Cruel Parodies | Inaugural Post – Dinathog-Trulg


Vanakkam. Welcome to the first in a new series of entries where I talk about… things… created from other things, without copyright infringement woes!

The title of this series is credited to SF writer S.A. Barton, who in a recent tweet showed such a parody of Larry Niven’s puppeteers – humans!

In like vein, I’ll be using templates from across speculative fiction, credited to their original sources, and from these create beings and creatures of my own only tenuously connected to the originals. I do this primarily by focusing on a particular distinctive trait, or set of traits, and use these to create the new creature or species from otherwise whole cloth.

So, for this inaugural post, let me present one I’ve already done, the vermoid Dinathog-Trulg:

The template for this species was Doctor Who’s genocidal alien mutants, the Daleks, originally created by Terry Nation. I decided to keep only the genocidal part and completely reverse their motivation: not hate, but instead love drives them to commit mass extinctions!

Dinathog-Trulg are anti-Daleks. See below:

Rather than essentially being tentacled brains in metal shells, these are free-standing two-meter long wormlike beings, with twenty-seven limbs in three sets of nine that look like worms themselves.

Yech!

But back to motivation!

Dinathog-Trulg are religious zealots, and in their theology see the universe as a place of pain and suffering. In their view, a kind of hell.

So their great mission is to save all life in the universe by sending it to the realm of their alien gods, one orbital cannon blast or planet-buster bomb, at a time, such is their sick, twisted love for all life.

Kind of like the Medieval Inquisition of Terra, and its drive to, among other things, save the souls of alleged heretics by torturing and burning them at the stake.

The species’ entire society is based around a system of nine clerical and monastic orders which serve different functions, lead by a shadowy supreme figure known as the Holiest.

But what keeps them from merely killing themselves off?

Humility, of a sort.

They are convinced that until they’ve sent everything else in the universe to paradise, they themselves are not worthy to ascend, and must remain behind to suffer for the universe’s life until the very end.

They make great villains, even though they love everybody, but it’s the kind of love most of us humans would rightly be creeped out by from those in our own species.

This series continues, with the next installment being a critter inspired by one of the Traveller RPG’s aliens in a hideously cruel parody indeed!

Tf. Tk. Tts.

Review | Isolation and Other Stories: by S.A. Barton


I’ve recently re-read this collection of stories by S. A. Barton, and thought I’d share my impressions of it, with its general theme of aloneness in the many worlds of SF.

A disclosure: Mr. Barton and I go a long way back to the now-defunct gaming shop where he coined my eldritch moniker. I’m posting this review because I like the stories, but I have no financial stake in this, and that’s how it should be. As someone who knows Mr. Barton, I’m likely a bit biased, but I’ll keep this review as fair as possible. I’ll not gush.

First, though, the stories…

Isolation:

In a world where everyone who’s anyone has a digital presence online, identity theft can be horrendous. In spades. Cue to our protagonist, Richard, whose troubles begin with the simple failure of a delivery order, and quickly snowball into personal disaster as his financial accounts are mysteriously hacked, leaving him among the millions of penniless and homeless in this dystopia of the Internet, and ultimately joining a revolution against those who made his predicament necessary…

Anticipation:

An asteroid traveling at close to the speed of light enters the solar system, slowing down and landing on Earth. This first-contact quickly goes bad as the aliens make no attempt to communicate, and soon begin to proliferate all over the planet, annihilating humans wherever they go and threatening to eradicate us. But in the one lonely part of the world the aliens have yet to go, a final bastion of hope for the human species is in the making…

The Flowers of Dawn:

Elaina Hirschbaum is a diplomat of Earth to the benevolent alien Helf Wanas. Her alien counterpart Eschavel Wan offers a gift for the gravesite of Elaina’s spouse, Coral. An innocent-looking alien seed, its germination and growth ultimately lead to a first contact with a wholly unexpected form of intelligence…

Turn Me On:

Tom is a soldier, one of the best, who nonetheless falls in the line of duty, but he rises again in an ongoing military experiment in robotic prostheses. He meets his therapist and fellow resurrectee, Dr. Pamela Burrier, who works to help him adjust to his new life, and who has a surprise for both of them, something far beyond the pale of simple brain-pattern uploading, something momentous…

