Sunday, July 29, 2012

Roll Call for 7.19.2012

I know.  I know you must have thought to yourself "Where is the Roll Call?  How will I know what wondrous works of fiction lie behind the Niners' links if there is no call to roll them out?"  Or is that "Roll to call them out?"  Doesn't matter.  A tad delayed, yes, but existent nonetheless, here is the Roll call for 19 July, 2012.  We have some retuning Niners who started out with us way back when in the beginnings of Thursday Tales, and we have the writers who have been bearing the Niner banner in their absence.  We're glad to have them all sharing their work.  All the stories, as usual, are fantastic.  I'm not just saying that because I love these writers; their commitment and continuing work have granted them powers of creating excellent and diverse fiction.  My calculations tell me that if they keep it up, one of these days I'll hit "Publish" and their combined awesomeness will collapse the Roll Call into a singularity of super-fiction, and then...well I don't know, but that might make for an interesting story.

As always, if you enjoy a story, please leave the writer some feedback.  It's food for their fertile, creative, hungry minds and lets them know what they're doing right and what they need to fix.  Writers love feedback!  Please, also, share any stories you like.  There is a plethora of "share" buttons on most of these stories, and for the ones that don't have them, it's just an easy URL paste into your favorite sharing arena and then suddenly you've exposed someone to a story that they would probably only have read if they'd paid money for it.  Except these are free!

Hot Plasma, Cold Dames - Chapter 4: Fear in the Night, DukeNorik

Detectives Sammy and Danny take their murder suspect out on a little shopping trip.  Things don't go quite as planned.  This chapter is chock full of fun old-timey 1940's dialogue and a little arms deal.  While I was reading it, it was totally in black and white in my mind, except for where there was green.  Those parts were awesome.  I recommend this story to anyone who likes detective stories and science fiction, or science fiction detective stories.  The buildup is slow here, and I still have no idea where things are going but that's alright because that's how those serials hook you.  I'll cop to being pretty hooked.

Kin, Shini: R.O.A.C.H.

This week's chapter of Bridge Builder is potentially less confusing for those who are caught up with the series.  Alex, fresh from his fight last week with what I know to be his father-in-law's minions, discovers that his lovely wife's family is not all that fond of him.  Don't be mistaken: this is as well-written and awesome as Shini's stories usually are, but this week threw me for a loop because of a proliferation of names and perhaps...avatars of people with names.  I'm not certain, but the content of their discussions is quite interesting.  There are some moments of levity here and the culture clash rears its head, as it must when one is married to an alien crown princess.  Regardless of my fuzzy grasp of the nomenclature, this is a peek into the kind of political and familial turmoil that makes for good stories.  That is to say, the good kind.  Hie yourself thither to read it then come back to the Roll Call.  I'll wait.

MASS Entry 25 - Buddha Talking to Buddha, kalaeth

Once upon a time, the great Lord Kalaeth handed down to humanity tales of the Mysterious Adventures in the Secret System.  These tales took their readers on adventures far and wide, and then, abruptly, the stories came to a halt.  Recently, a team of archaeologists uncovered yet another bit of these adventures, and we devoured it greedily, always hungering for more MASS.  One Buddha and another Buddha are in a room, conversing.  There may or may not be a witness to this conversation, and we may never know.  This story is one of those whose subject matter made me look to myself for an answer, though myself hasn't gotten back to me about it yet.  Nonetheless, it is a juicy little piece from the MASS universe, and while it isn't orthodox or "usual", it's definitely intriguing.  Careful, though, the Secret System is tricky and may ensnare you.

Path of the Fauda, Gaudy Mouse Muad'Dib

Jacann and her companion, Arrik, journey into a forest cave to fulfill their duty to their community.  This story sprang from a creative challenge prompt and turned into a short tale about the freedom to choose one's destiny. 

Prologue: Omega Universe, RalOberon

A returning Niner steps back in from a break and gives us this appetite-whetting Thursday Tale.  This guy can tell a story.  He's good for those hardcore, in-depth tales that are just full to bursting with atmosphere and insinuation.  Octavia, member of a desert tribe that shuns technology, is venturing where she shouldn't and finds herself in a steamy situation (not the kind you think!).  There are some really fantastic descriptions here.  RalOberon builds a feeling of tension from the very beginning and then builds it some more.  I won't spoil anything for you, but the ending here left me dying for more.  This is the prologue for a nearly-complete novel, and subsequent parts will be posted in the coming weeks.  Settle in, readers, there's an interesting ride ahead!

The Girl Who Laughs: Chapter 4, theTummy

Oh Veronica, the places your hands have been!  Our shero gets to go on a little adventure this week, exploring areas of the temple she didn't even realize existed.  I feel like I have discovered the kind of girl she really is, and that would be the kind of girl I hope my little one grows up to be.  Among the characters at the temple of Droll, she is a spark and the story isn't carrying her; she's hefted it up and she's taking it where she needs to go.  I really like that quality.  Veronica's a strong character.  The air of mystery about the temple thickens when there's an encounter with a basin of water that may or may not be what it seems, and young Veronica literally takes matters into her hands in a scene that crystallized her in my mind as badass because I don't think many people would have her fortitude in a similar situation, no matter the stakes.  This story is really shaping up to be pretty brilliant, and I don't think I am speaking amiss to say that you will find yourself clicking the links to read the rest of the story ahead of the class.  Go on, nobody will tell.

