Tall Talk

An excerpt from a little something I’ve been quietly working on….

The gods were with him, that much he knew, and as little as he cared for their influence, he was happy for the hammer. It felt right in his hands, more than the one he’d used for years on the Old Ohio. More than his own cock. More than his lovely wife’s bare shoulders and slim waist. Never had anything been so perfect as a man waging his war against gods and governments and machines and mountains with cold iron in his calloused fist.

He could hear the steam driver pounding out a rhythm that had no soul in it. That’s why he had to win. A man pushed as far as he’d been swung his tool with passion, his muscles fueled by loss and a life lived hard. No machine could know the kiss of the lash or the bitter embrace of an empty bed. No engine could understand how a man bears the burden of laying a tiny coffin in a tiny grave, only to leave it unmarked as the sun rises and the work bell rings in the empty chambers of a heart too big for this cruel world.

John was screaming as he swung the mighty thing, and Wong flinched as a spark flew from the steel spike and burned his cheek. He and the Irishman dared not move their hands, for it was clear that even one bit of a miss and that hammer would be pounding into him, and Wong knew he wouldn’t survive it. John had ghosts in his blood, and they had him going for broke.

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By seanargo Posted in Uncategorized

Mad Max and the White Whale

It is no small secret that I am a post-apocalyptic genre fiend, and I’d even go so far as to call myself a wastelander, given that I do engage in the occasional cosplay gathering, have more survival gear than the average bear, and regularly day dream about owning a fleet of battle cars and war rigs. Hell I wrote the book.

Generally we think of the wasteland as a great big desert, and that’s mostly thanks to George Miller, the creative mind that gave us Mad Max and Happy Feet. He filmed the original Mad Max films in the Australian outback, and then Fury Road in the deserts of South Africa. All the knock offs and genre offerings that have been coming out since the 80’s are generally set in dusty Italian backcountry or the scrub deserts near Los Angeles. It makes sense, of course, to create such stories in desolate places, and it makes sense from a post-nuke and post-famine perspective, as all the green goes away and leaves a blighted and empty place behind.

This is part of what made Waterworld such a strange genre offering that was tough for audiences to get behind. Sure everyone was over Kevin Costner at that time, and the movie does shift in tone at the midpoint, going from badass open ocean survival movie to comedy adventure, but I loved it. The idea of a water desert, essentially, really stuck with me, and as we are bombarded daily with media about melting ice caps and global warming, I kept circling back around to considering a post-melt kind of apocalyptic setting.

Combine this wasteland obsession with my son’s undying love of sharks (turns out it was not just a phase) as well as my own sustained interest in sea stories (age of the sail, creature features, offshore rigs, etc) and you get The Dystopian Sea. I wanted to capture all of the classic elements of the wasteland, from the mohawk wearing marauders to the ramshackle survivor settlements, while creating a straight forward sea adventure along the lines of Moby Dick.

The trilogy is finished, with the first two books available on Amazon, and the third set to hit digital shelves in the next few months. Let’s go hunt some sharks!

 click to buy

Warrior crews in rusted ships hunt mutated whales and battle toxic sharks in the aquatic wasteland the world has become.
It has been eighty years since The Melt, and now the world is a place ruled by naught but the crashing waves of the sea and the survival instincts of folk made hard by the deadly waters. The scraps of dry land that remain are ruins inhabited by cannibalistic raiders and desperate scavengers, forcing most survivors and their kin to make a life upon the treacherous open ocean.
Bard, a harpooner and a teller of tales, is the lone survivor of a Megalodon attack upon the whaleship Osiris. He is forced to survive being lost at sea, overcoming incredible challenges along the way, until he is rescued by another ship. Bard must then earn his place amongst the crew of the Penny Dreadful, proving himself to the sailors and shark fighters that he is worthy. Adventure awaits and carnage spreads in this post-apocalyptic story of sea monsters and the brave souls who hunt them.

The crew of the Penny Dreadful have had a good season, and their hold is filled with oil and meat from the mighty leviathans they hunt on the open ocean. They soon discover a trading post under siege by a swarm of sharks and gangs of murderous raiders known as the Panzer Fish. The shark cult has escalated its campaign of terror across the sea, and next on their hit list is the whaleship’s home port of Seattle.

Captain Drucilla, now filling her father’s boots as the whaleship’s master, must lead her hardened crew of sailors and shark fighters in an all out war against the cult and their swarms. Adventure awaits and carnage spreads in this post-apocalyptic story of sea monsters and the brave souls who hunt them.

Audible Carnage

That should be a band name… somebody get on it!

Speaking of Audible, the newest deep space noir stylings of Persephone Rose are available now in the form of Hard Cargo, the 6th book in the Necrospace series.

