Sci Phi Journal Issue 5 Now on Sale!

Sci Phi Journal Issue 5, featuring chapters 8 and 9 of Beyond the Mist, is now on sale from amazon in ebook form:

http://www.amazon.com/Sci-Phi-Journal-Issue-2015-ebook/dp/B00WRADVL6/?tag=theologyweb-20

as well as in paperback form from amazon:

or alternatively direct from createspace

Grab your copy today and grow your mind!

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Issue 5 of Sci Phi Journal Coming Soon!

The next issue of Sci Phi Journal, featuring chapters 8 and 9 of Beyond the Mist as well as some excellent other stories and articles, is in the final proofreading stage and on schedule to be ready for its release at the end of this month, so here is a little sneak peak at the cover and internal art by Cat Leonard:Sciphi issue #5 cover PNGtVirs PNG GodEaters_LittleGeorgeTheSecond_LittleTheGreatTeacher_Little

Book Review – Plural of Helen of Troy by John C. Wright

How many stories have you read or films have you watched that incorporate time travel as part of the plot? Quite a few, I expect. And how many of those actually deal with the morality of time travel itself, instead of purely using it as a mechanism to generate a fish out of water scenario? Not so many. What would society look like if technologies existed to manipulate time however you saw fit?

Plural of Helen of Troy is one of a collection of short stories that deal with these very questions, entitled City Beyond Time, Tales of the Fall of Metachronopolis.

Murder in Metachronopols and Plural of Helen of Troy bookend this collection of short stories and are both set in the city outside of time itself, in which the Time Wardens rule with impunity and seemingly limitless power, able to retroactively go back in time and manipulate every event to reach the outcome they desire, transporting people and technology from every time period in history to their magnificent timeless city to act as their servants and playthings. Both stories are centred around a hard-boiled film-noir style detective who used to work for the Time Wardens as a problem solver (i.e. hitman). In Murder in Metachronopolis, he is attempting to solve his own murder in the future, in Plural of Helen of Troy, he is trying to save the most beautiful woman in history, one of many versions of Helen of Troy, from being attacked by someone who is close to the Time Wardens and aided by one of their deadliest robotic henchmen.

Both stories are told out of chronological sequence, which suits a story about time manipulation and is done so well that it is not confusing, instead each jump forward and backward in time either throws new light on or raises the stakes of what is happening in the main story thread. There is a lot of great humour, for example:

I ran up the nearer ramp toward the girl and sprinted toward my death.

I’d had a pretty good life, I guess. I had no complaints.

Strike that. My life stank like an incontinent skunk pie sandwich with no mustard, if one of the slices was the crusty heel no one likes to eat, and I had loads of complaints.

And the action sequences are intense and tactically brilliant, including how the deadlock is broken between two weapon systems that can perfectly predict and counteract each other.

Of the two stories, I’d say that Murder in Metachronopolis has more depth and emotional impact, while Plural of Helen of Troy is more fun. Both are masterfully crafted, insightful and rewarding to read, and I cannot recommend them enough. I could say much the same for every story in the collection without reservation. If I had to pick between the above two stories, I’d go for Murder in Metachronopolis, but it was first published earlier than the rest, hence ineligible for the Hugo this year.

If you haven’t yet sampled this great collection from a master of the art, you are missing out.

Restraint

The most innocent of all of us was ruthlessly betrayed
Publicly humiliated, tortured, torn and flayed
Forced up a hill to be upon it gruesomely displayed,
Yet most distressing was the message that this act conveyed.

It wasn’t because he was weak that this could all occur,
In fact he with this horrifying treatment did concur;
He had a throng of angels at his very back and call,
Yet told them to stand down and let him undergo it all.

Even when abandoned by his closest friends and kin,
Even when guards beat and mocked him with malicious grins,
Even when the shards of bone dug deep well past his skin,
Even when they laid him down and drove the nails in,

Even when exposed for hours in the burning sun,
Even when it looked as if his work had been undone,
Even when the powerful sneered and hurled insults his way,
Even when his loving Father had to look away,

He accepted every injury, permitted every slight,
Submitted to each sinful man’s full rage against the light.
Not once did he protest or use his ample lordly might,
Since this was how he paid the price so things could be put right.

SuperversiveSF Roundtable Discussion

For those of you unaware, I am a regular contributor over at SuperversiveSF, and this Saturday they will be holding an online roundtable of the contributors via google hangout.

The event will go live at 10.30am EST and will include myself, Jason Rennie, L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright, EJ Shumak, Joshua Young, Brian Niemeier, David Hallquist, Peter Sean Bradley and perhaps some others.

Among other topics, we will be discussing the upcoming Hugo awards and Sad Puppies Campaign, who knows what else we’ll get up to…