Motorcycles, corrupt corporations, space ships, and bond-like villains...hell yeah!
I have to start by saying that I am a bit biased about this series. I happened to score an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of The Courier in my book bag at World Fantasy Con 2015 a few months before the Hardcover came out. In fact, my signed copy has "#4" penned next to Gerald's signature on the title page, marking it as his 4th autograph, and I knew as soon as I finished reading the book that Gerald was going to be around the Science Fiction and Fantasy scene for a long time.
There is something special about catching a new author right at the beginning of their professional writing career. You feel like you're part of the journey. Not in a crazy stalker way, like standing outside his window on a cold, snowy night in Winnipeg watching him write (I promise that wasn't me Gerald) or in that Stephen King Misery kind of way that will see him locked in your cabin writing your whims in a couple years, but in that smug, knowing way...like when you overhear two people discuss a book in the aisle at Barnes and Noble (something I find most avid reader's secretly love). It's an I knew about this back when moment. Like being one of the first to read Game of Thrones before millions of viewers became enthralled by the series. If for no other reason than this, I'll keep reading Gerald's books. The fact that his books are well-written, fast-paced, thrilling reads is only icing on the cake.
So on to the books themselves. Gerald builds a world on a few fairly simple premises. Big cities of the future have run out of room, so instead of out, they've built up, level upon level, until the poor predictably live near the bottom and the rich near the top. Of course the corrupt cooperations run it all. What makes this world special, however, is the evolution of technology. The idea that no data in the future will be secure, and the only way to move it safely is to step backwards in technology and deliver it by hand (or in this case by motorcycle courier). Enter Kris, a fairly low-level courier who caries the wrong data at the wrong time. From the time Kris twists the throttle on her motorcycle to escape an attack at a delivery gone wrong, the books never slows down.
Who will enjoy this series? Well, if all you enjoy is Science Fiction about first contacts with mysterious alien cultures or Space Operas about interstellar adventure, this may not be the series for you. But if you are more interested in the characters and their motivations than the science and want a thrilling ride in a borderline dystopian future, this is definitely right up your alley. Normally I like to make comparisons, but I find it difficult to make a comparison to this series. If I was making a recipe, I'd say start with a pinch of William Gibson, a healthy dash of Robert J. Sawyer, and just a hint of Robert Ludlum, then cover in motorcycle oil and bring to a boil. All-in-all, a fast, fun read.
Call for Submissions
THE RAZOR’S EDGE, GUILDS & GLAIVES, and SECOND ROUND: A RETURN TO THE URBAR anthology kickstarter has hit its goal! If you have a story idea that fits one of the anthology themes, write it up, revise it, polish it, and send it in for consideration.
Zombies Need Brains LLC is accepting submissions to its three science fiction and fantasy anthologies THE RAZOR’S EDGE, GUILDS & GLAIVES, and SECOND ROUND: A RETURN TO THE URBAR. Stories must be submitted in electronic form as an attachment with the title of the story as the file name in .doc or .docx format. The header of the email should include the name of the anthology the submission is for along with the title of the submission (for example: WERE-: WereJellyfish Gone Wild!). The content of the email should also include which anthology the manuscript is intended for. Please send multiple manuscripts in separate emails. Manuscripts should be in manuscript format, meaning double-spaced, 12pt font, standard margins on top, bottom and sides, and pages numbered. Please use New Times Roman font. The first page should include the Title of the story, Author’s name, address, and email, and Pseudonym if different from the author’s real name. Italics and bold should be in italics and bold. Stories for this anthology must be original (no reprints or previously published material), no more than 7,500 words in length, and must satisfy the theme of the anthology.
THE RAZOR’S EDGE is to feature science fiction or fantasy stories that explore the fine line between a rebel and an insurgent. It is a military science fiction and fantasy anthology. We are attempting to fill half of the anthology with science fiction stories, and half with fantasy stories. Stories featuring more interesting settings and twists on the typical themes will receive more attention than those that use standard tropes. In other words, we don’t want to see 100 stories dealing with the general fighting insurgents who joins their cause at the end. If we do, it’s likely that only one, at most, would be selected for the anthology. So be creative, choose something different, and use it in an unusual and unexpected way. We are looking for a range of tones, from humorous all the way up to dark.
GUILDS & GLAIVES is to feature sword & sorcery stories where a guild is featured somewhere in the story. So thieves, assassins, and dark magic, but with a guild or guilds incorporated into the story somehow. Obviously most such stories will be fantasy, but we are interested in science fiction takes on this theme. Stories featuring more interesting takes on the guilds, and twists on how they are integrated into the story, will receive more attention than those with the standard thieves guild or assassins guild. So be creative and use your guild in an unusual and unexpected way. We are looking for a range of tones, from humorous all the way up to dark.
SECOND ROUND: A RETURN TO THE URBAR is to feature stories where the time-traveling Urbar, first used in the anthology AFTER HOURS: TALES FROM THE URBAR, is a central part of the plot. The story may start in the bar, end in the bar, or be in the bar somewhere in the middle, but at some point a significant plot point must involve the Urbar. Stories featuring more interesting historical settings for the bar, and twists on how the bar is integrated into the story, will receive more attention than those with more standard uses of the bar, or where the bar is only incidental to the rest of the story. So be creative and use bar in an unusual and unexpected way, preferably in an unusual or unexpected era of history. In particular, you cannot use the same time period used in the anthology AFTER HOURS or that will be used by an anchor author of the current anthology (see the end of the post for time periods that are off limits). We are looking for a range of tones, from humorous all the way up to dark.
The deadline for submissions is December 31st, 2017. Decisions on stories should be completed by the end of February 2018. Please send submissions to email@example.com. You will receive a receipt email within a few days of receiving the submission and having it filed for consideration. Notices about decisions on the stories will be sent out no later than the end of March 2018.
If your story is selected for use in the anthology, you should expect a revision letter by the end of April 2018. Revisions and the final draft of the story will be expected no later than the end of May 2018. These dates may change due to the editors’ work schedules. Zombies Need Brains LLC is seeking non-exclusive world anthology rights (including electronic rights) in all languages for the duration of one year after publication/release of the anthology. Your story cannot appear elsewhere during that year. Pay rate will be an advance of a minimum of 6 cents per word for the short stories. For each additional $10,000 raised above the Kickstarter minimum of $20,000, we will increase this advance pay rate by 1 cent per word. The anthology will be published as an ebook and an exclusive mass market paperback edition, distributed to the Kickstarter backers. The book would be available after that to the general public in ebook and trade paperback formats. Advances would be immediately earned out by the success of the Kickstarter. Royalties on additional sales beyond the Kickstarter will be 25% of ebook cover price and 10% of trade paperback cover price, both split evenly (not by word count) between the authors in the anthology and the editors of the anthology.
Questions regarding these submission guidelines should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Troy Carrol Bucher
Reader, Writer, Runner in Southwest Oklahoma... recent addition to the DAW family.