Everyday Drabbles #546: Night Shadow

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The figure crouched on the railing of the tenement balcony, snow swirling around its ragged cloak. It was tall, thin, and ghostly pale. The gaslight danced in its glassy eyes.
Inside the apartment, the child watched it fearfully.
The figure reached into a pocket and produced a pair of oranges, setting them on the windowsill. It put a finger to its bloodless lips.
Rumors said a hero defended the tenements, standing up to the greedy landlords and corrupt politicians. They said he wore a ghastly costume to hide his identity.
The figure leaped into the snowy night and was gone.

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Everyday Drabbles #528: Flagship

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The IMS Dominion, the Imperial flagship, was designed to inspire terror and panic in the empire’s enemies, which was everyone. It wasn’t a fast ship, but its appearance on the horizon, bristling with cannons and armored launches, always spelled doom for the free people of the continent.
The empire held the secrets of the Dominion’s construction close, frustrating rebel engineers and shipbuilders. A ship of that size and mass, they insisted, shouldn’t be able to stay above the waterline.
But the bravest of them didn’t need to know how it worked. All they needed was a way to sink it.

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Everyday Drabbles #466: Surge Pricing

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When the space station’s air tanks were struck by space debris, Station Management sent out a priority alert.
Until the repairs were complete, and the supply could be guaranteed, they would be initiating ‘Emergency Pricing’ for all essentials. The price for oxygen quickly skyrocketed by a thousand percent, and for some reason, repairs on the system took twice as long as expected.
Station Management sent frequent updates, mostly propaganda about ‘Duty’ and ‘Support.’ They wanted to recreate the old debt structures from the bad old days on Earth.
They hadn’t realized that some debts could only be paid in blood.

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Turning the Page – 2020 to 2021

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I’m going to be honest. 2020 sucked. This probably isn’t news to you, and I don’t want to turn my blog into a list of woes, but last year was the worst. It was a time of painful isolation and crushing losses. Friends and family passed away. I lost my job. And I didn’t make any of my creative goals for the year.

But the year turns, and we have little choice but to keep moving forward. So it’s time to retire the Page of Awesome for 2020 and look ahead to 2021.
2020 Goals and Achievements:

Daily Writing Goal – 57/300
Daily Editing Goal – 77/300
Short Story Submissions – 46/60
New Short Stories – 0/6
New Freelance Hunters stories – 1/6
New Flash Fiction Stories 2/6
Nostalgia Pilots – 17/25
Everyday Drabbles Audio Podcasts – 10/50
Blog Posts- 295/400

With 2021 comes new goals, and new opportunities. I have some things planned for this year that I won’t announce, but you’ll be seeing very soon, so please look forward to them.
Stay healthy, stay safe, and keep moving forward.

Hugh Likes Fiction: Black Sun

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Black Sun: Between Earth and Sky Book One
Written by Rebecca Roanhorse
Published by Saga Press

The Skinny: An epic adventure full of fascinating characters in a unique and vibrant setting.

Serapio is a god reborn. Before he was born, his mother’s people, the Crow clan, were brutally slaughtered in the city of Tova. His mother barely escaped with her life, bearing an unslakable thirst for revenge. Now, blinded and raised for a single purpose, he must make his way back to Tova and confront the Sun Priest, whose office orchestrated the genocide. But the path ahead lies through rough seas, and his only ally is a ship captain with mysterious powers who is distrusted by her own crew.Meanwhile in Tova, the newest holder of the office of Sun Priest, Naranpa, is caught in a web of political intrigue, and narrowly avoided assassination attempts. As the winter solstice and a historic eclipse approach, will there even be a city still standing when Serapio arrives?
With this this new epic fantasy series, Rebecca Roanhorse gives readers a look into a richly imagined world filled with deep and complex characters. Broadly based on Pre-Colombian cultures surrounding the Gulf of Mexico, The Meridian is a land full of mysterious magic, warriors fighting from giant crow-back, and Machiavellian ruling castes of priests and merchants. It is a very fresh take on the genre, and breathes new life into tropes so soaked in the trappings of medieval England.
But the real highlights of this compelling work are the deeply realized characters and the ratchet-tight pacing. Epic fantasy has a tendency to ramble and repeat itself, wallowing in feasts and camp tents, as heroes and heroines brood over politics. From the first page, Black Sun rushes towards the destined climax, as political machinations, ancient prophecies, and even the sky itself push the players towards their destinies as surely as Captain Xiala sings up a current. Speaking of which Xiala was my favorite character, an opportunistic and morally gray wanderer searching for a home she doesn’t know how to even ask for, let alone find. Her chemistry with Serapio was easily the most fascinating part of the book for me.
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse is available in print, ebook, and audiobook, from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and your local independent bookstore. I strongly recommend it!

