Here, we present twenty science fiction stories for you to enjoy. We are delighted that headlining this collection is the fantastic John Gribbin, with a worrying vision of medical research in the near future. Future global healthcare is the theme of J A Christy’s story; while the ultimate in spare part surgery is where Dave Weaver takes us. Edwin Hayward’s search for a renewable protein source turns out to be digital; and Tanya Reimer’s story with characters we think we know, gives us pause for thought about another food we take for granted. Evolution is examined too, with Andy McKell’s chilling tale of what states could become if genetics are used to drive policy. Similarly, Robin Moran’s story explores the societal impact of an undesirable evolutionary trend; while Douglas Thompson provides a truly surreal warning of an impending disaster that will reverse evolution, with dire consequences.
On a lighter note, we have satire from Steve Harrison discovering who really owns the Earth (and why); and Ira Nayman, who uses the surreal alternative realities of his Transdimensional Authority series as the setting for a detective story mash-up of Agatha Christie and Dashiel Hammett. Pursuing the crime-solving theme, Peter Wolfe explores life, and death, on a space station; while Stefan Jackson follows a police investigation into some bizarre cold-blooded murders in a cyberpunk future. Going into the past, albeit an 1831 set in the alternate Britain of his Royal Sorceress series, Christopher Nuttall reports on an investigation into a girl with strange powers.
Strange powers in the present-day is the theme for Tej Turner, who tells a poignant tale of how extra-sensory perception makes it easier for a husband to bear his dying wife’s last few days. Difficult decisions are the theme of Chloe Skye’s heart-rending story exploring personal sacrifice. Relationships aren’t always so close, as Susan Oke’s tale demonstrates, when sibling rivalry is taken to the limit. Relationships are the backdrop to Peter R. Ellis’s story where a spectacular mid-winter event on a newly-colonised distant planet involves a Madonna and Child. Coming right back to Earth and in what feels like an almost imminent future, Siobhan McVeigh tells a cautionary tale for anyone thinking of using technology to deflect the blame for their actions. Building on the remarkable setting of Pera from her LiGa series, and developing Pera’s legendary Book of Shadow, Sanem Ozdural spins the creation myth of the first light tree in a lyrical and poetic song. Also exploring language, the master of fantastika and absurdism, Rhys Hughes, extrapolates the way in which language changes over time, with an entertaining result.
Strong words that Antoine’s father drilled into him. After his father mysteriously vanishes one night, Antoine must find another income or he risks losing the Sacred Land that his father swore to protect.
On a well-paying ranch, Antoine meets Emma, a victim of underground slavery. Fighting for her freedom costs him his home, his sister, his best friend, and puts in question all of his values. If he succeeds, will she and her son fit into his world?
The prairies of 1916-19 come alive with bootleggers, slavery, fools in sheets, haunting spirits, shifty tunnel runners, and even exploding churches. Ghosts on the Prairies is alternative history suspense incorporating the paranormal and infused with romance.
The Dark Chronicles are stories that share the heartache of select unworthy Whisperers on their journey to immortality after The War of 2019. Can’t Dream Without You is one of those stories, in which we meet Steve and Julia, two such heroes.
Steve isn’t a normal boy. He plays with demons, his soul travels to a dream realm at night using mystical butterflies, and soon he’ll earn the power to raise the dead. Al thinks that destroying him would do the world a favour, yet he just can’t kill his own son. Wanting to acquire the power that raises the dead before Steve does, Al performs a ritual on Steve’s sixteenth birthday. He transfers Steve’s dark magic to Julia, an innocent girl he plans to kill. But Steve is determined to save Julia and sucks her soul to Dreamland. From the dream world, he invokes the help of her brother to keep her safe.
Five years later, Steve can’t tell what’s real or what’s a nightmare. Julia’s brother wants to kill him, a strange bald eagle is erasing memories, and Steve’s caught in some bizarre bullfight on another realm with a cop hot on his trail looking to be Julia’s hero. All the while, Steve and Julia must fight the desperate need to make their steamy dreams a reality.
Alternate history meets magical realism on the prairies of Saskatchewan
Always go for more.
