Enjoying Scifi Blog

August 19, 2014

A Cabin Under a Cloudy Sea and other stories

Filed under: Humor, Stories, Writing — Tags: , , , , — Stephen L. Thompson @ 9:27 pm


A couple of years ago, I came up with the idea of putting out minianthologies – collections of five to ten stories – on Kindle as a way to use up some of my stories and to let people know I exist.  Well, I have just put out my latest minianthology – “A Cabin Under a Cloudy Sea and other stories.” It contains five stories set upon the moon.  The blurb I have for it is as follows:

Hopefully, in the not too distant future humans will return to the moon. We will build bases and colonies, create farms and factories, and live, love and learn. “A Cabin Under a Cloudy Sea and other stories” contains five short stories set upon the moon. They give the tiniest glimpse of the possibilities awaiting us there. 

 I hope you’ll check it out, and if it strikes your fancy you can download it for only $0.99.  I hope you’ll enjoy.


The story behind this minianthology is somewhat long.  Part of the idea behind my minianthologies is to show people a sampling of my writing, but I also like to group similar stories.  When I realized I had several stories set on the moon, it was natural to put them together.  A couple of these were published before – I’ve revised them for this – but I also wanted a couple new stories.  I had one story that involved time travel, and I haven’t figured out how to make it work.  So I would start working on this collection, only to get stuck on this story, set it aside to let my creative juices flow, only to then get caught up in some other project.  It was probably almost two years ago that I started this project, but I didn’t really get anywhere with it until about four months ago.

About four months ago was when I learned my story “The Reluctant Host” would appear in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dog Did What? which would be published now.  (See my post on another blog.)  You know what would be good, I thought?  If I had a Kindle book come out at the same time to get some of that chicken soup splashover

Of my dozen or so projects, “A Cabin Under a Cloudy Sea and other stories” was the closest to being finished, so I set out to finish it.  One problem was this time travel story I couldn’t make work.  Fortunately, I had recently come up with a new story idea also set upon the moon, “Putting Down Roots.” Since I could finish that story, and since the other stories in the collection were more grounded scifi (no warp drive or aliens) the time travel story kind of stood out.  So I swapped the stories and set to work finishing it.

I was making steady progress, when in early July I smacked my forehead because I had missed something.  July 20 marked the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon.  What better time to put out a collection of stories set on the moon?  I debated for a bit if I should change my publication plans, but I couldn’t finish it in time.

As it turns out, this later publication date may actually be better.  One thing am really passionate about is setting up a permanent human presence in space, such as at a moon base.  If I had published this a month ago, it probably would have been lost in all the hoopla for Apollo 11, which I believe all faded into obscurity on July 21st.  But with this ebook coming out a month later, it can help advance my goal of moon bases in my lifetime by showing people the moon isn’t just something to get excited about on big anniversaries. 

At least, that’s what I tell myself to keep from smashing my forehead for missing such an obvious connection.


March 13, 2013

“The Most Powerful Man in the World and other stories”

Filed under: Promotions, Stories — Tags: , , , , , , — Stephen L. Thompson @ 6:26 am

The Most Powerful Man in the World2
The Most Powerful Man in the World and other stories” is a collection of five, short, scifi stories by Stephen L. Thompson to provide a sample of his writing.

A being from the distant future with almost unlimited powers comes back to help Ian Steele make the world a better place in “The Most Powerful Man in the World.” The bookstore customer has an entirely different reason for wanting books in “Black Market Books.” “Motherhood” tells the story of Thomas Gillespie, the surrogate mother for an AI.  “Storyteller” is about an author thinking his book into existence.  And “Deadworld” is about the alien world humans are reborn on – in alien bodies – after they die.

Excerpt from “The Most Powerful Man in the World”

“What happened?” Ian asked from the floor.

“You fainted.”

Ian sat up and looked around the empty room.  It was maybe fifteen feet on a side and painted a dull grey.  “Where am I?”

