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)

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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!

Space Marine Loki

Live. Fight. Die.

Live Again.

This is the fate of all Einherjar space marines, tasked to battle for humanity against ravenous alien swarms in an endless war of survival or extinction.

The garm on Heorot have been exterminated, and the extinction fleet’s suicidal assaults turned back upon every front across the universe. However, the Hive Mind still pulses with psychic menace, and marine Ajax can hear its hideous siren call.

Task Force Grendel has been assembled to hunt down other alpha garm that have appeared deep within human space, and a growing number of marines believe that Ajax is the great hero Beowulf, come now to re-conquer the stars. Ajax himself has doubts, though as he and his band of brothers are hurled into the slavering jaws of danger again and again, his only choice is to raise his rifle and fight.

As the Einherjar hunt monsters a legendary warrior rises from the body forge, his mind overwhelmed with equal parts myth and madness. His betrayal unleashes a host of abominations, and threatens to shake the very pillars of human civilization to dust as the traitor reveals that evolution is a weapon of mass destruction.

EXTINCTION FLEET BOOK 2

Cyberpunk Noir

I am presently in the far depths of co-authoring a noir cyberpunk trilogy, very much in the vein of Shadowrun, and found myself rather enjoying writing pieces of a sword fight scene between two augmented operatives, though one is significantly less human than the other. This is an unedited section of that scene, which I particularly enjoyed creating.
 
“The samurai swung in a wide arc that would have sliced into her side had she missed the parry, and Laine realized that while the man had been augmented for strength and resiliency, perhaps even had parts of his brain adjusted for loyalty, there was little he could do against her so long as he thought too hard about it. Any fool could swing a sword, and anyone could become a master of the blade with enough training or upgrades, yet it was only with no-mind that one could hope to win with consistency. The woman allowed her augmentations to feed her data and silenced her conscious mind, allowing her ego and her assumptions about the outcome to dissolve into the datastream from her augments. The cyberware rode Laine into battle, her ego given over to the machine’s lighting fast calculations.
 
Perhaps had the Samurai too achieved a similar state, free of his conscious mind, perhaps he could have beaten her. To act without thinking, to be as pure as the kata, was the only way to even have a hope in beating the machine. Laine sidestepped another swipe of the samurai’s blade and drove her own into his throat, through the windpipe and the spine in one stroke. The samurai’s body sounded hollow as it hit the ground, sword clanking against the pavement, all of it recorded by Laine’s auditory enhancements. They always sounded hollow to her ears, the bodies as they died, no matter how augmented or not they might be, and often she would listen to their final moments over and over, as if hoping to divine the exact moment life left limb and spark died in the wire.”

Paper Targets

I have been hard at work on the sequel to SPACE MARINE AJAX and wanted to share with you some of that progress.

Raw excerpt from first chapter of Extinction Fleet Book 2:

So little remained of the men they had once been, before the war, before the blessing and curse of the torcs they wore that captured their experiences and enabled them to resurrect in the body forge. What would make one marine feel kinship with another, out of an entire legion of warriors, much less a group of them, if not some scrap of their former identity? Such loose knit groups of comrades were common throughout the Einherjar ranks, though none could say what forged their bond, for none among them could recall the sorts of details that formed the basis of friendship amongst civilians and conventional military men.

Ajax mused to himself grimly as he added his firepower with Rama’s to bring down a ripper that attempted to sweep up on their left flank. To fight the garm they had to become similar to them, disposable combatants without the cluttered distraction of vibrant three dimensional humanity. The marines had only the most base levels of personality, himself included, and yet in the furious press of combat it was those base traits that held these thinly defined men true to each other.

We have made ourselves like them in order to win, thought Ajax as he ejected his spent carbon magazine and slapped a fresh one in the slot with the sort of mechanical discipline that took years to achieve, but we are still men. We feel the heat of victory, the sting of defeat, and the pain of loss when the warriors who stand with us fall to tooth and claw.

Indeed he had no idea what sports teams he preferred, what it had been like growing up on whatever planet he’d once called home, nor could he recall the last words he’d exchanged with his long dead wife. Such things had been sacrificed for his keen understanding of garm anatomy, roared Ajax in his mind as he shattered the knee of a sprinting drone, causing it to stumble and giving Silas a clean shot at its head. In place of a clear picture of his parents Ajax had the knowledge required to field strip his armor and equipment for cleaning and repairs, along with seemingly infinite tactical responses to the oncoming enemy.

Lost were the memories of happier times and gained was the intimate understanding of how to win.

Beowulf in Space

Star Vikings and the Bug Hunt

2033e479778590ef7a3b6cc350fadab9  +  alienhead  =  ajax

I have been crazy about Beowulf since I was in elementary school, having fallen in love with the tale of a mighty warrior and his epic adventures only a few years before becoming equally enamored by the Alien(s) universe. When my brother and I were young I always wanted to play swords and he always wanted to play guns, so most of the time we had to take turns, until one day the idea hit me that we could be space guys and still battle fantasy monsters. So here we are years later, and once again (like Necrospace) I am transforming stories that I played out from my youth to fit the core Beowulf narrative I’m framing the novel with, to the point of adapting scenes based on the memories our childhood battle games.

