spent his life defending the family honor. His grandfather, Cap’n Al O’Hara, has been called everything from smuggler to coward and it is said he abandoned his family rather than pay his debts. Mike knows better, but what’s a boy to do?

When his father is injured in an automobile accident and the authorities threaten to take Mike from the family farm, Mike knows he has to do something. Spurred on by a radio transmission that just might be from Cap’n Al, Mike and his best friend, Amos, start out on a mission to find his grandfather. His journey takes him to an alternate South Africa inhabited by pirates and worse. Mike quickly finds himself in a race against time to rescue his grandfather and return home – before it’s too late.

 *     *     *

You’ve heard of the Bermuda triangle? You know, where compasses suddenly start to spin wildly, with a sudden darkness at noon, where ships and planes sometimes just disappear. When they’re gone, they’re just… gone, and nothing ever comes back. There are other places where this is supposed to happen too. There’s a spot deep in the Gobi, and another above the Java Trench. And then… there’s the Wild Coast…. some very strange things have happened there. Over the years Portuguese Carracks, British East Indiamen, and, in 1908, the Wahratah have disappeared off that coast.

On the 27th of July in 1981 my granddad flew his Piper Cherokee out from the little bumpy airstrip on our farm, in the direction of Port St. Johns. He flew off to go and take a swarm of bees out of a friend’s holiday cottage. He flew out of our lives, and for all anyone knew out of this world. He and his plane were “missing”. They’d just disappeared, disappeared without a trace. No wreckage was ever found.

Then the problems started.

For starters he was in trouble with the security police. Politics, guns. They reckoned Granddad was a gun-runner. My old man says it was quite possible. He says his dad was up to anything, provided it was totally lunatic. Everyone had thought he was a rich man, but it seemed he owed a lot of money. There was very little money in his bank account.

Then the story came out. He’d drawn out twenty thousand Rand the day before he flew, and bought Krugerrands with it. He’d been buying gold for years, it seemed. Suddenly, nobody believed he’d crashed anymore. Everyone said he’d cut and run. Everyone but my dad.

“My father never ran away from anything in his life!” That’s what he said to the papers then. That’s what he said to me maybe a thousand times since. My dad was twenty three then, not even married a year, and still having a grand old time at University. Me, I was three months old.

Suddenly he wasn’t a rich man’s son anymore. Suddenly he didn’t have any friends. Three days later he didn’t have a wife either. She left him with a baby boy, a stack of debts and no future.

He’d lost everything but the farm. Fortunately, my grandmother had left that to Dad. Granddad couldn’t be proved to be dead, so my father never got to see Granddad’s will. Granddad was well insured, but Dad couldn’t claim anything because Granddad wasn’t legally dead. The plane was insured too, but it was just “missing”.

*   *   *   *

Click here to see what Shiny Book Reviews had to say about Without a Trace.

Leave a comment

Filed under announcement

Hear ye! Hear ye!

As promised, I’m back with a couple of announcements and other news.

I want to start by assuring those of you who have been waiting impatiently for Impaler to come out in print, that your wait will soon be over.  Barring unforeseen problems, it will be available for purchase the beginning of next month.  We’ll post updates as the time gets closer.

This next bit of news is more personal to me.  I found out the end of last week that the bosses have given the green light, provisionally, for the sequel to Nocturnal Origins.  What that means is they want to bring it out and the numbers are looking good.  However, for me to write the book and have it done in time for it to come out when they want, I’m going to have to take time off from NRP.  So, it would really be nice for my numbers to increase — while the image of the starving artist or writer is one we’re all familiar with, I like my Blue Bell ice cream and starving really isn’t something I want to do 😉  That means, I need your help.  Tell your family and friends about Origins, if you liked it.  As I’ve said before, you guys are our greatest promotional tool and we do appreciate all you do to spread the word.

Here is the tentative schedule for the rest of the year.  I say tentative because there may be some shuffling of titles.  There will also be some short stories and at least one more novel added to the list.  However, just to give you an idea of what is coming, here you go:

May

  • Here There Be Faeries (fantasy short story) by Stephen Simmons
  • Without a Trace (fantasy middle grade novella) by Dave Freer
  • Revocare (fantasy short story) by Leslie Fish
  • Lawyers of Mars (science fiction novella) by Pam Uphoff
  • The Flight of the Phoenix (fantasy novella) by Chris McMahon

June 6th

  • Blood Price (urban fantasy short story collection) by Sarah A. Hoyt

June 20th

  • A Deeper Silence (sf/f short story collection) by Charles Edgar Quinn
  • The Calvanni (fantasy novel) by Chris McMahon

July 4th

  • Blackie (Pony Express short story) by James Snover
  • Vengeance Mine (mystery novel) by Jenny Schall
  • Short story collection — author to be announced shortly

August 8th

  • Firefight (novel) by Thomas Easton
  • Quicksand (mystery novel) by C. S. Laurel

August 22nd

  • Cat’s Paw (fantasy novel) by Robert A. Hoyt

September 5th

  • The South Shall Rise Again (romantic suspense novel with a touch of supernatural) by Ellie Ferguson

September 19th

  • A Flaw in Her Magic (urban fantasy adaptation of Mansfield Park) by Sarah A. Hoyt
  • Short story, title to be determined, by Taylor M. Lunsford

Otober 3rd

  • Five from the Past (short story collection) by Sarah A. Hoyt
  • Halloween themed short stories

October 31st

  • Halloween short story collection
  • Nocturnal Serenade (urban fantasy novel) by Amanda S. Green

November 21st

  • Holiday Collection by Robert A. Hoyt

December 5th

  • Scytheman (fantasy novel) by Chris McMahon

December 19th

  • ConVent (urban fantasy) by Kate Paulk

As noted above, we will be adding short stories to this schedule as well as at least one or two more novels.  Check back over the next few weeks for blurbs and more information about these titles.

–Amanda

Leave a comment

Filed under announcement

March Update

The problem with running a small press is that, well, there aren’t a lot of people involved in the operation.  That means when one — or in our case several — of us get sick or have real life intrude, things slow down.  That’s what happened this month.  But have no fear.  We will get the rest of the schedule out.  Impaler by Kate Paulk and Blood Reunion, a short story collection by Sarah A. Hoyt, will be out next week.  Without a Trace by Dave Freer, which is currently available here as an E-ARC, will be out the following week.  In the meantime, check out Death of a Musketeer by Sarah D’Almeida and Nocturnal Origins by Amanda S. Green.

In the meantime, I’m going to cut back blogging to three times a week.  Of course, if something happens that I think we need to talk about, I’ll pop up long enough to post it.  Our next blog will be Friday.

1 Comment

Filed under announcement, schedule