Three-Man Crew Chapter 10.1, TemporalSword

Ryek shares his suspicions with Issa that Captain "Well Rested" Leska has been up to some shady shenanigans in his quarters.  Issa's not into discussing any naughty details about the captain but what Ryek has to tell her catches her attention.  I'm not gonna lie: I already didn't like the captain when Issa and Ryek were all messed up about the end of the Earth and the captain was all sunshine and lollipops with nary a hair out of place.  Okay he wasn't really sunshine and lollipops but compared to his subordinates he was definitely up there on the "amazingly chill in the face of Earth's destruction" scale.  What I really like about this chapter is how Ryek explains his reasoning for his suspicions, and in light of what I already know, I was even more squinty-eyed at Leska.  There's some really nice, subtle character development here: Issa is cautious whereas Ryek seems more subversive.  I like that guy.  Usually in stories, the end of Earth is the end of everything; I like that here, it's kind of a jumping-off point for some not-quite-right stuff.  Adjust your suspicious-o-meter, because El Capitan is going to blow it right off the charts.  Also I like how the computer shares the name of a rapper.

Underground Princes: Part 6, Myseri

Highlander with Hobos is back, folks, and this week Myseri gives us a sweet, human moment involving our protagonist and his companion, "Dairy" Mary.  Mysteries abound, and I'm eager to see what's going to happen with these Princes and someone's lady fair.  I had a tiny sad when my favorite character, Freak Beans, didn't show up this week, but my hurt heart was assuaged by the promise of other unanswered questions being illuminated in the future.  It's not often that an epic-feeling adventure story takes place among the dispossessed in society, so I appreciate the clever juxtaposition Myseri has created in this series.  So far, there have been no decapitations followed by empowering strikes of lightning, so but don't despair.  Duncan McLeod didn't have a lady friend with nickname-worthy bosoms.  Or a sweet sphere and sigil.  Take THAT, Highlander: The Highlanderening!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Roll Call for 7.12.2012

Greetings, readers!  Another week, another Roll Call, and we have more stories this week than last week.  This is a great collection from my beloved Niners, who work hard on their fiction and it shows.  As always, if you've read a story and enjoyed it, please leave the writer some feedback in their story's comments section; feedback is what makes stories and their writers grow up to have strong bones, healthy teeth, and a shiny coat.  If they have "Share" buttons and you use Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, or wherever you can share, please do.  There's no reason not to share a story you love, so if you like one, let the writer and everyone else know.  And now, without further ado or ackadoo, here be Roll Calls!

Emma pt. 3, hdgotham

Emma and Lison are out for a night ride on Juniper the horse.  Most dwin don't ride horses, so this makes our shero unusual right away.  What makes it more unusual is that instead of enduring the ride, she's enjoying it.

hdgotham is back with her magic pen, bringing us what might be a hint of romance (oh pleasepleaseplease).  The riding scenes are well-written, and if you close your eyes and have someone read it to you, you can absolutely imagine the scene.  It worked for me, in any case.  We get a peek at Emma's life back home, and it contrasts starkly in description and in feeling with the joyous ride in the dark.  Naturally, I recommend you begin with Part 1, because hdgotham's prose is airy and delicate and reads easily.  Enjoy! 

Fitness, Shini: R.O.A.C.H.

Who doesn't love a good space fight?  I know I do!  Don't confuse that with a space battle- this is a straight-up throwdown!  Alex, one half of my favorite intergalactic romance duo, is working out.  And after he's done working out, he's gonna go work out some more.  Here's hoping he doesn't get punched in the translator.

Shini's human-out-of-Earth story continues, this week featuring all Alex and no Carbon.  It's alright though, because the sweat is dripping, the fists are flying, and there are bloody smiles all around.  I'm still not caught up with this series yet, so this is the first I have seen of Alex in actiony action since the very beginning.  The fight scene flows quite like a movie scene, and I had little trouble visualizing the elbows and the teeth and the...the cane.  Lest you think there's no story advancement going on here, think again!  Today I learned that the Tslao keep time differently than we do, and while I have no idea what it is, it's certainly an insight into what it must be like to exist in a world which is not human-centric.  This episode has a couple twists, and both of them play cleverly on what we, as humans, might expect to happen in a human society.  I really like that because those kinds of things can be handled clumsily, but here they're done well and more than once I found myself just going "wow, really?"  You can enjoy this on its own but I recommend starting at the beginning because it's really worth it.

Hot Plasma, Cold Dames - Chapter 3: The Chase, DukeNorik

In this week's installment of my new favorite hardboiled sci fi serial, our heroes are hot on the trail of Vinnie Russo.  When they catch up to him, what they learn is beyond belief for them, and takes our tale in a direction I certainly wasn't expecting.

