From the Imperium-controlled aetherlanes to a tech noir restitution agency in the Free Zone and from a steampunk, 1894 China with clockwork automatons to a post-1984 Orwellian dystopia with mandatory goodpharm, here are ten science fiction stories of defiance and daring.

Split evenly between strong female and male leads, these heroes fight losing battles on principle alone, discover lies hidden deep inside themselves, execute daring rescues and fight for love and liberty in a society where human dignity is cheaper than obsolete swarmbots.

These original, never-before-published works are from veteran authors, including William F. Wu, as well as emerging talents.

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Additional Information

Publisher
George Donnelly
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Pages
236
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ISBN
9781941939031
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Science Fiction / Collections & Anthologies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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William F. Wu
In this science fiction satire of westerns, after the American West was destroyed in a series of biological disasters, rebuilding it is a lot like building it in the first place, but there are crucial differences. For example, new, partly mechanical cattle with computer brains are called steerites. They speak and sing a lot more than the original steers.

Most of the cowboys, outlaws, and lawmen are partly mechanical, too, except for those few humans called control-naturals. That group has to keep all their original equipment, just like the original cowboys. Louie Hong is one of those control-naturals, and life isn't easy for him. Most folks look down on a man who doesn't have at least one bionic hand.

Yet Louie Hong is determined to make his way in the new Wild West.

All Hong has to do is explain to the bounty hunters who are after him for robbing a bank, and the outlaw gang that is after him for stealing the loot, that he hadn't done any of it.

With a little bit of luck, and the help of Chuck, his steerite companion, Hong hopes to find a home on the range that nobody can take away—not outlaws, not bounty hunters, not cyborgs, not even singing steerites.

In Hong on the Range, William F. Wu has returned to the high-tech Wild West world of his Hugo and Nebula Award finalist short story, "Hong's Bluff," and written a rousing, funny science fiction saga complete with cyborg cowboys and outlaws. It is an exciting and witty subgenre of science fiction: The cyber western.

