Books Everyone Should Read

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
by Jules Verne

Captain Nemo and his crew sail around the world on a mission to end war among the surface nations. Predicting nuclear submarines and world war, Jules Verne’s classic is well worth a second (or first) read.  I first read it when I was about ten, having bought a tiny little paperback version at the grocery store for 25 cents.  You can download it free at

Astrid Maxxim and the Boardroom

Next Up: Astrid Maxxim and her Amazing HoverbikeThe Following is a bit I may or may not use in the next Astrid Maxxim Book.  In any case, I’m not getting started on it until I finish the next robot book, so I thought I would post it here.

A large chart on the boardroom wall compared Maxxim Enterprises’ competitors in space. It displayed each company name as a three letter code, it’s current plans and goals, and then compared how many launches each had made and thus far. It read as follows:


BOE ISS Transport/Satellite 0
BLH Suborbital Tourism 0
SRN ISS Transport Orbital Tourism 0
SPX ISS Transport/Satellite Exploration of Mars 8
VGL Suborbital Tourism 0
MAXXIM ISS Transport/Satellite Orbital Tourism 15

“It’s pretty clear who our real competition is,” said Roy Dillanson.

“Yes, it’s pretty clear,” agreed Carl Maxxim. “It’s not a surprise to me, since our friendly competitor here is also CEO of our biggest completion in the electric car industry.”

“Still, we’re way ahead,” said former US Senator Charles Bentlemore. “We’ve had almost twice as many launches and we have a waiting list of nearly ten thousand. That’s pretty impressive since we’re charging twelve times as much as our friends planning the suborbital flights.”

“Yes, but our space planes are too expensive,” Dillanson pointed out. “To recoup the cost, we’d have to fly each one nearly five hundred times.”

“That’s because they were not designed to fly rich people around the world,” said sixteen-year-old inventor Astrid Maxxim. “We should leave that to those that want to fly tourism. The space planes are for more.”

“We’ve had this discussion before,” said Bentlemore. “What you’re proposing isn’t realistic.”

“Look, it’s simple,” said Astrid. “Werner von Braun spelled it out in the fifties. First you need a cheap and efficient launch system. Our space planes are expensive to build but cheap to fly. Second, you need a space station, as a destination and a launch point. Third, you need a space dock, where you can build the vehicles and tools you need to explore the solar system.”

“You forget, my dear,” said the former senator. “The purpose of this company is not to explore and discover. The purpose is to make money.”

“Astrid hasn’t forgotten anything,” barked design chief Dennis Brown.

“Maybe I should have said ‘explore and utilize’,” said Astrid. “I won’t say exploit. Remember the settlers at Jamestown. They came trying to make money with their toehold in the new world. If it hadn’t been for John Rolf smuggling in tobacco, the settlement of America might have been set back decades. Now imagine that those settlers had come to Virginia with their own railroad, fortress, and machine shop. How much quicker would our America have come to be?”

“Bottom line it for us,” said Dillanson. “How much are we talking about?”

“Including the boosters needed, and the lauch costs, as well as the design, construction, and deployment—Seven hundred fifty billion dollars.”

There were more than a few gasps around the room.

“That’s insane,” said Bentlemore.

“There’s no way to raise that kind of capital,” said Dillanson. “It’s more than the market capitalization for the whole company.”

“Actually, it’s not,” said Maxwell Bauer, reading information from his phone. “We’re up thirteen and a third today. Somebody leaked the subject of this meeting.” He shrugged and smiled.

“We’ve got to stop thinking small,” said Astrid. “It’s time to leapfrog these other guys. They’re not the real competition and neither are the Russians. We’ve got to be ahead of the Chinese. They’ve got big boosters. They’ve got the beginnings of a space station. They’ve got a rover on the moon. Now they’re working on their own space planes.”

“Why don’t we just buy the ISS?” asked Carl Maxxim. “The government is begging someone to buy it. We could probably get it for a dollar and few promises.”

“To do what?” shouted Astrid, jumping to her feet. “It’s a tiny space lab with room for six. I don’t care how many inflatable bounce houses they attach to it. We have to think bigger!”

“All right,” said CEO Kate Maxxim. “This is a straight up and down vote. Do we allocate five million dollars for feasibility studies and planning.”

“I vote yay,” said Bauer.

“Yay,” said Martin Bundersmith.

“Nay,” said Dillonson.

“Nay,” said Bentlemore.

“I abstain,” said Astrid.

“I vote yay,” said Dennis Brown.

“My vote is yay,” said Penelope Maxxim.