DukeNorik is stepping up his game here, very cleverly melding science fiction with his hardboiled detective story in a way that is, so far, unobtrusive and quite enticing.  What's really great here is that while the element which has been introduced is familiar to us, it is not familiar to his characters, and it is believably unfamiliar to them.  There's some nice character development going on here, and the detectives are every gritty copper anyone wanted to be back in the 1940's.  If you haven't started this series, I'll forgive you.  Have a link to the first chapter

security tower 3 event notebook excerpt, LittleDragon

"I miss cheese. And the internet. I wonder if there is someone out there who has it running. Some lonely person logging into empty chat rooms and dead forums; looking for signs of life online like we look for it in the empty towns around us."  I don't ordinarily use story quotes in the Roll Calls, but this.

LittleDragon has brought us a epistolary singleton this week in the form of a log kept by survivors of the zombie apocalypse.  You may not enjoy zombie stories, or think zombie stories are played out, but think again.  There aren't any zombies to be seen here, just the very human element of survivors struggling to make it amid the detritus of a world that's been left behind.  This could be called bittersweet, but it's more like...bitterfunny.  This is a real human story in a zombie world, fraught with subtle emotion of the kind that I always expect to see in zombie tales but never do.  LittleDragon minded the gap there and laid out a fine tale.  Give it a read and I think you will be similarly impressed.  Note for grammar/spelling police: this story has been issued an administrative-level creative license so don't walk out because of what you perceive as typos.  She's just that good.

The As-Yet-Unnamed Camp NaNoWriMo Entry, Eldritch

Wooh, this is a long entry here, and I don't know where to start with it.  This week's entry from Eldritch is part of a longer story written for Camp NaNoWriMo, and though it's well over 1k words damn near every one of them is perfectly placed.

Nathanial Saxon, a Coloradan, is used to a simple life.  He's used to the peaceful climes of his quiet, small world.  His father's death changes everything.  An uncle and a cousin he never knew appear from the woodwork, and his mother, wanting better for him than she had for herself, packs her son off to meet his long-lost relatives and what follows is the great beginnings of an adventure.  Don't be put off by the length; this was clearly a labor of love for Eldritch and it's bursting at the seams with fantastic moments that feel so real and capture little slices of emotion amazingly well.  There's far too much there to get into a lengthy description, so a quick rundown is: poignant moments that don't descend into the maudlin, well-done description, the kind of character development that just screams "I love writing this story!", and wry humor.  Oh, the wry humor.  Go on then; this Roll Call will still be here when you get back.

The Girl Who Laughs: Chapter 3, theTummy

Sister Agatha, who in my mind has a pointy nose and pointy fingers, is on the warpath.  She's been hither and thither, looking for our shero Veronica.  Sister Agatha encounters Bernice, a Sister who is a gourmand and who reminds her that their lord, Droll, is an apathetic guy.

I like that I have absolutely zero idea where this story is going.  Usually I can hazard *some* kind of guess, but the magic of Thursday Tales is that when there's a series going on, you're likely not to have much of a clue what's coming until it arrives, but by then you've spent some lovely time admiring the scenery and soaking in everything Chekhov is throwing at you.  I get the feeling this will be the case with this series, as I feel as confused about everything as Veronica probably does.  I'm envious, though, because there's someone making fresh bread over there all the time.  theTummy has a great skill for making his characters pop with very little actual information about them; their behavior and words make them stand out, and they are easily distinguishable.  I recommend beginning with Chapter 1, because it is a truly auspicious start to an adventurous series with a very clever shero. 

Three-Man Crew Chapter 9.4, TemporalSword

If you remember from last week, our home world was all messed up by the adversary known as the Troll.  I haven't managed to make it through the backlog yet, so I'm going based solely on what I have read.  *These guys are terrible* and TemporalSword has just thrown humanity into the fray to survive and recover from what's happened.

I commented on this tale that it's stressing me out.  That's a compliment.  Issa, Ryek, and Captain Well-Rested are aboard their vessel, trying desperately to find surviving humans and figure out a way to keep our species going before they're wiped out by the Troll.  The tension here is high and realistically conveyed through the excellent expository dialogue.  There is a lot to take in, so this one might bear more than a single read, or if you're going for a once-over, I recommend taking it in slowly.  I haven't read such a tense conversation in ages, and knowing the situation these characters are in, I am already emotionally invested in them.  Want to begin at the beginning?  Here's the table of contents.  Get hooked.

Underground Princes Part 5, Myseri

Have you ever found yourself hoping for a story element to reappear later?  In writing, they have the idea of Chekhov's gun, which means if a gun is on the mantelpiece in the beginning, it should be used or at least figure prominently by the end.  With that in mind, say it with me, "Are those Chekhov's mashed potatoes?"

