08:20:00 am, by Nic Wilson   , 168 words  
Categories: Blog, Announcements

Welcome

Nic's published works are now available for e-reader at Smashwords and Amazon. They include "Homeless," "Banksters," "The Necromancer's Gambit", "Nexus", and"Dag," along with "Whores: Not Intended To Be a Factual Account of the Gender War" and the short story collections "Ghost Dust," "Cinderella Shoes," "New Corpse Smell," "Cockfight," "Save As," "Cry Wolf," and "Analog Memory"

HomelessBankstersThe Necromancer's GambitNexusWhores book coverDagCinderella Shoes CoverNew Corpse SmellCockfightCry WolfSave As

This blog showcases the ongoing and in-process work of Nicolas Wilson, full of wierd, fuzzy, wriggly things to tickle your brain. There tend to be several different projects ongoing at once, with their own posting schedules. Nic's publishing schedule briefly broke Nic's brain, but we replaced it with a melted Kit Kat bar we found under his toilet, and that seems to have him back online- better, even. Every November, check back daily to watch a novel birth itself in a month. Expect posting to return to its regular, if slightly assymetrical schedule outside of July and November novel writing marathons. 2014's project will be Next of Kin, a cyberpunk dystopia following a man chasing his brother's murderer.

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10/17/14

  06:04:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 1292 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Binge/Purge

Bill's chest hurt. He'd had nights like that before, when his cat slept on him- an obese cat with a penchant for colonizing his chest, and standing up every ten minutes to brush up on his point work. Bill tried to sit up, but the muscles in his back complained, and refused to move. He remembered he wasn't on earth, and his overweight cat wasn't on the Station with him. More to the point, he wasn't in his bed. The pain brought the memory of the wolf back, and his entire body tensed. His eyes fluttered open, and he tried to survey the area without telegraphing that he was awake. He didn't see movement- particularly not of a giant wolf. But he also didn't see David. His vision was blurry, but the place where he'd last seen David was red. His eyes adjusted, and he could tell the red was a streak of blood. He could tell from the pattern that David crawled across the floor, crawled beside him, in fact. There the red became fainter- still a drag motion, but the strokes of his bloodied clothes along the floor were longer. He was being dragged. “Bill?” he heard a voice, and nearly pissed himself. He blinked his eyes rapidly. He wasn't sure he had the strength to stand, let alone run, but if death was coming he at least wanted to see it. Bill saw the new guy standing next to a newly arrived train. He new his name, had a mnemonic for it; he had a pointy chin- angular. Ang. “You okay?” Ang asked. “Not really,” he said. Ang helped Bill stand up. In standing he felt pain in his arm, and realized it hung wrong, and that the pain got worse if he didn't support it at the elbow. He wrenched on it just enough that it bent just a little where there was supposed to be solid bone. “Where are the others?” Ang asked. Bill pointed towards the blood, and started shuffling in the direction it pointed. Bill knew he had to find David, even if that likely meant finding the wolf, too. At the edge of the maglev station, Bill thought he heard movement. He pressed his body against the edge of one of the support columns, and slunk around it. Ang followed his lead. But there was nowhere for a giant wolf to hide. They followed the smear of blood to the cafeteria. Inside, Bill could hear the sounds of flesh ripping, and the wet sounds of uncooked meat slapping against the floor, hurried breaths and the sounds and tongue and teeth. He wanted not to know what was happening in the next room, to either wait for his own death someplace more peaceful or to try and sneak away. But he had to look- he owed David at least that much. He forced his head inside, and saw the blood trail thicken, and collect into a lake, and an island in the center of it was David's body. His chest had been opened up. The stumps of his ribs clawed at the air; they had been broken enough to allow for the massive head of the wolf to get at his pink viscera. He was still there, buried up to his jaw inside David's body cavity. Not as a wolf, but Skot, the crewmate Bill had liked even after finding out he was having an affair with Vince. He heard Bill and sat bolt upright. Smatters of blood and organs covered his face, except for two streams where tears poured constantly from his eyes, and washed the gore away. He tore a strip of meat out in his mouth, and sat up to chew it, when he noticed Bill staring from the door. “I cou-cou-couldn't,” he said around bite. He swallowed it, half-chewed, “stop,” he whispered, and wiped at his face. “Skot,” Bill said, overcome, stepping inside the cafeteria. Skot started to retch, and doubled over beside the corpse. His tears fell into the pooled blood, and caused ripples, and he looked at his reflection in the puddle. “You ever, ever have one of those days where you just, you see your reflection and you don't know how you got to that point?” he asked. “I remember... I remember hunting Melissa, chasing her to the maglev station, then following her down the tracks towards Alpha. And the next thing, I wake up cheek-deep in a coworker's intestines. I don't- I don't think I wanted to hurt anyone. But the train... I was so hungry when I woke up. Coming back from the collision with the train... it took so much out of me. I've never been so famished. I was insane. My body told me to eat everything- eat anything- even peel strips from my own flesh, just to staunch the burning in my stomach.” Skot started retching again, only this time he couldn't stop himself. He vomited into the pool of blood, causing a red tidal wave to surge past its original shore, that crested against Bill's boot. Then Skot started licking up the meal he'd just lost. “I tried to stop him,” Melissa said from the doorway. Bill jumped, and turned to face her. He realized she was the one they heard in the maglev station. “In fact, he was starting to make me hungry, so I made a big pot of chili. There aren't a lot of supplies at Alpha- just the emergency ration stores, in case the Maglev breaks down with crew over here. But there's still some, in case you've lost some mass and don't want what he's having.” “Mass?” Bill asked. “The wolf bit my arm, latched onto it and wrenched it around. You've seen a puppy do it with a stuffed animal before right? And it's cute. But he broke my arm, several times over. And then nearly ripped it off. When it let go of me it was seriously hanging by threads of skin. I had to carry it, or it would have just fallen off.” She showed him the blood-soaked, shredded sleeve of her shirt, then rolled it up. “And now? Good as new. Better, maybe. My shoulder doesn't hurt anymore- and my shoulder's ached pretty much constantly since I hurt it when this dumb bitch dropped me doing a pyramid.” Bill's eyebrow went up, and she flipped him off. “I was a cheerleader.” “That's unsurprising.” She flipped him off again. “And that's stereotyping, prick.” He sighed. “I didn't mean anything. Honestly, I was more invested in, well, our dead friend on the floor.” “It sucks,” Melissa said. “But he's spilt milk. It's done. We're... we're all different, now. Like... we've been turned from raw flour into cakes. But for him... shit just didn't go right. His cake didn't get a chance to rise.” “And that's enough?” She sighed. “I'm not telling you not to grieve, or be sad. I am. But you better as fuck stop looking at me and Skot like we're monsters.” “Or what? You'll show me how monstrous you can be?” “I'm pretty sure I can beat you until you shit yourself bloody, and that you'll heal up just fine. I don't know if that's monstrous- but it could be useful in promoting a healthy team dynamic.” “Don't,” Skot managed to get out, pausing to swallow bile, “don't view her too harshly. It's a whole lot to take in. It's adrenaline, and heightened anxiety and aggression and... power. It changes everything- and it's terrifying and liberating at the same time. In those circumstances some people act like a cunt.” “And some people just murder and eat their friends and coworkers,” she hit back. “So maybe acting like a cunt beats the alternative.”