“A dimensional intrusion located within your living room wall.”


Pulling him to his feet, she explained, “Basically, it’s a space that can be as large,” here Karen threw her arms out and the walls zoomed away beyond sight, “or as small as I want.” She then drew her arms in and the two stood in a space the size of a phone booth.  The room returned to its original size and Karen stretched.  “But I think this is a good size.”

Ian spun around, trying to keep an eye on each of the walls as if they might sneak up and squish him.  “What the hell is this?”

Karen put her arm around him.  “Arthur C. Clarke once said that ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.’” Shrugging, Karen stated, “This is magic.”

March 4, 2013

Writing pet peeve, “What are we doing here?”

Filed under: Stories, Writing — Tags: , , — Stephen L. Thompson @ 2:56 am

This is something I’ve seen several times in short stories or novels over the years.  I recently saw this in a short story by a famous author, which prompted this rant.

Basically, what happens is a group of people set out on an expedition, either to another planet or back in time.  It takes months or years of work to outfit the ship and/or fly to the other planet.  Shortly after they arrive, one of the crew raises their hand and asks, “What are we doing here?” Now, I’m not talking about military expeditions where – for secrecy – they have to get to the place before they open their orders, I understand that.  What I’m talking about is usually corporate missions to find some new resource or a general science expedition.  Every time I see it I can’t help but wonder, Did they miss the memo?  I mean, how can they spend months or years working on a project without once asking, What’s the point?

I think the reason many authors do this is because it’s the best way they can think of to disguise an info dump.  Seriously, what would you rather read about, characters discussing what they are going to do with a planet looming in their viewscreen, or characters sitting around a drab conference table on Earth as some schmuck reads through the bullet points on a power point presentation?  “As you can see, here are our synergetic objectives once we arrive at Brindenbaugh Alpha-7.”

I understand that on one hand there is the realistic – usually boring – way things are done in the real world, while on the other hand there is the far more entertaining way things are done in fiction.  I also understand that part of enjoying fiction is getting lost in that world, momentarily forgetting that it’s fiction.  So when I read about a character who spent months in a spaceship flying to some distant planet, apparently without once asking why they’ve spent months in a spaceship flying to some distant planet, the fact that these characters are not real people become abundantly clear.

November 13, 2012

Alternate Enigma

Filed under: Stories — Tags: , , , , — Stephen L. Thompson @ 6:00 pm

Recently, I read through my old writing notebooks looking for lost story ideas.  While doing that, I came across the original idea I had for “Enigma.” Instead of a cube, the artifact was to be this bizarre sculpture with all kinds of branches and nobody would have a clue as to what it was.  The story then was to end several hundred million years ago, where we find the object was made by an alien art student.  It’s a giant penis.  The student is threatened with expulsion from the school if he doesn’t melt it down, but instead he takes it out to the boonies of the galaxy hoping to come back for it some day when his genius would be accepted.  I didn’t go for that ending because it was too silly and clichéd.  Besides, I like what I did come up with.

October 28, 2012

Brain for Rent and other stories

Filed under: Promotions, Stories — Tags: , , , , , , — Stephen L. Thompson @ 11:34 pm


I’ve just published a minianthology of five of my short, scifi stories.  Here’s the description:

“Brain for Rent and other stories” is a collection of five, short scifi stories by Stephen L. Thompson giving a sampling of his writing. Included in the collection are: “Brain for Rent” about a ne’re-do-well failed writer with a conceptual implant who discusses his work with a young woman thinking of getting an implant herself. “The Demonstration” is about a different young woman wanting to show off her latest body modification. “Self Imprisonment” offers one solution of where to put the backup copy of yourself for safe keeping. “The Best Job Ever” is about a necessary – yet unpleasant – human/alien interaction. And the collection ends with “Why Stay?” which explains why, after years of fighting the humans, the robots just deactivate.

“Brain for Rent and other stories” can be on your Kindle for only $0.99!

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