It took several attempts and some polishing but I finally found a home for one of my more unique, non-space opera science fiction shorts, the third ever short story I wrote. It’s in the latest issue of Tales Of The Talisman, bought actually last summer but too big for that summer issue, David Lee Summers held it for this year’s issue with my consent. It’s great to not only have it out but have made the cover list. Here’s the full TOC:
Table of Contents for Tales of the Talisman Volume 8, Issue 1
Sol Crystalis Miracalis
Story by Quincy Allen
Illustration by Teresa Tunaley
Poem by Richard H. Fay
Article by Patrick Thomas
Through a Lens Brightly
Story by Brock Marie Moore
Illustration by Tom Kelly
Poem by L.B. Sedlacek
Touch of Silence
Story by Simon Bleaken
Illustration by Jim Collins
The Day That the Screens All Died
Poem by Ann K. Schwader
Story by C.J. Killmer
Illustration by Teresa Tunaley
What Voids Are These
Poem by Anna Sykora
Story by Robert Collins
Illustration by Russell Morgan
How to Construct a Human
Poem by Lauren McBride
Story by Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Illustration by Paul Niemiec
Poem by Louise Webster
Poem by Larry Hammer
The Devil You Know
Story by M.E. Brines
Illustration by Jag Lall
Story by Neil Leckman
Illustration by Paul Niemiec
Poem by Ann K. Schwader
The Elemental Just Can’t Explain Himself
Poem by CEE
The Ultimate Astronaut
Story by K.S. Hardy
Illustration by Laura Givens
A Conflicted Soul
Poem by Lauren McBride
Story by Kelly Dillon
Illustration by Morland Gonsoulin
Poem by Neal Wilgus
Illustration by Filo Martinez
The Reaper’s Scythe
Story by Bruce Markuson
Illustration by Jag Lall
Story by Scott Allen Abfalter
Illustration by Erika McGinnis
Power Of Littleness
Poem by Alessio Zanelli
Poem by W.C. Roberts
Story by Glynn Barrass
Illustration by Tom Kelly
Reviews by David Lee Summers and Shawn Oetzel
Here’s the cover to the next issue of Tales Of The Talisman, and I got a mention. This is the third short story I ever wrote. Quite excited about it. Very much influenced by my time in El Paso. Editor David Lee Summers is a close friend and I’m excited and honored that he liked it enough to publish it. He as rejected stories from me before and since. “La Migra” is about two cousins from deep in Mexico who cross the U.S. Border at El Paso and get abducted by what they think are border patrol. But then they start to have questions about things going on. And it turns out, they were taken by aliens. It’s a humorous culture clash tale. Written with input from friends on both sides of the border, including Mexicans and an actual Border Patrol agent. Lots of local color in descriptions. Anyway, excited about it and wanted to reveal the cover. Really looking forward to it. Tales has published some great stuff by some great people, including friends like Jaleta Clegg, Jennifer Brozek, and more. Proud to be a part of that family.
Bryan Thomas Schmidt is the author of the space opera novels The Worker Prince, a Barnes & Noble Book Clubs Year’s Best SF Releases of 2011 Honorable Mention, and The Returning, the collection The North Star Serial, Part 1, and several short stories featured in anthologies and magazines. He edited the anthology Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 for Flying Pen Press, headlined by Mike Resnick. As a freelance editor, he’s edited a novels and nonfiction. He’s also the host of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chatevery Wednesday at 9 pm EST on Twitter under the hashtag #sffwrtcht. A frequent contributor to Adventures In SF Publishing, Grasping For The Wind and SFSignal, he can be found online as @BryanThomasS on Twitter or via his website. Bryan is an affiliate member of the SFWA.
The anthology’s fourth tale comes from the man who edited two others in the Full Throttle Space Tales series and helped launch it: Professional astronomer David Lee Summers. He spends his nights assisting scientists on staff bi-weekly at Kitt Peak Observatory near Tucson, Arizona. On his off weeks and daylight hours, he edits and publishes Tales Of The Talisman, a quarterly print magazine of SF, F and Horror. He´s also edited anthologies like Space Pirates and Space Horrorsfor Flying Pen Press. His seven novels include Owl Dance, The Solar Sea and Vampires Of The Scarlet Order. His short fiction has appeared in anthologies and magazines such as Realms Of Fantasy, Human Tales and 2020 Visions, along with the Full Throttle Space Tales anthology series. He also was the editor who gave me my [Bryan’s] first story sale. His lives with his wife and two daughters in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Find David online at http://t.co/CLubgQwm and http://t.co/7ZFubl99 , also on Facebook and Twitter as @davidleesummers. You can also follow his blogs: http://davidleesummers.wordpress.com, a general fiction blog, and http://dlsummers.wordpress.com, a vampire fiction blog. My novel The Pirates of Sufiro is available absolutely free as an ebook from both Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com
BTS: David, you helped start the Full Throttle Space Tales series and have edited two of the anthologies so far. How did all of that come about?
