A little something I put together using a digital piece by artist Tithi Luadthong, the audiobook(s) prologue from Jeffrey Kafer, and some bootleg garage band sounds from yours truly.
At long last the fifth book in the Necrospace series has reached publication. We are at the halfway point in this sprawling tale, and as we meet new characters with their own trials and tribulations there are a number of familiar faces who return to the stage. This book more than any before it embodies the ‘pulp noir’ style that has become the hallmark of the series. Enjoy!
Rhett Calibos is a bounty scrapper, his life as an indentured soldier a welcome alternative to imprisonment on a penal colony. A man haunted by his past, Rhett throws himself into the work, his only sanctuary. Sokol Targe is the leader of a mech warrior squad, stationed aboard an ancient and deadly warship, and conducts violent raids on behalf of a Red List commune. Cast away from corporate society, they have embraced the ravager way of life.
As these troubled men endure furious combat across the ragged edges of civilization, neither of them realize they’ve become entangled in the deeper mysteries of necrospace.
It’s a hard universe, and nobody gets away clean.
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…
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.
The new year dawns with me gearing up to re-apply myself to the grind stone of Necrospace, a military science fiction series published by Severed Press that I have been working with for the last several years. At present I have four books in the series completed, with the first three being focused on the story of Samuel Hyst, a salvage marine from a brutal corporate society who finds himself caught up in events that affect humanity at large. All he wanted was a paycheck and pathway out of debt.
The fourth novel shifts focus to a supporting character from the core trilogy and we are shown a glimpse of the fierce world of the elite mercenaries that stalk the ruins of this scrapyard universe. Since completing those I have taken something of a break from the world of Necrospace and written the first novel in what will be a trilogy about clone troopers striving to save humanity from extinction at the claws and jaws of an alien swarm from deep space. I traded in the futuristic pulp noir of Necrospace for the strange equilibrium of Norse mythology and alien invasion scifi. It was a wild ride, and one I am glad I took. So now I have two series I am working on, with the first of the new series coming out soon and the next Necrospace shortly after, from then I’ll be writing one and then the other in what I hope to be a very productive year.
As I prepare myself to dive back into Necrospace, I find myself planning out the next four books before launching. There are a great many meta-plots and sub-plots at work throughout the first four books of Necrospace, and it is important for me that there be closure. I want to give the series plenty of room to breathe, for not just the epic journey of Samuel Hyst to reach its final conclusion, or for the mystery of the Gedra to ultimately be revealed, but for the Necrospace realm as a whole to reach a milestone that yields a satisfactory series finale. As keen as I may be to develop this series into a number of feature films or an episodic for streaming/television, not to mention my day dreams of table top role playing games, board games, and video games, all of that is a distraction until I am able to complete the robust tapestry that you (the reader) and I (the storyteller) have embarked upon creating.
As any of you who have enjoyed the first four novels of the series know, there is much that can happen in the span of four novels. As much of an intense journey as the first half of the series has been, you can expect just as much, if not more, from the next half. In the course of the novels we will re-visit our salvage marines, hunt forgotten technology on wasteland planets, and pursue scrap bounties to the edge of the universe. We will fight mutated nightmares, struggle against devastating alien technology, battle space pirates and corporate security forces in equal measure, and we will ride to war with the Folken once again.
Necrospace is rich with salvage, and soon the next chapter in our search for freedom and fortune will arrive. Time for me to get back to work. Until that day…
During an apocalyptic battle against murderous machines and hardened soldiers a lone salvage marine turns the tide with a devastating counter attack. Having revealed herself as a consummate warrior, Jada Sek is welcomed into the ranks of the Dire Swords, an elite fighting force loyal only to the contract.
As the other marines return to their salvage duties Jada and her new comrades, each as haunted by the ghosts of their past as she is, plunge yet further into necrospace. They are repeatedly deployed to disrupt and destroy the endeavors of corporate competitors, and along the way discover that the enigma of the machine race is more sinister and complex than any imagined.
Surrounded by the specters of an ancient holocaust and forced to face her inner conflict, Jada must make a choice. When the money ceases to matter, when surviving loses its significance, and the thrill of taking the fight right into the teeth of the enemy seems like the only truth left in this scrapyard of a universe, it is time to let the marine die so that the mercenary can be born.
