New Story: The Flood of Atlantis

Wherever Talie Tappler goes, death and destruction are sure to follow, so when she turns up on Earth circa 4000 BC, the people of Atlantis know there’s going to be trouble.  Now two Atlantians, a temple priest and a high class prostitute, have only a short time to save their civilization from certain doom.  Click here to start reading “The Flood of Atlantis.”

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Coming June 3rd

Prepare to read this in your best movie trailer voice:

In the 30th Century, history changed.  An army of microscopic robots survived extinction; now they’re sweeping through the galaxy unchecked.  They’ve destroyed thousands of worlds, they’ve taken countless lives, and they’re evolving.  They’ve sampled the human brain, studied it, and modified their neural network, making them smarter and more imaginative.  Their military strategies have become more innovative… and more effective.  Earth’s space fleet is barely holding on as colony after colony falls to the Swarm.

But now history is changing again.  The Swarm says they’ve realized the evil of their ways, and they wish to repent for their sins.  They’re asking for humanity’s forgiveness.  Should the humans forgive the Swarm for all they’ve done, or is this another of the Swarm’s innovative tricks?  Find out in the next Tomorrow News Network adventure: “Children of the Swarm.”

P.S.: Be sure to check out the Swarm’s previous invasions in “A Stranger Comes to Town” and “The Wrong Future.”

Update: I had originally planned for this story to come out on Friday, May 31st.  Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, I have to postpone it to Monday, June 3rd.

Update as of June 3rd: Okay, I thought I was back on schedule, but apparently I was wrong.  I don’t want to make excuses for this delay except to say that 2013 has not been very kind to me.  The story will be ready by the end of the week (probably Wednesday).  If you’ve subscribed to this blog, you’ll get an update when it’s posted.

Coming Soon: “Mother Mars”

It is the apex of Martian civilization.  The ruling Scientific Council has instituted a program to ensure the continued growth and evolution of the Martian species.  Mars has tapped an unlimited supply of geothermal energy.  The Martian space program has sent its first probe to Earth to study “alien” life.

But watching the Tomorrow News Network, the people of Mars have realized there is a problem: there are no Martians in the future.  Mars will one day become a dead planet with no oceans, no jungles, and no native people.  It’s lush greens and deep blues will be replaced by dusty, red deserts.

One Martian scientist, Dr. Snu Sajnook, has a controversial theory to explain what will happen to life on Mars.  He believes he can change the future.  He believes he can save Martian civilization… but will anyone listen to his radical ideas?

The next story in the Tomorrow News Network series, entitled “Mother Mars,” will come out on Thursday, April 25th.

P.S.: For those of you who read “Death to History,” you may be interested to know that Gina Zaphiro, the protagonist of that story, will make a guest appearance in “Mother Mars.”  If you didn’t read “Death to History,” click here.  It’s pretty awesome, especially if you hate history.

Static on the TV

As regular readers of the Tomorrow News Network know, the Tomorrow News Network broadcasts the news backwards through time.  It’s usually bad news–death and destruction kind of news–and they let everyone see it except the people directly involved.  Those people see only static.

I’m currently on vacation in Las Vegas.  Yesterday, I walked into a casino and had the great misfortune to see this:

I’m screwed.

Coming Soon: The Final Story

It’s been nearly a year since this project started.  I promised to write ten short stories, one every month from January to October.  Things fell a little behind schedule in September, so the final story is now coming out on November 16th November 19th (sorry for yet another delay).

Through the course of the previous nine stories, we’ve seen how the Tomorrow News Network operates.  They’re a news organization run by time travelers.  Their reporters show up at newsworthy events before they happen.  They broadcast the news one day backwards through time, censoring it for some people so they can’t change their own futures.  They’ve covered a lot of crazy stories, from assassinations to dinosaurs to the UFO crash at Roswell.

But the Tomorrow News Network isn’t the only time traveling news agency in the universe.  In this year’s final story–the season finale if this were television–we’ll meet the competition.

Preview of August’s Story

In this month’s story, we’re taking some time off.  Mr. Cognis, one of the Tomorrow News Network’s cybernetic camera people, takes his girlfriend on vacation.  Unfortunately, the planet they visit has a dark secret… one which might be worth reporting on the news.  Here’s a preview of “Mr. Cognis Goes on Vacation,” which comes out next week.

Update: The complete story and illustration will be posted on Friday, August 31st.

* * *

Mr. Cognis saw the universe in two ways.  Through one eye, he saw it as any human would, but through the other he saw as machines do: in high definition.

Homo machinae were a superior species, a perfect blending of biology and technology.  Evolution had robbed them of their emotions, but why would cyborgs need emotions anyway?

Light fingers ran along Cognis’s arm, feeling the seams between flesh and hydraulic muscle.  He enjoyed the playfulness of the touch.  Though cyborgs had no emotions, Cognis sometimes downloaded programs to simulate an emotional experience.  He and a fellow cyborg named Ms. Macnera had recently downloaded a new one called “love.”

Cognis looked at Macnera with his human eye.  Beauty was not an emotion, not something he could understand with downloaded software.  He could appreciate things for their simplicity, their complexity, or their effectiveness, but beauty was beyond his comprehension.  Yet something about the shape of Macnera’s lips, the curve of her neck, the slight motion of her chest as she breathed–something about the lines where her organic and mechanical parts met, about the cybernetic circuitry tattooed down her body, about the way light reflected off both metal and bare skin–something about her physical appearance in general fascinated Cognis.  He could not be certain, but he estimated with 87% probability that the term beautiful applied to her.

Macnera’s hand slipped over his shoulder and began exploring the contours of his chest.  When the two of them had decided to go on vacation, Cognis resisted wearing the traditional vacation attire.  Board shorts did not fit well over his augmented hips and legs, but now he was glad Macnera had persuaded him.  Wearing his usual full body-molded suit, he would have missed the subtleties of her gentle caress and the fractional increase in body temperature it produced wherever she touched.

They sat on the sands of an artificial island, the golden light of a binary star shining high in the sky.  The ocean smelled salty, a warning of potential corrosive effects to metal, yet Cognis found the smell relaxing rather than alarming.  Even the sound of waves rushing up the shore caused him no concern.

“Tell me more about Talie Tappler,” Macnera said.

“Why do you want to talk about her?” Cognis asked.

“She’s so strange,” Macnera replied.  “I heard she was there the day the universe began and will be there the day it dies.  I heard she’s traveled beyond the known universe and that she knows the future of every living creature, including herself.  I am too rational to believe in religion, but Ms. Tappler seems almost godlike.  You’ve worked with her more than I have.  What’s she really like?”

“We are on vacation,” Cognis said.  “We are not supposed to talk about work.”

“Of course,” Macnera said, snuggling up to him.  “Forget I said anything about it.”

Cognis complied and deleted the conversation from his memory banks.