David Lee Summers: Author David Boop and publisher David Rozansky had been meeting during the summer of 2007 and came up with the idea of putting together an anthology about space pirates. David Boop told me about the idea at CopperCon in Phoenix that year and asked if I’d like to be the editor. I gave it some thought and I started talking to David Rozansky. Both Davids live in Denver and I met with them at MileHiCon about two months after that. That was the point where Space Pirates was formalized. Over dinner with some other authors, we came up with the idea that Space Pirates would be the first of a series of anthologies. That was the birth of the Full-Throttle Space Tales series.
BTS: You’ve also had stories in most of the anthologies related to Captain Firebrandt and his pirates. Did that concept develop for FTST or out of the novels you’ve done with the same characters and settings?
DLS: Captain Firebrandt is a character that’s been kicking around my brain since about 1987. He was the protagonist of my first novel, The Pirates of Sufiro. That novel opens with Firebrandt, and his crewmembers Suki Mori and Carter Roberts being marooned on a distant planet. They end up civilizing the planet and then getting involved in a conflict that shifts the whole galaxy’s balance of power. That story is played out in the novels Children of the Old Stars and Heirs of the New Earth.My stories in the FTST series are all set before The Pirates of Sufiro and tell the story of Firebrandt’s career in piracy before he was marooned I’m hoping to collect Captain Firebrandt’s pirate stories into one volume sometime in the next couple of years.
BTS: Tell us a little about “Jump Point Blockade.” What’s it about? Where’d this particular idea come from?
DLS: In the Old Star/New Earth universe, jump points are the places where gravitational currents come together and allow space vessels to jump from system to system. In this story, one Earth colony has blockaded another Earth colony’s jump point. Meanwhile Ellison Firebrandt and his crew are taking advantage of this fact and raiding a mining facility operated by one of the governments. The problem is they’re caught and some of Firebrandt’s crew are trapped in the mining facility. Firebrandt makes a bargain to join the blockade rather than allow his crew to perish. The story was inspired by Jean Lafitte’s role in the Battle of New Orleans.
BTS: Do the shorts follow a storyline tied to the novels or are they standalones?
DLS: Although each of the stories is a standalone, “Jump Point Blockade” pits Firebrandt and his crew against Captain William R. Stewart who they first met in the story “Hijacking the Legacy” that appears in Full-Throttle Space Tales #2: Space Sirens.
BTS: How many novels have you written about these characters?
DLS: Ellison Firebrandt and Carter Roberts appear in three novels: The Pirates of Sufiro, Children of the Old Stars, and Heirs of the New Earth. There is one more novel in the Old Star/New Earth universe called The Solar Sea, but that one is set before they’re born. At this point, I have five prequel stories featuring Firebrandt and his crew—about 23,000 words of material in all.
BTS: You also edit Tales Of The Talisman and have written a number of novels. How did you get started as an editor?
DLS: In many ways my beginnings as an editor are tied to The Pirates of Sufiro. When I first wrote the novel, my wife was in graduate school and was looking for a master’s project. What she decided was to create an audio small press called Hadrosaur Productions. The Pirates of Sufiro was to be the first book published. We had started talking to some other authors and created a small anthology called Hadrosaur Tales as a way to showcase those people plus a few others who we hoped to lure to the press. Eventually, the audio press went by the wayside and Hadrosaur Tales became a magazine in its own right. After editing the magazine for ten years, we went through some format changes and renamed it Tales of the Talisman. After starting the magazine, other publishers I worked with saw that I was an editor and have contracted my services and I’ve done some novel editing. In addition to Hadrosaur Tales/Tales of the Talisman, I’ve edited a small literary magazine called Voces and I was layout designer for El Paso Community College’s magazine Chrysalis.
BTS: Has the FTST series been a success? What do you think is the appeal of these anthologies?
DLS: The books have attracted some “name” authors such as Neal Asher, Robert E. Vardeman, Sarah and Dan Hoyt, Selina Rosen, Dayton Ward and, of course, Mike Resnick. Also, reviews have been generally positive, and the books seem to sell well for me and the other contributing authors I’ve spoken to. That and the fact we’re on volume 6 all speak to the success of the books. I think the appeal is the premise, these are meant to be fun, action-packed collections of science fiction tales. Even within that definition, there is room for everything from serious, thoughtful stories to humor. I think the variety of stories, the variety of authors, and the variety of themes all appeal to readers.
