If you're a fan of filmmaker Ed Wood or actor Bela Lugosi, then BearManor Media has some books that might trip your trigger--
Angora Fever: The Collected Short Stories of Edward D. Wood, Jr.
By Edward D. Wood, Jr.
While remembered today as the director of some of the most notoriously bad movies in the history of cinema, there was another side to Wood’s questionable creativity of which most people remain unaware. When his career as a motion picture auteur fizzled out, mostly from lack of funding, Wood searched for another way to make ends meet while not having to surrender his personal artistic vision.
The Cinematic Misadventures of Ed Wood
by Andrew J. Rausch and Charles E. Pratt, Jr.
Authors Andrew J. Rausch and Charles E. Pratt Jr. unravel the unreal back stories of the much-maligned “Worst Filmmaker of All Time” and his 29 films that sometimes outshone Wood’s off screen shenanigans. In the 1950s, audiences cringed at Glen or Glenda, Jail Bait with Steve Reeves, Bride of the Monster and Plan 9 From Outer Space with Bela Lugosi, The Violent Years, and Night of the Ghouls. In the 1960s, moviegoers winced at The Sinister Urge and Orgy of the Dead.
Scripts from the Crypt: Ed Wood's Bride of the Monster
by Gary D. Rhodes with Tom Weaver
Shovel in hand, the redoubtable Gary D. Rhodes returns to the Graveyard of Forgotten Facts, unearthing a treasure trove of terrific illustrations and a casket-full of new information and insights on Bela Lugosi, Ed Wood and Bride of the Monster (1956). Also exhumed are Bride’s shooting script and a vault full of decaying extras. Accompanying him in this 60th anniversary “Bela-bration” of the film’s release is partner-in-crime Tom Weaver, as well as contributors Sam Sherman, Robert J. Kiss and Michael Lee.
Scripts from the Crypt: Ed Wood and the Lost Lugosi Screenplays
by Gary D. Rhodes, Tom Weaver, Robert Cremer, and Lee R. Harris
Delving into the most mythical aspects of the Wood saga, this book examines the facts and mysteries of these unproduced works. Essential for genre enthusiasts.
No Traveler Returns: The Lost Years of Bela Lugosi
by Gary D. Rhodes and Bill Kaffenberger
Bela Lugosi scholar extraordinaire Gary D. Rhodes and Bill Kaffenberger provide a fascinating time travel journey back to the late 1940s/early 1950s, when Lugosi – largely out of favor in Hollywood – embarked on a Gypsy-like existence of vaudeville, summer stock, and magic shows.
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Shooting the Breeze With Baby Boomer Stars!: Surprising Celebrity Conversations for the Retro Generation
Paperback: 338 pages
Publisher: Archway (October 2, 2018)
Reviewed by Dr. Wesley Britton
From 2007 to 2015, I had the great pleasure of co-hosting an online radio show for KSAV.org where I interviewed a wide range of musicians, actors, and other entertainment insiders geared for Baby Boomer listeners.
One thing I learned is that if the interviewer is knowledgeable and pleasant and the interviewee is agreeable and warm, listeners interested in the celebrity in question will get a special audio treat.
Well, interviewer and writer Torchy Smith has created something of a personal industry
celebrating Baby Boomer stars where he too has shown how entertaining old entertainers can be if they can reminisce about their glory days with a friendly and informed interviewer.
In the case of his new book, Shooting the breeze, Smith offers a series of shortened interviews with many actors and actresses whose fame came mostly from roles on the small screen. They include most of the Mouseketeers, Angela and Veronica Cartwrite, Bill Mumy, Jerry Mathers, Tony Dow, James Drury, Larry Matthews, Marion Ross, Anson Williams, Cindy Williams and many, many more.
Altogether, the stars describe a time of much greater innocence on television and the repeated complaints most feel about not getting residuals for their work. We hear how most of them found their way into often unexpected stardom and they tell many stories of what happened to them after their glory days. Woven throughout these conversations are Smith's personal commentary and insights that augment what the stars say about themselves and sheds a bit of light on the art of interviewing.