If that's not enough to get you to go right now and read Underground Princes, then nothing I can say
about how this story feels like Highlander with hobos, will convince you.  And if you can't be convinced, then I'm sorry because you're totally missing out.  If you want to get in on things and discover Freak Beans, the secret of the Twelve princes and their orbs, and the aforementioned mashed potatoes, you're in luck!  There's a lot more going on below the surface than we might have imagined, but luckily Myseri has imagined it for us and it's so much better than what I would have come up with.  Less squamous, too.  For full enjoyment, I recommend beginning with Part 1 because while each chapter can be enjoyed by itself, I heartily recommend it be enjoyed in its proper context.  You can begin at the beginning, right here

If you've made it this far, I hope you've read and commented on at least one of these fine Thursday Tales.  I'm proud of these guys for putting their hard work into these stories, and then for putting those stories out for all the world to see.  Nice work, Niners, and I'll see you readers next week!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Roll Call for 7.5.2012

Hello Niners and Niner fans.  I came back from being gone for ever and ever to discover that it's serial season, and my oh my how the stories do bloom!  This week, our faithful Niner authors have put together an excellent sampling of Thursday Tales that only whetted my appetite for their previous chapters.  Also in the mix we have one stand alone tale by a newcomer to writing, and whose claim to fame in this week's batch is precociousness.  Each writer has a different voice, and they're all pleasant.  Please, do them the honor of reading their work and leaving them some feedback. 

It's great to be back and it's even greater to see that the stories are still coming.  I'm effusive this week. :)

Bridge Builder, chapter 82: Balance, Shini: R.O.A.C.H.

Bridge Builder has been one of my favorite stories since its first chapter.  Granted, I've missed quite a lot of installments up to now, but this latest chapter brought a smile to my face as I revisited two of my favorite characters in all of fiction, Alex and Carbon.  I can't begin to tell you what's happened through the "present" except that now Alex and Carbon are a couple and they are so cute I want to squee.  And I hate squeeing.  Feels gross. 

Our adorable couple are on a ship (maybe...I think!) that is so huge it has a maglev train in it.  Alex, the only human among the Carbon's race, the Tslao, is feeling a bit like a fish out of water.  I'm a little out of the loop so I don't understand everything that's going on, but the workings between the two main characters come through loud and clear.  Their relationship has blossomed since I last saw them, and as I read I could recognize echoes of the Alex and Carbon I first met in 2010.  As a stand alone, this story works best to illustrate the sweet, humor-filled relationship the protagonists share, because some of the details bear more explanation.  The kind you get from reading the first 81 chapters.  Don't be put off by that.  Just go read it.  You won't be sorry.

Emma, hdgotham

Emma is a real fan of horses, unlike her fellow dwin.  When confronted with a few, she throws off the shackles of tradition and embraces the moment.  When confronted with a rakish human, well, she throws off the shackles of tradition and embraces the moment.  This is the kind of girl protagonist that I like!  hdgotham throws down in the characterization arena, fleshing out our shero and the handsome devil Lison.  They share some dialogue with piquant-but-not-quite-spicy undertones, and and honestly, by the time I finished reading it I had one of those moments where I suddenly realized I was reading.  hdgotham's hand here is delicate and steady, and I was totally caught up in it.  This story feels really elegant without being ornate; it was refreshing.

What's a dwin?  Not telling.  Go read it!

Hot Plasma, Cold Dames - Chapter 2: Fury, DukeNorik

This is the second installment of a story by a Niner that is new since I last Rolled a Call.  Here we have a detective story that calls to mind the gritty pulps of yore.  Detectives Samuel Richards and Daniel McCarthy are dealing with some unpleasant business.  Things begin to get a little tense when they have to hit the streets and get down to detecting. 

DukeNorik has a great eye for selective details, and this is good and a bit uneven, but there is a preponderance of good.  You won't find your lush detail porn here, but if your mind has any sort of imagination engine, it will be well-oiled and humming smoothly, taking you on a reader's-eye view of the characters and locations Richards and McCarthy's world.  At one point I did wonder if I had slipped into a spy story by mistake, but DukeNorik slides into home with an ending that makes me kind of regret that it's not already Thursday so I can see what happens.  Start with Chapter 1, which establishes some well-done characterization, and then hie yourself thither to the second chapter.

Leaving Earth, pinkbob

This one is the sole stand alone story of the week, though to hear pinkbob tell it, it's only chapter 1 of an ongoing story.  The author of this story is a nine-year old who wanted to try her hand at science fiction, and ended up writing an entire flash fiction.  Tilly is a young woman who feels she doesn't have a place in the world.  When she strikes out on her own, things immediately go wrong but a chance encounter with a young girl could change Tilly's luck for the better.

This freshman effort from pinkbob is a sweet, feel-good story about a young lady trying to find her way in life.  It's hard to write anything without being biased, because I've been raising pinkbob since she was a tiny, eyebrow-free entity.  I will give her credit where credit is due, however: you can't get this child to write anything more than she is absolutely required to if paper is involved, but once typing is brought into the equation, she's apparently a machine.  Check out her story, if for no other reason than to lament that she left out her subplot of Jake's opponent, who pretends to be a journalist in order to sneak into Tilly's room and rifle through her belongings to suss out her relationship with Jake.

