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S.P. Somtow - The Space Between SpacesI don't normally point people at Amazon, firstly because people know about Amazon already, and also because, well... you know, Amazon. 

But this time I do, because The Space Between Spaces, the latest installment in S.P. Somtow's (a western-culture alias for Somtow Sucharitkul) new Inquestor story, published in chapbooks called Inquestor Tales (the collated novel is to follow later) with additional content, is available for FREE on Amazon! Well, until Feb 21, at least... but even after, these are well worth getting your hands on.

From the blurb:

After 33 years, S.P. Somtow is finally creating a fifth book in the Inquestor universe, the galaxy-spanning science fantasy series that Theodore Sturgeon called "the greatest magnitude of spectacle and color since Olaf Stapledon." The book is being released in a series of installments in pulp-sized magazine format. INQUESTOR TALES No. 4 contains the fourth episode of the novel, bonus reprints of the original version of "The Thirteenth Utopia" and "The Web Dancer", stories incorporated into the tetralogy but never reprinted in their magazine form, a lettercolumn, and other notes and mini-articles from S.P. Somtow as well as from an interview with Czech journalist Tomas Bazika. In this episode, the Finding Bird pursues Tijas and Sajit — but who is fated to become the childsoldier, and who will survive on earth? Meanwhile, two civilizations struggle to coexist on one planet by a tragic bureaucratic blunder.

Links: S.P. Somtow - Somtow Sucharitkul - The Space Between Spaces


Michael Swanwick - Passage of EarthPassage of Earth is a short story by Award-winning (Nebula et al) author Michael Swanwick, published by Clarkesworld.

I cannot really call it a first contact scenario (although it takes place as part of one), as it plays out at the moment when humanity thinks they finally got their hands on a number of alien 'Worms' after one of their spaceships ends up in the Pacific. We see the mortician Hank perform an autopsy on one of the cadavers, brought in by his ex-wife, who now works for the governement.

Now, things are never as simple and straight forward with Aliens, of course, and this story has multiple levels of complications and implications which I won't spoil by pointing them out to you before you read the story yourself. You know the old saying about staring into the void... this here is similar, if a bit more physical. Passage, in ever so many ways.

The story is impressive, with a very interesting twist to it. And whilst I found some of the stylings and plot sub-threads to be over the top I would suggest you make up your own mind, this is inventive stuff right here. The story can be read on the Clarkesworld website for free - links are below and to the right. 

The picture on the right is, despite its Alien looks, of an Earth creature - namely a Scale Worm. 

Links: Passage of Earth - Michael Swanwick - Clarkesworld - Scale Worms


S.P. Somtow - Inquestor TalesWorld, rejoice, for what we believed impossible is coming true! S. P. Somtow, aka Somtow Sucharitkul, who faded from SF and focused on creating and conducting music, his other major muse (and his music is very much worth checking out!) is writing again - and writing more material in the Inquestor universe!

After 33 years, S.P. Somtow is finally creating a fifth book in the Inquestor universe, the galaxy-spanning science fantasy series that Theodore Sturgeon called "the greatest magnitude of spectacle and color since Olaf Stapledon." The book is being released in a series of installments in pulp-sized magazine format.

Besides the new book installments we also get the original short stories which turned into the original 4 books, we get notes on the language and other background material, we get introductions to the stories from other greats of the genre, and we get assorted commentary from the peanut gallery, as it should be. The first two installments are now available on Amazon, and more is to come.

Supporters of the author on Patreon get to read the new stories (and much else) early and for free, but that means you miss all the other fun! So I'd suggest you do both - support the creation of more of this on Patreon, but also buy the individual books. Because it's worth your time and money!

Links: S.P. Somtow - Inquestor Tales One: The Singing Moons - Inquestor Tales Two: A Woman Cloaked in Shadow - Patreon


Quinn Norton - Love in the Time of CryptographyJust a quick hint, a pointer to something rather extraordinary, and of course entirely topically relevant in these days:

have a look at Quinn Norton's Love in the Time of Cryptography over on Backchannel.

It's a deceptively simple story about withholding personal information from the authorities who, by default, feel entitled to this, and the consequences and complexities this can have if you attempt to live a 'normal' life in an environment which expects you to share and overshare these things.

It's fascinating, thought provoking, and (at least for me) slightly sad. But go read, and make up your own mind!

The illustration which goes with the story is by very talented Illustrator Daniel Stolle

Links: Quinn Norton - Love in the Time of Cryptography - Backchannel - Daniel Stolle



I Ate Three Eggs Every Single Morning For A Week - Here's What HappenedHere is an unexpected treat - and no, I don't mean the Eggs!

Behind Click-Bait Headlines like the one above you normally find either yawn-inducing mundanity not worthy of the over-hyped title, or advertising completely unrelated to the topic. If you're lucky...

Still, this here is very much worth reading, because of What Happened.


I Ate Three Eggs Every Single Morning For A Week - Here's What Happened

From Every Day Should Be Saturday



Daniel Lieske - Wormworld Saga - Chapter 9This is just a quick note, as I've just tripped over the fact that Daniel Lieske has the 9th chapter in his long-standing webcomic (er, graphic web album? comic really doesn't do this justice!) called The Wormworld Saga available for all to see and read.

The Wormworld Saga follows the adventures of a boy called Jonas in a parallel world, which he entered through a picture/mirror/empty frame in his Grandmother's attic. So far so default a setting, what really sets this apart is the storytelling, but even more it's the artwork by Daniel which drives this. The drawings, in an unusual, vertical format, are exquisite, a visual smorgasbord of impression and references, really bringing to life the cultures, settings, and creatures in the story.

But go look for yourself - you will want to start with Chapter 1 if you have not read this before, there are no real jumping-on points, and it's very well worth starting at the beginning!

I notice that Daniel meanwhile also has a Patreon page, so if you like what you see you could, nah, should help him with making ends meet whilst he crafts these great stories (or you could always visit the shop, and buy the books, or merchandise, or the game to go with the on-going story!).

Anyway, enough hyperbole. Go look, and make up your own mind!


Andy Weir - The Martian


Doris Lessing – The Sirian Experiments


Charles Stross - The Atrocity Archives


Tricia Sullivan – Occupy Me


Sydney Padua - The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage


Iain Sinclair - Radon Daughters


Ken MacLeod - Cosmonaut Keep


Somtow Sucharitul – Starship & Haiku


Peter Watts - Blindsight


Peter Watts – Maelstrom


Aliette de Bodard – In the Vanishers’ Palace


Thomas Pynchon – Gravity’s Rainbow


Doris Lessing - Shikasta


Liz Williams - Empire of Bones


Thomas Pynchon - Slow Learner, Powered by Mambo!; free resources by SiteGround