For those of you with an Audible subscription it is right there for you, or those without can either sign up and get some Amazon freebies or pick the book up a la carte.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Hard Cargo

The most wanted salvage marine in the universe thought he was done fighting. He was wrong.

For Samuel Hyst the nightmare was over, left behind upon dead worlds and within the derelict ships drifting through space, he and his family having fled to the edges of the frontier to begin a new life of peace. In the aftermath of a violent raid by slave traders, the long suffering marine discovers that a relic of the ancient machine civilization has been left at the doorstep of his pristine forest homestead. He feels the menace radiating from it, and knows that the various powers and factions that rule necrospace will soon come for all of them. Samuel cuts a deal with Captain Dar of the freelance prospecting ship Rig Halo, who years ago saved Samuel’s wife and son from the trade war. Tension is high aboard the ship, as the Hyst family adjusts to being in the rough company of the Halo and a life on the run. As it turns out, the Rig is also a ship full of mercenaries, and once more Samuel finds himself with rifle in hand and squeezing the trigger just to stay alive.

The hunt has already begun and Grotto predators are closing in.

Available now on Amazon!

Altered Carbon Aftermath

Like many, I have been enjoying the new Netflix series ‘Altered Carbon’ and like many authors I have been daydreaming about what my own cyberpunk epic might look like on screen. The filmmakers did a fantastic job with AC and I encourage any and all of my readers to check out the show. When I see something like that I am encouraged to continue, at least on occasion, to create cyberpunk fiction. As a genre cyberpunk has a significant ebb and flow in its popularity (thus sales) unlike the more stable military scifi and creature feature genres, and so I only plug into those wires when the story is burning through my spirit for release onto the page. Seeing the Takeshi Kovacs series of novels (Altered Carbon being the first) make their way to the screen and to witness a resurgence in the popularity of the novels is extremely heartening.

For those of you who are into my military science fiction series ‘Necrospace‘ or the ‘Extinction Fleet‘ trilogy, I encourage you to give ‘Beautiful Resistance‘ a chance.

High-tech mercenaries find themselves pitted against freerunning revolutionaries as global corporate warfare becomes centered around a struggling island nation and the freedom fighters defending their home.

*a character profile I commissioned

Check out Defiance Pattern (Book 1) and Opposition Shift (Book 2)

The second novel in the series has arrived, with the third having been submitted to the publisher and added to their line up.

The corporate slinger Hayden Cole finds himself seeing a different side of the clandestine war over the mysterious island energy source, learns that the some of the warriors have a dark secret, and are anything but human. The legendary slinger Lunatic 8 wages a one woman cyberwar for the resistance, matching the hackers of her corporate rivals program for program in the virtual dreamworld of Massnet, while Hirohito, the deadly cyborg, is unleashed. Hayden and his engineer partner Nibiru begin to question their loyalties as they witness the freedom fighters struggling to stay one step ahead of mercenary death squads.

The streets of the city are full of gun smoke and the wires of cyberspace hum with digital violence as opposing forces struggle over wealth, freedom, and the very soul of the islands in this grim futuristic thriller.

Nobody Gets Away Clean

Writing can be a costly thing for the person hitting the keys, and for me there is no price more steep than to venture into Necrospace. I can only write in that world for a short time before I must pull back, because I can only stand in that hard light for so long before my soul grows too heavy to continue.

I have been writing for over a decade, everything from screenplays to comic books, with many a novel in between, and nothing demands so much from me as a Necrospace story. I grew up in the Boy Scout of America, working summer camps as a living history staffer, and reading the poetry of Robert Service. Such things gave me much in the way of a framework of mythology, which I carried into my college years as a Theology student. We are nothing if not stories, and the ones that always resonated with me were those of the common men, those born to toil and die unsung in such epic tales as the Iliad and Beowulf, or in the lesser known moments of the Industrial Revolution, when much of humanity worked to justify itself upon the gears and levers of the new machines that would replace the labor of their hands and minds all too soon.

I have always been fascinated by the faceless men and women of history to whom we owe the greatest of debts. Those who wielded the iron of plow and of sword, the hardy folk who swung hammer and pick in mines of coal, the mighty among us who endure the 38 hours of no-benefit service industry labor, and the seniors who did not even get the golden watch at the end of a lifetime’s tenure at the desk or on the assembly line. The soldier who fights for minimum wage and comes back broken to a world that knows nothing of his long journey. The mother who knows her newborn child’s fate is already wed to the grind.

Carrion Duty (Book 5) took a king’s ransom from me, costing me nearly a year to write and nearly a year to recover. My own life has been a troubled one since that novel’s release, and I have had precious little to give to the scrapyard universe. I took to the road at the top of the year, and have been chewing up the miles since then (today is the 17th) with at least a week or more till I stop moving, and it has been a healing balm to do so. Out here on the blacktop I feel that I have found the energy to carry on, the surge to return to my old friend Samuel Hyst and his tragically epic life has found me again, and though I know it will hurt I am ready to return to the darkest place I’ve known.