While giving readers online access points to some of his guests so we too can connect with some celebs, Smith makes many valid points as to why readers should read his book and not rely on what Google can provide. From personal experience, I can tell you Smith is correct when he says what much of what we can find online just simply isn't so.
Naturally, to be interested in this book, you got to be interested in television and film of the not-so-distant past and be curious about the faces and voices that made a stamp on your own life. Some interviews are probably going to be the reason you tried out this book, others may be with folks you're less familiar with. So Shooting the Breeze can be a cover-to-cover read for Baby Boomers or a skip around or skim some passages experience for you. Me, I was glad to get a peek into a lot of folks I don't remember as well as those I too had the pleasure to talk to. It's a warm and inviting read for all of us.
This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com on March 16, 2019:
Somewhere Beyond the Heavens: Exploring Battlestar Galactica
edited by Rich Handley and Lou Tambone.
Publisher: Sequart Organization (December 18, 2018)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Free on Kindle Unlimited
Reviewed by: Dr. Wesley Britton
Back in 1978, I considered a new TV series I dubbed Battlestar: Ponderosa (due to the presence of actor Loren Green as Commander Adama), along with sister production, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, as two disposable, diverting attempts by producer Glen A. Larson to capitalize on the success of Star Wars for the small screen. As both series had short lives, I didn't expect to see much more of either of them. Little did I know.
In the case of Battlestar: Galactica, forty years have gone by with many repeated attempts to reinvigorate the franchise. We got novelizations, original novels, comics, films, webisodes, board and video games, unproduced attempts at revivals, and, most impressing of all, Ronald D. Moore's extraordinary 2003 re-imagining of the concept for the SyFy channel and elsewhere that earned considerable praise for a remarkable reboot.
Now, the Sequart Organization has published the fifth, yes, fifth, serious book-length academic analysis of all things Galactica by forty comic historians, novelists, bloggers, subject-matter experts, and franchise insiders including Jim Beard, Joseph F. Berenato, Joe Bongiorno, Jeffrey Carver, and October Crifasi.
Sequart is touting the fact their new title runs 572 pages, making it the longest book in their history. This is rather surprising considering their past essay collections on popular culture subjects included Batman, The X-Men, Star Wars, and Planet of the Apes, to scratch the surface of their catalogue. As with all their tomes, Somewhere Beyond the Heavens touches every conceivable base you can think of regarding Battlestar: Galactica including close scrutiny of the creative processes, analyses of key episodes and characters, not to mention deep dives into the ephemera associated with the franchise.
Clearly, Somewhere Beyond the Heavens is not a useful introduction for the uninitiated and not a simple overview for the mildly interested or simply curious. It's intended for serious devotees who might not need to explore every essay, especially if you're a fan of only the Glen A. Larson version or the Ronald Moore revision. For example, do you care about the background of the mysterious Count Iblis as portrayed by Patrick Macnee in a two-part episode in the original series? If so, this collection is for you.
This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com on March 13, 2019:
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THE DUTIFUL DETECTIVE AND THE DEADLY DECOYS
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sorta biography
Publisher: Random House Audio
Audible.com Release Date: October 2, 2018
Reviewed by Dr. Wesley Britton
As Eric Idle himself says in the introduction to his new memoir, over the years we've been given a deluge of histories, documentaries, and other memoirs about the careers of the six Monty Pythons. So can Idle's "sorta" autobiography give us anything new?
Not having read all the books Idle alluded to, I can't fairly answer that question. I suspect if you're one of those who have, in fact, read and seen everything related to the funniest comedy troupe of all time, I suspect you'd still enjoy a book that is as funny as the Pythons used to be. After all, Idle has written comedy material since 1963 and his new book demonstrates just how comic one writer can be.
But if you're one of those who loved and enjoyed Monty Python without getting immersed in all the appreciations and analysis they've received over the years, than Eric Idle's new memoir is a real treat. And very revelatory. For example, one delight for me was learning about Idle's pre-Python work in British comedy we Yanks never saw. And the post Python projects like Spamalot and his many tours with John Clease.
