Stories for the Masses

The mutterings of a half-mad Canuck who writes stuff

Month: August 2016

Human 76 – What You Put In

Oh, Julia Rios, where have you been all my life?

What a lovely, satisfying, and well written tale.

In this story we meet a young lady named Kayera who isn’t Ghabrie, but who is frequently suspected of being her on the slim evidence of having dark hair. People do tend to believe what they want to believe and see what they want to see, don’t they. Even fictional people.

“I’m sorry.” Kayera spoke more softly this time, as softly as she could over the roar of the grinder. She made eye contact with Eneri, willing her to know that if she could help she would. “I’m not her. I don’t have the gift. I’m just a girl who’s willing to do hard work. That’s all.”
Eneri grabbed her arm. “But surely if you try—”
“No,” Kayera said. “I have tried. I don’t have it.”
When the last of the grain spilled from the sack into the grinder’s hungry maw, Kayera took it to the pile of empties and then signalled to the foreman asking to go on a break. “Please don’t follow me,” she said to Eneri. “I need to be alone.”

At any rate, in this story we meet another faction – one that goes by the name of The Green Stripes, and that is likely a militarized version of greenpeace rather than something started by the descendants of Jack and Meg White. They value nature and so forth and, as with most groups with a similar bent, forget to include people within their concept of nature. They aren’t very nice.

The story revolves around the aforementioned Kayera, who has run away from home to avoid the Promethean Alliance, and finds out that, while they have moved on, the city is now controlled by the Green Stripes, who are unlikely to leave her aged grandmother in peace.

There’s some good suspense and decent action in this story, but above all it seems to be about hope and rebuilding and responsibility. This was one of the highlights of the book so far for me.

 

As usual, the book is available at Lulu.com in paperback and e-book formats. It is also available at Barnes and Noble as paperback and for the Nook, and at  Amazon (paperback) and Amazon (kindle). All proceeds go to Water is Life, so you should buy it.  Also, it is a very good book (so far) so you should buy it.

Human 76 – The Hunted

Steven Paul Watson has a lovely story here. At the risk of being a bit spoiler-y, it has a happy ending. This is noteworthy in any project headed up by Mike Wombat.

In this tale, we have a man working hard against impossible odds to lure cannibalistic reaver-type folks away from his injured daughter while hoping desperately that his wife is still alive.

We also see not only Ghabrie’s bad-assery and toughness, but also the more emotional and vulnerable side. It’s good to be reminded that she is still a very young woman on a very difficult road. It’s good to be reminded of why she’s on that road. It’s good to see her as a more rounded character with depth and vulnerability.

It also, as I’ve mentioned, has a happy ending which is a great change of pace.

The book is available at Lulu.com in paperback and e-book formats. The e-book is no longer free, but all proceeds from either format go to Water is Life, so you should buy it. It is also available at Barnes and Noble as paperback and for the Nook, and at  Amazon (paperback) and Amazon (kindle).

Human 76 – Human X

Human X tells the story of Ael, a mysterious man who mysteriously survives a nasty disease and is mysteriously blind (these things are all related). This is the first story to take a decidedly supernatural turn, and I like it. The horror elements are more muted than they probably would have been if this book hadn’t been specifically meant for a YA audience, but they are there and strongly enough to do their job.

Human X is also the first story in the collection told in the first person. I feel pretty ‘meh’ about first person, it’s never really been my thing, but by the end of the story I could see the reason for it. It’s still not a voice I like reading, but it was necessary to tell this particular story, and Michelle Fox does it better than most.

One thing I’m having to remind myself of over and over again while reading this book is that the stories are stand alone items. I was thinking about how the evil creatures in this story were going to fit in down the road, but they don’t need to, do they? There are enough shared elements from story to story that it’s easy to forget they actually aren’t interconnected in any meaningful way.

I think that’s pretty neat.

The book is available at Lulu.com in paperback and e-book formats. The e-book is no longer free, but all proceeds from either format go to Water is Life, so you should buy it. It is also available at Barnes and Noble as paperback and for the Nook, and at  Amazon (paperback only, e-book coming soon).

Human 76 – Hiero Worship

And so we move from the warm and squishy human side of this post-apocalyptic wonderland to the hard and shiny Promethean Alliance. As you could probably tell from my story, I hate them. I hate them lots. This story brings the bad guys into much, much sharper focus, and oh boy is Ghabrie in trouble.

Speaking of trouble, I had a bit of trouble getting into this story, and for the longest time I couldn’t figure out what was bothering me. It has everything I like in a sci-fi romp; neat toys, cool science, and interesting new powers. The puns are groanable, and the protagonist is OP as fuck.

And that’s what was bugging me – that’s what I wasn’t liking. This guy is basically what the PA is trying to build – a god – and Ghabrie is going to have to figure out a way to take this dude down at some point, and I just don’t see how that’s possible.

I’ve decided, though, to have faith on my main lady and trust that she will find a way to feed the big bad augmented wolf his own eyeballs before the end of the book. Maybe the waif from my story will meet up with Ghabrie and make a milkshake of Hiero’s mind from the inside. Maybe Ghabrie will figure out how to do that on her own. Maybe his nanites will contract a virus. Maybe he’ll switch allegiance (I doubt it).

The only thing that still bugs me at this point is the idea that this guy would have full-body nano-armor and leave his nuts unprotected. Rookie move.

The book is available at Lulu.com in paperback and e-book formats. The e-book is no longer free, but all proceeds from either format go to Water is Life, so you should buy it. It is also available at Barnes and Noble as paperback and for the Nook, and at  Amazon (paperback only, e-book coming soon). Jeff Hollars other books can be found here.