The Girl Who Laughs: Chapter 2, theTummy

Wrapping up this week's missed serial beginnings is the second part of The Girl Who Laughs, which taught me the most important thing I have learned today: I want to punch Sister Talia.  I always consider it a sign of good characterization when I want to beat up a story character.  I think Veronica, the main character of this piece, does too.  She's in the temple of the sisterhood of Droll, which seems far too stifling for the clever girl.  A bad day turns mysterious when Veronica's asked by one of her favorite Sisters to do a favor for the eponymous Lord Droll.  From the sounds of it, it's dangerous and potentially troublesome, but I don't think Veronica will let that stop her.

theTummy tells a good tale, liberally sprinkled with tidbits of information about the world our shero inhabits.  Veronica comes through as an intelligent, self-determined character.  I don't know much about her yet but she feels like the kind of character I'd want my young womanling to read about.  The narrative is tight and theTummy draws us right away into Veronica's life, as if we're following behind her through this episode.  Have a walk with Veronica, and punch Talia for her.

Three-Man Crew Chapter 9.3, TemporalSword

Continuing with my trend of showing up at not-the-beginning-of-a-series, I had a look at this story and was crushed (in a good way).  This time, my excursions into chapters after "1" took me to the end of the world- literally.  Issa and Ryek are in a craft orbiting a ruined Earth.  Unable to resist any story that begins (for me) with a destroyed Earth, I rushed on.  TemporalSword levies some formidable details about the mundanities of a thoroughly shaken life, and the results are as poignant as they are horrifying.  Little character details crop up to help color in the desolate picture, and the result is an effective portrait of humans in disaster mode, to the twenty-fifth power. 

If you're a fan of science fiction, do yourself a favor and check this out.  Just don't try to blame me if you stay up too late reading all the chapters.

Underground Princes Part 4, Myseri

In a world beneath our feet, there are twelve princes.  I can't tell you what they're the princes of (but oh gosh I want to say THE UNIVEEEEERRRSEEE!) but I get the feeling if I stick around long enough I'll find out.  Charlie and his friend "Dairy" Mary encounter a Russian man who tells Mary why Cyrus, a man who attacked her, is targeting her.  It may or may not be related to her milk-related epithet.

This series was the first I encountered upon returning from my extended hiatus, and as expected, Myseri confidently lays down a short tale that guides the reader through its narrative flow.  Myseri is a real genius at the bite-sized serial tale, and there is a lot to like about this episode, as well as the entire series.  Only some of that has to do with the way I automatically associate the title with Highlander.  This series is worth your time.

There's no good reason not to while away a little time with these short fiction delights.  See you at next Roll Call!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Roll Call for 6.28.2012

The Girl Who Laughs Chapter One, theTummy
Veronica is content with her station in life. After all, she lives in the Northwest Temple of Droll, the God of Indifference. The question is though, is she really content, or is there more in store for Veronica? theTummy has outdone himself in this YA piece. Superb attention to small details and a host of characters really bring this Cinderella story to life

Emma Part 1, hdgotham
Emma is not a dwarf. And she really wishes that her parents would stop worshiping the long dead race. Born to a noble family, she feels the need to escape her existence. To be who she really is. And with the help of her friend Rilen, she may just be able to do that... This story opens up so many possibilities and I really am intrigued as to which one hdgotham chooses to take.

Two Hearts, Reavyn
Funerals and birthdays. Sometimes the saddest events make us look back on those times that bring us the most joy. I loved the twist, and all kinds of little details made this a fun read!

Dragon's Breath, LittleDragon
Chantri is on a mission, delve into a dragon's layer and prove his worth. Does he make it out with his prize? More importantly, does he make it out with his life? I must admit that this piece did not turn out the way that I expected it to, and in no way is that a bad thing.

Underground Princes Part 4, Myseri
Mary learns more about the nature of her companion. Charlie and his world of dirt and rags may be more than they appear. Whatever happens next is sure to be exciting. - hdgotham

Hot Plasma, Cold Dames - Chapter:1, DukeNorik
Sam wakes to find himself abducted by aliens, but that's not how his story started... Newcomer DukeNorik takes us back to just after World War II where Sammy, a homicide Detective for New York's 44th Precinct gets handed a nasty case: A body has turned up in Harlem River. DukeNorik does a great job in making this noir piece feel just that, like it took place in the 40's. I look forward to more!

Three-Man Crew Chapter 9.2, TemporalSword
First, let me say I have not read any more of this story than this piece...After Earth has been destroyed, Leska, Issa, and Ryek need to pick up the remainder of their lives and figure out what happened. Are they the last humans in the universe? Leska doesn't think so, and he has a plan to find out. Lots of emotion in this piece as TemporalSword conveys the reactions of the crew to finding out the fate of their home.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Roll Calls for 7.28.2011-8.11.2011

Thursday Tales 7.28.2011

City of Walls: Chapter 10, Archnemesis_Goldenhair
This episode focuses on Tara's attempted muggers, the modrpunks. The plague continues to ravage the City's lower orders, and Bruce's condition worsens due to corrupted nannites. Believing an illegal A.I. was protecting Tara's encrypted file, Carl describes to Genie the vision of a mesopotamian-style cherubim - guardians of sacred precincts. A "Mr Smith" is mentioned as a contact, but the modrpunks think he will not help. Genie is ready to abandon Bruce, as taking him to hospital will only cause more trouble for all three of them.
- Quango-Baud

They DO Exist, Moxie6
Everyone loves Oompa Loompas. Hush, you love them and you know it. They had orange skin before Jersey Shore made it a thing, an unbeatable work ethic... And they might not be as fictitious as you think. Moxie6 has some photographic evidence you need to see to believe.
- Shini: R.O.A.C.H.