This novel was chosen by the American Library Association, Booklist, and the Library Journal for their recommended and best of the year lists.

~~~~~ Excerpt ~~~~~

First I could only see that something large was displacing the tall buffalo grass ahead. Then I reached the spot and found a steerite lying down with his steel legs neatly folded underneath him. They gleamed silver in the sun and his hinged metal tail swished back and forth, its brush swatting the flies that buzzed around the natural hide of his meaty, biological middle. As I pulled my battered hat off by the brim and squinted at the steerite, he turned his steel bovine head toward me, short horns and all.

"Hi, there," I said.

"Hello," he answered pleasantly. He had been programmed with excellent enunciation and a trace of a Boston accent. "Good day to you. Where are you bound?"

I untied my red bandana and wiped off my forehead with it. "I'm going to Femur to look for a job. Pardon my asking, but ... have you lost your herd? What are you doing here?"

"I am merely waiting. Have I lost my herd? More accurately, my herd has been rustled."

"Rustled?"

"I dutifully escaped. None of my comrades succeeded in this endeavor. Since our trail crew ran off, I have no trail boss to whom I must report. Nor am I honor bound to join the herd after it has been rustled."

I nodded toward the mark stamped onto the shining metal base of his tail, where it extended from his natural hindquarters. "Waiting for what? You still have your serial number."

"Oh, yes. I am fully programmed and ready to report to any authority who can restore me to my legal owner."

"Who's that?"

"I don't know. We get basic programming for herding, pasturing, and speech, but little precise data. Of course, we can accumulate information as we go, but no one ever told me the owner's name or where to locate him."

"I guess the trail crew was supposed to get you there?”

"Indeed they were, those cowardly louts." He lowered his head modestly. "I am led to believe that my mechanical parts are quite expensive. Not to mention my beef."

J.P. Medved
 The first 3 stories of the Clockwork Imperium series, a total of 30,000 words. Save almost 20% versus buying the single volumes!

Three steampunk adventures in one.  Follow airship captain James Emerson, his rowdy friend James, and their surly companion Raheem through a world of clockwork, steam power, intrigue, and action!

To Rescue General Gordon (Clockwork Imperium #1)

Henry Emerson didn't plan on disobeying orders, stealing an airship, and facing down a savage army of religious fanatics led by a man who believes he's the Prophet reborn. But he's about to. 

The famous General Gordon is trapped in a city under siege by the Prophet's soldiers. Henry and his friend James, two young officers in Her Majesty's Royal Air Navy, along with the hulking Sikh, Raheem, decide to rescue him. Their methods aren't exactly "cricket." Their superiors call it insubordination. They prefer to think of it as following orders...creatively. 

The adventure will either bring them glory and fame, or doom them to a painful death at the hands of savage tribesmen… If their own commanders don't get to them first! 

Queen Victoria's Ball (Clockwork Imperium #2)

Decorated airship pilot Henry Emerson has just returned to London from a military expedition in the Sudan. He and his friends are to receive medals for heroism at the Crystal Palace from Queen Victoria herself, but when an enigmatic American woman appears to warn him his life is in danger, Henry finds himself racing against time to prevent a conspiracy aimed at the very heart of the Empire. 

For someone means to assassinate the Queen, and Henry will risk everything to stop them.

Airfleets Over Ostend (Clockwork Imperium #3)

The mysterious and alluring Myra Abernathy has disappeared without a trace, and Henry Emerson is left wondering just who she really was, and who she really worked for. 

But dark events in Europe soon overtake him, cutting short his search for the American woman. A Flemish rebellion in Belgium threatens King Leopold II, and Henry's airship, the Bellerophon, with the rest of the British Air Navy's Second Squadron, is sent to help. 

With his friends James and Raheem aboard, Henry and the squadron are tasked with retaking the Belgian aerodrome by the coastal town of Ostend. 

But as Henry steers the Bellerophon into position, he can't help but wonder at the letter Myra left for him. A letter that warns things are not as they seem on the European continent and that someone behind the scenes is secretly maneuvering the great powers like pieces on a chessboard, for reasons unknown and sinister.

William F. Wu
 A young guy named Jack Hong hitchhikes throughout America following the keilin, a mystical unicorn out of Chinese mythology. The keilin leads him to ten adventures with ghosts and other supernatural figures. These experiences reveal to him not only parts of American history he never knew, but also his own identity and the role he will choose for his life.

~~~~~ Description ~~~~~

The moonlight was still strong, and Lo Man Gong still sat up on the overhead window, where few people and no old men could ever get.“Feel better, Chinaman?” he asked mildly.The night before, my resistance had been low, and his presence had somehow seemed tolerable, if not rational. Now I was more clear-headed ... yet he was still here. I didn’t like him as much.I let my eyes drop closed again. Once I was cured of malaria, I’d be free of him. I had eaten twice today; now, if I slept well, I’d be in sound shape pretty soon.“You know the keilin, Chinaman Jack?”That was the Chinese unicorn, a mystical animal whose rare appearances were highly auspicious. In the Cantonese I normally heard, it was pronounced “keilun.” It wasn’t like European ones, though. This unicorn had the body of a deer, the hooves of a horse, the tail of an ox, and a fleshy horn. I knew that much.“The unicorn?” I opened my eyes and looked at him. As before, the moonlight glowed through his shape.“Ah, you know the keilin. He smiled and nodded thoughtfully. “The keilin means good things happen. It’s very powerful.”I watched him silently.After a while, he looked into my eyes again. “Nobody remember me, Jack. Some people remember, some of my frien’. A few of them. Most, nobody remember at all. No children, no relative. You, Jack. You like me. Unless you change.”Yes, I knew that. I had already come to understand that. And I knew that he had come for me, here in the middle of the country, away from his home as longtime Californ’. But I didn’t know why.
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