TSG (old draft) part 6 (ends here)
Plus four new book promos, from galaxy-spanning sci-fi to introspective poetry, and then back again.
EDIT: I have now re-released a newer, shinier version of these parts. This marks the end of the old stuff.
This post contains: A new part of The Stephanie Glitch, plus four individual book promos relating to sci-fi and poetry.
I’ve tried something different this January. I awoke suddenly one night at 5:37am and remembered that I am also a poet. This much is obvious if you have already been reading The Stephanie Glitch, but it’s such an integral part of my writing that sometimes I forget that poetry is separate to fiction until I go to a bar and see the difference in person. For me, the two blend together.
Anyway, I wanted to celebrate.
I’ve been making some big decisions recently. I finally found an editor who is perfect for Stephanie and my writing style. I’m also thinking seriously about self-pub for her again. I’ll explain why in a future post.
So, because Stephanie is a poet exploring a science fiction narrative, I wanted to attract that same energy in my ‘real’ life here, where I am an author, amongst other things.
So here is part 6 and 7 of The Stephanie Glitch. I have included part 7 early because part 6 was quite short, owing to it being at the end of a chapter.
And below that there are four book promos I have joined on Bookfunnel. These will run until the 27th of January.
The Stephanie Glitch - Part 6
“Goodnight,” LP said calmly, before her body succumbed to the stress of creation. Her shoulders dropped, her head fell forward, and her upper body slumped sideways, slipping off the chair. Toumai moved swiftly and caught her body with his head, hearing the echoing clunk of her skull against his domed black lens. LP’s face rested lifelessly against Toumai’s eye. The strange headgear remained in place. Toumai unfurled his three arms and guided the intruder into a slumped position on the floor. She was unconscious, but life signs were normal.
Toumai lingered with Long Play for a moment, privately searching for a sign of her conscious mind. When he found none, he turned inwardly, looking for her inside the systems of the Artifice. And when nothing was there either, he turned his attention back to the fragile life form building inside the glass cylinder. By now the printer bugs had begun knitting musculature onto the skeleton. Toumai negotiated with the dead weight of LP’s body, making sure she would not fall again. Now he waited idly in the centre of the room, his arms still extended just so he could fidget as he waited. This was a human behaviour, something he had learned from the crew. In the beginning it helped them relate to him, but now it helped him relate to humans.
After ten minutes or so the crew of the Artifice quietened their private chattering inside his spherical skull, leaving Toumai to his own inherited thoughts.
Toumai, being able to disconnect his mind from his bodies and leap from machine to machine and ship to ship, was functionally immortal. Long Play and Stephanie were not. He saw in the glass cylinder a skeletal parallel of himself, a flesh machine unfinished. What was being attempted here had not been done before, and the peculiar circumstances of Long Play’s sudden arrival on the Artifice had proven Tomek and the other researchers correct. There was another reality above their own, one which had a real interest in the continuation of the worlds below it.
There, in the unending silence of the research deck, Toumai’s entire consciousness pooled into the bulbous-headed avatar. He looked at his own warped reflection in the cylinder and at the empty skull behind the glass, upon which thin strands of muscle were now developing. Now, in the absence of Long Play and the researchers, he moved his attention back to the Virtualist spikeships, to the rubble left behind by the gravity bombs, to the handful of ships that were surviving and catching up. Toumai ordered the printer bugs to hurry up, but not too much. From what little he had gleaned of Stephanie’s psychological profile, an extraction this early would break her.
She needed to know what was going to happen first.
The Stephanie Glitch - Part 7
(Not the short story or the pre-beta of WBTH2, but a chapter inside The Stephanie Glitch which shares the same title, for reasons known only to me)
Stephanie crossed the road with a strip of kebab meat hanging between her teeth. Emma carried the yellow Styrofoam box and a box of cheesy chips behind her like a loyal servant.
“Uni,” Stephanie said. Emma grunted in agreement.
“Uni means free money to create chaos,” she said.
“Uni means more kebab shops,” Stephanie explained. She stopped on the corner of the next road, turning back to see the kebab shop. The distant windows were steamy against the frigid cold outside, and the image of someone moving around inside the place, behind the steam and the heat, reminded Stephanie of the skeleton glass and of the short story she hadn’t yet written down.
“We’re not going through the subway,” Emma said.