10/15/14

  11:49:00 am, by Nic Wilson   , 311 words  
Categories: Announcements

Schlocktober update, and The Howling 3: The Marsupials

So, sometimes life gets in the way of the best intentions. Schloctober got sidelined to deal with home stuff, NaNoWriMo prep, and a host of other little tasks. Stay tuned for some short stories and anthologies. Got a lot to announce, as it's ready for release.

I finally got back to the awesomeness of bad movies last night, with The Howling 3: The Marsupials. It was a great pick to return to my wannabe tradition; I laughed greatly. And I can't wait to watch the rest of the Howling films in the set I snagged. They're all later ones, and I hope they live up to The Marsupials' kind of schlock.

The acting is mostly silly, but it's of the, 'I got my college roommate and her brother to come act for us over the weekend' rather than the kind of camp you don't have to feel bad laughing at and with. But one of the subplots makes up for a whole lot of meandering plot and just plain nonsense.

First, the leading lady had a pouch. Like a kangaroo. They tie it in with an extinct wolf the Vatican asked to be eradicated as part of a conspiratorial cover-up. Apparently making her a were-roo would have been just too silly.

And the second part of her having a pouch is she has a pouch baby. And when it first crawls out of her pouch, it looks like a penis. Not the way carrots or rockets look phallic, but the way that if your mother walked in on you watching this movie, she would ask why that penis has a face. Promos for the movie about a rampaging penis didn't have as realistic a penis as this. And the best part? She strokes it. While it's laying on her pelvis. Then it crawls back into her very sideways-vaginal pouch.

It's gloriously bizarre.

10/10/14

  06:03:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 704 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Departed

“I'm not sure about this,” Clod said as Paul finished tying a sheet over Alisa's face. “There's the possibility of disease, and-” “I am,” he said, standing. “They're making it to Mars.” Paul thought about asking Levy to help him lift the body. Not because he needed the help, but because it was weird that he didn't need the help, and he wanted them to feel comfortable around him, and reminding them that he was a giant wolf in a man's skin wasn't going to do that. But Levy's arm was still pretty screwed up, and Paul was growing tired of walking on eggshells. He picked her up and carried her into the empty storage pod, and laid her body down beside Martin's. On his way out he saw Rica, propped against the wall, with her arms crossed. She was still heavily drugged, but they were weaning her off the dosage. Paul hit the button to close the door, then struck several more keys to rotate the storage pods. “There,” he said. Rica continued to stare at the closed doorway. Paul walked to Clod and Levy. “We can’t keep drugging her indefinitely,” Paul said. “I don’t disagree,” Clod said, “our own dwindling supply of sedatives being one of the more pressing concerns. But I’m not sure what our other options might be.” “I’m going to take her into a pod, and you'll seal us in. I was able to control myself, with Alisa, and since. And if I can get Rica to the same place, we’ll come back. If not,” he couldn't say the words. “We can rotate that pod out into the cold,” Clod said. “That seems harsh,” interjected Levy. “Even that might not be enough to kill us,” Paul said. “But it should at least slow us down. And keep you two safe.” “I don’t like it,” Clod said. “It beats the alternatives by a wide margin, though,” Paul said. “Maybe you and I aren’t looking at the same alternatives,” she replied. “First alternative, do nothing. Call it pray, if that makes you feel better about it. Second alternative, we do what I tried, and manage the symptoms by dumping loosely measured amounts of chemicals into us to retard the process- but I’ve run the numbers, and unless we can harvest a lot of pharmaceuticals on Mars, we’re going to run out long before we can get back to Earth.” “And third?” Levy asked, confused. “We kick them out of an airlock,” Clod said. “That’s not an option,” Levy said. “Of course it is,” Paul said. “No. I’m not killing two people.” “I’ll do it,” Paul said. “I can open the airlock from my side.” “I’m not worried about who pulls the trigger,” Levy said. “I’m saying unequivocally that we’re not murdering two of our crewmates just to preserve my considerable hide.” “What about her hide?” Paul asked, nodding towards Clod. “Believe me, I am a much bigger fan of her hide than mine- but no. You’re our crewmates. You’re practically fucking family. And outside of a clear, present and un-fucking-deniable danger, we’re getting you every chance we can.” “Agreed,” Clod said. “With both of you. We’re not executing you- not until it’s clear that there aren’t other options. And I also agree that the pod quarantine is our best, safest bet. We’ll get you supplies- medical and otherwise.” “Okay,” Paul said. “I should talk to her.” Rica didn't acknowledge his approach, and waited until Clod and Levy had left before she spoke. “We’re monsters, aren’t we?” she asked. “I don’t know.” “You don’t? You tore my girlfriend’s throat out.” “I know.” “But you did it to save our friends.” “I… I think so,” he said, and his voice cracked. “But you don’t know?” “No.” “And we're going in a pod?” she asked. “Like the dead people.” She swallowed. “Do you think we're already dead?” Paul took her hand, and positioned his so each of their fingers were wrapped around each other's wrists. “We're not dead,” he said. “But we might need to be,” she said. “Maybe. But I don't think so. I think we'll be okay.” “The last time you thought that, half my friends died.” “I know,” he said solemnly.

