Stories for the Masses

The mutterings of a half-mad Canuck who writes stuff

Human 76 – Underneath

Aaaaaaaaaand we’re back to futuristic tech and some neat toys and things. Also, genetic drift! This is awesome!

I really enjoyed this story by Denise Callaway. In it, we meet two tunnel rats named Cievette and Eisle. The tunnel rats live under cities and settlements, siphoning of electric power and supplies as needed. They are adapted to their underground life with pale skin and larger eyes. I think that’s cool, and wonder why none of the rest of us thought to include this idea (that, and the bicycles).

The tunnel rats had a knack for thievery, stealing anything from food and clothing to power. They only found independence in the deep spaces beneath cities. Over the years, they had learned to network with the rats in other cities, sharing skills, trading resources. Cievette’s skill was one of those resources, and it held her in rare regard. Her assignments were often dangerous, but fortunately having Eisle with her had gotten her out of a tight spot or two.

Taking over at the code screen, Cievette studied what Eisle had managed to unravel. “Not bad, Eisle. Keep this up and they’re going to start sending you out on your own.”

His quiet laugh rumbled as he settled in near the door. Commander Harkins had made it clear that Cievette’s safe return was to be Eisle’s only concern.

Our main characters meet Ghabrie when they are all imprisoned together by the Promethean Alliance. That’s right, Ghabrie was captured! The story isn’t really about that, though, but rather is about drawing a neat (in the sense of interesting) little picture of the tunnel rat’s world, and of the relationship between Cievette and Eisle.

I do have to say, in passing, that while I understand the hold implanted tech has on our collective psyche, given the upgrade cycle of modern technology I really can’t see implants becoming too popular. Before or after the holocaust. Wearable tech seems much more likely to me, but hey, I’m currently writing a story about an 800-year-old lady with a spaceship for a body, so obviously not even I listen to me.

If you’re looking for the book, it is available at 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.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t point out that Human 76 has been nominated for a Summer Indie Book Award in the category of Best Anthology. It’s a public voting sort of thing, so you should go to and vote for Human 76. It’s hard to find things in the list, so you can “Ctrl-F” and type ‘human’ to locate it. As of this writing, it is also listed twice for some reason, and the page allows you to vote for multiple books, so you can effectively vote for Human 76 twice. You can vote 1 time per day, so off you go.


  1. Loving these reviews, Michael!
    And you don’t know how much we need to read about your 800 year-old female spaceship!

    • MS Manz

      September 2, 2016 at 7:07 am

      Sadly, you’ll have to wait a bit longer. I’ve got a middle-aged bastard Detective Inspector with a mysterious past to run around with first.

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