It's still difficult for me to grasp that the heyday of Monty Python ran from 1969 to 1983 with occasional projects sprouting up from time to time thereafter. As my 14 year old grandson is a Monty Python junkie, you'd think they were still pumping out new material. Nope.
Of course, no one's life is all just their most celebrated achievements, so we learn much about Eric Idle's personal life in his breezy memoir. Poignant chapters discuss his painful growing-up years, his time at Cambridge, and his friendships with the likes of George Harrison and Robin Williams and their tragic ends. So this memoir isn't a laugh fest on every page and shouldn't have been.
Still, along the way, Idle gives us generous samplings of old skits like the "Eric the "half-A-Bee" song and repeated discussions of how his most famous song, "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," has been used and reused in all manner of both expected and unexpected places. I must agree with other reviewers who complain that some sections, especially in the latter half, are jammed thick with gratuitous name-dropping and overlong passages describing Idle's active social life, partying with the stars. In such patches, skimming might be the way to go.
Without question, if you can get this book in its Audible Audiobook format as read by the author, that's the way to do it. You can feel his style, hear him occasionally verge on breaking into laughter, hear him sing, and get the full Eric Idle treatment. And that's the reason you got this book to begin with, right?
This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com on Feb. 14, 2019:
Guarding Gable: A Novel
Publisher:BearManor Media (Jan. 10 2019)
Reviewed by Dr. Wesley Britton
At first glance, it might seem an exploration of actor Clark Gable's World War II service in the Army Air Corps after the death of his beloved wife, Carole Lombard, might be best suited to a non-fiction treatment. Happily, author Nat Segaloff chose to write an imaginative memoir featuring Gable's years in uniform as told from the Point of View of the apparently fictional Alan Greenberg. Greenberg is a junior publicist assigned by MGM studio boss Louis B. Mayer to make sure Gable doesn't get into any dangerous situations, especially since the death of his wife has left Gable in a suicidal mood. So we see a friendship between star and publicist grow as well as a love triangle between them and a British publicist named Mavis Roberts.
Few authors can come close to having the credentials to pull off this novel like Nat Segaloff. Writer/ producer/ journalist Segaloff has penned 16 books on Hollywood subjects, was a studio publicist himself, has written stage and audio-plays, not to mention co-authoring and co-producing TV and radio scripts, many with a sci-fi bent. And these are but a few of his career highlights.
Not surprisingly, Guarding Gable is full of Segaloff's awareness of how a star of Gable's magnitude would be treated in the 1940s by the studio, the military, and the public. On top of that, what was most impressive to me were the many scenes of Gable flying over the continent in various bombing missions despite orders to stay on the ground. The detail Segaloff provides about the huge planes and the fliers who manned them in the Army Air Corps gives the book a level of excitement and suspense it wouldn't have had if Gable had followed orders. Or if Segaloff had given us a nonfiction book reliant on material necessarily cited from research sources.
The depth of the relationships Segaloff paints is first rate, especially between Gable and Greenberg as the star of Gone With the Windgains more and more respect for his "orderly." The romance between Greenberg and Roberts is far from a typical one and is also handled very deftly as the story progresses. The numerous supporting characters are vividly sketched and all entirely believable.
So who is the primary audience for this novel? Certainly Gable fans and enthusiasts of the 1940s era in Hollywood. So too World War II buffs interested in the Army Air Corps in Europe. But I'd go further and say anyone who enjoys a good story that is vivid, richly detailed, fast-paced, and illuminating should enjoy this one.
While I didn't get to hear it, I understand the audiobook for Guarding Gable is enhanced with sound effects and dialogue from the actual films Gable made during the war. Sounds like a fun way to go if audiobooks is your thing.