Bridge Builder, Chapter 53: Allies, Shini: R.O.A.C.H.
Alex is troubled by the execution of his attacker, regretting any loss of life. At the induction party, matronly Zsehn assures Alex that his misfortune of being stabbed probably saved several people close to the Royal Family. The House of Sorenson now established amongst the Tslao, Alex is bemused by Neya assuming Carbon's role; she even takes his arm. Carbon awaits Alex in their Tslao-homestyle quarters; she worries Alex is wary of the marriage foisted upon them by her aunt - the Empress, but Alex assures Carbon that his commitment is heartfelt.
- Quango-Baud

In My Mind... (Chapter 11), theTummy
Evan's new life is full of unexpected pains, a body that doesn't feel quite like his own, and surprisingly nice quarters (even if there aren't any windows). What he wants is answers. What he gets is a schedule and a warning.

Harlequinade, WinnieTheWoot
Every night the desk clerk at the hotel watches the clockwork harlequin and ballerina dance. It might be beautiful if it ended there. But the dance is always interrupted and the ballerina always lies hurt on the floor before she disappears again. This is a tale full of atmosphere and great suspense and hopefully is only the beginning of the story.

Saturday Short Stories 7.30.2011

Hollow World Book 2 Chapter 11, Myseri
Graham has found a pleasure that gives a spark to his dark soul. Burning churches. Still the leader of an army, especially an army at war, has many responsibilities. Once the fun is over he has to consider the problem of troop discipline. But how do you discipline a soldier if you already control her mind?

The Puppethead War Issue 11: Concerned Visitor, now4the_post
Talon, Verden and the rest of the crew have finally reached the capitol city, Carpol. It'll be no problem getting an audience with the Overarchy with a dire warning about the return of body-swapping puppetheads to deliver. It wouldn't be if someone thought that they were important, anyway. At least Verden is expected and warmly met by other Keepers, already preparing for what the puppethead return might herald.
- Shini: R.O.A.C.H.

Thursday Tales 8.4.2011

Welcome to the Ninerverse, Archnemesis_Goldenhair
You'll find all sorts of people in the Nines. Some of them are sure to be nobodies who just want to be somebody, even if it's just in a detailed virtual reality bar. Some of them might be a bit more notorious and just looking for a place to unwind. Take a guess at which group The Scarlet Slash at her crew fit into.
- Shini: R.O.A.C.H.

Caught at the Nines, now4the_post
A detective investigates a crime in "real-life" but hunts suspects in a virtual world - the shared space of io9 contributors. Public detective Norian Osthorpe tracks Roody569 to a chatroom bar where the architecture is as improbable as the user-avatars. All the data and deduction points to Roody569 but it seems that even the dodgiest of characters can be the victim of identify theft.
- Quango-Baud

Bridge Builder, chapter 54: Rituals, Shini: R.O.A.C.H.
The alien wedding involved mind invasion and peircing and was followed by an assination attempt. Alex is hoping the consummation is something a little more traditional.

"In My Mind..." Chapter 12, theTummy
Loss of cognitive function is expected after an extended period of coma, but Evan is still able to recognize that a visitor has an attractive shape. Talkative Mouse mentions "down-time", ops and survival. She says she sensed a "Void" believing that Evan was a "Sink", but - now having met him - she describes him as having great, hidden power. Evan's sense of alienation is enforced by the mysterious nature of the Association; the organization that has taken him in.
- Quango-Baud

Murder On Deck 36 - Chapter Two, Zuldim
Ryan's captain has his own theories about the murder and the motives and declares the case closed. But when a late night visitor warns Ryan off the case too it only makes him more determined to solve the mystery.

Saturday Short Stories 8.6.2011

Hollow World Book 2 Chapter 12, Myseri
For the survivors, life goes on in every way. Kyle is still a growing boy and everyone is wearing down their clothes, slowly but surely. Aubrey has a solution - a nearby town that appears to be deserted. Whether the people who lived there died in the catastrophe or just moved on afterwards, there's likely to be plenty of abandoned clothing, maybe even other supplies... that is, of course, if it's actually been abandoned.
- Shini: R.O.A.C.H.

You're doing it!, Noise
There’s no room for argument with General Henderson, especially when he’s your uncle. Marcus grudgingly submits to an advanced surgical procedure for an intel gathering mission in Noise’s first foray into the Ninerverse.
- Bismod

The Puppethead War Issue 12: One Untangle, Two Untangle..., now4the_post
The strands of the Puppethead War are threading together. In the village of Yerz, a decisive moment happens with Daiv amongst the Puppetheads. In the city of Carpol, Talon's group argue but make progress in meeting the authorities. Nairé talks with Irena about her heritage. And, Ogard is reunited with Leyh having survived an ambush. Yet, other undeclared forces are on the move.
- Quango-Baud

Thursday Tales 8.11.2011

Cloud Nine, Archnemesis_Goldenhair
In this tale of the ninerverse we encounter a crew on a mission. Well, two missions. One calls for some improvisation when the target is nowhere to be found and the other calls for a little finesse. Extracting data from a would-be assassin is a tricky business, even in the cyber world.