10/03/14

  06:02:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 617 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: The Pack

Ang woke to a noise. His ribs ached, because he slept on them wrong. His ears perked up, and his pupils dilated to let in more light in the dark room. There was someone standing in the doorway, female, too tall and curvy to be Mai. He bared his teeth before he thought about what he was doing, and started to growl Maria stepped forward, into the dull glow given off by the medical equipment in the room. His growl ended in a heavy sigh. Maria turned on the light. She was squeezed into someone else's clothes, so they fit a little too snuggly. That made a degree of sense; her quarters were further away than some of the other women's dorms. “Mai popped your cherry,” Maria said, regarding him with a look he hadn't seen since his mother first heard he'd been cut from Perseus. “Not exactly,” Mai said. “He was a perfect gentleman. So he let me stick it in his arm- rather than try to stick it in me.” “It worked,” Maria said, pushing her nose to Ang's neck. She inhaled a deep breath. “Because he's definitely one of ours.” “What about everybody else?” Ang asked, noting the blood caked under her fingernails. “They're converts,” she said. “Converts?” Ang asked. Mai nodded at his arm, where she'd transfused her blood into his vein. He swallowed. “You disapprove?” Maria said. “We're spreading a disease,” Ang said. “It's hard to be completely blasé about that.” “It's not that simple,” Maria said. “And I... I'm lucid enough right now that I can tell you that it isn't always this clear in my head, but, they wouldn't have let me live. Wouldn't have been able to. They would have biopsied and biopsied and biopsied until that wasn't enough ” “Vivisection of a sentient creature isn't ethical,” he said. “If it was that easy to ignore that avenue of exploration, we wouldn't have a word for cutting apart living organisms.” “Well, technically, you can vivisect non-sentient beings,” Mai said. Maria glared at her. “Just pointing out the medical fact- not arguing the larger philosophical point. But I'd been meaning to ask where Skot got to.” “I followed his scent to the maglev. He went up the tracks.” “On a train?” “Foot. Or footpads. Paws?” She sighed. “I was coming back, looking for you,” she said to Mai. “I was going to ask you to check up on him. But Ang- he's a gift from God. I'm enough in control of myself at the moment to know that I'm frequently not. I don't know if that's a hormonal thing- in which case Mai could be one ovulation away from trying to seriously injure someone- or if it's related to my individual biology.” “I've got a theory there,” Mai said. “But if you're sticking around, we can check into it. If you're willing to go look for Skot,” she said, turning to Ang. “And the others,” Maria said. “Others?” Ang asked. “Three are missing. David and Bill were at Alpha. And I haven't seen Melissa since we smashed down the barricade in the cafeteria. Skot was pretty riled up last time I saw him. I don't want anybody to get hurt- not if they don't have to. I know you're probably pissed at me right now. But please. Too many people have been hurt already.” “You hurt them,” Ang said, and the words ended in a growl. “I know,” Maria said quietly, and she couldn't look at him. He hadn't anticipated remorse from her, and it killed the rage setting fire to his blood. He pictured the coworkers he barely knew, and the danger coming for them. “Okay,” he said. “I'll go.”

10/02/14

  12:51:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 745 words  
Categories: Announcements

Schlocktober: Carnival of Souls.

I've been working a bit too hard lately. You probably haven't seen it because the products of that work still aren't ready for public eyes, but they will be soon.

And with National Novel Writing Month nearly upon us, I want to blow off steam, before I jump back in.
So every day through October, I'll be watching, and reviewing, some delightful piece of awful horror. Follow me on Twitter, too for periodic live tweets, but since I live in the dark ages of cellular tech and my computer is awkward to go to mid-movie with a wife laying on my legs and a cat on my stomach, don't expect much.

The little gem I watched last night, Carnival of Souls, kicks us off.

Spoilery Description: Imagine Sixth Sense Made to ape a Hitchcock film, badly.

So, in the Wilson house, we're bracing for a rough winter. The too-hot-too-long summer stomped out and slammed the door, and left us breaking out the caped superhero footie pajamas and procrastinating on turning on the heaters. With Halloween coming up, it's as good a time as any to break out of my writing, cooking, gaming rut and visit some fun old movies. So like a man-child of steel I bundled up and put on Carnival of Souls. The original one, not the remake.

Now, this film is supposed to be a classic B horror movie that pioneered aspects of the psychological horror genre, on a shoestring budget. Unfortunately, it was a fairly unpleasant watch experience due to some aspects of it that had aged horribly.

Sounded like audio for the entire movie was recorded in a single phone booth, with all of the actors crammed inside, which was doubly frustrating with the slow pacing. I knew my Hollywood-crippled attention span was shot when they showed the Welcome to Utah sign.

Welcome to Utah... so somehow this movie's going to get more boring?

Thankfully, it did get interesting in Utah, if only because shortly thereafter, my wife and I got into a debate over whether this influenced Night of the Living Dead, or Night Of The Living Dead influenced this. (Hint: she won. Never go to the mat with that one over details. You'll lose almost every time.)

The lead actress plays her vulnerability very well, but it's undermined by uneven characterization and bad performances from supporting characters. Her employer, a preacher, delivered one line that led to a million porno taglines- “We have an organist capable of stirring the soul...” and my loins.

Such a creepy delivery. His lines alone provided some disturbing ad libs that can not be printed in public.

At this point, both the wife and I were kind of giving each other sideways glance and asking wasn't there supposed to be a carnival in this someplace?

But no, there's romance with a two-faced neighbor who comes on sweet, but veers madly into emotionally abusive chauvinist territory with no explanation. IMDB tells me that the original cut of the movie was ten minutes longer than this one, taken from an edit for drive-in theaters. I hope those entire ten minutes were spent fleshing out that romantic 'conflict.' I actually kinda liked the dude, despite that, but whatever arc there was with him never really went anywhere, and that made the random aggression even more jarring.

About halfway through Dr. Exposition shows up. But just as quickly as he started to make some of the previous forty five minutes make sense, he wandered away from whatever the point had been. It's a movie about isolation, but ultimately I have no idea what it's trying to say, or even what supposedly happened. Just a carnival freakshow of bad makeup, incoherent characterization, unfinished storytelling, and some kind of religious mumbo jumbo about her not playing the organ right- church organ; get your mind out of the gutter- because she doesn't like people and doesn't have a soul like a good organist should.

In the approaching 100 years since this movie was groundbreaking, we've gotten inured to the twists and mindfucks. And the synopsis for the movie on the disk set spoiled almost all of it, so it was even less satisfying than it might have otherwise been. But that's giving it a lot of caveats to make it watchable in anything less than a state of utter intoxication.

It's psychological horror, in that after watching you will question what you are doing with your life, and possibly contemplate suicide.

