Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween! Sammy Terry and the Bogey Man

Happy Halloween! Here are some classic clips of Indiana's favorite horror-movie host, Sammy Terry. His creaking coffin and sinister laugh were enough to send children diving behind sofas and recliner chairs all across the Hoosier state. You can check out this wonderful Sammy Terry fan site, Pleasant Nightmares, as well as Sammy's official webpage at Sammy has had some health problems lately, and we wish him a speedy recover, and a Happy Halloween, too.

I'm giving myself a real Trick-or-Treat this Halloween: I've signed up for the 2007 National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo. I'll be working on a Kosmosflot novel tentatively titled Used Starships. Look for me under the name Cosmonaut at the NaNoWriMo site. And wish me luck!

Do S'Vadaniya,

Captain Kosmos

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Trick or Treat Goody: Godzilla Attacks Russia

Here's a Halloween treat, the Austin Wind Symphony playing a medley from the soundtrack of King Kong vs. Godzilla. Yes, Captain Kosmos is a fan of the Big G, but also a fan of the late Akira Ifukube, the great Japanese composer who scored so many of Japan's classic films, including Toho Studio's kaiju giant-monster movies. King Kong vs. Godzilla had most of its original soundtrack replaced by stock Universal Studios' horror-film music when it was exported to the West, so it was a special choice by the concert organizers to showcase this particular Godzilla movie.

Godzilla's appearance gradually changed from one movie to another, but this one is one of my favorites: a huge, bulky rock-iguana style head and humongous, powerful, almost-Sumo-like legs.

Not many Americans may notice, but Godzilla's first battle in the film occurs on Russian soil! The army base he attacks is on Sakhalin Island, just north of Japan, and, unfortunately for the Red Army, he's not in a good mood after being buried in ice for seven years, after the events of Godzilla Raids Again, a.k.a. Gigantis the Fire Monster. His radioactive breath, crushing feet, and swinging tail make short work of the Stalin tanks sent out against him. If you watch the film, look closely and you can see red stars on the tanks as they roll out from the base to fight Godzilla.

So, enjoy this giant monster treat from the Austin Wind Symphony. I only wish they would play my favorite Toho science-fiction film soundtrack sometime in the future: The Mysterians.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

The Russian Package at

You can read THE RUSSIAN PACKAGE, my new flash-fiction story, at

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Stranded Nigerian Cosmonaut and DEFA's The First Spaceship On Venus

Spam and phish messages appear daily in my email. When I receive the latter, I dutifully forward them as attachments to the IRS, Wachovia Bank, Paypal or whatever organization the online crooks are trying to impersonate. As I do so, I fantasize about ejecting the offending thieves out the nearest airlock.

But here is an interesting twist to the Nigerian “419” scams: Send money to help a stranded Nigerian cosmonaut!


Subject: Nigerian Astronaut Wants To Come Home
Dr. Bakare Tunde, Astronautics Project Manager
National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA)

Dear Mr. Sir,

I am Dr. Bakare Tunde, the cousin of Nigerian Astronaut, Air Force Major Abacha Tunde. He was the first African in space when he made a secret flight to the Salyut 6 space station in 1979. He was on a later Soviet spaceflight, Soyuz T-16Z to the secret Soviet military space station Salyut 8T in 1989. He was stranded there in 1990 when the Soviet Union was dissolved. His other Soviet crew members returned to earth on the Soyuz T-16Z, but his place was taken up by return cargo. There have been occasional Progrez supply flights to keep him going since that time. He is in good humor, but wants to come home.

In the 14-years since he has been on the station, he has accumulated flight pay and interest amounting to almost $ 15,000,000 American Dollars. This is held in a trust at the Lagos National Savings and Trust Association. If we can obtain access to this money, we can place a down payment with the Russian Space Authorities for a Soyuz return flight to bring him back to Earth. I am told this will cost $ 3,000,000 American Dollars. In order to access the his trust fund we need your assistance.

Consequently, my colleagues and I are willing to transfer the total amount to your account or subsequent disbursement, since we as civil servants are prohibited by the Code of Conduct Bureau (Civil Service Laws) from opening and/ or operating foreign accounts in our names.

Needless to say, the trust reposed on you at this juncture is enormous. In return, we have agreed to offer you 20 percent of the transferred sum, while 10 percent shall be set aside for incidental expenses (internal and external) between the parties in the course of the transaction. You will be mandated to remit the balance 70 percent to other accounts in due course.

