Mirror Man by James Aston now available on Kindle

Mirror Man, the fifth stand-alone story in my every-other-month series of new science fiction stories is now available on Kindle – see https://james-aston.net/science-fiction-stories/ for details and Amazon links.

Mirror Man

Robert picked up his briefcase and paced towards the exit of the hotel lobby. He was in a hurry to prepare for his meeting the following day.

“One moment please.” The receptionist behind the desk said.

Robert stopped, wondered what it could be and turned back. He watched the receptionist pick a form out of a tray behind the counter then hold it out to him. “If you could fill this in and send it back.” She said.

Robert gave her a quizzical look.

“It’s a feedback form.” She said. “We’d like to know what we did right and what we did wrong. In case you come back again.”

Robert snatched the form from her and pushed it into the pocket of his thick winter coat. “Thanks.” He said.

Outside the hotel a solitary cab stood waiting in the rank. Robert strode across the pavement to claim it, but before he reached the cab he was pushed aside by a tall man with curly black hair.

“Get the next one buddy.” The man said before he jumped into the taxi and pulled away. Robert stood, surprised at himself for letting his cab be stolen and watched the car recede down the street.

Time rich is not a phrase Robert would use to describe himself, but that may be about to change. A chance encounter with an alluring woman twists his perception of space and time – and his place within it.

James.

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Zombillions by James Aston now available on Kindle

Zombillions, the fourth stand-alone story in my every-other-month series of new science fiction stories is now available on Kindle – see https://james-aston.net/science-fiction-stories/ for details and Amazon links.

Zombillions

Yago 42485 pushed the stiff branch aside and stepped into a small clearing. He stopped and scanned the ground and the foliage that stretched up to the sky. On the far side of the clearing he saw a pool of light that reached through the canopy to touch the ground.

He walked across the clearing and stood in the pool of sunlight, then turned his head upwards. He felt the heat of the sun warm his face.

<<Request, location update>>, he sent.

A few seconds passed before the response arrived. <Target location, one point five (km), twenty one point three north (deg)>.

He turned to face the direction indicated, the trees were denser in that direction. The canopy completely covered the ground and darkness lurked beneath the trees. It was only punctured here and there by stray shafts of sunlight.

He frowned, and wondered whether there was a better route. Subconsciously he captured the image he saw and held it to be attached to his next communication.

<<Request, route strategy, (embedded image)>>, he sent. His mind cleared as he waited for the vast processing capabilities of the network to determine the best course of action.

The network. Pervasive, reliable, dependable. It impacts every decision, every choice, every action. But has humanity given too much?

James.

Looking for self-published and indie sci-fi recommendations

I have decided to broaden my horizons from well-known and publishing house fare in the sci-fi world. So I am looking for recommendations of stories to read. There are no criteria but as you can only read so much I’ll (most of the time) use the following preferences when picking the next story to read.

– Prefer self-published and indie books over larger publishing houses
– Prefer short stories over novellas and novels
– Prefer stories I can buy and read on Kindle
– Prefer hard sci-fi over sci-fi that borders on fantasy
– Prefer more recently published to less recently published

If you are the author of such a story, or if you have read a story that you think I may like – then ping me a direct message on social media or via email (james at james-aston.net). Obviously tell me the title, author and preferably a link of where to buy it. If I enjoy the story I will leave a review, if there are areas I think could be improved (from my personal perspective) I’ll include those in the review.

Once I have read enough I will likely create and update a self-published and indie sci-fi reading list on my website somewhere.

James.

(P.S. This is an ongoing, no catches, no obligation thing. But I am looking for direct recommendations rather than taking them from the social media river we all bathe in.)

Science fiction short story series starting soon

I am through a bout of editing and have a set of science fiction short stories, ranging from 5000 to 12000 words, that are now in my publication pipeline.  This includes, among other things, generating the cover art, distribution versions etc.  Hopefully the first of these will hit the digital airwaves within the next couple of months.

Stay tuned.

James.

(and no, I couldn’t find a word starting with S to replace fiction 🙂 )

A long, long time ago in a country far, far away

He walked from the cave, a rasping sound emanating from his throat as he struggled to breathe.  He stood at the cave entrance and looked across the landscape before him.  Deer scattered through the valleys of rolling red hills.  Below, people were starting to gather in the settlement that had been built next to the river.  He reached out his hand and felt an energy pass through it, an energy that he would use to gain power over these people.

Darren Curnoe, from the University of New South Wales, and a team of scientists have identifed and associated a set of remains from southern China that suggest a new species in the history of human evolution.  The rounded skulls and widening cheeks give a visual impression very similar to that of Darth Vader from the hit sci-fi movie franchise Star Wars.  It makes you wonder whether we were their destiny…

See a news article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17370170 and the submitted paper here: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0031918 (Buy Star Wars merchandise here: http://www.starwars.com/)

James.

* Images are the property of their respective copyright holders.

Sci-fi spy thriller ‘Agencies’ now available worldwide in paperback and ebook.

‘Agencies’ by James Aston is now available worldwide in both paperback and ebook.  Some international links:

Paperback:

Paperback and ebook:

Ebook:

Agencies is a fast-paced sci-fi novel set in the near future covering Moon exploration, spys and espionage, an escalating series of conflicts between two well equipped security agencies and a man on a mission to recover information before it falls into the wrong hands.

Also available at other excellent bookshops.

James.

Agencies now available in paperback from Amazon.com

The paperback version of Agencies is now available in paperback from Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/Agencies-James-Aston/dp/1466374829/

Agencies is a fast-paced sci-fi novel set in the near future covering Moon exploration, spys and espionage, an escalating series of conflicts between two well equipped security agencies and a man on a mission to recover information before it falls into the wrong hands.

Also available on Kindle from all Amazon sites, it will also soon be available in paperback from other Amazon sites and excellent bookshops.

James.

Working brain chips for robo-rats

Synthetic brain implants hold out the promise of augmenting the capabilities of the human mind as well as capturing and exporting that state of the mind in sci-fi tech such as the neural lace.

This possiblity is a step closer as shown by Professor Matti Mintz and team at Tel Aviv University.  They have recently presented reults to show that a synthetic neural implant can be grafted into the brain of a rat to restore functions the rat had lost.  Once implanted the rat proceeded to use the implant to learn new behaviour.

Although the most simple neural functions were targeted, it is a significant step forward and demonstrates that the science is a possibility.

Read the abstract of the paper here: http://www.sens.org/node/2210

Read coverage in International Business Times here: http://uk.ibtimes.com/articles/225407/20111005/robot-rat-robotic-brain-implant-restores-rat-s-mobility.htm

James.