I was knee-deep in the writing of Book 5 of my Necrospace series when my son wanted to play space marines versus angry tentacle crab monsters (yes, that’s how we roll in this family) and I found myself thinking about the story of Grendel as my son described the bad guys. That little seed stuck in my head and later that night I cracked open the Beowulf comic book I have on the shelf, and as I read it I imagined it with space marines.  Thing is, when an idea hits you and won’t let go, you have to put down whatever else you were doing and get to work, which is why Book 5 of Necrospace will be coming out this spring instead of being hot off the press now. I wasn’t sure if readers would be willing to come along with me on this, given that I was trying to present an epic poem that had been remixed as military science fiction, but it looks like overall people were happy to take the ride. That supports has been very encouraging, and now that I am putting the finishing touches on Necrospace Book 5 there will be time to once again take up the fight against the Extinction fleet.

Expect more Beowulf remixing and expansion in more Norse Mythology SciFi this summer as we follow the marines of Hydra Company into the darkness between the stars.

Call for Reviews

If there are any of you good folks out there who happen to have purchased my most recent novel “Space Marine Ajax” I could really use an honest review on the product page. If you haven’t had a chance to check this one out, and enjoyed my Necrospace novels, you won’t want to miss this one. Thanks!

Click the marine…

ajax

 

Space Marine Ajax

 

The first novel in my new series, a blend of Norse myths, military science fiction, and a good old fashioned Bug Hunt…

Ajax answers the call of duty and becomes an Einherjar space marine, charged with defending humanity against hideous alien monsters in furious combat across the galaxy.

From the deepest parts of uncharted space an alien menace emerges, devouring all that lay before it, a great swarm that scours entire star systems of all organic life. This space borne hive, this extinction fleet, makes no attempts to communicate and offers no mercy.

Unified against a common enemy, humanity fights back, meeting the swarm with soldiers upon every front.

This is the story of fearless warriors who are sent to fight the wolves at the gate, by power armor and pulse rifle they must prevail, else humanity is all but doomed.

My Muse is a Battle Tank

Strange things happen on military bases, and no time is more fraught with such oddities as the span of 0300 to 0400. As a defense contractor doing the work I do, my schedule often has me arriving on post just before or during this peculiar time, classically referred to as the ‘witching hour’. Yesterday morning I swear I locked eyes with a nine-legged coyote as it casually crossed in front of my truck’s headlights. While we let that sink in, allow me to paint the background for a moment.
I am involved in training missions, and there are usually any number of soldiers and vehicles spread out across the training area, which is often many hundreds of acres of raw nature with a few dirt roads. I’ve been doing this for several years now, and working this job has provided me with much in the way of inspiration and information for my work as an author. Prior to working for the military I wrote stories more in the vein of horror, adventure, fantasy, and bizzaro fiction. While I still enjoy all of those types of writing, my work took a hard turn towards military science fiction. I found that writing in this genre allowed me to creatively process my relationship with the real-life military industrial complex and my place in it, not to mention the fact that working with the military has provided me with a vast amount of information and experience that can be drawn upon for my fiction. While I take much in the way of creative license when it comes to my writing, as it is science fiction after all, thanks to my work with the military, especially the combat training scenarios for infantry, medics, armor, and intelligence, I am able to layer in enough of the real deal to give my fiction a feel of authenticity.
What this job also offers is continuous moments of inspiration. There are a number of scenes and characters in my Necrospace series that are derived from things I have witness in the training, people I have met in the service, and even the settings in which we train. Since I am drawing upon the modern US military as my source, those influences can be clearly seen in the writing, and that is why despite being a futuristic sort of setting the weapons and tactics have a more contemporary feel to them, even if tinkered with profoundly for the sake of the story.
Well thanks to the witching hour, I have been given inspiration that is going to take me far into the realm of speculative fiction, even if still somewhat grounded in real world military.
This morning I saw a monster, and it demanded its own story.
I was driving down a dark dirt road, looking to raid our range operations warehouse for picket pounders so that our opposition forces troops could build fighting positions for the day’s war. We are the middle of nowhere, and the starlight and my headlights just weren’t sufficiently piercing the gloom. I threw on my brights just as I turned a tight corner, and saw a row of tanks parked on the side of the road. As I drove past the row I saw a monster, doing its best to pretend it was a tank, and I was instantly reminded of how cockroaches either freeze or bolt when you shine a light on them, depending on how close they are to an avenue of escape. This thing was caught in my high beams, and didn’t move. I rolled by slowly and snapped a photo, just to capture the moment in case the thing was gone by the time the sun came up.
I might write this beast into a Necrospace story, or I might add it to the new series that is gaining momentum in my mind, but I know for sure that it will appear one way or the other. Same goes for my new friend with all the appendages.
Where did I get the ideas for a nine-legged coyote and a monster tank you ask?
On dirt roads at three o’clock in the morning.

Marine Cadets Wanted

necrospaceRedux   DeadWorldsCover   TradeWarCover2

REAPER– Resource Exploration And Procurement Engineer Regiment

Welcome Citizen, to a new life of adventure, including meal plan and hazard pay! Because Grotto Corporation is heavily invested in exploration and military ventures there is always a place for stalwart citizens, twenty-five standard years or younger, willing to risk life and limb for incredible wages and a sense of accomplishment.

As a REAPER, your primary function will be to serve as foot soldiers and salvage specialists for militarized expeditions into regions of both mapped and unmapped space in search of raw materials ready to be exploited.

To claim or re-claim machinery, equipment, and building materials from former battlefields, space hulks, and otherwise abandoned facilities.

Base wages for training and transit time are nearly twice that of the average workforce assignment, and all recovery and combat duties come with additional hazard bonuses.

See your local recruiter for details.

Sign up today!