Kindly expedite action as we are behind schedule to enable us include downpayment in this financial quarter. Please acknowledge the receipt of this message via my direct number 234 (0) 9-234-XXXX only.

Yours Sincerely, Dr. Bakare Tunde
Astronautics Project Manager

So now even the cosmos is employed to dupe the mentally-challenged out of their money. After all, everyone should know that the first African cosmonaut was Communications Officer Talua (actor Julius Ongewe) from Der Schweigende Stern (The Silent Star), better known in the West as The First Spaceship On Venus!

On that tragic mission, Talua and American astronaut Robert Brinkman (actor Günther Simon) perished when they were unable to return to the Kosmostrator spaceship as it was hurled into space by the uncontrolled Venusian energy-mass converter technology.

And, I should mention, that for the first time the complete, original version of Der Schweigende Stern is available for purchase, in Region 1 NTSC format, both as a single DVD and as part of the impressive DEFA Sci-Fi Collection three-DVD set.

This East German/Polish production was probably the first Eastern Bloc film that I ever saw, and it’s well-remembered by science-fiction fans for its beautiful rocketship, The Kosmostrator, and the eerie depiction of the surface of Venus. And there was the cute little chess-playing, tank-like robot, Omega, which for whatever reason was dubbed as “Oh-me-GAH”.

The First Spaceship On Venus was often shown on Indiana’s WTTV Channel 4 during the mid-60s. The first time I saw it, I was shocked when the American astronaut arrives at the cosmodrome in a MIG-15 jet! What?!? I’ve not yet seen the original film, but apparently in it the U.S. refuses to support the mission to Venus, and the American crew candidates actually defect in order to participate! I hope to confirm this amazing Cold War plot twist with a future viewing of the DEFA DVD. It is certainly edited out of the dubbed version.

So, don’t send any money to Nigeria to save some poor African cosmonaut. Save your kopeks to rent or buy The First Spaceship On Venus or the DEFA Sci-Fi Collection instead!

Do S’Vadaniya,

Viktor Kuprin

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Friday, October 19, 2007

In The Shadow Of The Moon

This wonderful documentary is making its way across the U.S. I got to see it last night, and it blew me away.

From Wikipedia: In the Shadow of the Moon follows the manned missions to the moon made by the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The documentary reviews both the footage and media available to the public at the time of the missions, as well as NASA films and materials which had not been opened in over 30 years; all of which has been remastered in HD. Augmenting the archival audio and video are contemporary interviews with some surviving Apollo era astronauts, including Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin, Charlie Duke, Harrison Schmitt, and John Young. The former astronauts have the only speaking roles in the movie, although occasional supplementary information will be presented on screen with text. The notoriously reclusive Neil Armstrong, the first person on the moon, declined to participate.

Watch for it at your local theater. I'm not surprised it won an award at Sundance as the best documentary.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Cosmonauty - Kosmosflot flies to MySpace

Kosmosflot has flown to MySpace. If you need a Cosmonauty friend, please visit and give me a PRIVYET VIKTOR hello.

Captain Kosmos

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Friday, October 12, 2007

The Blessing

Flash Fiction by Viktor Kuprin

The priest’s pointed helmet hung at his side. His vac suit was completely black.

Engineer Beketov didn’t get it. It was too strange, too … medieval. The holy man waved the crucifix over the salt package and recited a prayer. Beketov had been told the salt was for cooking a lamb stew that would be shared by all the dockyard’s techs and engineers.

“Father Toyan, it’s time for us to EVA. Let’s go.” The priest nodded and followed to the airlock.

“How far did you travel to get here?” Beketov asked.

“From Earth, from the Great Ararat Monastery, to be exact.” The priest’s voice was reedy, and his beard bunched against the visor of his strangely-shaped helmet.

“I’ve never been to Earth,” said the engineer. “Father, I’m curious, why is your helmet peaked on top? When other priests visit the station, their helmets aren’t like yours.”

“Priests who are not married wear these, my son. The peak symbolizes our dedication to the Lord,” he explained.

The airlock hatch slid open, and the bright light of Dustri’s star made their visors darken. They slowly moved toward the dockyards, their boots’ magnetic soles clicking with each step.

“How long have you been working in the yards, my son?”

Beketov laughed. “Close to a year, but it seems like forever, Father. The one we’re going to was just an empty shell with I first arrived. Look at him now.”