The title of this post sounds like a contradiction in terms, and on the surface perhaps the idea of a genetically altered human warrior wielding a heavy plasma cannon against unimaginable horrors from deep space sounds a bit… sci-fi, but come on, plasma cannons!
Well… plasma cannons, awesome though they may be, only get us so far.
Just in case I get too preachy later on, the point I’m attempting to make is that a story has to ring true, even if its about space elves fighting jelly monsters.
The truth of the matter, in my opinion, is that the story is going to be more impactful to the audience if there is a degree of realism, with a specific contemporary sensibility. I’m not talking about making the ‘hard science’ of the afore mentioned plasma cannon sound convincing. I’m not talking about creating an alien/cyborg/mutant/etc enemy that makes sense in light of our current understanding of physiology and biology. All such things are just plot devices and set dressing directly informed by our current scientific knowledge and awareness. Realism when it comes to the technology and biology of a story, explicitly a military science fiction story, is of less consequence than realism relative to the characters themselves.
Perhaps I’m beating a drum that has been well-worn by writers before me, but this it my time, and I’ll take my moment thank you very much.
If a story’s core appeal (or message as it were) is “look at how cool their tech is!” or “gosh this hero is an unstoppable badass!” then once our world develops a similar technology or gets bored with flawless heroes, as an audience, we will not be engaged and that story will likely recede to join the miasma of other genre titles. Not that this is a bad thing, because the world needs pulp, and I’ve certainly contributed my fair share of such (and will be contributing a great deal more), but I’d argue that tech-based-pulp is ultimately destined to be surpassed by our own real-life advances.
The books that really stick with us, in specific regards to military science fiction, are stories like “Forever War” and “Starship Troopers” precisely because they focus on the men and women who live through those stories. Sure the cool ships and equipment those characters interact with are exciting, but what hits you is the characters themselves. This may be an old argument, but it is the human experience, or better yet Personal experience of the story, by the characters, that has the real staying power that transcends the ever-advancing technology of our rapidly evolving modern civilization.
To write military fiction, whether it is historical, contemporary, or science fiction, that ‘rings true’ takes something of an effort on the part of the author, in my opinion. If the author is like myself, and not a legitimate combat veteran, then I think it is important to talk to such people. Even in the most far-fetched science fiction setting, I think that a convincing and accurate portrayal of military personnel is important. Not actually the specific nationality, creed, or equipment, but more the intimate experience of war and the physical and psychological consequences of those experiences.
Truth be told that is an easy gauntlet for me to throw down to my peers, given that I am a military contractor by trade, and so while I am not a combat veteran I spend countless days and weeks in their esteemed company. In fact you could say that much of my work in NECROSPACE is a direct result from transitioning from being an independent filmmaker to being a military contractor. The notions of patriotism and the realities of economics are two powerful forces at work in all such men and women, in my experience, and working alongside them has affected both my writing and my tastes in military science fiction.
I find there to be little value, beyond momentary pulp entertainment (which is still awesome), in bigger-than-life protagonists. There isn’t much to glean from the shallow character arc of “Master Sergeant John Mack” who is the Marty Stu or Mary Stu of the usual genre fare, beyond the mindless fun of reading about a peerless badass of a character overcoming all obstacles against ridiculous odds. I am less interested in the story of a superman in power armor than I am an average soldier with an M4 (or the scifi pulse rifle equivalent). The reason is that I’ve never met super-soldier John Mack in real life, but I’ve meet hundreds of regular people who draw a modest paycheck and carry a rifle.
Realism in our portrayal of the future soldiers in military scifi is about creating protagonist characters who are not perfect warriors. Soldiers who make mistakes, who question their own loyalties and motivations, who can’t help but to bring the horror home with them, are the kinds of characters that I want to read about, and the kinds of character I do my level best to create. Whether they are a ragtag militia of scrappy folk heroes fending off an alien invasion or an elite team of space marines about to drop into hostile cyborg territory, and no matter how far-fetched or fantastical their technology happens to be it is the realism of their humanity that will ultimately engage me as a reader.
Tentacle monsters and plasma cannons are the flashy packaging that will bring me to the table, but the authenticity of the characters is what will make me a fan for life.
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.