Down On The Farm:

Daniel is a farmer —  not the kind you’re probably thinking of — but a farmer of transplant organs for hire who grows his product within his own body. He runs afoul of a dangerous organ-legging ring and it’s wealthy owners who’ve decided to harvest more from him than what he has to offer, much more than just the spares he grows within him. Along with his friend Deena and their contact Lisbeth, Daniel meets a set of truly vile antagonists worthy of a Bond movie, and an unexpected ally in the form of a reluctant superman…

These were all interesting in terms of story elements that I’ve seen just a bit in his earlier fiction, but used in new ways. The first and last of these tales were a bit longer than is usual for his writing style, but that wasn’t a problem, as there was much packed into these action-wise.

Those sorts of stories tend to require a more detailed treatment no matter the author to carry the fight scenes effectively. This upright hairless primate gives this collection two thumbs up, but that would be more if I were a bonobo.

The Author Online: S.A. Barton

Stuart A. Barton on Facebook

@Tao23 on Twitter

S. A. Barton: Seriously Eclectic

Enhanced by Zemanta

eBook Review: In Memoriam, by S. A. Barton


Disclosure: Stu Barton is an old friend of mine from way back, so reviewing his fiction is always fun, though I must be careful about bias creeping into my assessment. His fiction tends to be in the speculative short story format, and is a quick read for days when the hours are far too short for longer fare. This piece I’ve just recently read, and I recommend you buy and read it if this review piques your interest — it always helps to support independent writers. — Troythulu

Clayton Taliaferro II discovers his special family talent quite by accident while dining at a restaurant, and after experimenting decides to make full use of it. He makes plans to get what he thinks should be rightly his, even if he must kill his apparently helpless mother to do it. But there are things about this talent he doesn’t know, with interesting consequences for him when he attempts to carry out his scheme. No more spoilers for you!

Reading this, I immediately got the strong impression that Clayton was…far from a likeable sort…actually a bit of an ass, cynical, spiteful, self-centered, a little too ambitious for his own good, and maybe a bit shortsighted, as he finds out toward the end.

Clayton comes across as thouroughly despicable, but believably so.

There was a bit of foreshadowing in the book, and I was able to put the pieces together and figure out some parts toward the middle,  though the story past that, toward the ending caught me quite by surprise, with a twist that was wholly unexpected, by the protagonist or myself as the reader.

Good sleight-of-mind makes for good fiction.

Read it.

See more from S. A. Barton on his blog at http://sabarton.blog.com

On Twitter at http://twitter.com/tao23

And on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/S-A-Barton/312607662122218

eBook Review: A Hell of Heaven, by S. A. Barton


A disclosure before I begin: Stuart Barton and I are friends from way back, so there’s always the chance of bias creeping into my reviews of his fiction, but in truth, he’s had a history of creative ideas ever since I first knew him, and I find his fiction, well, different from much of what’s out there, each story a new facet of his mind revealed, like any good writer’s, with his own voice and style, and always something unexpected.

A Hell of Heaven starts on the Earth of the future, a ultra-congested world of a thousand billion people where everything is regulated by law.

Everything. No exceptions, no uncertainty. On this world, everything sane is scheduled to precise timekeeping. And everything sane lives inside the massive buildings the teeming masses have constructed to house themselves in their world city, even under the waves.

The protagonist, Willem 3047-I7G4-W12Z Chen Martinez, working on a Doctor of Mechanical Maintenance degree, discovers the world outside the buildings, a chaotic, frightening world of things and creatures literally outside the law…outside of sanity and beyond regulation.

He is chosen to go on a ‘routine mission’ on an orbital vehicle, only to find out the truth of what happens on such missions, and the strange beings he meets, Neil and Valentina, seemingly like himself physically…but unregulated and quite mad by his world’s standards.

He adapts better than expected, though, and makes a surprising choice once things settle in.

I liked this tale, though I would have liked to have seen more of the spacefarers than was shown. On the eldritch space-octopus from Rl’yeh scale of one to five, this one gets five tentacles from my Troythuluness.