Everyday Drabbles #363: Drones

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The swarm of drones hovered over the mountain, their cameras clicking and fans humming. The crowd at the scenic overlook took cover and watched them.
The tourists had all heard of the autonomous flying military robots, but most of them had only ever seen one on the news feeds. They were far from the front, and there weren’t any nearby military targets that they knew of.
After a tense moment, the drones swooped into a holding pattern. A loudspeaker on the largest one crackled to life.
“Sorry for startling you,” It said in a pleasant contralto voice. “We’re on vacation.”

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Hugh Likes Comics: Slaughterhouse-Five

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Slaughterhouse-Five or, The Children’s Crusade: A Graphic Novel Adaptation
Story by Kurt Vonnegut
Written by Ryan North
illustrated by Albert Monteys
Published by Archaia

The Skinny – Listen: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time.

Slaughterhouse-Five is both a ground-breaking anti-war noval and a deeply personal account of the firebombing of Dresden. It’s also a seminal work of New Wave Science Fiction. With this distinguished pedigree, adapting the work into a graphic novel would seem an insurmountable task. But Ryan North and Albert Monteys have done an outstanding job capturing the soul of the original book.
Even in text boxes and word balloons, Vonnegut’s signature prose comes through very well, and North does an excellent job trimming the work down to fit the requirements of the new medium. Monteys’s art is likewise on point. His use of a cartoonish style fits the attitude of the story well, and it gets under your skin, flowing from one scene to the next as easily as Billy Pilgrim slipping through time. Then, as with the original book, you will turn a page and be gut-punched by the beauty and horror of everything.
Slaughterhouse-Five is a moving, beautiful, sad, hilarious, enraging true adaptation of a peerless novel. It is among the best works I’ve read this year, and it belongs on the shelves of Vonnegut fans and newcomers alike. You can pick it up in hardbound graphic novel format from your Local Comics Shop, or digitally through Comixology.

Podcast: NP57 – Scooby Doo Plan

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Welcome to Nostalgia pilots! This week, Hugh, Jason, Jurd and Spence consider Gundam The 08th MS Team Episode 6: Battle of the Burning Sands.

In this episode: Giant problems need giant wrenches, Michel is a distracted mess of a man, and Karen and Sanders are the real heroes. Plus, how do you catch a spaceship with a goddamn net?

Promo: Chrononaut Cinema Reviews

Everyday Drabbles #348: Astrolabe

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The square in from of the college had a great spherical astrolabe instead of a fountain. He liked to sit next to it on his lunch, and watch the stars make their slow circuit. It calmed him to think the universe so orderly and predictable a place.
Until one day, the astrolabe ground to a halt. He put down his sandwich and examined it carefully. Nothing was stuck. He checked the gears and motors hidden beneath the square, but found them in working order.
It wasn’t until night fell and the stars refused to shine that he understood the problem.

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Podcast: NP55 – Contemplation Balcony

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Welcome to Nostalgia Pilots! This week, Spence, Jurd, Jason and Hugh gather to consider Gundam The 08th MS Team Episode Four – “The Demon Overhead”

Click HERE to listen to the podcast!

In this episode, Michel is extremely Watson, Karen solves her teammates’ problems with violence, and Aina fixes her ship through trying harder. Plus, the Apsalus has a silly name, and Minovsky particles are the new wrenches.

Promo: Glow in the Dark Radio

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