BTS: Who would you recommend them to as readers?
DLS: I would recommend them to anyone who likes a good, fun action-oriented science fiction tale. The stories have humor, romance, strong science fiction ideas and fun. If you like science fiction at all, it’s worth trying out this series. I’m betting you’ll find several stories you like and maybe even some new favorite authors.
BTS: What other projects do you have in the works that we can look forward to?
DLS: My story “The Pirates of Baja” will be in the anthology Gears and Levers, due at the beginning of April from Sky Warrior Publishing. My story “The Vrykolakas and the Cobbler’s Wife” is in Cemetery Dance Issue 66 which is hitting the newsstands as we speak. Further down the road, look for my novel Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order from Lachesis Publishing. This novel tells about the formation of a band of vampire mercenaries. In the meantime, I’m working on Wolf Posse, the sequel to my Wild West/Steampunk novel Owl Dance which is currently out from Flying Pen Press.
Here’s an excerpt from “Jump Point Blockade:”
Jump Point Blockade
David Lee Summers
The privateer Legacy hung a short distance away from the asteroid designated MX-271. The asteroid was home to an automated mining operation owned by the Xerolith Corporation based on New Earth. The Legacy’s first mate, a sinewy, bald man named Carter Roberts, led the landing party. Roberts hacked into the mine’s computer network and unleashed a virus he hoped would knock out the defense grid.
A sturdy woman with close-cropped hair called Nicole Lowry piloted the craft. She checked the scanners. “The asteroid’s shields are disabled. I
see no indication of weapons being powered up.”
Roberts nodded, acknowledging the report, but he did not relax. Instead, he double-checked the readings himself. When he was satisfied,
he looked over at the pilot. “Take us in, but be careful.”
Lowry pulled back on the joystick and activated the landing rockets. “Your virus programs haven’t let us down yet. I’m not worried.”
“Neither am I, but that’s no excuse to let our guard down.” The first mate kept his eyes on the scanner readouts.
A few minutes later, the pilot pushed the joystick forward and shut off the rockets.
“So far, so good,” said Roberts. He commanded the station’s docking tunnel to extend and mate with the launch’s airlock. Unbuckling his harness,
he turned around and faced the landing party. “Let’s see what goodies the New Earthers have left us.” He drew his sidearm and opened the hatch.
Cautiously, Roberts moved forward into the docking tunnel. His nose wrinkled at the still, stale air. The only sounds he heard were the footsteps of the landing party behind him.
When he entered the mine complex itself, he saw a lone defense robot, its weapons pointed impotently at the floor. The first mate remained silent, while his eyes roved the room. Occasionally mining complexes left a few defense robots unjacked from the network, to keep them immune from viruses. Such robots were usually sound
activated. Satisfied nothing was moving, Roberts indicated a door at the far end of the room with his hepler pistol. Nicole Lowry crept beside him
and peered down the corridor, then activated a handheld computer.
She nodded and gave a thumbs-up—the signal that the path was clear and that they were heading in the right direction. They proceeded down the corridor until they came to a gaping door that led into a vast, darkened space.
Lowry activated a button just inside the door and banks of overhead lights flickered to life revealing a warehouse-like space containing processed bars of erdonium ore neatly stacked on anti-graviton carts. Roberts looked around to make sure there were no defense robots in sight. Finally, he relaxed and holstered his hepler pistol. Turning to face the landing party, he smiled. “This should pay our salaries for a few months.”
“All right, you swabs,” called Lowry. “Start moving those anti-grav carts to the launch. Step to!”
Just as the Legacy’s crewmembers began to fan out, the door to the storeroom slammed shut.
On Legacy’s battle deck, a pale man with stringy hair called Computer stood against one wall. His eyes roved back and forth as he communicated with the ship’s computer revealed by the metal grating beneath his feet. A moment later, his eyes ceased their near-constant motion and he turned to face the ship’s captain, Ellison Firebrandt.
“A New Earth battleship has just entered the system,” reported Computer.
The captain—a tall man dressed all in black with long, red hair worn loose about his shoulders—spat a curse. “Contact Roberts. Tell him to get back to the ship as fast as he can.”
Computer’s eyes roved back and forth for a moment. “Sir, Mr. Roberts is calling us.”
“Put him on,” ordered the captain.