09/26/14

  06:02:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 1130 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Loves

Paul was feeling worse. He'd had that dream again, of cutting his wrists. But in the dream, he wasn't a wolf, he was just... unhappy. But as soon as he woke up, he knew that his dream self didn't understand the crushing meaning of the word. There was something worse about knowing that Levy and Clod were avoiding him, and that he was avoiding them. He blinked to clear his eyes, and was surprised that the panel in his room was flashing. He had a message. He got up and checked, and found out he had two. One was from Laura in Florida. The other was from his ex-wife on the Moon. He felt like he was betraying Laura, and perhaps he was. But he hadn't heard from Maria. And he'd been worried for some time that he passed his disease to her. He wanted to hear from Laura- but he needed to know Maria was all right. “Paul. I'm sorry. I know I shouldn't have, but... I watched your message. I know it wasn't meant for me, but... I know better than anyone else what you’re going through. And I know it doesn’t feel like it, right now, but things are going to be okay. You’ll get through this. I’m not saying that to minimize what your experiencing- because I know that it’s a worse thing than you'd wish on your worst enemy. It's a burden, one that will weigh on you- you particularly. But I know you. And you, Paul, will survive this. You will make it through, because you are the strongest man I’ve ever known. And horrible as things might be right now, it’ll pass. And you’ll still be standing. You're going to Mars. And then you're going to come back to me on the moon, and I'm going to give you the longest, gayest hug ever, and we'll cry it out in each others' arms. I believe in you, Paul. I know your crewmates do, too- even if it's going to take some time for them to get to the point of vocalizing it. But it will be okay. Trust me. It will.” There was something wrong with Maria. He couldn't quite put his finger on it. But she was alive, and the moon was back in communication. And that was something. He struck a few keys, to start up the next recording. Laura appeared on the screen. “Paul?” Laura asked. Then she sighed. “Sorry. I just want so badly to be able to talk to you that... I wish that by wanting it enough I could bend the laws of physics so we could talk. Because passing notes back and forth, it just amplifies the loneliness. I almost feel like I'm making it worse, because I'm reminding you of what you're separated from, when what I really want is to reach out and touch you.” “I love you. So much. But you need to knock it the fuck off.” Paul sat up straight. “I know our time talking is precious, so I hate using it to slap you upside the head, but quit it. I don't know everything that's happened on the Perseus. But you didn't kill anybody. You are the most dedicated man that I know, and you take your oath more seriously than is probably psychologically healthy. If there had been a way for you to save your crewmate, you would have. I've always been terrified you'd cut out your own heart just to give it to someone who might need it; but I don't believe, not for a microsecond, that you'd ever let someone die if you could help it.” “As for the thing with Maria... you still love her. I know that, and I always have. When we first started banging, that was actually a pretty big plus. Because you were safe, but not emotionally available for anything serious. And then, you gigantic jerk, you made me fall in love with you. And I spent the next third of our life together competing with her for every single piece of you. And I probably would have gone crazy, except you recognized what I was doing. And you sat me down, and in a not at all creepily paternalistic way explained that I wasn't competing with her. That you cared about her, and probably always would. But that she left you, and that that wasn't something that ever stopped being an open sore. And that I hadn't. And that all else being equal, that made me the woman you'd choose. And I was still young, and naïve enough to think that you were weaseling with that being equal bit, and called you on it. And you grinned, and said that women are never equal, because we aren't quantifiable. We're more like ice cream. And you loved chocolate before you loved vanilla, but neither love was comparable, either. But the way Maria left, it was like she took a shit in your chocolate ice cream cone- which pretty much ruined chocolate for you.” “You're smarter than me. And while you try to give me all kinds of benefits of the doubt, I don't think another couple years of college, or even a couple years of college then some more of graduate school and a few out in the wild will catch me up. God, stacking all those years up in a verbal pile makes me realize how old of an old, old man you really are.” She swallowed. “But you're my old man. And you're a handsome, brave doctor-astronaut; you could have had any woman at my campus, probably just about any woman in the city. But you chose me. You wanted me. And when I look in your eyes, I know that's still true.” “And Maria's a special circumstance. You had unresolved crap with your ex-wife, and if that resulted in one last goodbye bang,” her jaw set, and she shuddered, but she forced her mouth to soften, “I'll cope with it. Don't get me wrong. This is in no way a license to mess around. And if that bitch so much as sends you a sext message, I will get to the Moon for the express purpose of coring her cunt out.” “But I love you. And I know you love me. And I know that what you're going through, you're going to get through it. And that whatever's happened to you- whatever problems have come out of it, I'm crazy jealous of everyone up there with you. And not just because we would have turned that ship into our own private bangnasium. I'm seriously horny down here without you. So if at all possible, bend the laws of physics some so you can get back here to me faster.”

09/19/14

  06:00:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 625 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Blow Your House In

Skot sniffed at the air. His eyes latched onto movement, Melissa running away. He stomped one of his big paws off the maglev car. Instinctively, David stepped into his way, and only realized what he was doing while he was in motion. He exchanged a look with Bill; they were both panicked, unable to even process what was happening. Skot backhanded David in the stomach. The force of it knocked the wind from his lungs, and snapped two ribs. He dropped to the floor whimpering in agony. Skot dropped into a run, and threw Bill into a support column as he gathered speed. The wolf caught up to Melissa before she reached Alpha's cafeteria. She leapt through the open doorway and its footpads skidded across the floor, sending it beyond the door. Skot circled back, through the door into the caf, and bounded towards her. She rolled over the counter into the kitchen, and he smashed into the three foot tall divider between the two rooms. He tried to climb over the counter, but there wasn't quite enough room for him. Melissa ran out the side door back into the main hall. She ran for the crew compartments. None of the rooms were coded to an occupant, so the doors all slid open as she ran up. She dove inside the first room, landing on the bed. “Crew safety override,” she said in, breathing hard, “Eldred, Melissa, authorization Kilo Seven.” She heard the pounding of the wolf's paws on the ground, and heard them stop outside her door. The wolf bashed his paw against the door, and grumbled incoherently, but neither the physical nor the voice commands responded to him. He howled. Melissa got up from the bed, trembling. She put her ear to the door, trying to listen for the wolf. The door vibrated, as if hit with a hammer, and the sound of it sent her stumbling back. The wolf had rammed the door. It was made of plastics, heavy enough to stop a human being at the Air and Space Force's recommendation, but what was trying to get in wasn't a human being. The wolf hit the door again. And again. Melissa curled up into a ball on the bed, and decided to try the local comms. “Bill? Dave? Please, God, be alive.” She hadn't tried the comms since she arrived, since Bill and David had met her at the car she road to them. Maybe they were linked to the communications hub at the station. Maybe they were dead. Or maybe David and Bill were dead. A long time passed. “Bill's out,” David said. “My entire chest is a bruise- at least, I'm hoping it's a bruise. Otherwise it's a crapload of internal bleeding.” He swallowed. “Y'okay?” “I made it to the dorms,” she said. “But it followed me. And it's trying to get in.” “Can it?” he asked. “I don't know. So far the door's holding.” She furrowed her brow. It had been some time since she heard a noise from outside. She heard a tinkling coming from the air vent. “Oh God,” she whispered into the comms. “He's in the vents.” She ran to the door. “Disengage crewmember safety override. Eldred, Melissa. Authorization kilo-” the wolf burst from the vent. Blood slicked its fur in the places where the vents sharp edges made it hard for the wolf to push itself through. “Seven. Seven! Seven!” she screamed, pounding on the door with her fists. The wolf jumped on her, pushing her down with its paws as the door slid open. She tried to scream, but the wolf's paws landed on her chest, knocking the air from her lungs. The wolf licked its jaws, and she whispered a breathless prayer.

