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Mind Over Matter

Sneak peek at our new near-Earth SF novel Full Burn

working image for Full Burn

 

 

Here's an excerpt from our work-in-progress near-Earth SF novel, Full Burn.

 

Travis Walker had never seen someone dissolved alive before.

 

As an Army Ranger he'd observed men shot, stabbed, burned, drowned, garroted, crushed, and blown to flinders, but never collapsing into their primordial components while still fully conscious and aware. Given an option it wasn't something he'd care to experience again. The screams were noteworthy.

 

But he couldn't give much thought to the way the person in the softly-glowing stasis field was meeting his gruesome end as his focus right now was on the scarred, grinning, balding man slowly bobbing a large, wicked-looking Marine Corps combat knife; Travis wondered where he'd stolen it. His opponent appeared comfortable with the weapon as he made a sudden twisting lunge, going for Travis's midsection.

 

He parried the thrust with his jacket-wrapped forearm, pleased it had missed his vitals but wincing in pain as he felt the blade skitter along his rib-cage, where it opened a thin, blazing cut. The small knot of frightened observers standing close by on the cold, holiday-decked Baltimore street gasped, but none of them seem inclined to lend a hand.

 

Fleetingly Travis chided himself to stay on target as he and the killer slowly circled one another like two gladiators, each waiting for a small lapse of judgment—any opening would do—which would spell death for the other. He'd been a civilian for a few years now, presently farming a small homestead but previously putting his hand to whatever tasks required a sharp mind, quick reflexes, and a strong back, and somewhere in a preternaturally calm part of his mind he wondered how he'd ever gotten into this mess. But then again, he knew full well.

 

This is how.

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salesman-b-gone

We've just moved into a nice older neighborhood, replete with yard work and Aunt Bea types bringing over hand-canned goodies and us jawing with the neighbors over the fence about ... well, neighborly stuff really. In sum, it's a throwback to the 50's sans hula hoops and poodle skirts, and I for one am fine with it.

But every Andrew Wyeth painting has its detractors, and we have 'em here as salesmen. The door-to-door type. You've seen them, I know: toothy denizens with wide flappy clothes and dodgy products and a "tell-ya-what-I'm-gonna-do" line of blather dripping from their livery lips in volume enough to fill the stakebed of a '72 Chevy pickup.

Having been trained in the frontal attack, these guys are usually as hard to get rid of as the last of the summer zucchini, but I think I've found the way. Whenever one of those cornfed yahoos shows up at my door, unannounced and with cheapjack gizmo in sweaty hand, I grin hugely and tell them "I'd love to hear what you have to say, but first let me tell you something!"

Then I grab the nearest hardcover book I have handy, flip it open to any page, and begin regaling the hawkshaw big stories about Elder Kragon, a large-domed, gray-skinned creature who hails from the planet Abraxas, and who also has a wonderful plan for we Earthlings soon-to-be-vacated corporeal bodies.

I give it to him loud, long, and with plenty of outlandish facial expressions. At the end of each sentence I bug my eyes really big and bellow the words "in accordance with the prophecy!!" Within ninety seconds--sometimes less--the fellow is a streak of fading dust.

Failing that, of course, I just shoot him where he stands. Read More 
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