I don’t know whether to blame it all on love trouble or music trouble, but it certainly was trouble that happened on the outskirts of Saturn’s belt. The dirty business took place on a small meteoroid whose spin’s so fast that six minutes separates sunrise from sunset.
That’s the opening of a Western style yarn set in a science fiction short story called Parsec Hiccup which tries to set straight, once and for all, which musical genre is superior: classical or Rock.
The story is available in Argosy Magazine Volume 1: Fantastic Frontiers. Argosy launched December (2013) and first off I have to give a BIG THANK YOU to my readers who supported its launch by donating to their crowd funding campaign!
And another THANK YOU from Argosy’s editor, Daniel Bazinga. His science fiction and fantasy credentials are undeniable as he has edited and contributed to a number of fantasy tabletop RPG publications. Daniel has carefully crafted Argosy Magazine to show its pulp origins through styling the cover’s typeface to bleed as if run through an actual printing press on pulp paper.
You can purchase an electronic copy at Smashwords (many formats supported) and on Amazon.
As I finish work on Agile Noir, a dramatic business novel which is not only enjoyable to read but teaches you about Agile software development, I want to show you the novel’s great book covers. These covers for Agile Noir (the English edition and the Mandarin edition) were crafted by talented artist Fauji M. Bardah.
Noir is French for black however it means more than that. Noir mystery is a subgenere where at the start of the novel, things aren’t going well for the character and try as he might, things continue to go south until in the end, the character achieves some goal which relieves much of the tension, however there’s still a feeling that the character is unsatisfied although feels lucky to have survived.
Noir Book Covers
Both book covers exhibit the noir style. In the English edition it’s night and has a smokey/foggy backdrop and shows the main character, Kartar is in serious trouble. Go ahead and click on the cover to see it’s full size and you’ll see more details. Kartar is on the run from beautiful killers who are going to make him pay for delivering his project late. His laptop shows the words “Deliver or Die !!” The street has painted in neon lines is his boss’s Gantt chart. Some of the buildings on the left side of the street display words about software life cycles such as eXtreme Programming (XP), Waterfall, and Scrum.
AGILE NOIR (Simplified Chinese Edition)
The Mandarin edition’s cover has a black backdrop. The poker chips show the Scrum process diagram and blood. In this edition, the story will be set in Asia’s gambling mecca, Macau.
If your looking for some great graphic art, contact Fauji at email@example.com. He’s a talented artist (his internet handle is Bakart) and I highly recommend him. You can see more of his work on Deviant Art and in other postings on this site. Many of the book covers you see on the right were crafted by him.
Why would an artificial intelligent (A.I.) machine want a cat? Actually that’s the wrong question. A better question would be, why wouldn’t an artificial person who’s like a person in every way want a cat? Tests designed to determine if someone/something is human or not are called Turing tests. (You know those annoying things web pages ask us to do–compute math or select the correct picture–to see if you’re a robot or not.) Wouldn’t a suitable Turing test check to see if you have interest in pets?
By definition, an artificial person should be the same as a regular person except manufactured in a non-biological way. An A.I. should be able to pass a Turing test. Today we accept that our artificial constructs which we call A.I., really don’t have much intelligence and know that they cannot pass the Turing test. In the movie Blade Runner the humans are finding it harder and harder to differentiate robots from humans, and finally Harrison Ford’s character whose job is to conduct Turing tests realizes that he’s unable to tell if the woman he’s in love with is a robot (artificial person) or not. Later he learns that she has no mother or father, but no behavioral test could reveal this because she was programmed with the memories of a detailed childhood.
Back to cats. In my novelette Bit Storm, software engineer Diff’s A.I. demands that Diff get a pet. Diff resists because he wants Jack, the A.I. machine, to finish their work first, but eventually Jack guilts Diff into doing it. (Diff’s going to a Halloween party while Jack stays at the office, so fair’s fair and Diff decides to get Jack the pet.) Unfortunately for the both of them the pet is more than meets the eye and Diff’s Halloween party turns into a nightmare.
Not only is Bit Storm available as a stand alone novelette, for a little more it’s also part of a digest from the fine folks at Daily Science Fiction, along side stories from: Edoardo Albert, Barbara A. Barnett, Jacquelyn Bartel, Nicky Drayden, Tim Pratt, Jenn Reese, Heather Shaw, Greg van Eekhout, Karina Fabian, Elena Gleason, Michelle Ann King, Terra LeMay, Shelly Li, Melissa Mead, James Van Pelt, Victoria Podmajersky, Christian Roberts, Victoria Sonata, Eric James Stone, and Lavie Tidhar.
Argosy Magazine is coming back to the world as an ebook. Argosy Magazine is one of the, if not THE original pulp magazine. It came out in the UK when publishing on pulp paper was cutting edge. Argosy’s Fantastic Frontiers volume will feature a science fiction story I wrote called Parsec Hiccup, a western style tale about a meteoroid mining camp that’s the site of a love triangle that turns into a musical battle for the fittest.
Before November ends, visit Argosy’s crowd funding site at Indiegogo and earn yourself something cool you can show the gang at work on your ebook reader. For as little as contributing a British pound, you earn perks such as recognition, to a life subscription. (If you use dollars, don’t worry, Indiegogo or PayPal will sort that all out.)
Even if you don’t contribute, later Volume 1 will be available for digital download and you can read read a story I wrote called Parsec Hiccup, which attempts to settle once and for all which musical genre is better: Rock or Jazz.
Pirates versus Ninjas is cute, kitsch, and if your girl/guy is dressed as a pirate, that’s an added bonus. Chances are the costume is an off-the-shelf product of plastic, cheap textile, and glue which is why I’m here to tell you the future of Halloween costumer is in nanotechnology! Imagine going to a store, searching through bottles of Fairy, Naughty Nurse, and Furry Squirrel, and then selecting a bottle of Pirate. (Yeah, I know, you’ll spend a lot of time considering Doctor or Intern so your girl will wear Naughty Nurse. You’re only human.)
Then you go to the costume shop’s mirror, open the bottle, and tip it over your head releasing trillions of bits of particles that glide en masse around you, forming a costume about your body, pressing itself into and against your clothes (if you’re wearing any), changing color, and binding to other bits until in moments, you’re wearing a pirate costume customized to fit your form factor!
Now imagine what it would be like if something went wrong and it happened at a Halloween party, and someone wanted it to go wrong to prove a point. This is what happens in Bit Storm, a novelette that won Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future contest. So get yourself a scifi Halloween read for 99 cents at Amazon, and learn what happens when high tech good guys meet a high tech psychopath.