09/12/14

  05:59:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 474 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Booty Calls

Laura didn't trust phone calls at 3 am. She’d had calls about dead relatives, and sick house pets, but only once did she have a 3 am call she didn’t regret- a booty call from her Freshman-year ex. And even that time, she got Chlamydia. “I need you,” the man on the other end of the phone said. She knew it was Ken, even though his voice was rough, like he'd smoked an entire carton of cigarettes and downed a full bottle of cognac before calling her. “If this is you breaking your not hitting on me rule, let me start by responding that I’ve taken krav maga classes.” “Is that anything like hot yoga?” “It’s everything like an Israeli martial art focused on crotch-punching.” “Regardless, the only thing I want with your ass is for you to bring it to Control. Paul needs you. He’s falling apart. And we really need that not to happen. I could threaten you, insinuate the government could do something bad to your underpants or whatever. But that only goes so far. And the truth is your relationship with Paul is one of those inflatable lifeboats. It could save him; but when you know what I'm going to tell you, you just might choose to stick a knife in it, instead.” “Then why tell me?” “Because I've thought about it from all angles- including giving you an edited version of his message with fake static over parts of it. But the conclusion I came to is that this doesn't work without you fully aware and fully cooperative. There's a car waiting outside your place, it'll bring you here.” She didn't talk to the driver. She was fairly certain from the buzzcut he was military. Ken met her at the entrance, and walked her through the facility, back into the same room she'd sat in on her last 'visit.' He played a video for her, of Paul. She sat silently through the recording, until it ended with “...through the things I do. But I've always loved you.” She sighed, and felt relieved despite herself. Ken didn't know how to interpret her sigh. “You're probably the last chance I've got to save him-” he said, “and maybe the rest of the astronauts on that crew. So?” “Who’s seen this?” she asked. “Me. And the communications officer on-shift at the time. After last time, we tightened the loop considerably.” “Can you destroy it?” “At this point NASA’s a giant web of multiply redundant computer networks. There are probably dozens of copies at several different locations.” “Can you?” “I can make sure no one else ever sees it. And that’s my intention.” “For Paul?” she asked. “For my program. And he's part and parcel.” “That'll have to be good enough,” she said. “But once I've recorded this message, you're going to tell me everything.”

09/05/14

  05:58:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 1681 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Boomerang

“Why are the magnets running?” Bill asked, shifting his weight nervously. David shook his head. “So this wasn't you?” “You've been with me the whole time. What would I have done to kick the magnets back on?” “There weren't two different supply runs from Alpha, were there?” Melissa asked. “Nope,” David said, pulling up the schedule on the screen. “Besides which, as you can see, all the cars are accounted for- except our ballistic one.” “So it is still moving?” Bill asked. “Hard to tell; the system seems to think it is. But the car itself isn't communicating with the terminal anymore. Which is largely irrelevant- aside from double-checking data on speed and acceleration and the like, the cars are pretty stupid- they aren't handling any of the controlling, anyway.” Bill swallowed. “What are the chances somebody could have gotten inside it?” “Slim to none,” David said. “It was traveling at hundreds of miles per hour. It would have broken every bone in that... thing's body. Probably would have liquefied its organs.” “Probably?” Bill asked. “I hit an animal with the rough kinetic equivalent to a tank shell.” “Which it might be riding here to murder us,” Bill said, his voice rising an octave. “Whoa, man. If that thing could survive that, what possible hope did we have?” David asked. “I'm- sorry. I don't do good with dogs. I got chewed up pretty bad by the neighbor's mutt as a kid- they sure as fuck aren't my best friend. So seeing a giant one, bounding our way- I'm feeling a little edgy.” “Me, too,” David said, putting his hand on Bill's shoulder. “Not the mauled by a dog, part, but- this is definitely cause for a little freaking out.” “You two suck,” Melissa said. “I fucking told you. But because I'm a woman-” “No,” Bill said. “Because I'm not part of the boy's club-” “Closer,” David said. He sighed. “Melissa, you seem like a perfectly nice person, and you're definitely capable at your job. But your job is also to be the corporate shill amongst a band of scientists and space cowboys- and even most of the space cowboys up here still work on the science.” “I went through astronaut training the same as any of you,” she said. “Really?” Bill asked. “Because there've been times I had my doubts.” “When?” “Like how long it took you to acclimate to the moon's microgravity, for one.” “Well I went through the astronaut candidate program, same as everybody else. No favors, no special treatment.” “And how were your scores?” “Fuck you. If I were a man you wouldn't ask me that.” “Bill's a goddamned terrible astronaut,” David said, “but a hell of an engineer. I'd be damned reluctant to let him pilot a shuttle anyplace, but I respect him for the job he does up here- crap-ass astronaut though he is.” “And not to gang up,” Bill said, “because again, you seem like a fine person, but it's... it's harder to appreciate the shillery in the same way I appreciate him keeping the trains running, or people appreciate me keeping the lights on.” “I keep the elevator going.” Bill winced. “Not really. Dante takes care of that- and even he sometimes has to borrow a better-trained hand when things rise above the level of grease-monkey.” “I've been up here long enough I served with some of the lifers,” David said. “Most of the first few crews on the Station did time on the ISS. They were hardened fucking spacemen- and women. And even some of them lost their shit, from time to time. Usually it meant somebody got yelled at, or heaven forbid had a spanner winged at their head, and then the next day there was a subdued apology and all was right with the world. I kind of figured your beef was along those kinds of lines. But I think the lack of respect you're taking issue with comes down to the fact that astronauting isn't supposed to have middle management. And to some, just by being here you’re… emblematic of us whoring out the space program. And that’s shitty, because that isn’t your fault- and it sure as hell isn’t something we should hang on you.” “And you were right. That was one big goddamned wolf. I'm sorry I doubted you- and if it seems like I'm taking my anxiety out on you right now, because that's the furthest from what I'd want.” “That apology sucked,” she said. “But it was honest. And... I don't know if I'd disagree with you. There are certainly days when I feel like... like my slot would have been better utilized by a scientist or an engineer or even some fucking cargo. But when I got offered the job- I would have come up here to be your damn fry cook to be one the moon.” “That makes me like you a hell of a lot more,” Bill said. The electromagnets started to hum, and they all lost interest in the conversation. “Care to put money on whether or not there's really a train, or if your system's just being retarded?” Bill asked. “No I would not,” David said. He closed his eyes. He didn't want there to be a train. He could configure the maintenance drones to clean up whatever damage the collision might have caused- and worst-case scenario maybe he'd have to do some of the heavy lifting himself after they'd cleared the car and the carcass. But he had a bad feeling about what was coming towards them- so he hoped there was nothing at all. Melissa grabbed his shoulder, because it was handy, and sunk her fingernails into his skin. It jolted his eyes open. A battered maglev car pulled into the station with a hiss. It slowed up right where it was supposed to. The damage to the train was extensive. The front was caved in, blunting its usual bullet to resemble a recently erupted stratovolcano. Bill was the first running towards it, with Melissa running behind him. David stood up reluctantly from his work chair. The others stopped fifteen feet from the car. “You're sure nothing could have gotten inside?” Bill asked. He was looking at a hole about the size of a man in the front of the car. “I doubt it. I mean, what we're likely to find is some wolf shrapnel. Maybe a skull, or something.” Bill sighed. “Only one way this is getting any less mysterious,” he said. He walked purposefully towards the car doors. The doors remained closed. He touched the manual button. “Open,” he said. He tried to get his fingers between the doors to pry it open, see if he could get it to start that way. “Mechanism's jammed,” David said. “Happens sometimes- usually when there's damage to the car.” “Damage being an understatement in this case,” Bill said. David led them around to the front of the car. He leaned into the hole, and touched a button on his collar to activate an LED. “Jesus,” he said, and pulled his head out. “What is it?” asked Bill. “Just look,” he said. Bill turned on his collar LED, and he and Melissa peered through the breach together. Lying in the middle of the car, in a pool of mucus and blood, was Skot. “He looks like a newborn,” Melissa said. “I was with my sister in the delivery room... seriously, if there were a little more white goo, and it weren't so insane a thought, I'd say that he just popped out of somebody's womb.” “That'd have to be some womb,” Bill said. “My god,” David said. “We killed him. We hit the poor bastard with a train...” “I swore I saw a wolf,” Bill said, “but...” “Maybe that thing had swallowed Skot,” David said. “And when the train hit, the wolf absorbed most of the impact, smashing a hole for Skot into the car.” “I don't think ballistically...” “Yeah, well I don't see any more reasonable answer,” David said. “Actually...” Melissa interrupted. “I wasn't... brass at the Station was trying to keep things quiet, but I thought they said something about the wolf being Maria. I- it didn't make any sense at the time. But- what if that thing was Skot?” Skot's eyes opened wide- too wide, in fact, and she jumped back from the hole. Bill and David crowded back in to see what was going. Skot blinked them, as if for the first time. Then he started to stand. “Skot?” Bill asked. “You okay, buddy? You look an afterbirth.” “He's not Skot,” Melissa said, and dropped her mug. Cocoa splashed across the tracks. Bill and David still didn't understand what she meant, and exchanged a glance. When they looked back at her, she was thirty feet away and still running, though Alpha was a small enough station that there wasn't really anywhere to go. They heard movement inside the car. “Skot?” Bill called. He pivoted, but Skot was no longer in the parts of the car his LED reached. “We're having trouble getting in to you. It might take us a few minutes to get the doors open. But sit tight. David's here, and he's the best expert you could want to have here working on the car for you. And you might be hurt, so just-” Bill heard the grinding of metal on the other side of the car, the side with the door. “Take it easy?” he finished, but it came out a question. They ran around the side with the doors. They could see a pair of hands pushing their way between the doors. “Or you could shove your way out, too,” Bill said, ”that could also work.” Bill rolled his eyes at David, but jumped at how quickly the doors slid open. He could see a figure standing in the doorway of the open car, but he couldn't make him out. Bill turned his body so that his collar LED lit up the doorway. “Good lord,” David. What stood in the doorway wasn't Skot.