The Test, bjeffreyvidt
In a royal palace, in another time, in another place, knight-in-training Tydus recounts to Madam Sarai a story of failed courage; Tydus is further shamed by the truth behind his moment of weakness. Later, Master Gaemon tries to meditate in the courtyard but is interrupted by noise from a royal chamber; he charges to his duty, blaming himself for his spiritual self-indulgence.
- Quango-Baud

Four Ridiculous TV Crossover Ideas, Moxie6
Are people in TV shows merely characters? Or is there a deeper truth beyond that which we see? Is there really an actress called Whoopi Goldberg? Or, is she actually Guinan of El-Auria? Moxie6 brings to our attention the interconnectedness of all things, but especially between TV show characters.
- Quango-Baud

Bridge Builder, Chapter 55: Preparation, Shini: R.O.A.C.H.
After the wedding night, with its very unexpected Tslao custom, Alex is awoken when Neya visits. She and Carbon chat away privately, leaving Alex in the dark as he contemplates the complicated, and probably very awkward, effects their royal marriage will have.
- Bismod

In My Mind..." Chapter 13, theTummy
Evan is adjusting to his new life in the Association, starting to understand how his life is going to be now with the help of Mouse's tutelage. Technology has changed quite a bit and he's got a busy day ahead of him... At least he's meeting people who are friendly now.
- Shini: R.O.A.C.H.

Welcome to Modernity, John Wiswell
John Wiswell is a master at meta fiction and this story is no exception. Some people are heroes, some are villains. Some people are just stuck in the background...
- Shini: R.O.A.C.H.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Roll Calls for 7.21.2011-7.23.2011

Thursday Tales 7.21.2011

The Puppethead War Issue 10: With Haste, now4the_post
Ogard drives a carriage to decoy Dirty Fighters who are searching for Talon and his band. Talon's band arrive at Carpol - the major city of South Ryndia and the location of the dome of the governing Overarchy; in Carpol they can find members of the Kept Sect and inform them about the Puppetheads' recent body-stealing incursions. An explanation of events is promised to Leyh, who is a new addition to Talon's group.
- Quango-Baud

Bridge Builder, Chapter 52: Family, Shini: R.O.A.C.H.
Alex's heart has grown back, but the old technology that healed him meant days with no sleep. Now there's a frustrating haze between him and an impatient Carbon who knows a confrontation with the Empress is coming. The little frustrations between couple give a perfect touch of reality to Shini's alien world.

Reaching for the Moon, John Wiswell
Can an anthropomorohic squirrel, a redwood, a boulder, an ogre and a reluctant astronomer touch the moon? This bedtime story answers the question with a delightful twist.

Murder On Deck 36 - Chapter Two, Zuldim
Deck 36 is a rough part of the Star-Station Hope. Smoke from the engines fills the air, it's terribly overcrowded and there is a lot of crime. Ryan North is the cop on the case of a murdered doctor, which by itself isn't so strange, but the weapon used to kill him is rare, powerful and expensive. There's only one guy that might be able to get a weapon like that down onto Deck 36 and he's the first guy Ryan wants to talk to.
- Shini: R.O.A.C.H.

Saturday Short Stories 7.23.2011

Night of the Living Fart – Part One, edwardgrimm
Three children venture through an old abandoned baked bean factory, on the way to a "lock-in" at their school - a Friday night treat for good students. A confrontation with a bully - who was once a normal kid but was transformed by a wardrobe malfunction into a figure of terror - has dramatic consequences. Amusing and suspenseful, this could be one to read to the kids at bedtime.
- Quango-Baud

Hollow World Book 2 Chapter 10, Myseri
After the Day of the Blasts, the world changed. The survivors cling to life and the others... they have their own ideas about how it's going to be. The Penny-man? He knows the war is coming, but none of that matters to him. The dead are all the same.
- Shini: R.O.A.C.H.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Roll Calls for 7.7.2011-7.16.2011

Thursday Tales 7.7.2011

City of Walls: Chapter 8, Archnemesis_Goldenhair
Still shaken by her mugging and news of deadly glitches, Tara returns home, but not entirely empty-handed. With the aid of an old, but significant, book she is finally able to decode the mysterious message, which reveals that danger is a lot closer to home than even the Goldbergs had anticipated.
- Bismod

The Long War part 6, Ghost_in_the_Machine
Peter Rudko wakes up from his shared dream with a flood of memories from another life. Will this knowledge of old battle tactics and world politics help him win the war? And what does the alien have to gain from the outcome?