Russ doesn’t want more. He has the perfect life planned. Even though he’s called a dummy most days, he knows he’ll go to college, marry Isabelle, and farm with his father and brothers. Yup, perfect.
All that changes in June 1928, the night his brother is kicked out of the house and Isabelle is snatched by a bunch of men dressed like ghosts.
Russ swore to protect Sacred Land but promises made to his pa when life was great are not so easy to keep after he finds himself plagued by a curse. Who are the men terrorising the Cursed Lands and trying to burn his gal for being a witch? His father thinks they’re acting out to scare them off the land, a hate group perhaps? His brother wonders if they’re wanting a sacred plant that grows in the tunnels. His ma knows of other secrets haunting them… While those things might be true, his ghostly grandpa, Silver, shows Russ something he can’t ignore; a curse summoned years ago that will suck them all into the earth.
With lingering spirits, a troubled girl shadowing his destiny, dark rituals, a love potion, cursed men plaguing their lands, a prison break that takes him away from home when his wife needs him the most, and the earth itself trying to suck them in, Cursed on the Prairies is a Sacred Land Story that shows that the prairies are a place full of secrets that even a ghost can’t bury.
An emotional journey into an alternate history with paranormal and romantic elements that proves we can’t escape our destinies, Cursed on the Prairies is the third of Tanya’s Sacred Land Stories, the culmination of a trans-generational timeline that started in Legends on the Prairies and continued in Ghosts on the Prairies.
Review comments for Sacred Land Stories:
“captures the reader’s attention from the first page”
“a fascinating and harsh vision of life and death on both sides of the [US-Canadian] border.”
“everything feels authentic and believable.” – Risingshadow
Above ground, in the frozen climate of year 3161, Avery’s family is starving. When the jerk from the clan at the end of the village invites Avery to start a family with him in exchange for food and land, she has a serious choice to make. Leaving her family where she fits in, to live in a clan with an old man she loathes, doesn’t feel like a good move. But can she really refuse when the offer comes with food and land that her family desperately needs?
Underground, in the cities of Quma, Yodan’s life is perfect. He looks forward to starting a family with… Azala? Why does that feel wrong? Yodan’s best friend soon discovers that someone or something has tampered with Yodan’s mind, erasing things. Investigating further, they discover a horrifying truth; Artificial-life has found a way to merge with them to live mortally.
When a violent earthquake destroys the energy source that’s keeping both above and below ground habitable, the survivors are forced together after more than a thousand years of isolated evolution. Their union is a clash of spiritual versus technical existence where suddenly no one fits in. How will the villagers react to the bald pink-eyed children needing a new home? And what kind of damage will be done by the lifeform who hitched a ride with them ?
Breathing is a gift I give myself…
Dragon design by Alison Buck
“Don’t you believe in legends?”
Such a simple question, yet what Sacri really wants Alex to believe is that he is the hero from her legends. A hero meant to save land sacred to her tribe.
Alex is a lot of things. He’s a painter, a sculptor, and a dreamer. He was just fired from a good job, grieves for a woman he hoped to marry, and is known as the local drunk. He’s terrified of fire, of losing his friend, and of being alone. He is a lot of things, but hero isn’t one of them.
Travelling across the country in 1892 to settle land on an unexplored part of the prairies, he hopes to find himself, to find a reason for his pitiful existence, and to have one last adventure with his dying friend. What he actually finds in the heart of the lonesome prairies is Sacri, defending land with her very soul. She believes he is the Man of Legends sent to save Sacred Land. Her determination entrances him. Despite everything, Alex finds himself praying to a God that he thought had abandoned him, in the hope that, just maybe, there is some truth to Sacri’s stories.
To add to Alex’s unease is the certainty that Sacri’s brother, often merely glimpsed as a silver shadow riding his horse across the horizon, will happily kill Alex if he turns out not to be the man that Sacri thinks he is.
Legends on the Prairies, a Sacred Land Story is the prequel to Ghosts on the Prairies. Alternate history with paranormal and romantic elements, it is a story about growth, friendship, love, and the importance of believing in ourselves.