08/29/14

  05:58:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 387 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Isolation Chamber

The isolation was having a negative effect on Paul. In truth, it was having a negative impact on all of them, but Paul knew he was taking it harder than anyone else. He was spending more and more time in his room. Worse than the loneliness was the way that Clod and Levy looked at him, and he wanted desperately to minimize that. That was why he was in his room, staring straight ahead, trying to make himself talk. “I slept with my ex-wife at the Lunar Base and I killed one of the crew,” Paul said into the camera. He remembered the last time he felt this way, when he told Laura he tried to kill himself. But that had been a lie, of sorts. Because the truth had been worse, more horrifying, and also, he understood now, something he wasn't sure he believed. He thought perhaps he'd been insane, and that perhaps they'd stop him from practicing medicine on the ship. And even crazy, he was an asset he knew they couldn't afford to do without. This time was different. He had been human when he fought Alisa. Clod and Levy were in the room with him. There wasn't any more doubt about what had happened to him. And there wasn't any doubt that he tore a woman's throat out with his teeth. He closed his eyes, but tears slid out, anyway. “I'm not doing well, babe. I... Things are bad. Worse than they've ever been. I'm a danger, to myself, and the rest of the crew. And... I've let problems taint them, too, so now I'm not the only one threatening the mission.” “It's not fair that I'm leaning on you for any of this. And I'd understand if you just walked away. I couldn't blame you- I wouldn't. This is all my own fault- because I wasn't cautious when I should have been; I didn't ask hard questions because I knew the answers might take away something I wanted.” “I was a selfish fool. I don't know how you loved me, but right now, it's the only thing I've got left to hold onto. I love you. I know, I know it sometimes doesn't show through the things I do. But I've always loved you.” Paul got up and turned off the recording.

08/26/14

  01:00:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 156 words  
Categories: Nexus, The Necromancer's Gambit, Announcements

Update on Nexus 2: Sins of the Past, and The Gambit 2: Kindred Spirits

My writing schedule kind of resembles a mad scientist puttering around his lab. Originally, Nexus 2 was intended for August release, and Kindred Spirits for October. They won't be very far behind that, but they will be somewhat behind that. Next of Kin, this year's NaNoWriMo project will eat up a good month, but other than that, I'm aiming to have them both out to you as soon as I can. That's meant several all nighters already, and will put many more in the future. But that's what caffeine is for. I think my blood could make an awesome vodka and Red Bull, for a vampire, at this point.

Both of them are nearly ready for ARC readers, so if you are interested in providing a review for their release, email me. NicWilson.Writer @ Gmail.com. Otherwise, stay tuned for news of the updated release date, and feel free to tag along for Next of Kin while you wait.