“I know,” Stephanie replied. She turned her attention back to their pilgrimage, to the roundabout ahead of them. It was a wide roundabout with five exits. The centre was occupied not by flowers or fountains or a small mound of dirt, but by a crater in the earth into which the subway had been carved. The subway was a sickly yellow corridor of cracked tiles and flickering fluorescent tubes, a cannula forced through the skin of the earth, opening up into the roundabout crater. From where they were stood Stephanie could just about make out the grim aura of the thing over the brim of the roundabout. She led Emma to the left, following the busiest part of the road, where a pub was still open, and a garage was still selling pork pies to any drunk who could understand its sliding door. The subway was a landmark on days and nights out, something to dimly recognise from the top floor of a bus, but as far as Stephanie knew, nobody had ever actually used it to get from one side of the roads to the other. It seemed to exist only to distinguish this roundabout from others nearby, or as somewhere for people to sell drugs.
“Almost back,” Stephanie said. They turned the next corner and could see the bar ahead.
“Not done,” Emma said, slowing down. She sat down on a low-lying wall and continued eating her cheesy chips.
“No chips in bar. Moss comfy. Want chips.”
“You’re wearing a summer dress. You are going to die.”
“Chips give warm,” Emma replied. “Big warm inside tummy.”
“We’ve got to go back, I’m cold.” Stephanie pulled Emma back up from the wall. A late-night bus rumbled past, and Emma finished the last handful of chips. They kept walking. Emma began eating what was left of the kebab. By the time they were almost outside the bar, she only had the pita left.
“I don’t want to lose the pita,” Emma said.
“Don’t have to. Look,” Stephanie said. She took the pita bread from its Styrofoam prison and lifted it above Emma’s head. She set it down, putting an unreasonable amount of care into angling it properly.
“Hat,” she said. Emma smiled.
“If only Jay were here to collect these radical band names,” Emma said. “Do you think they’ll let me in?”
“Just tell them it’s a beret,” Stephanie said. They walked the rest of the distance to the bar and stood laughing outside for a moment. Stephanie got a blurry picture of Emma. They got back inside without issue. Emma picked bits off her ‘hat’ as they sidled up to the bar and offered scraps of it to her tall goth friends when they inevitably reunited and got chatting.
“Jagerbomb?” Stephanie said. Emma’s eyes lit up. She finished eating her hat and moved to the bar. As they waited, she explained a little more about her upcoming assignment.
“One of the things I’ve got to do,” Emma said, “Is paint something meaningful to me. But I can’t pick just one moment.”
Stephanie reached up and picked a scrap of pita from Emma’s hair and handed it to her, raising her voice over the music and saying, “This one’s pretty good. And the river that time.”
“We need a third moment,” Emma replied.
“We’ll make one someday.”
“Your fresher’s week?”
“If not earlier.”
Finally, as if ordained by fate itself, David Bowie’s Let’s Dance began playing. Stephanie grinned and began to pogo madly in place. At last she was alive. Emma joined her, smiling broadly as a herd of goths and emos and other people from adjacent subcultures started copying them.
“I didn’t know they’d play Bowie!” Stephanie said.
“They don’t,” Emma replied. “I got Nath to request it.”
“Big mohawk boy.”
The rest of the night was a hyperactive blur of Jagerbombs and 80s tunes. At some point Stephanie stole the pita hat and dropped it, and its sacrifice was mourned with more Jagerbombs.
Hope you liked that. We’re leaning a bit more into Stephanie’s life pre-uni now, and it’s about to get spooky. The pita bread hat is based on a true story. I did this once, many years ago, and we did indeed get let in the club by a bouncer who looked like he was holding in laughter.
What weird nights out have you had?
And much like Stephanie, I am also unknowingly astral projecting into an unfinished body in a higher reality, and I might also be able to travel through time, if only I could concentrate on a particular moment for long enough.
Your book promotions.
These are all running right now, and will end on the 27th of January.
In NEW YEAR, FUTURE WORLDS you can expect to find stories set during or after an apocalypse. This isn’t a genre I’m too familiar with, but I touched upon dystopian themes at least with WBTH, and I’d like to look into improving my more dystopian stories, so I’m going to read a few of these.
A healthy mix of sci-fi and fantasy here. I think I might have finally ‘made it’ as an author now because I recognise one of the names here from twitter.
Unfortunately, my book stopped being free half way through this promotion because of a mistake in my plans for January. So don’t bother downloading mine if you don’t have it, I plan to make it free again soon!
And lastly we have the Kindle poetry promo. I couldn’t find a picture for this one, but check it out anyway if you are into poetry.
EDIT: I also have a discord server for people here and fans on my Patreon, where you can chat to me about books and see advertising things etc before anyone else. It’s free.