“Captain, something’s gone wrong.” Roberts’s voice came through the intercom. “We just located the processed erdonium when the doors
to the storage facility closed behind us. We’re locked in. I’ve double checked the computer here. The virus is still active and defense systems
are shut down.”
“Could they have been commanded from outside?” asked Firebrandt.
“I suppose it’s possible.” Roberts sounded uncertain.
“A New Earth battleship just jumped into the system.” Firebrandt stepped toward the front of the battle deck and looked into the holographic tank. He saw a three-dimensional representation of a nondescript black cylinder hovering near a gray potato-shaped rock—the Legacy next to the mining asteroid. Some distance away, a marble-sized blue sphere that indicated the position of the New Earth battleship moved toward them.
“How could they know about us?”
“I don’t know,” said the captain. “Hang tight. We’ll find a way to get you out of there.”
“Captain, you should leave. We’ll be okay till you get back.”
“I’m not leaving you, Mr. Roberts.”
A new voice cut in on the transmission. “This is Captain William R. Stewart of the Battleship New New Jersey calling the unidentified ship at MX-271. State your purpose in this sector.” In the holographic tank, the blue sphere morphed into a menacing black cylinder bristling with gun ports. Legacy’s scanners had obtained a clear reading of the ship.
Firebrandt took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He had tangled with Captain Stewart of the New New Jersey before. He looked at Computer
and instructed him to open a channel. A moment later, Computer nodded.
“This is the Earth vessel Dragonfly. We’ve sustained micrometeorite damage and sent a party down to the asteroid to look for repair parts.”
Firebrandt’s transmission was greeted with silence. He stepped back toward Computer and made a slashing motion across his throat,
then looked at the helmsman, Kheir el-Din who stood at an upright console in the center of the battle deck—the ship’s wheel. “What are
they up to?”
“Scanning us, I’ll wager,” said the helmsman. “Checking to see if we really are the good ship Dragonfly.”
“What are they even doing here?” Firebrandt’s eyebrows came together. “I thought the New Earthers were tied up with that stupid blockade of Alpha Coma Berenices’s jump point to Rd’dyggia.”
“The New Earthers say the Rd’dyggians are making weapons for the Alpha Comans.” Kheir el-Din toyed with a short string of beads strung in his long, black beard. “I thought you would support the blockade.”
The captain shrugged. “The Rd’dyggians make weapons for everyone. I have no objection to the blockade. I just don’t see how it will do any good.”
“MX-271 is on the jump path from the New New Jersey’s patrol sector to the blockaded jump point,” reported Computer.
The captain rubbed his bare chin. “They must have been summoned to the blockade.”
“The New New Jersey is powering up weapons,” said Computer.
In the holographic viewer, a translucent sphere appeared around the battleship indicating the range of its guns. Legacy was nearly within that sphere.
The captain pointed to the helmsman. “Prepare for emergency intrasystem jump.”
“Powering up the engines,” reported el-Din.
“This is Captain Stewart of the New New Jersey. We have scanned your vessel and determined that you are, in fact, the fugitive Gaean Privateer Legacy. Captain Firebrandt, I am authorized to destroy your vessel.”
Continued in Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 which you can purchase here starting now (preorders end April 17).
Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 can now be purchased here starting now (preorders end April 17).
Red Alert! Red Alert!
This is not a drill…
Anna Paradox’s “Between The Rocks”: The Courtly Vizier, a
utility truck, renders aid to a colony ship but when they return to their
asteroid home from supply runs to mines on Old Lumpy from Jupiter’s
atmosphere, the colony ship they once helped attacks them. But the
situation is not what it seems, and strange circumstances are at hand.
David Lee Summers’ “Jump Point Blockade”: While pirating a mine
on an asteroid, Captain Ellison Firebrandt and the crew of the Legacy
find themselves forced into battle by Captain Stewart of the New New
Jersey, serving as shields against the Alpha Comas at a jump point to
Rd’dyggia. But instead of obeying Captain Steward, Firebrandt has
plans of his own.
Jean Johnson’s “Joystick War”: Scavenging a storage bunker for
salvage, Scott Grayson and Rrenn F’sauu stumble onto mint condition
Targeting Drone A.I.’s, joystick controlled combat suits and can’t resist
taking them for a test run. Then an old enemy, the Salik turn up, and
instead of joy rides, they’re fighting for their lives and their people…
Mike Resnick & Brad Torgersen’s “Guard Dog”: Watchfleet sentinel
Chang leads a lonely life of extended, dream-filled sleeps in between
frenetic, life-or-death battles. The Sortu had almost defeated humanity
and the lives of everyone, including his wife and son, depend on men
like him. Then, called to battle again, he finds himself up against the last
opponent he’d ever expected…
These and more stories await inside…
report to battle stations!
