“War Stars” Is Out There, In The World, Right Now

War Stars

War Stars

Perhaps you’ve seen me mentioning the ReWired Tales project on Twitter, G+, or Tumblr already — I hope you have! — and you’ve thought you’d get around to them. Here’s another reason to get around to them: the March tale, called “War Stars,” is now available!

Here’s what the story is about… sort of:

Not long from now, in a war-torn city, a journalist embedded with a military force confronts a contrast between the wars we idolize and the wars we fight. Stranded in a blasted metropolis, the journalist travels with her wounded unit on a dangerous mission to use next-generation weaponry and support robots to locate and eliminate a hidden rebel base. But in the fog of war, the story we want isn’t always the story we get.

Here’s what the story is about, in another way:

I sat down with the March issue of Wired magazine to seek out inspiration for the next ReWired tale and discovered the issue had a lot to say about Star Wars, in one section, and things to say about the art of war, in another section. Those combined to inspire “War Stars,” a story that’s about our future as much as it’s about inspiration and awareness. But, of course, I know more about Star Wars than I do about actual warfare, and maybe that’ll be obvious as you wade into this tale. I’ve intentionally (and maybe, in some places, accidentally) hidden quite a few little references and allusions into this story — some are obvious, some are meaningful, and some are different combinations of obvious and meaningful. This is a playful tale.

(The cover is drab, I know. I’ll talk about why that is in another post.)

Once you’ve read the new story, I’d love to hear what you think of it — and which allusions you found in the text. Sound off in the comments?

You can find the new story, “War Stars,” up at DriveThruFiction and at Amazon for about one dollar at each venue. That dollar gets you the story for the Kindle at Amazon and it gets you a ZIP file containing the story in a few ebook formats at DriveThru.

Want a quick peek at the story itself?

Read more »

New Stories Up At Amazon

As of now, three of my stories are available as stand-alone Kindle purchases at Amazon. Each one has a $0.99 price tag. You can find them here if you scroll down (that’s my new author page) or you can cut straight to a specific story:

These are all stories inspired by modern technology writing, especially in Wired magazine. Each one stands on its own; they’re not a series. You can read more about these stories (and read the stories themselves!) at the ReWired Tales tumblr.

Future stories will come out at Amazon first and maybe in PDF later on, as I find time to continue the page design. Additional formats, like the Nook, may yet happen if you want them. Future stories might only be available for-pay for a while, to see what they’re worth. I’d love it if I could pay for the coffee I drink while I write these stories, for example. We’ll see.

I have no evidence that anyone who has downloaded these stories has read them yet, which isn’t terribly surprising after just a week but is going to prove dismaying in the long run. (This is part of what made me stop the old project, last year, along with the fact that I didn’t have time to give to free stories.) So this is an experiment to see if people value the stories more if I value the stories more. Say, a dollar.

Plus, even if the shadowy outlands where I dwell, Amazon gets a lot more exposure than my Tumblr site, so maybe this way the stories will find some good homes.

I hope you’ll find these stories worth the time you spend reading them and that you’ll be moved to leave a comment here or at Amazon. And tell your friends!

 

A Loaded Gun in the Mailbox

This short piece was born as a ficlet at the site of the same name, now gone. I repost it here so it’ll have a home.

In his mailbox there is a hand holding a gun. It’s severed, this hand, just on the elbow side of the wrist, and it has oozed a bit of blood out into the box. The whole thing has gone sort of pale, which makes the revolver in its grip look blacker and shinier.

It’s snub-nosed, this revolver, with a fat cylinder in which he can see the little metal heads of bullets nestled in their shells. The gun is pointing out at him, as if this hand wanted his money.

He looks around him, up and down the street. He closes the mailbox door. He opens it again. There is a hand in there, holding a gun. He reaches towards it, squinting, wincing in preparation for the bang, then chickens out. He stands to one side of the mailbox and leans in front of it. He waves his hand past the barrel of the gun. Reaches into the box again, gives up again.