This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com on Feb. 9, 2019:
MARY: THE MARY TYLER MOORE STORY
Herbie J Pilato
Paperback: 458 pages
Publisher: Jacobs Brown Press (January 25, 2019)
Reviewed by Dr. Wesley Britton
Mary isn't the first show biz bio I've read from Herbie J Pilato, a founder of the Classic TV Preservation Society. I first learned about the depth of Herbie's TV expertise when I read his 2007 The Bionic Book: The Six Million Dollar man and the Bionic Woman Reconstructed. After that, he produced several adoring books about Bewitched star, Elizabeth Montgomery.
Now, Pilato has presented us with a in-depth, exhaustive bio of a star he clearly also adores, a star most of us out here in TV-Watcher land love as well. Mary Tyler Moore, and her more iconic roles like Laura Petrie and Mary Richards, certainly did turn the world on with her smile. If that number includes you, then this is a book for you.
To greater and lesser degrees, most of us know quite a bit about the biography of Mary Tyler Moore, her career, her private life, her struggles, her successes and failures. There's so much in the public record, including the autobiographies Moore wrote.
What Herbie J. Palato has given us is a one-stop tome that covers everything one could ask for about Moore herself, her colleagues, her relationships, her misfires and triumphs, her self-consciousness and lack of self-esteem in terms of her looks, not to mention her causes like diabetes research and animal rights.
When an author devotes this much attention to a beloved subject, there can be some excesses in the text. In this case, there's a lot of repetition, notably the countless references to the importance of Ordinary People in Moore's career. There are numerous paragraphs summarizing the careers and roles of those Moore worked with at one time or another. Of course, this makes Mary an easy book to skim. But keep your eyes open to catch the streams of nuggets Pilato gives us. We get a portrait of a woman in 3-D, including her shortcomings, talents, work ethic, parental skills (or lack of them) and her insights an perspectives regarding her important and influential career. And surprises--I didn't know her animal rights activism extended to protecting lobsters. Books like these are also good for reviewing lesser known projects like talk show appearances, guest-starring and cameos on TV series, and public speaking. For the first time, I got the story to what happened to the short-lived1985 Mary series co-starring John Astin from Addams Family fame. I got the insider stories behind the sad attempts to reunite the Dick Van Dyke cast and especially the dreary Mary and Rhoda TV movie.
Naturally, you got to have some real interest in the biography of Mary Tyler Moore to want to dive into this very detailed and balanced tribute. Someone needed to write this book, and who better than Herbie J. Pilato. He knows how to do it.
This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com on Feb. 5, 2019:
From now (January 31, 2019) to next Friday (February 7, 2019) you can take 25% off any print book published by BearManor Media, and that includes Wes Britton's The Blind Alien! Just use the coupon code SALE25 at checkout!
Neil Ratner, MD
Paperback: 317 pages
Publisher: Rock Doc Entertainment LLC; 1st edition (January 28, 2019)
Reviewed by Dr. Wesley Britton
I was intrigued when I read a blurb for Neil Ratner's new Rock Doc when I saw his memoir included stories about the professional careers of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, Pink Floyd, Edgar Winter, and Rick Derringer during their various heydays in the 1970s. I wasn't disappointed. Roughly one-quarter of the book is Ratner's account of his years as a personal manager, tour manager, and production supervisor for those talented performers.
Then, Ratner's autobiography shifts gears as he describes how he left the happy rock and roll lifestyle to enter medicine and specialize as a pioneering anesthesiologist. After establishing the break-through idea of setting up anesthesiologist services in doctor's offices to reduce the need to use hospital operating rooms, Ratner described the day Michael Jackson walked into his office and Ratner's life forever changed.
After that, reader interest in the longest section of the book will depend on your interest in Michael Jackson. Ratner unfolds a long, warm, intimate relationship he and Jackson shared both professionally and personally for decades. The account is as revelatory as anything I've read on Jackson's complex life. Those much more familiar with his story might not find too much new other than Ratner's passages on his relationship with the singer. Personally, I was glad to learn so much about Jackson's, and Ratner's, relationship with Nelson Mandela and their many strong connections to South Africa.