One of the dumb servo-mechanoids rumbled toward them. Beketov gently grasped the priest’s shoulder to stop him from entering its path. It wobbled past with no sign of notice.

“Father Toyan, no disrespect, but how do you feel about this? Coming all the way out here to, well, to bless …”

“An engine of destruction? Actually, the church’s blessing is for the crew, to humbly ask God for their safety and protection, and that they will always be in His grace.”

As they walked, Beketov watched the priest’s gold crucifix sparkle in the starlight. A transparent pouch filled with small plastic globlets hung from his belt: Holy Water for the ceremony.

“Here he is, Father.” Beketov could see people watching them, crowded together in the observation blisters and viewports surrounding the dockyard.

“Are you a believer, Engineer Beketov?” the priest asked.

“I don’t know, Father. Sometimes it’s hard not to be when you look up and see all this,” the engineer said, pointing toward the stars. “I do know that a man needs all the help he can get, right?”

Toyan nodded. “Fair enough. Now, if you will, let us pray.” The priest keyed the comm controls on his suit sleeve and began to broadcast.

“Almighty God and Creator, You are the Father of all people. Guide, I pray, all the worlds and their leaders in the ways of justice and peace … ”

The priest made the sign of the cross in front of the new starship’s gigantic gray hull.

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Flash Fiction by Viktor Kuprin

Any starship could request a flyby. Popik received them all the time from the Customs Patrols and the Space Force when they needed to eyeball our ship. If they wanted a bribe that day, they’d come aboard Popik’s old Mod One. He would shake hands with the thug-in-charge and discretely pass some rubles or gold kopeks he’d gotten from here and there.

That’s what you had to do if you were a free trader like Popik, especially if you occasionally hauled illicit cargoes on the side like bootleg vodka or tobacco. The Americans treated tobacco like it was some kind of fission-grade plutonium. But the colonists on the Fringe Worlds gladly paid for it sight unseen.

Maybe Popik was curious to see the ship or, I suspect, he just wanted to give me a surprise. He keyed up the code for a flyby request, transmitted it, and to his surprise the reply came back giving the okay. Back then, before the wars with the Helgrammites and the others, there weren’t so many alien starships in human space. Not like now.

When he called me over the comm, I was playing with dolls in my cabin. I raced to the cramped control center, dragging my favorite teddy bear behind.

“Sit down, Vika, and watch the big televisor,” Popik said. “We’re going to see something special.”

“Is it Poppa or Momma calling? Are they coming?” I asked.

“Not this time, my heart,” Popik replied. “We’re going to see a Tsoor ship, an alien ship. We’ll fly past it in a few seconds. Watch.”

“Da, Popik.” I should have known it wasn’t my parents. Poppa was on duty aboard a warship somewhere in deep space. Momma was away, too, always working in some company office on Getamech. So, when I wasn’t in school, I got to travel with Popik and live in his asteroid domik between our trips to the stars.

A strangely-shaped orb appeared on the televisor screen and began to grow in size. Popik grinned and fired the retros, slowing our approach.

“It’s a Class-4 Tsoor starship. They call it a ‘Porpita,’” he explained.

“That’s a funny name, Popik!” I bounced and giggled, hugging my teddy bear.

The Tsoor ship was a cluster of four huge connected spheres glowing bluish green. Bars of brilliant violet light circled the globes’ equators and vertical axes. I saw no portholes, no windows, no one looking back at us. To me it looked like some giant, magical New Year’s tree ornament.

“Can we flash our lights for them, Popik?” I asked.

He shook his head. “We probably shouldn’t, my heart. The aliens might not know what to make of it.”

Then the beautiful Tsoor starship receded into the distance and was gone.

I watched and re-watched the video Popik had made of the flyby. And all these many years later, I still have that recording. Just a few seconds long, but it takes me back to those happiest of times, back to my dear grandfather.

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Executive Bonus

Flash Fiction by Viktor Kuprin

Labor Supervisor SCE-1124 knew there would be extra costs and difficulties keeping the project plans on schedule without the human contingent. Though the Earth mammals were fragile and easily damaged, they had, indeed, proven to be good workers both on the asteroids and aboard his construction ships.

He noticed a small figure standing by his office-pit and recognized it as the Human Trustee. Why was she still here? He beckoned with his main claw.

Karina Hively approached, face downward as xenoprotocol required.

“I thought you would be gone by now, Former Trustee Hively. What do you want?” He clasped his main claw to indicate impatience.