He goes inside, past his wife, who’s doing dishes, and gets the phone. He dials 911. She asks what’s wrong.

“There’s a hand holding a gun in our mailbox,” he says.

“Finally,” she says.

Father Bryce Meets An Alien

This short sketch originally appeared as a “ficlet” on a now-dead site whose successor is Ficly.com. A ficlet is a character-limited morsel of fiction meant to spark sequels and prequels that might explode or extend out into larger works.

Outside the room where Father Bryce meets his first extraterrestrial are twenty marines with face masks and oily new guns. Politely, neither Father Bryce nor the space alien mentions this.

They’ve been talking about nothing for an hour when the alien finally gets through the ice. “So. The general said—”

“Yeah,” says Father Bryce. “I’m supposed to ask you a few questions.” His hand’s out in a may-I-please way.

“Sure, sure,” says the alien.

“Religion.”

“Yes.”

“We—Do you… have religion?”

“God.”

Father Bryce is still. “Yes.”

“Sure, we know God.”

“Really?”

The alien looks uncomfortable. “Yeah.”

“Great! So, how… do we make sense of the issue of… being made, you know,” Father Bryce sees the alien is smiling now, nodding encouragingly, “in His image.”

“I,” says the alien, smiling, “was going to ask you the same thing.”

“Really?” asks Father Bryce. He wants to laugh.

“Yeah!” They laugh. “I didn’t how to bring it up,” says the alien. They laugh.

Drying an eye, the alien says, “Oh, that’s funny.”

A Tale of the Far West

A new part of the big and fascinating Far West transmedia and world-building project is out there now: Tales of the Far West. It’s an anthology of stories by a slew of killer talent and, hey, also me. You can read an excerpt from Scott Lynch’s tale with the great title, “He Built The Wall To Knock It Down,” right here.

My story, “Errant Eagles,” is about gunfighters, lawmen, an airship, a train, and living with the consequences of the choices you make. It’s also about forgiveness and the Gun.

Here’s roughly how it opens:

Delicate things, airships. The things work only if everyone on board behaves themselves. Get someone on board who ain’t got no respect for fellow travelers or the delicacy of flight and the whole thing can fall in a hurry.

The Maiden’s Breath looked something like a riverboat on its back, slung from its gasbag on hand-woven cables, the sky-ship’s white planks and shining brass bright in the afternoon sun. Angled black smokestacks splayed out below like the legs of a newborn foal. Trails of coal smoke smeared the air behind it. In place of paddles, wide props, looking like lovely petals, pushed her through the sky.

She was no soaring ship. She cruised above the plains so low that some small-town temple towers might have scratched her paint. No pagodas loomed in sight on that wide prairie, though—she sailed over wild grasses and subtle hills, her passengers bound for Prosperity in the west. Her faint altitude was meant to give her passengers a close look at the open range below, at the bucolic charm of its windswept fields of grain and the roaming flocks of flightless thunderbirds.

That shallow flight also had Redhand wondering if he could survive a leap from the airship’s starboard railing. The sunlit prairie rushed by below. Passengers cried out in panic.

The ship was on fire pretty fierce by then and Redhand thought it might provide him the cover he needed to get free. Redhand hoped Hollowaigh would reel from his pistol-whipping in the parlor long enough for Redhand to vanish in the chaos of the accidental kerosene fire. Maybe Hallowaigh, who said he was aboard on a case, on behalf of the Twin Eagle detective agency, would stop to put out the fire started when he threw Redhand into a kerosene lamp. Maybe Hollowaigh, who thought so little of pulling his pistol in the crowded airborne parlor, would think twice about making a foolhardy leap that would surely break a leg or two.

Redhand’s dreadlocks whipped about his head in the smoke and wind as he thought on the leap himself—thought too long.

Get your hands on the book or the e-book via the Far West store or Amazon, if you like.

Special thanks, by the way, to Logan Bonner, for pointing me at The Builders and the Butchers, whose music I gorged on while writing this story.

Music: “The Night, Pt. 1,” The Builders and the Butchers