The book takes another sharp turn when Ratner details his experiences with the legal system after he's convicted for insurance fraud. while I might have missed these chapters if I'd given up reading the Michael Jackson saga, I'd have missed a very positive, rather uplifting story of redemption and a growing spiritual depth Ratner acquired in prison. What he does after his incarceration is another surprising turn and an admirable one at that. Very admirable.
Since Rock Doc touches so many bases, the potential readership should include those interested in rock and pop history, medicine, Michael Jackson, Nelson Mandela and South Africa, not to mention all the transformative perspectives Ratner shares as he summarizes his more recent years. The memoir is told with a personal, often passionate tone that is candid enough to disarm all but the most cynical of readers.
This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com on Jan. 25, 2019:
Strange Stars: David Bowie, Pop Music, and the Decade Sci-Fi Exploded
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Melville House; First Edition edition (June 5, 2018)
By: Dr. Wesley Britton
When I read a blurb describing Strange Stars, my first reaction was that Jason Heller had beaten me to the punch. I had long thought the connections between sci-fi flavored rock music and sci-fi films and books in the 1970s would make for an interesting critical analysis. I was right, except Heller was a much better critic to pull all the strings together than I would have been. By miles and miles.
The book’s title is a tad misleading if you assume David Bowie will be an important thread in the story. es, Heller bookends the decade with Bowie’s 1971 “Space Oddity” and its 1980 follow-up, “Ashes to Ashes.” Sure, Ziggy Stardust and The Man Who Fell to Earth aren’t neglected. And the book ends with Bowie’s 2018 death and the release of Black Star.
But Heller probes a rich well of evidence demonstrating that the ‘70s was the decade when sci-fi began to be taken seriously in popular culture, its impact ignited by two films by Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange. The Planet of the Apes also contributed to a growing interest in sci-fi and the phenomena of Star Trek was just beginning its widening cult status.
Sci-fi authors cited by many musicians as influences included Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, William Burroughs, Philip Dick, and Frank Herbert, among many, many others. To greater and lesser degrees, these writers influenced popular rock musicians like Paul Kantner’s Jefferson Starship (“Blows Against the Empire,”) David Crosby and The Byrds (“Mr. Spaceman,”) Elton John (“Rocket Man”), Black Sabbath (Iron Man”), and the psychedelic Pink Floyd. At the same time, futuristic electronic sounds and cover art helped define Progressive Rock groups like yes and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer (“Tarkus.”)
Heller also explores cult favorites including the French Magma, Germany’s Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream, Gary Neuman, Devo, as well as the often forgotten Hawkwind, Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come, and the avant-garde jazz figure Sun Ra. And these are but the best known of the musical performers and groups Heller lists and describes in minute detail leaving no rare single or obscure album unturned.
Along the way, Heller discusses sci-fi lyrics, the burgeoning use of futuristic synth-sounds, new sub-genres like sci-fi-funk and Kraut-rock, concert events like 1979’s Futurama and the impact of films like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Star Wars and Star Trek. Occasionally he layers in historical events that piqued public interest in space, futuristic technology, and dystopian predictions like the disappointing passing of Comet Kohoutek and the crash of Star Lab.
In his “Acknowledgements,” Heller credits one reader with keeping him from publishing an encyclopedia instead of a story. There are many, many passages where readers could be forgiven for feeling like they’re following long, encyclopedic entries, especially when Heller recites band name after band name, album title after album title. Such passages might inspire skimming along and there’s nothing wrong with that. Strange Stars can serve as a reference volume as well as an analysis of an amorphous genre, or at least a many-tentacled realm of popular culture. Strange Stars belongs in pretty much every public library and on the private shelves of both sci-fi and rock lovers.
This review was first published at BookPleasures.com on Dec. 28, 2018:
Alpha Tales 2044: The Beta-Earth Chronicles
Print Length: 173 pages
Publisher: Alien Vision (December 9, 2018)
Publication Date: December 9, 2018
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Reviewed by: Bobbi Chertok
5.0 out of 5 stars INTELLIGENT, HUMOROUS and EXCITING. BRAVO!