Hard Cargo (Book 6) will be an ugly thing, and yet beautiful in its own way. I want it to hurt you to read it as much as I know it will hurt me to write it, and in the doing perhaps we both will find some measure of peace. Some kind of hope that will empower us to soldier on.

May we be so lucky.

This is the job.

Welcome to the Red List

Excerpt from Necrospace Book 5 – CARRION DUTY 

Never was there a battle so pure as the one waged for survival. As a Red List community, their freedom was a desperate sort, fueled by theft and piracy in an unending struggle to last just one more cycle. Fiat Lux had been living lean for nearly six months as their rangers had been scouring necrospace for a worthwhile target. There were mouths to feed, with prescious little time to make a good kill and harvest a fresh bounty.

“Eight flak batteries and four turbo-lasers on the compound, looks like they weren’t expecting anything heavier than conventional air support, and the frigate is a solid three minutes out,” reported Lelani. The mech squad could hear the voice of Morgan growling from inside Night Witch as Lelani added, “Swarm barges away. Planetfall in twenty seconds. War machines, fangs out!”

“I am the Hammer that strikes Unrelenting!” shouted Gregory Schnect from the cockpit of Swift Hammer, a Titan class mech that stood several meters taller than Sokol in his machine, making the Coyote class machine look more like an exoskeleton than a mech by comparison, as he chambered and primed high velocity thud rounds in the cannons mounted on both his arms and shoulders.

“I am the Beast that stalks the Fields!” answered Sokol before he revved his ripsaw and squared his shoulders, the beat of his heart and the grind of his mech combining to breach the barrier in his psyche between man and machine while he braced for eject.

“I am the Storm that shatters the Walls!” bellowed Angron from within Thunder Walks, the re-furbished Titan class mech that had seen combat in a dozen wars before the Fiat Lux reavers had stolen it, though any who witnessed the mech in action would swear that the man named Angron had been born in its metal womb.

“I am the Darkness that destroys all Hope,” whispered Morgan, while the Night Witch, with its twin plasma lances, stood perfectly still as the pilot deftly adjusted the mech’s stance in time with the impacts and shifts in the ship’s course.

“Good hunting,” intoned Lelani as she keyed the quick release hatch and activated an ejection sequence that hurled the four mechs forward even as the ship’s hard banking maneuver dumped them out right above the complex.

Space Marine Apocalypse

Ragnarok is upon us. 

Ajax returns to an age of relentless war, his mind ravaged by terrible visions and with his rifle at the ready.

An axe age. A sword age. A wolf age.

The Hive Mind reveals strange new ships and hideous new creatures as the extinction fleet strives to feed its endless hunger. Swarms strike all along the border worlds, seizing as much raw biomass as they can and making their escape before human forces can respond. An experimental cadre of Bloodhound marines are created to oppose the garm raiders, even as a new Watchman ascends to take supreme command of the Einherjar.

The star fortress Bifrost must defend itself from a titanic assault as garm splinter fleets push through the front and strike at the heart of civilization itself. All the while a hybrid uprising organized by the traitor Loki threatens to bring down humanity from the inside out. Amidst the chaos the Einherjar must rally their strength and fight a desperate last stand with the fate of a species hanging in the balance.

Once more pulse rifle must meet tooth and claw in the ultimate battle for survival.

AVAILABLE NOW!   (click on the huge available now, over there, just to the left, yeah the bit all in caps)

Bedtime Story

The kids asked for storytelling instead of a book. My son insisted that the story be the adventure of a Bison, a Bull, and an Ox. I took a moment to collect myself, and then told this one freestyle. I have naturally given it a polish now that they are asleep and I am writing it down. Enjoy!

The world ended in fire, and all the water was taken by the hungry ghosts that clung to existence across the burning plains.

Bison, Bull, and Ox were the only ones left of their nations and they wandered the wasteland looking for Mirror Blue, a spring fed lake and the last of its kind. Vulture and his children whispered of renewal, and though the carrion only wished to eat the fallen beasts, Bison in his wisdom knew Vulture was speaking the truth. Vulture knew that wise Bison would not fall for any of his tricks and that Bull was a great warrior, so he soared high with his people and waited for the desert to do its work.

They traveled far and wide, living off the power of their nations that they carried inside them, until all three were near collapse.

Bison used the last of his power to stomp his feet with a mighty force, and then silenced himself to quietly that he could hear ripples moving across water, and he told his companions the direction they should go. Ox, ever loyal, carried Bison on his back, for the great beast could no longer continue on his own.

Vulture smiled because he knew Ox would tire twice as quickly now, and since the beast was neither wise nor a warrior, soon there would be meat on the ground.