“Please, Labor Supervisor, I need help. I can’t get transportation.”

“How can that be?” SCE-1124 asked. “I’ve seen thousands of human slaves boarding the repat vessels. They seem quite ready to depart as quickly as possible. Why don’t you join them and be on your way to wherever you and your people want to go?”

She began to wring her hands, eyes wide with what SCE-1124 recognized as anxiety and fear.

“My life is in danger. I’ve been hiding ever since the Emancipation. They won’t allow me on any of the ships.”

SCE-1124 would have none of it. “Oh please. Such disagreements can surely be resolved by offering your fellow humans sizeable monetary incentives. I know for a fact that you sometimes actually received precious metals and gems in reward for your skilled management.”

“Great One, you don’t understand,” she pleaded. “They won’t take my money. I tried, but it’s no use. They want to kill me!”

Tapping his main and secondary claws, SCE-1124 considered. “Why don’t you perform that custom that makes all things good again. What do humans call it? Yes, an apology. Apologize, then you can go with them.”

Hively began to sob. “They’ll never forgive me. They remember when I ordered the cull in the nurseries, the rations-and-oxygen adjustments.”

“Ah yes, yes! You were the one who reduced our project costs for both slave nourishment and atmospheric recharges,” SCE-1124 recalled. He trembled with glee. “I must admit that I didn’t believe humans could live on such little food and oxygen. And only three out of ten died, if I recall correctly, those weak ones we didn’t need. Now that was a very effective business decision, one of your best!”

She covered her face with her hands and fell to her knees. “Please, Great One. I’ve always been loyal …”

SCE-1124 waved his main claw. “Now, now, Former Trustee, the Emancipation Treaty did terminate our business relationship. You and all humans are free to find new work on Earth, or Alpha Centauri, wherever. The transport’s been paid for. It’s out of my claws’ reach, you know. So, I wish you the very best of success in your future career endeavors, and thanks so much for your exemplary professionalism. It’s been a pleasure!

“Oh, and don’t forget that any human detected onsite after today will have to be disintegrated. Now shoo away. Shoo.”

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

In Search of Buck Rogers and Commander Don

It was a drizzly, dark day, the kind that all eight-year-old boys detest. Stuck indoors and grounded by the inclement weather that Saturday morning in 1964, I started searching the Indianapolis Star’s TV schedule, first to check what our local horror host, Sammy Terry, would be featuring on his late-night scary movie.

Remember, this was the television era when nearly all stations had locally-produced and hosted programs. WFBM Channel 6 had Harlow Hickenlooper (Hal Fryar) and cowboy-musician Curley Myers introducing Three Stooges films. WTTV Channel 4 offered the ghoulish Sammy Terry on Nightmare Theater. For the younger kids, there was Popeye and Janie (Jane Hodge), and a few years later Cowboy Bob (Bob Glaze) hosted the noon-time cartoon show Chuckwagon Theater.

As I scanned the Saturday schedule, I spotted something new: Buck Rogers on Channel 8. This immediately caught my interest. I had heard my father tell about the old Buck Rogers radio programs, and I had even seen a few reprints from the 1930s Buck Rogers newspaper comic strip in books at my local library. And my treasured comic book collection included Gold Key's 1964 single-issue Buck Rogers edition, too. I checked the time, and I was in luck. Buck Rogers would start in a few minutes!

After a first glimpse of that classic 1940 serial, I was hooked. There were rocket ships that looked like Civil War ironclads. Buck (Buster Crabbe) and his 25th Century crew used anti-gravity belts instead of parachutes. There was even a teleportation chamber that Buck used to get around the Hidden City rocket base, instead of an elevator.

And there was a show host, Commander Don, dressed in a flight suit coverall, sitting at a space-age desk as he commented on Buck’s perils and adventures, as well as making an occasional plug for the show’s sponsor. I recognized Commander Don as the host of another popular program, the Booby-Trap game show also shown on Channel 8. More on that later.

Now, to an eight-year-old, Buck Rogers was heady stuff. You must remember, too, that in 1964, science-fiction TV programs were scarce. Channel 4 had started showing the Space Angel cartoon series, wonderfully drawn by the great artist Alex Toth, and there was the occasional science-fiction movie on TV or at the local theater. So finding Commander Don and Buck Rogers as a weekly show was a great event for a kid like me.