December 23, 2018
Dr. Wesley Britton's "Alpha Tales 2044: A Beta-Earth Chronicles Collection" gives new meaning to the word prequel. His characters spring back to life when their unique physical descriptions are revealed and their deeds and goals come into focus.
Britton visits a fantasy world which shares the same problems as those on Earth. As they seek to cure a devastating virus, we aim to cure cancer. Years into climate change and confronting evil, Dr. Britton's heroes and heroines seek out ways to deal with the very same problems we have on Earth today. Intelligent, humorous and exciting. Bravo!
Copied with permission from the reviewer.
A wonderful short story collection that will take you to unimagined places, each of them different, but all tied together by the Beta-Earth saga.
The first of the stories is taken right out of the Beta-Earth Chronicles; it stars one of my favorite characters, Sasperia. She and the Supreme Head of the Munchen Collective (love these titles!) save the world. And they do it with lots of adventure and excitement. And a bit of sadness.
Next is “The Fates of Evil Men”; this story takes us back to Alpha Earth – our earth – in a sort of dystopian virus plagued era. It is also full of twists and turns, and very unlike any other dystopian sort of story I’ve ever read. An excellent story with a surprising twist in the end, but still, not my favorite of this collection.
The next group of stories fill in some history of what happened to the earth, and some of the latest generation of the Renbourn’s trials and adventures. Followed by “Murder in the Canyon,” further fleshing out the family on this latter day earth. More trials for the family, and decisions made to, again, move on. Leading to “Sasquatch.” Which, in this version of Earth’s future, really exists. This is my favorite story of the whole collection.
I recommend anyone who likes science fiction, adventure, or even some romance, to try this collection – it is well written and fun to read!
Paperback: 150 pages
Publisher: lulu.com (March 8, 2016)
Reading the opening pages of this fantasy/ romance, I had the sense I was reading a modern retelling of an ancient myth, fairy tale, or legend. Perhaps it was my overactive imagination, but some of the story’s early elements sounded familiar.
For example, the book opens when an ordinary marketing executive named Becky, who at least thinks she is an ordinary human, is rescued from an attack in a dark alley by an “alien” named Salco. Unhappily, in her opinion, she is transported to a different realm where she discovers she is really Princess Thya of Tsinia, a city of light-hearted (mostly) tree-top dwellers. She had been hidden away on earth until she is expected to fulfill her prophesized role as a wife to establish an alliance with the powerful city called Senx. Much to her distaste, she is apparently obligated to wed Kovon, the son of the proverbial dark lord, Darthorn. Darthorn is no more fond of the wedding idea than Thya, preferring the conquest option which he is certain he would win.
Learning this marriage is intended to preserve and save the magical realm on the brink of destruction, Thya spends many hours being tutored about a world she doesn’t know. Thya slowly learns about her true identity including the undesirable prophecy and the fact she has supernatural powers she doesn’t know how to use or control. Along the way, she falls in love with one of her teachers who is himself obligated to marry another.
After this set-up, readers experience a series of possible paths for Thya to explore and deal with as we meet a growing set of sometimes duplicitous mentors and advisors for the Princess. I admit, my interest kicked in when Thya began to assert her will and resist prophecy, no matter what her court advisors tell her what she must do. From this point forward, I felt I was reading a completely original story based on, well, whatever Karina Kandas cooked up for her heroine and her changed circumstances in this first volume of a coming duology. Thankfully, the magical ride keeps building up speed until we get to the final third of the book where everything intensifies from the psychic battles to the emotional hits to Thya and her chosen lover, Alkazer.
A major stroke of creativity in this novel is the lofty dialect and diction Kantas has most of her characters using. I’ve read other reviews where some readers were put off or challenged by this I don’t see the problem. Every sentence was perfectly clear to me. How tough is it to recognize “with certainty” means “Yes”? In addition, the tone used by most of these characters seemed perfectly spot on for high officials and palace courtesans, not to mention black-hearted warlords.