08/22/14

  05:55:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 1069 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Bullet Train

“What the fuck?” Bill asked, staring at the security camera footage of the maglev tracks streaming onto the monitor. “I'm no zoologist,” David said, “but if I had to guess, I'd say that’s a big goddamned wolf.” Bill stared at David. “We only just got her to calm down,” he said, trying to keep his voice low and calm, so as not to draw Melissa's attention. But she was still on edge. Despite his attempts at subtlety, she knew something was up. She set down her cup of cocoa on the bench, and walked over to the workstation they were on. Bill tried to stand between her and the screen, but she started pointing excitedly. “Those are the things that attacked us,” she said, breathless. “Huh,” Bill said. “Huh?” she asked. “I thought you were just having a psychotic break. It seemed more plausible than, you know, that,” he pointed at the screen. “We've been on lockdown for nearly a week, now. And we piped you the video from earlier,” she said. She was tired of being treated like a crazy person just because she was in a crazy situation. “You mean the grainy ass video of a 'wolf' on the station? No offense, but I've seen more convincing shots of Big Foot. But we’ve still got power along the train track- and that footage is a horse of a different color. And that is most definitely a big assed wolf.” “And big fanged, too,” David added. “What's it want you so badly for?” he asked, turning to Melissa. “How the hell should I know? And why do you think it's coming here specifically for me? You two combined smell like cheeseburger left to molder for a week in a fat man’s back pocket - which I have to assume is a smell wolves would like.” “Hmm,” David said. “Hmm,” Bill agreed. “Hmm?” Melissa asked. “It's coming for us. We can't just wait for it to get here. We have to do something.” “It's coming,” Bill said, “but slow. It's not exactly a short walk her from the Station. Even at the speed it's going, which I doubt is sustainable- since it's going about a hundred kilometers an hour- it'll be hours before it gets here.” “Kilometers?” Melissa asked. “Not all of us are engineers.” “That's around 60 miles per hour,” David said. “And I'd say it's going to take it another twenty hours for it to get here.” “I was sort of hoping to live more than another twenty hours,” Melissa said. “You didn't see what those things are capable of. The raw power,” she shuddered. “I have an idea,” David said, splitting the screen of the workstation so he could work on the right side while they continued to watch the footage of the wolf running. “I think there’s a supply train running from the Station,” The screen split again, showing a train running along the tracks from the Station somewhere behind the wolf. The video had to flick between cameras at a rapid pace to keep the speeding train in view, which made Melissa feel nauseous. “It's something I've always wanted to try. Really, I think it's something anybody who's ever seen a Snidely Whiplash cartoon has wanted to try.” “You mean Dudley Do-Right, right? Whiplash wasn't the main character- he was the villain.” “Not all of us are old enough to know what the hell either of you are talking about.” “Ahem,” Bill said. “That show was from the 50s and 60s; none of us are old enough to have seen it originally airing.” There was a hiss and a pop as the front car of the maglev train disconnected from the rest. “Maximum acceleration?” Bill asked. “Yep,” David said. He struck a few keys on the console and the car whooshed away almost silently from the rest of the train. He hit several more keys. “I'm having the system calculate the impact location, so we can queue up the right camera. The monitor flickered through a half a dozen cameras before settling on one. “You sure?” Bill asked. “I don't see any-” “There!” Melissa squeaked, jabbing the monitor where a patch of fur crossed it. Then the screen was filled for an instant with the passing train, and then wolf and train were gone. “Holy crap,” David said. “Wicked,” Bill said. “No, I mean, it knocked all the sensors on the train. I can't be sure, but I think that car's dead on the tracks.” “Worth it,” Bill said. “Is it?” David asked. “It could take the maintenance bots weeks to get the tracks cleared.” “We have rations here,” Bill said. “And sleeping quarters. And a distinct lack of giant man-eating wolf.” “That's easy for you to say, since you're not the one who will have to put in the overtime to make sure that the rail gets fixed quick as possible.” “You bitch and you moan- but I know you're thrilled you get to spend more time with your trains. And there's the pretty strong possibility that while the electronics are all knocked out, that you can just send another set of cars through to push it back to the station. It's not likely the wolf caused it to derail.” “No. It's likely he's a paste that the maintenance bots will have to pressure wash off the tracks.” He flicked through several cameras. “Damn,” he said. “What is it?” Bill asked. “I can’t find the train.” “Well, duh.” “I know the sensors are fucked, but- I’d feel better if I could see it.” “Right… but only about 15% of the track is actually wired up with cameras, so that leaves an 85% chance it’s in a dead zone. And on the off chance the sensors crapped out but the car’s still going, there’s no way in hell you’d be able to catch it on a camera at speed. So…” “Yeah. But still…” he hit a few keys, and heavy metal slabs extended from the floor, cocooning the end of the tracks. “Blast shield?” “Just in case,” David said. “Just in case?” Melissa asked. “In case the train is still going, and doesn’t respond to the protocols that tell it to stop.” “And that will stop it from smashing its way out of Alpha?” “75 percent chance,” David shrugged. “But it’s the best we’ve got,” turning to walk away. “Engineers,” Bill said with a smile, and rolled his eyes.

08/15/14

  05:55:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 695 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Into the Ordinary

Clod didn’t show up for her shift in the infirmary the next day. Paul worried about leaving Rica alone, so he worked a double. He knew he wouldn’t sleep, regardless, so it didn’t seem a waste. He slept in the infirmary that first night, because he didn’t want to leave her alone. He woke up smelling himself. He usually tried to keep himself pristinely clean, because at a moment’s notice it was possible he’d need to operate on a crew member- and every germ was an opportunity to make a risky surgery riskier. He knew he couldn’t stay in the infirmary indefinitely. So he programmed an alert for Rica’s vitals, and waited for her next round of sedatives. Out of curiosity, he pinged Clod’s location after leaving the shower. She was in the infirmary. Which meant she’d been waiting for him to leave to take her shift. It probably meant she was remotely monitoring Rica’s vitals, too. In a way, he was relieved. He didn’t know what to say, not to anyone, about what had happened. And he’d been glad to have the time to wall himself off in the lab, not to have a moment alone to think. Paul was restless. He tried to sleep, but after four hours of reliving what happened with Alisa, he knew he wasn't going to be able to. And he also knew that he wasn't going to be able to relax cooped up in his room. He was also hungry. He walked down to the kitchen, and served himself a plate of a goulash Levy made earlier. He carried the plate into TV room. He regretted it immediately, because Levy was there, watching an old episode of Firefly. He wanted to take his food elsewhere, but if he continued in that direction, he'd be eating in the gym, or in storage, making it obvious he was avoiding Levy. So he sat down on the couch. Levy eyed him on his way in, but pretended not to notice he was there. During a lull in the episode, when his fork made a louder than expected noise against his plate, Paul said “This is really good. You've outdone yourself.” Levy didn't respond, just shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “How's the arm?” Paul asked after a few minutes. He could tell from the dressing that it had been changed recently; and he could tell from how well it had been done it was Clod’s work. “Eh,” Levy said, and went back to pretending he was alone. After a few minutes more, he paused the episode. “I know why you did what you did, Paul. But… it wasn’t wolf-you that killed Alisa. And it wasn’t wolf-her whose throat you tore out with your teeth in front of us. It was- I watched you murder her. And I think I’m grateful, but at the same time it’s a lot to process. I had to pick up her body, Paul, haul it back to cold storage. I mopped up her blood. I was crying, the whole fucking time, and laughing, because this is fucking absurd. I want to believe I died, or am in a crazy kind of coma, after trying to kill myself, because I can’t be an astronaut who sopped the blood of a werewolf my doctor friend bit the jugular out of. That can’t be reality. And I know it probably makes me about as crazy as you are, but I can’t not see her blood on your teeth right now. And I know how insane that is, but I can’t talk to you. I’m trying not to look at you. And that’s unfair, and it probably makes me a lousy friend, but- but I can’t cope with this right now- so I really can’t help you cope with it. And if you’re going to be here, I just can’t be.” Paul nodded. There was a lot of that going around. He wanted to hide, more than anything, but he stopped. “Talk to Clod,” he said. “I understand if you can’t talk to me. But you two shouldn’t have to deal with this alone.” “Yeah,” Levy said, and left the room.