In the distance three giant columns of swirling dust and wind rose to stand against the thirsty beasts, the force of their sandy gale scouring a few carrion birds from the sky to remind them of respect, and Vulture bid his people hold back.

The dust devils charged the beasts, and Bull, the mightiest fighter on the sands, rushed forward to meet them. He hurled his horned head back and forth and used his shoulders to drive the points home, piercing sand and flame and spirit. All three dust devils were flung to pieces and the wind settled, revealing Bull standing triumphant, though his skin was raw from the fight and his nation’s power spent.

Ox, ever loyal, lay Bull on his back beside Bison, and continued into the scorching waste.

Vulture and his people soon tired, and found themselves parched, the time soon coming for them to turn back, lest they too fall in this blasted place. Ox continued forward, his muscles straining and his tongue dry as the sand he crossed, and yet he did not stop. Vulture screamed in frustration and turned his people away, knowing now that Ox had a power of his own, and that it was great indeed.

Mirror Blue was waiting, and when Ox settled himself and his companions on the cool shores, their thirst was quenched and their nations closer to being saved.

By seanargo Posted in Uncategorized

Your Wires Are Showing

“The future is already here — It’s just not evenly distributed.” – William Gibson

It was so much easier to write cyberpunk fiction in the days before laptops, iphones, and bluetooth. Or maybe easy isn’t quite the right word, since the authors of the 80’s & 90’s were making up the technology as they went, imagining it freshly in their minds as they forged the motherboard of a genre that was just as much about style as it was substance.

High Tech Low Life

It was glorious. I cannot say enough about how shaped I have been by the works of William Gibson, specifically Neuromancer, the Shadowrun and Netrunner pen & paper role playing games, the anime Ghost in the Shell, and of course our man Philip K. Dick with stories and resulting film adaptations like Minority Report and Blade Runner. I love the movie Johnny Mnemonic, and no gushing about cybepunk from decades past would be complete without mention of The Matrix.

To write cyberpunk now, in the year 2017, is a different endeavor. So much of the technological advancements that get imagined in the above works are now commonplace. The sorts of “oh wow” moments that used to hit hard in cyberpunk works just don’t hit quite the way they used to, at least for most of us. I know there are still some basic cable shows that try to present hacking as people typing Really Fast and Looking Stressed at cascading lines of gibberish while they say “someone is hacking our network”, and while that isn’t remotely what real hacking looks like (and no amount of fast edits and soundtrack could make it exciting to watch), those shows and their presentation illustrate the line we creators have to walk between real life and dynamic fiction.

For “Beautiful Resistance” we did our best to imagine a near future that moved along a similar path of technological advancement as we are now. We created our fictional “CodeSource” to be the more conventional ‘system’ that is what we basic users experience today, even if amped up for dramatic purposes, so that it would ring true to a contemporary audience. We created our fictional “MassNet” as our ‘full immersion’ system, the computer dream world of our story, which functions much like the simulations in The Matrix films, or the Neuromancer and Snowcrash novels. Throughout the story we work to present an engaging story with near-future technology that feels legitimate given where we are, as a contemporary society, today. We knew that we had to give you just enough tech-speak to make sense of everything happening, but we did not go so deep into it that A) readers poke holes in our science and B) the story doesn’t get slowed down. Though the hacker parts of the story were the most difficult, there was also the ‘combat operative’ element, where we had to present cyborg warriors who had upgrades and implants that felt realistic enough for a near future setting, but were still exciting to read about.

We also had to look at implications of near future technologies, and what they might do to the political, environmental, and economic landscape. For this we imagined a post-WWIII world, where the great superpowers finally went for blood, and our story picks up some years later. In our imagined near future corporations have taken the place of most world superpower governments (that’s a theme with me I know) and the inequality of the world has become more dramatically pronounced. In our story the mega-cities of the first world country are the neon spectacles one might see in films like Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell, while much of the rest of the world has experienced very little growth compared to where they are in our contemporary real world. Much of the setting, in fact the story itself, is based on the above William Gibson quote. While we don’t get preachy at all (we’re writers, not politicians, economists, or activists) we do address some of the unavoidable elements of setting a story about high powered agents pursuing first world agendas in the boardrooms and back alleys of what we call in our story ‘low grade regions’. In this way we were invited to present a rather poignant illustration of High Tech Low Life in a way that may conjure up images of Neil Blomkamp’s work from films such as Chappie, Elysium, and District 9.

As for the street shaman and the jungle island vampires, well, that’s another post all together.

This has been a project that I have wanted to create for some time, and am happy to finally be able to present it. Our goals are to give you a reading experience that feels less like science fantasy and more like science future, while still delivering on the style & substance promised by dubbing it a work of cyberpunk.

Naturally it is for you to decide if we accomplished any of this, and we are excited to get your feedback!