Each and every Saturday I followed Buck’s adventures and travels across the solar system as he battled the evil Killer Kane. By summer’s end the serial concluded, and I was in Space-Age heaven when I saw that starting in autumn there would be a Flash Gordon program in the same time slot on Saturday morning.

That fall, as I watched the first episode of Flash Gordon battling the evil Emperor Ming the Merciless (played by the great character actor Charles Middleton) on the dark, mysterious Planet Mongo, a commercial break started. I realized then that there was no host, no commentary. Commander Don was gone. And I missed him. Sure, I was aware that Commander Don was a TV host working in a studio somewhere in downtown Indianapolis, and that he wasn’t really some auxiliary space officer assigned to the Buck Rogers TV show. Nonetheless, I appreciated that the show had a real, live host, in uniform, no less. To my young eyes, Commander Don’s presence had somehow added a degree of Space Age authority, a measure of legitimacy to the show. And as time passed and the years went by, I sometimes wondered what had become of Commander Don.

Now, time warp with me forty years into the future, from 1965 to the year 2005. While surfing the ‘Net I discovered a charming web site about early TV programming in Indiana called What Columbus Watched On Television In Shades Of Black And White, created by David Sechrest. There was no mention of the Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon shows I had loved so much, but I was pleased to see that the Booby-Trap game show was remembered. But then I saw the passage that said: “Sorry, but I can't remember who the host of this show was.”

This really bothered me. I made a pledge to find out who had hosted my beloved Buck Rogers and Booby-Trap TV shows, and I started searching. Unfortunately, as I soon discovered, there are scant records of those early days of locally-produced television programs. Commercial broadcasters have no business incentive to retain historical records. Many shows like WISH-TV's Buck Rogers and Booby-Trap were broadcast live in front of a studio audience, and if videotape was used, it was recycled, erased and re-used week after week. Very few locally-produced programs from that era still exist in any complete form.

I finally got a lead when I happened upon the When Movies Were Movies web site, created by former WISH-TV producer Dave Smith, who had hosted a popular movie series of the same name as the site. Dave remembered that the host of Booby-Trap was Don Abbott, who had also done radio work in Indianapolis during the early 1960s, but Dave had no recollection of the Buck Rogers series shown on Saturday mornings. He said he could verify this by contacting Don, now a producer of television programming living in Florida.

Emails were exchanged and, as I so fondly remembered, Don confirmed that he had been the one who donned an orange coverall and introduced the Buster Crabbe serials. I think, perhaps, Don was surprised and maybe a little touched that someone remembered his work in Indiana those many years ago.

Inspiration comes from many sources, and I was inspired to write a short story, a flash fiction, called Outer Space Theater that was actually a tribute to Commander Don. I submitted the story and it won a Special Mention for Flash Fiction at Ray Gun Revival, one of the best space opera ezines you can find online. I wanted to share my minor success, so I emailed a copy of the story to Commander Don, who received it with gracious praise for my efforts. In fact, Don suggested that we meet the next time he visited Indiana.

A few weeks later, I received an email saying that Don was headed to the Hoosier state to attend a wedding, and it would be a good opportunity to get together. We picked Franklin, Indiana, as our rendezvous point, so I began to prepare.

And what a meeting! Don arrived with his son-in-law, Greg, and we started sharing the stories of our lives along with many happy memories of the TV shows Don had hosted. I learned that day that Don had tried to get the Parker Brothers game company to franchise his successful Booby-Trap game show. The execs turned down the franchise sponsorship, but instead offered to buy the rights to manufacture the Booby-Trap game itself. I don’t know about elsewhere in the country, but every kid I knew had the Booby-Trap game. Its little round, wooden game pieces filled toy boxes and covered living room floors all across Indiana. I can’t remember how many times my finger got snapped by the game’s spring bar. That was half the fun, of course. Don’s deal with Parker Brothers earned him enough profits to later start his television productions in Florida.

I got an additional surprise that afternoon when we were joined by another Hoosier TV personality who is both well-remembered and dearly loved by his fans of all ages: Hal Fryar, known better as Harlow Hickenlooper of WFBM Channel 6’s long-running Three Stooges Show. Both Don and Hal are members of the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers, and it was just a great pleasure to hear their accounts, anecdotes, and lots and lots of jokes. Both Don and Hal are true entertainers, and they kept me and Greg laughing. My time with them passed all too quickly.

