The one I want to point out to you is the one containing two excellent shorts by my mentor, Michalis Manolios. Mentor is a strong word when you’ve had as many beers together as we’ve had, but it’s accurate. I think it was 2010, maybe 2009 when he read my stories, pushed me forward and told me I could do this, and do it well. I was fascinated with fantasy back then, but my true calling has been science fiction apparently. I shifted towards sci-fi and I honed my craft every year. The results seem to be good, as shown by reader reactions and sales numbers.
So, Michalis has two of his best short stories translated into English. They are not my favourite but they are definitely good. The stories in that Greek collection are pretty mindblowing, and these two fit the bill. Aethra and Quantum Mommy.
The rest of the volumes are either a single novella or two short stories from authors around the world. It’s a shame that we don’t have access to these stories, and that’s what I like about Future Fiction, they bring these unreachable gems to English, thus making them available to us. Some authors you’ve never heard of, naturally, others are quite well known in their countries.
Everything in the collection has the feel of old-school sci-fi, like the books I have in my bookcase. The covers, the stories, the atmosphere is a way to go back to that time when science fiction showed us what was possible instead of just shoving dystopian warnings at us. Which I’m guilty of, obviously.
Patronage. Just like the practice of old, we’ve resurrected the model into a digital mold, more fitting to the age.
Micropatronage, having a bunch of regular people pitching in small amounts instead of one wealthy patron, is being successful with plenty of examples.
What I had was a PILE of story ideas sitting on my projects folder. Some have merit, some are simply the butt of a joke. Others are pretty damn brilliant, I might say.
I took all that and decided to squeeze out at least one short story per month. That way, I can see the works-in-progress slowly thinning down, I can test them with real people and real readers, and see which one’s a winner and which one’s a dud.
I’ve been doing that already with the Epic Poets, but to be honest, I firmly believe in putting one’s money where one’s mouth is. Feedback from fans is excellent, but feedback from people who have paid a dollar carries much more weight.
Also, I have plenty of ideas that fall into fantasy or urban fantasy. At some point, as I burn through the sci-fi ones, I’ll eventually work on those too. Having patrons will provide a steady and verifiable metric that my output will be worth the time invested. I’m bound to change a lot of this on my Patreon page, I just threw one up quickly.
There’s a short story waiting for you right now, called “Life Coach.”
So, click the orange button to get a steady flow of speculative fiction short stories. I’m your story-dealer. Be patronizing. Or just share the post with your friends.
The SFF Mega Promo, organised by Irish author Dean F. Wilson, is one of the biggest on the internet, with over 100 authors participating, giving you, the reader, the very best in speculative fiction — for free!
Here are three selected titles on offer. There are dozens to choose from!
On the verge of abandoning his life-long project, an obsessive physicist hires the innovative service of an android Muse to help him finish his work. But when things start to go missing from his life, he must learn that not all is worth sacrificing on the altar of science before he has nothing left to live for.
Do you want to know what’s next for poor-but-brilliant Yanni? Do you wanna meet the Muse? Then read this unique sci-fi thriller that toys with the very concept of inspiration.
Here is the cover for our new spacefaring series Antigravel:
Upwards and onwards
What did you think was the roadstop for man to explore the empty reaches of space? Faster than light travel? Interstellar navigation? Time dilation?
Puh. We beat all that by sheer force of will.
It was micrometeoroids.
Fucking space rocks.
The beginning of a new series
This book marks the entry novel for a new series, separate from the god complex universe. Hopefully it will tease all you readers enough to spark off a whole new set of books.
We are on a path towards an interconnected world. Self-driving cars are already here, the tech for smarthouses exists but there are no standards yet, and people are finding creative ways to use smartphone apps in their daily lives.
The following is a direct quote from a Mr. Robot episode:
There’s a saying — ‘The devil is at his strongest while we’re looking the other way.’ Like a program running in the background silently. While we’re busy doing other shit. ‘Daemons,’ they call them. They perform action without user interaction. Monitoring, logging, notifications, primal urges, repressed memories, unconscious habits. They’re always there, always active. You can try to be right, you can try to be good, you can try to make a difference. But it’s all bullshit. ‘Cause intentions are irrelevant. They don’t drive us, daemons do. And me? I’ve got more than most.
Though he is using daemons as an allegory to our primal urges, the fact remains that they are similar things. As computer daemons become more and more complex, as we surrender more and more power over the real world to them, they will start having behaviors. Personalities even. How often do you have a computer that seems to have a mind of its own? This is due to our tendency to find patterns where there are none, to be honest, but some day, it will actually be true. Through complexity we will find intelligence. Emergent behaviors.
In the story Nanodaemons, I have tried to imagine the tasks of a group of daemons, that form a PAN (Personal Area Network). We already have PANs, even though we don’t really know it. A fitness tracker that connects to our cellphone and a bluetooth headset, is exactly that. A personal short range network of interconnected devices, that communicate between them to fit our needs. If you add some more to the mix, like smartclothing and a Hololens or Google Glass, you can see how that freaky cyberpunk story I made up is not really that far ahead.
To my joy, I stumbled on the TV series Limitless, the Arm-ageddon episode, where their villain of the week has hacked a bunch of prosthetic cyberarms and ended up in many crimes and one murder. The episode’s weight was more on the man behind it, but it was great seeing how a silly sci-fi crime like that actually makes it into an otherwise realistic show. It only goes to show that people at large are beginning to accept that there are serious security issues with those things, and that we need to get some smart people together in a room to figure it out. People need these prosthetics, and we need them to be secure and high-tech, but also comfortable and discreet.
Meet the Daemons
In Nanodaemons, the arm is only part of the problem. And part of the solution, as you’ll see. Not to spoil anything, but there is a guy, being framed for murder. The story is about him trying to figure out what happened, and the unusual case of eudaemonia that afflicts him.