08/08/14

  05:54:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 694 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Sanctuary

“Sir, we're getting communications from the array at Alpha.” “Hmm?” Ken asked. “Clever spacemonkeys.” He pushed out of his seat. “Forward that call to my office. No recording, nobody else listening. Keep them talking until I get on the line- but keep it light, unless we're afraid of losing them. You'll disconnect when I arrive on the line. I'm repeating: this call is for my ears only.” Ken double-timed it back to his office. He hated that this secrecy was endangering his astronauts, but the alternatives... would have complicated things to the point of chaos. Ken picked up his office phone. “I'm here,” he said, and hit the video conference button. David, Bill and Melissa appeared on his wall. “It's nice to see a familiar face,” David said. “I thought you liked my face,” Bill deadpanned. “Gentleman,” Ken said, “and lady. I can't tell you how pleased I am to hear from you. We're... somewhat aware of what's happening at the Station, but communication's... compromised. How are things at Alpha?” Ken pretended not to notice Alan slinking into his office. “Wiggy, sir. But no big bad wolves. And thanks to the Arrays, we've got power. In fact, I don't understand how they've lost power at the station.” “Sabotage,” Ken said. “Those things aren't just wolves, are they?” Bill asked. “They're smarter than beasts,” Ken said. “How smart I can't tell you. But they managed to cut the power, and cripple Speed.” “There's something you aren't telling us,” Melissa said. “We don't know much,” Ken admitted. “But we think we can confirm that it's a contagion, and can be passed from one person to another, that those creatures are your fellow astronauts. Which brings us to the twenty million dollar question,” he said, and all of them understood him to mean it as the cost of launching a shuttle from Earth, “are the three of you uncompromised?” “Fit as fiddles,” David said. “Good to hear. Hunker down someplace defensible with food, water and toilets. It's going to take me some time to assemble things on the ground, here. I'm not even sure when our launch window's going to be.” Alan narrowed his eyes; Ken always knew when the launch window was. “Take care of each other,” he said. “You're coming for us, right?” Melissa asked, on the verge of tears. “Sit tight,” he said, “we're bringing you home.” Ken hung up. Then he turned to Alan. “What part of my ears only confused you?” “The part where I'm your personal assistant. Or the part where you keep secrets from the agency, and die of a heart attack or in a drunk driving accident without anyone knowing about it.” “I was going to leave a post-it,” Ken said, dryly, and walked over to his wet bar. “I'm surprised they let you keep that in here,” Alan said. “It helps,” Ken said, and poured himself a drink. “Because sometimes you hit a roadblock, where realistically you can't do a thing for your astronauts, and the only peace of mind you can get comes in a bottle.” “So you are going to just leave them there.” “You ever seen The Thing?” Ken asked. “Horrific monsters fortuitously in quarantine that are virtually undetectable in a human host.” “You're really going to risk the lives of three astronauts, and possibly more, based on a John Carpenter movie?” “Based on the idea, maybe,” Ken said. “But we can't know if they're infected. We failed to see it in Paul with some of the brightest medical minds working the case. I sure as hell can't risk compromising our entire species based on their assertions that they aren't alien infiltrators- whatever the fuck those things are.” He raised his glass. “Now, I'm going to get sloppy drunk. You can stay and join in, or get the hell out.” “Pour me a glass,” Alan said. “I better not come to with your knob in my mouth,” Ken said, and tilted the carafe till vodka dribbled out of it. “You can go ahead and consider that mutual,” Ken handed him the glass, and he raised it. “Cheers.” Ken clinked glasses with him, “Not fucking likely.”

08/06/14

  11:12:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 403 words  
Categories: Announcements

Any writers interested in teaming up to create a diverse sandbox fantasy world, come on in.

I decided I wanted to assemble an anthology of diverse high fantasy stories after reading about a fan of Game of Thrones. She confronted the author about a lack of diversity, and how much it hurts not to see herself reflected in something she loves.

Representation in media isn't about political correctness. It's about belonging. About feeling comfortable and accepted in your world. In that regard, I'm lucky. I'm already well-represented.

But I also grew up introverted enough to get a taste of what it means not to feel accepted, and to know how important it is when you find a story, or a movie, or a TV show or a song, that really speaks to you, personally, that touches you so intimately it becomes a part of who you are.

If I were a film or movie producer, I'd push in the direction of making more diverse casting and hiring decisions. But I'm a writer, so my instinct is to write. But the point wasn't for me alone to ponder what it's like not to be me, but for our community of authors to think about this together, and write different, more inclusive narratives.

If you're happy with Game of Thrones, I want you to enjoy it. The purpose of this collection isn't to attack the show, the producers, or Martin. It's to look at ourselves, and to tell stories that might not have been told, otherwise.

As to the specifics, I want the stories to create a cohesive world. To that end, I'm asking that people interested submit synopses ahead of time, closing at the end of November of this year. We're shooting for publication sometime in the first half of 2015. I'm hoping to be able to spend time during December to synthesize the synopses.

If I can figure out a way to link the stories together in a sensical fashion with minimal editorial interference, that's a possibility, but most likely it just means building out a shared sandbox where we can all play together. Essentially, I want to know the tools you think you'll need to tell your story, and create a world that provides them.

If you are interested in being a part of this project, email me or Katie de Long for specifics. My email is nicwilson.writer@gmail.com, and hers is katiedelong.writer@gmail.com . Please tell us whether you are interested in reviewing, submitting a story, or helping spread the word.

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Nicolas Wilson is a writer and journalist. An archive featuring hundreds of short stories, comics and essays can be found here.

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