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!