Saturday, September 26, 2015

Ill-considered Expeditions (Short Sharp Shocks Volume III)

Welcome to the third installment in an anthology series that according to the forward has one loyal fan (seriously, that line left me giggling). Neil Baker gives us a little insight on the workings of this series and the theme of "Imagine Murphy's Law finding you, dragging you into an alley and kicking you until you give in.......then keeps on kicking you because it's fun."

Incident at the Plateau of Tsang- Josh Reynolds kicks things off by showing us the wrong way to lead an expedition through an area that you're not native too. Moral of the story- don't be a self-righteous pompous little bastard because the outcome is a little rippy.

The Root- Jess Landry also teaches us the lesson of not being a self-righteous greedy bastard. You commit murder and sacrifice before you succumb to the one thing you had taunted others with.

The Strange Affair of Bunny Fosdyke- Steve Foreman tells about an expedition to survey a volcano and what happens with the locals. It all seems friendly until you remember your traditions are not their traditions.

Ice Vermin- James Dorr's journal entry about an expedition to map the unknown. The journal reveals the unknown would rather remain unknown, except for the warmth. It welcomes the warmth.

The Secret of Bumare Moto- R. Allen Leider and CJ Henderson remind us about the unintentional consequences of what happens when society tries to move forward and forgets about what's behind them.

The Dig- Stuart Conover's story boils down to this: for the grace of the drums go the horn into the murky depths of mystery from which they emerged and can return. Now, get the #$@% out of my head.

Ghosts of the Spires- Patrick Loveland shows us what happens when you don't learn from the past and push things further than they should be pushed. It's awake now.

The Wood- Franklin Marsh introduces us to a group of friends out for a hike in the woods. A few wrong words split the group up and it becomes disastrous for part of the group. Scarecrow.

Captain Baxter's Journal- Stanley B. Webb's Captain Baxter sets out on a journey to provide supplies to a scientist. Upon arrival, he believes the whole thing mad and "rectifies" the situation.

The Pulsar and The Planet- Ahmed A. Khan has an expedition investigating the landscape of a pulsar, which starts off well enough, but when the ship becomes disabled, survival kicks in. Will it be enough to notice the SOS?

The Room at the Top of the House-  Paul M. Feeny gives us wrong place, wrong time. There's revenge afoot, but innocents are brought into it through no fault of their own.

Hell Island- Matthew Baron's group are on a mission to chart an island near Japan that no one has ever returned from. Their findings of the island fair no better than previous jaunts, but they're returning from the island with something besides bad memories.

Jonathan Stone's Swansong- Gerry Griffiths's Amazon adventure is supposed to be some interesting sites and fun stories to tell back at university. Arrogance can cost you dearly, but at least you won't have survivor's guilt.

In the Chillest Land- Pete Mesling wanted a solo expedition and wound up with one. His explorer starts to feel terrible about how things came to be this way, but they snap out of it in the hopes that someone back home will forgive them.

Povo de Ossos- Nicholas Nacario talks about a native encounter gone awry. Insanity is the journey you know.

The White Goddess- DJ Tyrer wraps up this journey into ill fated territory with the search for the queen of immortality. There's a reason they're called legends, gentlemen.

And thus our journey comes to an end. Happily ever after doesn't always happen and these authors really hammered that home. Can't handle it? Go find a fairy tale. Cheers!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Cutting the Bloodline

Welcome to the future in England as presented by Angela Trevena.

In an effort to stamp out violent crime, a program was devised to determine on a genetic level if someone is a criminal. If the child is born, it's taken from it's family and sent to live elsewhere. In most cases, the baby is terminated and it has led to a population crisis.

These are the items that Kenton Hicks are researching for his novel about "The Abandoned Generation," children who were born as "defective." Kenton believes there's more to the story than what is being told and wouldn't you know it- there is and there are people who aren't too keen on him writing about it.

On the flip side of things, there are people who want Kenton to write his story, but they want to use it to watch the world burn instead of affecting real change.

The story is about Kenton's journey in writing his book- the people he works with, the people he meets with and interludes with Kenton's family.

Everything shapes up just as you'd expect, but there is some sadness in everyone achieving their goals.

There's a reason why Utopia is fiction folks.