FULL Table Of Contents
9 Introduction – Bryan Thomas Schmidt
17 Between the Rocks – Anna Paradox
29 The Thirteens – Gene Mederos
45 Like So Much Refuse – Simon C. Larter
61 Jump Point Blockade – David Lee Summers
73 First Contact – Patrick Hester
83 Isis – Dana Bell
95 The Book of Enoch – Matthew Cook
113 The Joystick War – Jean Johnson
133 Never Look Back – Grace Bridges
147 The Gammi Experiment – Sarah Hendrix
161 Space Battle of the Bands – C.J. Henderson
175 A Battle for Parantwer – Anthony Cardno
187 With All Due Respect – Johne Cook
209 Final Defense – Selene O’Rourke
219 Bait and Switch – Jaleta Clegg
227 The Hand of God (A Davi Rhii Story) – Bryan Thomas Schmidt
245 Guard Dog – Mike Resnick and Brad R. Torgersen
255 About the Authors
Bryan Thomas Schmidt is the author of the space opera novels The Worker Prince, a Barnes & Noble Book Clubs Year’s Best SF Releases of 2011 Honorable Mention, and The Returning, the collection The North Star Serial, Part 1, and has several short stories forthcoming in anthologies and magazines. His children’s book 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Jokes For Kids from Delabarre Publishing along with the anthology Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 which he edited for Flying Pen Press, headlined by Mike Resnick. As a freelance editor, he’s edited a novel for author Ellen C. Maze (Rabbit: Legacy), a historical book for Leon C. Metz (The Shooters, John Wesley Hardin, The Border), and is now editing Decipher Inc’s WARS tie-in books for Grail Quest Books. He’s also the host of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chatevery Wednesday at 9 pm EST on Twitter, where he interviews people like Mike Resnick, AC Crispin, Kevin J. Anderson and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. A frequent contributor to Adventures In SF Publishing, Grasping For The Wind and SFSignal, he can be found online as @BryanThomasS on Twitter or via his website. Bryan is an affiliate member of the SFWA.
Well, I know my writers have been patiently but yet anxiously waiting for an announcement, so here it is. These are the stories accepted for the anthology SPACE BATTLES: Full Throttle Space Tales #6, in a series from Flying Penn Press. Releasing around April 18, edited by myself and headlined by Mike Resnick and Jean Johnson, this anthology is original stories (non-reprints) of space opera and military scifi focused all of which have space battles as pivotal to their plot. We are still playing with the story order so that may change but the content itself is final. Congrats and thank you to all the writers!
Between The Rocks by Anna Paradox The Thirteens by Gene Mederos Like So Much Refuse by Simon C. Larter Jump Point Blockade by David Lee Summers (Other stories in this series appear in other Full Throttle Space Tales anthologies) First Contact by Patrick Hester (first sale) Isis by Dana Bell Book of Enoch by Matt Cook (first anthology sale) Joystick War by Jean Johnson (A Theirs Not To Reason Why series story; her first novel in this series is up for a Philip K. Dick Award this year) Never Look Back by Grace Bridges The Gammi Experiment by Sarah Hendrix (first SF story sale) Space Battle Of The Bands by C.J. Henderson (C.J. continues his popular Full Throttle Space Tales story series) A Battle For Parantwer by Anthony R. Cardno (first SF story sale) With All Due Respect by Johne Cook Final Defense by Selene O’Rourke (first sale) Bait and Switch by Jaleta Clegg The Hand Of God by Bryan Thomas Schmidt (A Saga Of Davi Rhii Sequel set 20 years after the events of my novel series) Guard Dog by Mike Resnick and Brad R. Torgersen (Not a reprint but an original written specifically for this anthology; saved for last because of the powerful resonance of its ending)
Also, got the Honda looking cooler these days with the new tag. A publicist suggested it and I remembered my experiences as a singer with my customized plate. People asked me lots of questions when they saw it, so I thought $50 for 5 years is pretty cheap advertising. Since I always have a case of books in the back, why not? If this helps draw interest or sell a few, it’s totally worth it. It also is fun, to me, to be the only one in Kansas with SF AUTHR as his tag. There’s gotta be others out there, sure, but I got there first. Happens so rarely for me, it feels like a win. So why not?
So those of you around the Midwest, if you see a Blue Honda Civic with this tag, come find me and say hi. I’ll be at Cons and around other places. I’d love to see you.