TSF Chapter 5: A Day in the life, Myseri
Serial Murderers don't kill to escape mundane lives, they use a mundane guise to take lives. Vacation over, Thomson's work-day breakfast is interrupted by a call from his forgetful boss: At work, where he is IT Support, Thomson deals with a small problem grown huge; his boss's laptop has not had any maintenance including anti-virus updates for months. Returning home, Thomson has new horrors ready for his take-home project.
- Quango-Baud

Ongoing Adventures Issue 2: The Plan, now4the_post
Magic mirrors and body swaps are just the beginning of the trouble for a group of comrades separated on their journey. With everyone looking for the same pieces of a mystic mirror and the difficulty of telling friend from foe this is bound to be a wild ride.

The Puppethead War Issue 8: Up in the World, now4the_post
Far from the violence of the lake, we return to Irena, whose nightmares are worsening. Not even her new life of wealth and status seems to calm her nerves. She begins to find solace speaking with Naire, a woman watching over the girl, who also suffers sleepless nights as she dreams of her troubled past.
- Bismod

Bridge Builder, Chapter 50: Spare Parts, Shini: R.O.A.C.H.
The newly appointed Lord Alex Sorenson awakens to find himself drugged but alive. Refraining from calling Lord Alex by his preferred title of "Just Alex"; an alien attendant fills in the details after the attempted assassination that left Alex stabbed and Tashen beaten; their attacker remains on the loose. The "Spare Parts" of the title become clear by episode's end; leading to another Shini R.O.A.C.H. "ouch" moment.
- Quango-Baud

Own'd by the Devil, John Wiswell
It's easy for a gamer to understand Haley's surprise, easy for anyone who has unexpectedly lost. He's just bet a little more than most people would...
- Shini: R.O.A.C.H.

Saturday Short Stories 7.9.2011

Telepaths: The Park Slope Conspiracy - 32,
In the final installment of Telepaths, the dust has started to settle from the Park Slope case. Maggie is staying busy with a new class of telepath agents as she waits for a particular question from Elise. It's not in the cards for that just yet as she's unexpectedly called out to work a hostage situation, but at least she is getting a handle on the serial killer in her brain.
- Shini: R.O.A.C.H.

Hollow World Book 2 Chapter 8, Myseri
One of the group is lost, not to Graham and the violence of the Others, but to hope and an impulsive plan. Now it's up to Zach to tell the group and deal with his own guilt. This installment shows a solid core to the survivors who must prepare to fight when the winter ends.

Thursday Tales 7.14.2011

City of Walls: Chapter 9, Archnemesis_Goldenhair
The day had started out so well. Tara had been running late, until she found out she was getting a promotion. A side trip to get new hardware went south as a gang attacked her, though she was rescued with no severe injuries. Now, she's alone again and finding out that incident may have terrible consequences.
- Shini: R.O.A.C.H.

How to Urban Fantasy Up Your Life, Moxie6
You've got your improbably tight leather pants, your werewolf repellent and your two paramours. But it takes more than that to be an urban fantasy heroine! This handy guide will show you all the tricks of the magic trade.

The Puppethead War Issue 9: Up in the World (part 2), now4the_post
Just after Irena de Postrem's parents depart an urgent message arrives for Captain Gelba. Irena can’t help but listen in on things not meant for her ears, news of strange affairs abroad and shockingly close to home.
- Bismod

Bridge Builder, chapter 51: Fixer Upper, Shini: R.O.A.C.H.
The attack on Alex is described to the Terran authorities as an accident; Carbon has been away bartering for suitable med-tech, as Tslao tech is not wholly compatible with human anatomy. The Terrans are not eager to provide advanced med-tech; yet Carbon proves to be a tough negotiator, bluffing by demanding the return of Tslao "waverider" technology. Still recuperating, Alex has been reading about his hosts' history; chosen by Tslao Empress Eleya, the books are only about civil matters. A visit from Carbon lifts Alex's spirits.
- Quango-Baud

"In my mind..." Chapter 9, theTummy
Evan has a checkered past. As a young man he had a hard time with anger and depression, something that hasn't changed after a decade in a coma. He's now been accepted in to the Association, for better or worse... considering how eager one of his new colleagues is to test him, probably worse.
- Shini: R.O.A.C.H.

They Miss Him, John Wiswell
A beautifully written story of a boy and the ever-changing technology that surrounds and sustains his life.
- Bismod

Murder On Deck 36 - Introduction and Chapter One, Zuldim
Police Detective Ryan North investigates the killing of Dr Evan Taylor on the Intergalactic Empire’s Star-Station "Hope” orbiting an unnamed star. The Empire is merely a brand created by a corporation; owner of these "tin cans" filled with a humanity that has fled a used-world. Solar-collectors top the station, a person's status descends down two hundred levels, until you arrive at the sunward engines: environmental controls are failing on lower decks and crime is rife. Violent death is not unusual here, but this death raises many questions: Why was he murdered; How was he murdered; and who was Evan Taylor?
- Quango-Baud

Saturday Short Stories 7.16.2011

Hollow World Book 2 Chapter 9, Myseri
This chapter of Myseri's post-apocalyptic tale brings us back to Sam, alone again on the road. He's lost Gina and is confronted by her killer, one of the Others. One that somehow can talk and plead and cry. And just maybe give him the clue that will help him find his friends.