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!