This book can fairly be classified as YA as there are moral lessons being taught, mainly about the importance of selflessness and putting community above yourself. So Illusional Reality is the sort of book that should be welcome under your Christmas tree, especially for those reluctant younger readers for whom this adventure should be quite inviting. Why not give them a sexy female Harry Potter with a good figure? It shouldn’t be too long before the sequel, The Quest, will belatedly debut in 2019.
Alpha Tales 2044, opens on Beta-Earth when two genetically-enhanced mutants are forced to recover a stolen secret, the cure to the ancient Plague-With-No-Name that defined a planet for millennia.
Then we jump across the multi-verse to our earth, Alpha-Earth, where police Captain Mary Carpenter infiltrates a gang of White Supremacists who want to purify Texas after decades of climate change and weaponized plagues.
Still on Alpha, we leap ahead in time to 40 years in the future where Mary Carpenter joins up with four aliens, two from Beta-Earth, two from Serapin-Earth. All four share the same father, The Blind Alien from Alpha-Earth. They’ve traveled across the multi-verse to tell us about their worlds.
But Alphans, scarred by the devastations to our world, are unhappy about learning about very different cultures from anything we’ve ever known and especially hearing about multiple deities. So the alien band are forced to go on the run and take sanctuary in a First Nation domed city in British Columbia.
But their sanctuary doesn’t last long. Forced to travel further into the Canadian wilderness, the family encounters a pair of Sasquatch who change everything for them. They learn about the many definitions of what it means to be human.
Alpha Tales 2044, is a collection of stories that are part sci-fi, part murder mysteries, part horror, and part social commentary. But completely full of the unexpected, surprises, and tales, unlike anything you’ve experienced before.
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EXCERPT: From Last Night Of The Collective from Alpha Tales 2044
I vividly remember the afternoon when Jrin Rol, the second-in-command of our security unit, and I stepped onto the ground floor of the Hotel Domino in the new city called Monte Carlo. The hotel was an entertainment center named after yet another Alpha game Malcolm Renbourn had brought to our planet. It should have been named Hotel Backgammon for all the pointed spikes of alternating colors on the floors and walls.
On this day, I was listening to Jrin's wistful hopes for an extended leave from service so she could deepen her studies in linguistic morphologies, geographic spatial patterns, and other analytical investigative techniques that would make her far more than a skilled expert in stealth and counter-espionage operations. I was becoming more and more impressed with what I heard as we walked into the dining hall.
Then, my blood chilled. In one moment, I felt as if I'd drank a bath shell-sized cocktail of adrenaline and dread. Sitting alone at a table in the corner was First Helprim Kiem Holenris from ital, the supreme head of the Munchen Collective. The last I'd seen of this seeming old crone had been in my offices in Bercumel. On that day, Holendris had let me know my life was on the line if I continued my then-pointless, personal war with my bond-family. For, like her, my genetically-enhanced mutations had come at a cost. The little pills the Collective now provided me slowed the metabolic rushing of time that aged such as us much faster than our years. If I wanted to live a healthy and beautiful life and for a good long time, I needed the pills only the Collective could provide me.
Holendris looked like a woman who'd seen four generations of descendants from her womb. But she was merely the age of my own mother. Like me, her appearance concealed a body of extraordinary gifts. Unlike me, she had started her pill regimen much later in her life than I had, hence her aged face and deceptively marked skin. On this day, while her lips were twisted in an almost skullish smile, her eyes sent a clear message to me across the wide hall of tables and happy noises.
"Child," they wordlessly told me, "bring your sun-drenched bronze skin and bright, blonde hair over here to me. You must come to me now. A matter of dire importance awaits you. Awaits us."
I looked to Jrin, who understood my own silent signal. We slowly made our way to the Helprim's round, polished white table where Kiem studied our movements with practiced eyes. She nodded as we came close and indicated two chairs.
"Sit, little kitty," she cooed. "Sit, Jrin Rol of the Mask-Painters."
Wordlessly, we took our places as serving hands quickly brought us trays of beverages. Kiem waited until the hands departed and took a sip of her own red pravine, then said softly, "Thank you for your quick compliance, as what I am here to discuss requires some delicacy."