See more from S. A. Barton on his blog at http:// sabarton.blog.com

On Twitter at http:// twitter.com/ tao23

And on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/S-A-Barton/312607662122218

eBook Review: Everything Is So Different Now — a collection of short fiction by S. A. Barton


I’ve written on S. A. Barton’s fiction before in my review of his tale “Dark” and his unusual brand of (sometimes) science-fiction, often involving near-future or recent-past settings. This is an anthology of five short stories, each with its own chapter, and the fourth itself with 5 chapters.

Chapter 1, Go Into The Light, is a nice twist on the alien abduction theme, in which the protagonist is…rescued…in an unusual way, and without the classic embarrassing medical examination, by an alien intelligence working to investigate humanity for its strange masters. There’s no leeway for UFO conspiracy theorists here, with no suggestion of any earthly governments’ awareness of the aliens, a species apparently new to humanity’s existence. I won’t tell you what the intelligence does with the people it rescues. Spoilers!

Chapter 2, Baby Wipes, is an neat little account of what happens in a multiverse of infinite possibilities when human life is reconstructed after destroying itself by it’s own stupidity only moments before. The alien character, Ephguelph, notes our propensity to talk to imaginary friends much of the time, and the results its had on us as a species. The aliens are essentially benevolent, but not overly spiritual types, just pragmatic about the need for civility in a community of other civilizations, including feral species. I like the humanistic slant this story takes, with humans being generalists via our feral status — a source of our dysfunction as well as our uniqueness. but our greatest signature achievement as a species? – Definitely baby-wipes.

Chapter 3, Velocity, is a tale of alien contact, the first radio signals received from an alien civilization, and the relative calm despite the media and religious hubbub resulting from the announcement, and the tragic message uncovered in the decoding the incoming signal as its source approaches our solar system. Spoilers again!

Chapter 4, All The Luck In The World is unusual, and I’d classify it as speculative fiction with a fantasy/horror slant. The main character, Anthony, discovers he has the power to change the world through sheer force of will, and after a rough early life determines to use it for his betterment, and ultimately, with horrific consequences for his new life and family. It kind of brought to mind in some parts “The Monkey’s Paw” by W. W. Jacobs, but there were twists I didn’t expect, and this was much more graphic at the end, more modern in its appeal as horror. This one will keep you up late at night. Brrrr!

Chapter 5, Sexually Transmitted Intelligence, is a first contact story involving humanity’s traveling to an alien star system, encountering its resident civilization, and the tragic consequences of misguided ambition by a young researcher trying to make a name for himself. He does, but not in the way he’d have liked when he discovers an species-wide pandemic and then discovers what he thinks is a cure. I really liked this one: The aliens are kind of cute…the Yozer — intelligent beaver-like creatures — and their biology is well thought-out. This is a good cautionary tale and story of redemption when the hero makes amends for his error in his here-and-now on this faraway world.

Everything Is So Different Now

A collection of short fiction

 By S. A. Barton

Copyright 2012 S. A. Barton

Smashwords Edition

Find other stories by S.A. Barton on his Smashwords profile.

 See more from S. A. Barton on his blog at http://sabarton.blog.com

On Twitter at http://twitter.com/tao23

And on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/S-A-Barton/312607662122218

eBook Review: “Dark” by S.A. Barton


When Adam, and his newlywed bride Katrina go on their honeymoon, the world is perplexed by a puzzling and frightening event — the Sun is fading, and fading fast, its light blocked by something…unknown, something unimaginable in power.

Adam is dismissive, or maybe a better word would be flippant, about this, and goes forward anyway with he and his wife’s plans, saying at one point…

“What can I do? What can you do? What will change if I make myself miserable?”

Adam and Katrina soon discover the alien agency behind this event, with its implications for the end of the world — on their planned stopover at Easter Island.

There’s something more there, much more than just themselves, and stranger than the mysterious and statuesque mo’ai…Nuff said.

This is an interesting and memorable little tale, and while I don’t share Adam’s dismissal of science, I can understand his attitude concerning events completely out of his control: Why worry about events on that scale that you can’t do anything about, when worrying changes nothing?

But, oh, what a good incentive to make the most of the time you have left!

Dark

By S. A. Barton

Copyright 2012 S. A. Barton

Smashwords Edition

Find other stories by S.A. Barton on his Smashwords profile.