“I vote yay,” said her brother Carl Maxxim.

“The chair abstains,” finished Kate. “The motion carries.”


Books Everyone Should Read

Grimm’s Fairy Tales

Is there a more iconic and important work of folklore on earth? One could certainly argue that there is not. I got this many years ago as one of my initial picks in the Science Fiction Book Club.  You should definitely get it.  Especially since you can download if free at  Add it to your ebook library.

Princess of Amathar – Norar Remontar

Princess of AmatharNorar Remontar is the second person that Alexander Ashton meets in the world of Ecos, and the first Amatharian. Norar Remontar is the son of an overlord and is a knight. He carries an Amatharian sword, inhabited by one of the strange energy beings known as souls. This life-form empoweres the ordinary metal of the sword with fantastic power.

The Amatharian knight is typical of his people– tall and handsome with deep blue skin. He is brave and at least in the beginning, suspicious of Alexander.

Princess of Amathar – Chapter 16 Excerpt

Princess of AmatharThe shrine took my breath away. Not because it was big, though it was that. Not because it was carefully inlaid with precious stones and highly polished gold and silver, though it was. It quite knocked the breath from my lungs because the symbol on the great shrine was an A. I don’t mean it was an Amatharian A. It was an honest to god, Greco-Roman, American English, Times font type A!

“That’s an A!” I shouted.

The entire population of the hall turned and looked at us.

“That’s an A.” I said.

“Show some respect, knight,” growled Vena Remontar. “Keep your voice down.”

“That’s an A,” I whispered.

“You are correct, knight.” A voice came from behind us.

We turned to see an older Amatharian man dressed in the brown robes of the templars, and wearing a large silver medallion with the letter A on it. Vena Remontar bowed low, and I followed suit.

“I am Kurar Ka Remiant Oldon Domintus,” said the man, identifying himself as an overlord.

“I am the High Templar.”

“It is an honor to meet you, I’m sure,” I said. “That is an A?”

“Yes, you are quite correct. That is an A.”

“Well. How did it get here?”

“Before we answer any of your questions,” the Overlord said. “you have a great many things to do for us.”

Oldon Domintus turned and led the two of us across the great hall to a doorway opposite that through which we had come. Beyond the chamber was a great long corridor. This hallway was lined with pictures painted in the bright colors: pictures of Amatharian knights engaged in battles, pictures of templars performing rituals in the great plaza, pictures of great buildings being constructed in Amathar. The High Templar maintained the image of a man showing friends around his home.

“Has Vena Remontar told you about our temple?”

“I’m afraid she has not yet had time.”

“This temple was built three hundred generations ago. Construction was begun under the direction of Amath himself. He envisioned a monument to his people where they could look for guidance. It was built here beside the Garden of Souls, so that those feeling the draw of their souls, could reflect.

“You felt no need to reflect before entering the garden?” he asked me.

“I’ve always been a pretty spontaneous fellow,” I replied.

“So it seems,”

A Plague of Wizards -Final Proofreading

A Plague of WizardsI’m doing the final proofreading for A Plague of Wizards.  The primary editing was done some time ago and then I set it aside to finish the last few chapters of Kanana: The Jungle Girl.  Now, it seems like I’m reading it again for the first time really.  I’m finding little nuggets that I had forgotten that I put in.

As soon as the final proofreading and formatting is done, it will be available for preorders.  Watch this space for more details.  It shouldn’t be more than a few days.  Remember the release date it October 28.

As soon as the preorders are active, I’ll start posting some excerpts and bits of related information here as well.

Princess of Amathar – The World of Ecos

Princess of AmatharThe story of “Princess of Amathar” takes place in the world of Ecos.  Notice I said takes place “in”, not “on”, for Ecos is a Dyson Sphere. There is a lot of information on Dyson’s Spheres on the web and quite a bit relates to an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.  I however set Princess of Amathar in a Dyson Sphere long before that episode was shown, having read about it in a role-playing magazine (for the Traveller RPG).

Ecos is a giant hollow ball, about 180 milliion miles in diameter, with its sun in the center. The people walk around on the inside of this great sphere. Though the Ecosian sun is slightly smaller than ours, you can’t tell because it is slightly closer to the surface of Ecos than ours is to Earth. This vast shell provides a surface area that is billions (with a B) of times larger than the surface area of any normal planet.

Ecos was created ages ago by a race of beings known as the Elder Gods. They also populated Ecos with dozens, perhaps hundreds of alien races, who then developed their own civilizations and societies. No one knows what happened to the Elder Gods, but the many races of Ecos continue to thrive.