As we said our goodbyes, I presented Don with a copy of the recent Criterion Collection DVD release of Robinson Crusoe on Mars, which, strangely enough, has a connection with both Don and Hal. In 1965 Hal and seven other Three Stooges show hosts participated in the making of The Outlaws Is Coming movie, which starred Moe, Larry, and Curly Joe. Hal played outlaw Johnny Ringo, but the connection was that the leading man was played by a pre-Batman Adam West, who also had a supporting role in Robinson Crusoe on Mars! RCOM was released in 1964, just a few months before Commander Don started hosting the Buck Rogers shows.

But, stranger still, is a detail in the Outer Space Theater story that I wrote. In it, the Commander Don character makes use of a piece of high-tech gear disguised as a Franklin half dollar which he keeps in his pocket until a crucial part of the story. Here’s where it gets weird: Don told me that he has always carried a lucky silver dollar in his pocket, even showed it to me during our meeting. I had no idea, no knowledge of this when I wrote the story. Coincidence? ESP? Who can say? The universe is a wonderfully strange place, isn’t it?

Harlow Hickenlooper, Commander Don, and Viktor Kuprin

D'os Vadanya,

Captain Kosmos

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Surprise! Sputnik Sails Giggling Through The Skies - 50 Years Ago Today

It's the 50-year anniversary of the beginning of the Space Race. The Soviet Union launched the world's first artificial satellite, Sputnik, on October 4, 1957. Here's a great song by Gunnar Madsen from the To Touch The Stars CD. Listen to this Russian-style Sputnik tune as you celebrate this cosmic holiday!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Atomic Age Cinema presents Doctor Calamari and Baron Mardi

Here are Atomic Age Cinema's midnight horror show hosts, Doctor Calamari and Baron Mardi, in their first YouTube flick. These two denizens of the dark appear at The Cinemat every Saturday night at midnight to present wierd, terrifying, and usually awful scary movies. I often think that, in a way, the Doctor and the Baron are carrying on an entertainment tradition that follows in the footsteps of Indiana late-night horror movie hosts Selwin and Sammy Terry, though with a 21st-century twist. And twisted they are, as you'll see in this video.

And if you're in south-central Indiana, be sure to see their live show as they host yet another cheesy horror flick at The Cinemat, 123 South Walnut Street (at the corner of Fourth and Walnut), Bloomington, Indiana.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Radiation Angels: The Chimerium Gambit

One of the highlights of the Context 20 science-fiction convention for me was getting to meet James Daniel Ross, author of The Radiation Angels: The Chimerium Gambit (ISBN 1-59426-210-1) from Mundania Press. If you enjoy action-packed military science-fiction (as I do), keep tabs on this new author. Here's the novel's blurb:

When civil unrest strikes a planet, when invaders get past the navy and start their ground assault, when terrorist forces attempt to topple a government, you can call for help. Planets contact the last vestige of ground soldiery: Mercenaries. As long as the mercenaries get paid, as long as everybody plays by the rules, everything is fine.

Captain Todd Rook is in charge of an elite fighting force: The Radiation Angels. Armed with searing plasma cannons, armor piercing railguns, or semi-smart explosives, these are the high tech warriors who get the dangerous jobs done. Though contracted to enter battle on Ashley 9, at every turn it appears that their employers are set on making their job as difficult as possible.

They were promised generous pay, an easy battle, and spoils of war.

All these promises are broken.

Faced with economic ruin, Rook decides to bet his life and the lives of the Angels on a long shot that will put them all in mortal peril. It's a gamble that will take them across the known universe to the most lawless planet in all the colonies: Mars. Chased by cyborgs, enemy mercenaries, and an aerospace task force, Rook has bet that everything he cares about up...

The Chimerium Gambit.

A Radiation Angels short story by Dan will be part of the soon-to-be-released Breach the Hull anthology (ISBN: 1-892669-43-9) from Marietta Publishing, and he'll be appearing at PHILCON 2007: The Philadelphia Conference on Science Fiction and Fantasy, 16-18 November 2007.

Dan was an active Context 20 panel member, speaking on topics like "Electronic Publishing, Print-On-Demand, and the Death of the Book", "Getting the Most Out of Gaming", and "I Really Did It (Got My First Novel Published), But How?" If you get a chance to hear Dan's anecdotes about writing, getting published, and his military science-fiction, you're in for a real treat. Just don't ask him to read any poetry. It upsets his stomach.

Thanks, Dan, for your contribution to a great convention, and thanks for a great read, too.

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